Queen Beatrix at celebrations

Today the Anne Frank House, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Anne Frank House as a museum. A special ceremony was held in the Westerkerk cathedral in Amsterdam. Before the ceremony Queen Beatrix opened the new diary room in the Anne Frank House, where all the diaries and other manuscripts of Anne Frank will be on display for the first time.

The Anne Frank House officially opened its doors to the public on 3 May 1960. In the first year 9,000 people came to visit the hiding place of Anne Frank, and now, 50 years later, around 1 million people visit the museum every year. The museum’s 50th anniversary was marked by a special ceremony for around 600 invited guests in the Westerkerk cathedral. One of the speakers was Prof. Abram de Swaan, Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, who described a visit to the Anne Frank House as follows:

“The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam receives a million visitors every year in a cramped building where there is not much more to see than a few relics of the 1940’s in a carefully conserved interior. But there, in that ‘secret annexe’, one can feel the genius loci, the pervading spirit of the place itself where Anne and the others with her lived in hiding, in deadly peril, and where she wrote her secret diary, until they were all arrested and transported to Auschwitz.”

As well as Abram de Swaan, there were also speeches by Hans Westra, director of the Anne Frank House, and Wim Kok, Chairman of the Supervisory Board. There were also contributions from young people and a musical performance by popular Dutch singer Trijntje Oosterhuis.

A highlight of the ceremony in the Westerkerk was the presentation of the Online Secret Annexe, which allows people all over the world to make a virtual visit to the hiding place of Anne Frank and those who sheltered there with her. A special feature of this online visit to the Anne Frank House is that the house is laid out as it was Anne’s time in hiding. Financial support for the Online Secret Annexe was provided by the BankGiro Lottery, the Anne Frank Fund, the VSB Fund, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Mondriaan Foundation. LBi Lost Boys developed the concept, the strategy and the technical structure of the Secret Annexe Online, together with the Anne Frank House.

On Monday 3 May, the actual anniversary of the opening of the Anne Frank House, museum visitors can expect some special extras, and there will also be a special offer for residents of Amsterdam: around 300 local people can visit the Anne Frank House in the evening free of charge and follow a special programme focusing on the history of the Anne Frank House.

See also

Ni Wayan wins Sources of Inspiration 2009

The winner of the 2009 Anne Frank photo competition ‘Sources of Inspiration’ is 14-year-old Ni Wayan Mertiayani from Indonesia...