But first: Who was Anne Frank?
Anne Frank was a young German-born Jewish girl who kept diary accounts of her time in hiding during the German Occupation. Anne used her diary to document daily life, thoughts and aspirations. While Anne did not survive World War II, her diary was later published. It became one of the most-read books in the world. The place of hiding (The Secret Annex) has since been turned into the world famous Anne Frank House. Click here for more information about Anne Frank’s story.
It was a chilly February afternoon when I rolled up to the Anne Frank House with a friend. We were met by a crowd of other visitors. Thanks to the online ticket booking system* the queues weren’t too bad – but it was busy nonetheless.
The main museum entrance is located down a set of stairs. To reach the accessible side entrance, I had to signal the attention of one of the outdoor staff members. A friendly guy soon walked over, mumbled into his walkie-talkie, and guided us to a nearby step-free entrance.
Inside we were led to a staff-operated lift. We whizzed up to the main reception, beeped in our tickets, and deposited our coats in the cloakroom.
At this point, my friend and I had to part ways for the first half of our visit. My friend was able to join the crowds to see the original part of the museum. This includes the Secret Annex, where Anne and the others went into hiding. As the original part of the museum can only be reached up a steep staircase, it isn’t wheelchair accessible. I waved a quick goodbye to my friend and took the lift straight up to the modern part of the museum.
I am currently in discussion with the Anne Frank House about improving the accessibility of Anne’s original diary. It’s my mission to get a ramp in place so that the modern part of the museum caters to the physical capabilities of all visitors. (More updates to follow.)
The modern part of the museum has a spacious gift shop selling books, postcards, and various other items. “Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl” can also be purchased here in multiple languages.
While all the products can be viewed from a wheelchair, you may need to ask for assistance if you’re buying something off a higher shelf.
Finally there’s the museum cafe. This too is accessible. There is plenty of space to maneuvre, with low tables, comfortable chairs and tasty treats. As the cafe is self-service, however, wheelchair users may need assistance to simultaneously carry their tray and operate their wheelchair.
The mirror, sink, toilet rolls and emergency cord are at the correct height. During my visit the facilities were well-stocked and clean.
* To leave the museum building at the end of my visit, I also had to ask a member of staff to operate the lift.
5/10. I’m a bit torn about how accessible I would rate the Anne Frank House. The original hiding place and diary are inaccessible to guests with reduced mobility. However, the available Virtual Reality tour offers an alternative way to “experience” the Secret Annex. Despite not seeing the original hiding place and diary, I still found my visit very informative and moving. Ultimately, I leave it to you to decide if this level of accessibility meets your expectations of a visit to the Anne Frank House.
(Top of the page: Portrait photo of Anne Frank used with permission from the Anne Frank House.)