Our first full day in Amsterdam was relaxing since I didn’t book a full day of sightseeing. We started off the day by touring Anne Frank’s house. My apologies, no photos are allowed inside the museum.
This was probably the most difficult part of the day. The tour is fantastic and I encourage everyone to see it. Seriously. However I will warn you that it isn’t easy to see. I didn’t break down in tears, but it was overwhelming at points. When Anne’s family, including her parents and sister, went into hiding in July 1942 they had no idea how long they would be cut off from the world. They hid in Otto Frank’s (Anne’s father) business located at 263 Prinsengracht. Hermann van Pels, his wife Auguste, and their son Peter joined them in hiding. Later on Fritz Pfeffer hid with them. Eight people in total. There were four helpers. During the day workers were in the offices and warehouse below. Anne and everyone had to be extremely diligent not to make any noise. Not only that, they could never be observed from the street. For two years they lived this way. No one went outside. On August 4, 1944 the German Security Service raided the house after receiving an anonymous tip. To this day, no one knows who supplied the tip. Only Otto Frank, Anne’s father, survived. Seeing the home and how they lived is emotional. To add to that, throughout the tour there are video clips featuring her father and her friends and acquaintances. When the Germans raided the home, one of the helpers hid Anne’s diary. After the war she gave it to Otto. He decided to publish the diary. In 1960 their hiding place was turned into a museum. You may wonder why I am recommending this tour to everyone considering it can be depressing. I’ll answer this with a quote from Otto Frank
We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice.
After touring the house we decided to walk around a little bit and clear our heads. We headed to the Noordermarkt.
Then I spied a bar. I know, how unusual for me.
The rest of the day we meandered through the city. This place is filled with beauty: the canals, the history, all the crazy bike riders (they will run you over so watch out), and everything add to the charm of this city.
Next week I’ll share more from our trip.