Amsterdam … and a visit with Anne Frank and Van Gogh

The Anne Frank Museum and the Van Gogh Museum were hands down … at the top of my Amsterdam bucket list when I was planning the trip! Even more important, as time is so fleeting when you travel, was to purchase our tickets online before leaving home. I hate to stand in long lines and the Anne Frank House in particular is notorious for VERY LONG LINES!

First, the Anne Frank Museum is located in the Joordan area of Amsterdam about a twenty-minute stroll from the Central Station. Before you leave home, make a commitment to the day and time you will be there. Museum tickets are 9.50 euros per adult. Decide if you want to participate in the 30 minute introduction lecture (add 5 euros to cost of an adult ticket) before you hit the “purchase” button. Even if you have read Anne’s entire diary the day before your visit, you will learn so much you didn’t know! Personally, I’ve read her diary twice and never knew the museum is actually located in the factory Anne’s father owned. Among other things, Mr. Frank was the inventor of pectin, an ingredient that canners will recognize that is so crucial to the whole canning process. Mr. Frank carefully planned the hiding place located in his factory. It was worked on little-by-little in one of the upper stories of the factory/warehouse as the war was raging around Holland.

As is the case in most museums, you can’t take photographs. Oh, and beware there are steep stairs. Walking through the “bookcase entrance” into the hidden rooms that was their hiding place is but a small part of the museum. The message of the museum … never forget.

The museum’s bookshop has Anne’s diary in many languages. Allow 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Van Gogh Musuem mural "The Bedroom"

As for the Van Gogh Museum, you can also purchase tickets via email for 15 euros per adult ticket. Your eticket lets you enter via the fast lane entrance. Again, no photographs are allowed. There is a huge poster-style mural on one of the floors of The Bedroom. You can snap a candid picture of that if you like! I totally didn’t recall that Van Gogh was such a tortured soul. The museum really shows the progression of his art through his career. Van Gogh produced lots of art, although I believe his brother was the only one to actually purchase one of his paintings during his lifetime. Some of my favorite Van Gogh art included Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, Irises, The Potato Eaters and several Van Gogh self-portraits. Also, don’t go looking for The Starry Night. It is at the MOMA in New York City. You can’t have everything.

The museum has a lovely and well-stocked café and … as with every art museum I have ever visited … a fantastic gift shop!

Mimi and her Van Gogh lunch boxes

Which brings me to the story of Mimi’s lunchbox. Several years ago our oldest daughter traveled to Amsterdam on business. Of course, Katie visited the Van Gogh Museum and brought back a Van Gogh Sunflowers lunch box for Mimi, her sister. For several years, Mimi has carried that lunch box back and forth every day to her day center. Several years’ use has seen a few dents and little rust on the inside. During our trip this year, I was able to replace Mimi’s lunch box with a new Van Gogh … this time Poppies and Butterflies!

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