On 22 November 2018 we presented the renewed Anne Frank House, after having completed the renewal of the museum in the autumn. It was a fine, understated opening, in the presence of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander.
Interest in a visit to the Anne Frank House is undiminished. We’re delighted with this, and it gives us hope. Half of our visitors are under 30 years old. For these young visitors in particular we have chosen for a chronological layout of the museum with more context, with the history of the Frank family forming a window onto the history of the Holocaust and the Second World War. The empty rooms, in which we have changed nothing, are and remain imposing. From the light front part of the building you enter the dark Secret Annex via the bookcase: the actual hiding place, the empty rooms, which are symbolic of the disappearance of the people in hiding.
We were saddened to learn of the death of Wim Kok on 20 October 2018, aged 80. From 2004 to 2016 he was the chairman of our Supervisory Board. As a chairman Wim Kok was as thoughtful as he was forceful, and he was deeply convinced of the mission of the Anne Frank House. Following his chairmanship he remained involved in our educational activities. For example in late 2017 he attended the premiere of Back to Back at the Zuiderzee College in Zaandam, where he spoke with the actors, teachers and pupils about the themes of the performance: identity and discrimination. We remember Wim Kok with great respect and gratitude.
Our current times, in which polarisation and extremism are on the increase, call for reflection and response. The Anne Frank House aims to contribute to this with our educational activities. Partnerships with schools, the police, football clubs and other partners strengthen our mission and our reach. The young people of the international Anne Frank network who convey the importance of freedom, equal rights and democracy to those around them – always with the life story of Anne Frank at the basis – are an inspiration to us all.
You can read more about our museum and our educational activities in 2018 in this annual report. We thank you wholeheartedly for your involvement in and support of the activities of the Anne Frank House, and we hope we can continue to rely on your support in the years to come.
Ronald Leopold, executive director
Amsterdam, April 2019