Amsterdam is an amazing city for many reasons: world-class art and magnificent museums, unforgettable food, unique architecture and street scenes, and so much more. But visiting the Anne Frank House while you’re there—the museum at the location of Anne Frank’s secret annex—is one of the most meaningful and memorable activities. An absolute must-not-miss.
Tips for Visiting the Anne Frank House
Consequently, the Anne Frank House is also one of the most popular tourist sites in town so you must plan ahead. This trip may take a little more planning than usual but it’s worth every extra bit. Start here with these top tips for visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
Re-read the Diary of Anne Frank before your visit
I can’t stress this enough: read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl before your trip to Amsterdam and the Anne Frank House. I’m sure you’ve read it before (remember 8th grade?) but that was a long time ago. I can assure you the material is so much more impressive when you read it as an adult. The profound ideas that girl could put forth, wow.
Reading her diary before your trip will really help to put everything you see and experience at the Anne Frank House into perspective. The space is preserved just as it appears in the book and you’ll get to see for yourself so much of the story in real life.
Plus, that diary is the whole reason you’re here in the first place.
It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. (July 15, 1944)
Book your tickets far in advance
Of all the tips for visiting the Anne Frank House, this is by far the most important. Admission tickets to the Anne Frank House are only sold directly through the Anne Frank House and only online. You can’t buy tickets through any third-party sellers, discount clubs, tourist services, at the museum itself, nothing.
Also, given the nature of the space—it being a small, cramped hidden annex—the Anne Frank House only sells tickets on a timed basis. This ensures that only a certain, predetermined number of visitors will be inside the space at any given time.
These two factors, along with the immense popularity of the site, mean that tickets sell out every day and they sell out fast. Because of this, you’ll need to reserve your tickets to the Anne Frank House as early as possible. As soon as you know you’re going to Amsterdam, book those babies.
Tickets to the Anne Frank House go on sale two months in advance.
But don’t stress if they’re sold out
The Anne Frank House states that 80% of the tickets are released two months in advance at noon, and the remaining 20% are released day-of at 9 AM. (This is Amsterdam time, GMT +1)
So, if you do miss the window to reserve your tickets in advance, there is still a small chance you’ll be able to snag tickets on the day you wish to visit. But don’t wait until anything past 9:01 AM to attempt this.
Tickets to the Anne Frank House are a hot commodity and you may or may not have had to struggle to get them. Your ticket will have an assigned time for you to enter the museum—DO NOT MISS THIS. This will be your only chance to visit the Anne Frank House.
If you are late or completely miss your window, you will not be allowed in. (Re: space constraints)
Instead, arrive early. Like, way earlier than you think you need to, just to be safe. There are places to eat and drink near the Anne Frank House; the scenery is beautiful so walking the neighborhood (but not straying too far) is always an option. Just, whatever you do, don’t miss your assigned time slot.
Anne Frank House accessibility
Again, given the nature of the location—little more than an attic up a steep set of stairs—the Secret Annex part of the Anne Frank House is, unfortunately, not wheelchair accessible. However, the modern part of the museum and the café are.
There’s also the option of touring the Anne Frank House using virtual reality (if you have the necessary equipment to do so). You can download the Anne Frank House VR app here, for free.
Read more about the Anne Frank House’s accessibility options here.
Photography is prohibited
In an effort to preserve some of the older pieces in the museum and to avoid what they, and we all, call a nuisance, they do not allow photography inside the Anne Frank House.
Instead, keep your phone and cameras put away and really just immerse yourself in the experience. You’ll be able to get some great photos of the exterior and find what you need of the inside on their website. But you won’t be able to get back the experience of touring her secret annex.
Interior photos of the Anne Frank House used with permission.
Leave the big bags at the hotel
As you’ve probably figured out, the theme of this post is “Don’t do anything that will jeopardize getting inside the Anne Frank House.” And here’s another: don’t bring anything bigger than the size of a standard sheet of paper with you.
The Anne Frank House does have a cloak room where you can store your coat, umbrella, smaller bag, etc. However, they will not allow entry of anything larger than a sheet of paper—a backpack, shopping bags, suitcase, etc. And, oh look, you’ve just missed your time slot.
The Anne Frank House is small, compact, and not easy to navigate. The stairs are tight, old, and very steep, and more than a couple of people in there at the same time will feel crowded. Arrive with nothing at all or a small purse so you can get right on in without issue.
Explore the Jordaan after your visit
The Anne Frank House is located within the Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam, a beautiful neighborhood built along winding canals in the 17th century. (Pronounced Your-don) You’ll find old churches here and much of that famous Amsterdam architecture, tree-lined streets, bobbing houseboats, tons of museums, and much to see and do.
After your visit to the Anne Frank House, be sure to spend some time in the Jordaan (if you’re not staying here already) checking out the neighborhood. You can:
- Visit Lindengracht Market for delicious produce and cheeses
- Eat some famous pancakes at the Pancake Bakery or apple pie at Winkel 43
- Have a beer in one of the famous “brown cafés” like Café Kalkhoven, one of the oldest café in Amsterdam (opened in 1670)
- …or a cocktail at a speakeasy (shh, it’s called Bar Oldenhof)
- Take a food and history tour of the Jordaan
Where to stay when visiting the Anne Frank House
Besides being the home of the Anne Frank House, the Jordaan is the perfect place to stay in Amsterdam. It’s quiet and scenic, yet within walking distance to phenomenal restaurants, entertainment, attractions, and more. I highly recommend staying in the Jordaan neighborhood of Amsterdam.
Hotel Mosaic City Center
Personally, I can’t say enough good things about the Hotel Mosaic City Center. The location is great as is the staff, the rooms, the value. From here, it’s just a (very scenic, especially delicious) 20-minute walk to the Anne Frank House and a 15-minute walk to Museum Square, home to the Van Gogh Museum, the world famous Rijksmuseum, and more.
Book your stay here: Hotel Mosaic City Center
Another highly rated hotel is the Mr. Jordaan, just a 6-minute walk from the Anne Frank House. It offers a 24-hour front desk along with luggage storage, a continental breakfast, free wifi, all in an amazing location.
Reviewers love the friendly staff and attention to details at this modern hotel.
Book your stay here: Mr. Jordaan
Recommended reading and viewing
Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl | A great book to read in general, but an absolute must-read before a trip to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family, by Miep Gies | Miep Gies, along with her husband, are featured often in Anne Frank’s diary as the couple who helped hide Anne Frank’s family in their secret annex during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. This book is her account of those years.
#AnneFrank – Parallel Stories, Netflix | In this documentary, Oscar winner Helen Mirren tells the story of Anne Frank, through her diary, while the viewer gets to experience a walk through Anne Frank’s secret annex, the Anne Frank House.
More tips on visiting the Anne Frank House
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