In 2020 it will be 75 years since the end of the Second World War. There are fewer and fewer eyewitnesses who can bring immediacy to the facts and events of that time by sharing their personal experiences. So for many young people the war is just a part of 'schoolbook history'. Anne Frank is in danger of becoming more of an icon than a window on the terrible events of the Shoah.
Reappraisal of the museum concept
The mainly young visitors to the Anne Frank House often no longer have a sound knowledge of the history of the Second World War and the Holocaust. With the increasing distance in time, widespread knowledge of the Second World War is declining. This calls for a reappraisal of the concept of the museum and its permanent exhibition.
The aim of the renewed museum concept is to make a stronger contribution to the historical awareness and emotional experience of the visitors. In the new design the ‘macro’ history of the Second World War and the Holocaust and the ‘micro’ history of the people in hiding in the secret annexe will be depicted in a new and integrated way.
Artist’s impression of the new layout of a part of the museum
Understanding and experience
The central focus is on the diary of Anne Frank and the secret annexe. Anne Frank is the key figure in the museum, and the narrator of the story: the history of each space during the time in hiding is told using quotations from her diary wherever possible, and by giving additional information on the Second World War and the Holocaust this history can be better understood and experienced.
With 1.3 million visitors per year, the Anne Frank House is one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands. Interest from the Netherlands and abroad leads to many visitors every day. To prevent congestion in the museum and manage the pressure of numbers and safety issues in and around the Anne Frank House, it is essential to create facilities for the waiting visitors and improve the logistics around the entrance.
Visitors in Anne Frank's room.
The Anne Frank House will also gain more space. The former student flats on the Westermarkt square will be made a part of the museum, making space available for educational groups and visitor facilities. The entrance hall will be improved, and extra toilets and a compulsory cloakroom will be added. A separate group entrance will also be created for the roughly 100,000 people who visit the Anne Frank House in school classes or other groups.