2020 Annual Report


2020 Annual Report

For the last year and a half, the world has been going through an unprecedented crisis, which has had 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 museum doors three times in 2020. Today, the museum is still closed and has been since the middle of December last. In 2019, we welcomed 1.3 million visitors; in 2020, this number dropped to 396,779 visitors.

In the 64 years of its existence, the Anne Frank House, an independent museum and educational organisation, has always never needed structural government support. However, in 2020, the disappointing revenues from entrance fees forced us to take a series of painful measures. We had to make organisational adjustments to reduce costs while ensuring that the core of our museum and educational mission could still be carried out. We had to say goodbye to almost a fifth of our employees.

Fortunately, 2020 also had its highlights and successes. The Anne Frank video diary, which we launched with Every Media in March 2020, attracted no fewer than 6.5 million viewers. We received a lot of positive feedback from all around the world. Thanks to leading actress Luna Cruz Perez’s amazing performance, many young people felt a connection with Anne. In addition, the Anne Frank House opened its online doors with special educational workshops. These provided a suitable alternative for schools unable to visit the Anne Frank House due to the COVID-19 measures. Another success was the publication of the book Na het Achterhuis('After the Secret Annex') by our colleague Bas von Benda-Beckmann in November. The book meticulously follows the conditions the people from the Secret Annex faced in the camps and how they died.

On 1 June, we said goodbye to our managing director Garance Reus-Deelder, who started working at Plan Netherlands as its executive director. Garance worked at the Anne Frank House for over eight years and made significant contributions to the organisation. We are very grateful to her for her drive, knowledge, and commitment.

Over the next few years, the number of activities will be reduced, but the urgency of our core mission has not changed, especially now, in the light of the pandemic. Fortunately, many people have indicated that they consider the Anne Frank House and our educational work necessary. We appreciate their input very much. We are also grateful to the government for the support we have received.

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Ronald Leopold, executive director
Amsterdam, May 2020

On 29 August 2020, Albert Gomes de Mesquita died at the age of 90. Albert was a classmate of Anne Frank and shared his wartime experiences well into his eighties. ‘What really matters is eliminating discrimination. Anything we can do towards that goal is good.’ Albert was always ready to contribute his time to the Anne Frank House. Whether it was by telling his story to a class of children, doing an interview for the Anne Frank Magazine, or attending the opening of a new Anne Frank exhibition - we could always count on him.

We are very grateful for everything he has done. The final time he honoured one of our requests was on 12 June 2019, Anne Frank’s 90th birthday. Together with Jacqueline van Maarsen, a friend and classmate of Anne Frank at the Jewish Lyceum, he returned to Anne Frank’s former home at Merwedeplein to talk with young people about Anne’s life and its significance for our times.