2019 Annual Report

Foreword

2019 Annual Report

More than 1.3 million people from all over the world visited the Anne Frank House in 2019, as you will read in this annual report. How much the situation has changed! The world is going through an unprecedented crisis, which has an enormous impact on people everywhere, and also on the Anne Frank House. As part of the global effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, we had to close the doors to the museum on 13th March. 

Since its opening on 3 May 1960, the number of visitors has grown almost every year. From several tens of thousands in the first years, to the record number of 1.3 million visitors in 2019. People from all over the world come to the Anne Frank House and, through the bookcase, enter the empty spaces of the Secret Annex, where the Frank family, the Van Pels family, and Fritz Pfeffer hid from the Nazis for more than two years. These are the 25 months Anne Frank describes so poignantly in her diary.

This year, the upward trend of visitor numbers came to an end around the 60th anniversary of the House. On 3 May 2020, the museum was empty, but full of meaning. Over the last weeks, we have experienced, through the many expressions of support and positive reactions to the Anne Frank video diary, how relevant Anne Frank's history still is today.

We reopen the museum on the first of June. Behind the scenes, we are working on scenarios and business models. How many visitors can we let in at any one time? How do we guarantee the distance of one and a half metre between them? How will that work out in the limited square meters of the Secret Annex? And another question: how will we manage financially, with far fewer visitors, this year and the years to come?

As an independent museum that is not subsidised by the state or the city, we rely to a large extent on the revenues from museum visits for our income. If we are to continue to spread the memory of Anne Frank and her father’s mission, we can use all the support we can get. Many people have told us that they feel that the Anne Frank House and our educational work are important and that they want to support our mission. We appreciate that very much.  

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Ronald Leopold, executive director
Amsterdam, May 2020.

On 22 October 2019, Til Gardeniers-Berendsen died at the age of 94. In 1983, she joined the Board of Governors of the Anne Frank House. She was its chairman from 1988 to 1990 and then chairman of the Board from 1990 to 2000. In 2000, she became a member of the Advisory Council. She was very much involved in the work of the Anne Frank House and made a great contribution to its work.