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Anne Frank House/Keukenhof gardens

Wondering what visitors think about the Anne Frank House. Is it a Must See or would you skip it? I’ve read that some people are disappointed in it. Second question: regarding the Keukenhof tulip gardens: is renting a bike or taking the canal tour the best way to view the gardens?
Thanks!

Posted by
3839 posts

I can’t begin to imagine anyone being
“ disappointed” in the Anne Frank Haus. It is a home that held so much history and pain. . Read her diary before you visit. It would be a travesty to skip it.
We walked throughout Kuekenhof without any problem doing so.

Posted by
30 posts

I’ve looked forward to the Anne Frank House for years! I’ve of course read her diary...and am surprised people did not enjoy the house tour but thought I’d run it by the RS audience.
Good to know that walking will be fine at the Keukenhof.

Posted by
463 posts

The Anne Frank Haus is a must see. As for the Keukenhof, I prefer walking (better for picture taking)

Posted by
1037 posts

Like others mentioned I cannot imagine not visiting the Anne Frank House. I have been waiting most of my life to finally have this monumental experience. The Diary of Anne Frank was required reading when I was in Middle School. My English teacher was a Holocaust survivor. I am finally going to visit this year. Another recommended book is Anne Frank Remenmbered by Miep Gies. With extraordinary courage Miep Gies and her husband helped hide the Franks from the Nazis. Tickets are available online exactly 2 months out. www.annefrank.org.

Posted by
2923 posts

I think they are both must sees.

The actual Anne Frank House is enclosed inside the museum. You get to walk through it as part of the visit. I first saw it in 1977 when it was just the house. I was given a typed-up information sheet to read as I walked through. There was only one very well-used English copy. I was the only person there. That was very moving, but I learned much more this past summer when I visited it again. If you go, look closely at the walls near doorways. I don't remember exactly where it was, but there is a place where the heights of the kids are recorded. That really got to me. Most people didn't even notice. I didn't the first time either.

Keukenhof is amazing in a totally different way.
Here's a link to the official Keukenhof website. If you explore it, you will see how things work. You walk through all the outdoor displays and you can also visit many greenhouses to see the flower varieties. If you want to get out into the bulb fields, you can take a Whisper boat. I haven't done that. Next time.

It's not all tulips. In fact, depending on the weather there may be few tulips except in the greenhouses. If you can be there for the Flower Parade (Bloemencorso), be sure watch it. And take a deep breath when the floats with hyacinths go by. They smell so good!

Most online sources promote viewing locations that you have to pay for, but you don't have to do that. I've seen it twice. In both cases I was just standing by the side of the very narrow road it goes down in locations with very few people. I had a car both times and oddly, parked on a side road near the Roodemolenweg / Sportpark in Sassenheim both times. This is the route for this year's parade. You don't need a car. If you plan ahead, you can take the bus.

Have fun in the Netherlands.

Posted by
21544 posts

There is no cycling or boating within Keukenhof - it is all on foot (has to be with those crowds). If you look on their website you can see a map showing all the paths.

Which week will you be in the area? What you can do and see varies by the week.

I go as often as I can - expecting to be there April week 3 - just 3 months and 3 weeks away!

Posted by
3785 posts

Susan, I think your question about Keukenhof accidentally confuses the two tourism topics of "Tulip Fields" and "Keukenhof Gardens". Naturally, both are seasonal, but Keukenhof has very specific dates that are posted online almost a year in advance. Some visitors really want to physically visit production tulip fields (note that bulb production and bloom production are two separate products .. ). But we were satisfied with the hilltop view of a few tulip fields that Keukenhof's location happens to provide.

Keukenhof is a very attractive seasonal "theme park" (sorry, but that's a broad term) that has no thrill rides. It's a very small version of a garden like Huntington Gardens or Longwood Gardens, but mainly about bulb gardens. It does have substantial evergreen and perennial sections, and a vast number of dining (and drinking) options. Like any professional garden, they have a technique for succeeding plantings to maintain the attraction for the eight (??) weeks it's open. But certainly unpredictable weather patterns will affect the peak weeks, and you have to book MONTHS before any reliable climate reports might be available. It is very worth visiting.

Your OP suggest that you may wish to do some general guidebook reading (in the library if you don't want to buy the books), because most of these attractions have been around for a long time. You can get this year's dates and hours online, but you don't seem to know a lot about Amsterdam and its area. There is so much to see that you need to do a lot more research.

Posted by
21544 posts

I'm not sure if Tim is suggesting to book tickets to Keukenhof months in advance - if so, I disagree. I have sometimes bought my tickets just before arrival on line so I can wave the printout, but normally I just get the ticket on arrival, which is never a problem. They have many many many ticket windows at each entrance. If you do book in advance the ticket is not (has not been in the past, maybe they made a change this year??) dated or timed. It just has to be used at some time that they are open that year, late March to early May.

It is true that quite a lot of bulb fields are also in the vicinity, south of Haarlem all the way to Lisse and surroundings - easily visible from the train between Haarlem and Leiden - and bicycles or cars are a good way to get around the lanes as long as you don't mind very narrow lanes with water on one or both sides and no guard rails. These are working fields, not tourist attractions so please don't join the crowds trampling the crops. (you wouldn't but others might)

Posted by
1904 posts

Visiting Anne's haus in 2017 was the main reason I chose to visit Amsterdam--I had read her diary at 10 and it made such a huge impact on me, starting my interest in WWII and specifically the experience of the Jews. For me it was very emotional, and my only complaint is that the rooms are so small and stairways so narrow that despite the attempts to control the flow of visitors--even with timed tickets it was jam-packed in late April--I was never alone in any one space, which I had hoped to be even briefly in order to reflect on the enormity of being there. I totally understand the popularity of the haus and appreciate the way it's so well-run, so I suppose it was an unreasonable hope.

Keukenhof is quite crowded, on foot is the most sensible way to enjoy it, especially if you want to take photos.

Posted by
2009 posts

Count me as one more person who spent most of a lifetime longing to see the Anne Frank house. After reading the diary three times over the course of my life, I finally got to Amsterdam last April. I read the diary for the fourth time right before I left, which I highly recommend. The AF house totally lived up to my expectations. It was just so moving, and it felt like such a privilege to be there. I actually cried, which I have never done before, not even at Auschwitz or Omaha Beach. Don't miss it.

We were at Keukenhof before the peak of the tulip season. The bulb fields were not yet in bloom, but the park was full of tulips and other bulbs blooming -- both in the gardens and in the greenhouses. It was spectacular.

Posted by
3785 posts

Nigel, I was referring to (other) posters who ask in October (or even January) which week of April or May will be the best for bulbs in the Netherlands. I did not say or even imply that it was desirable to book Keukenhof months in advance. (However, hotels nearby DO book up, but I wouldn't worry about Amsterdam hotels and the Keukenhof calendar.

BTW, bicycles are, not surprisingly, PROHIBITED inside Keukenhof, as they are at Disneyland. Keukenhof says:

"Only wheelchairs, Zimmer frames, prams or buggys are allowed at the park. Other modes of transport are not permitted."

Posted by
1138 posts

Anne Frank House and the Keukenhof Gardens were both on my bucket list and i visited both in April. You will need to buy tickets online for Anne Frank in advance. I chose to buy tickets online in advance for Keukenof for convenience sake but we didn't need to. Both places were fantastic and I now have special memories. The secret annex felt like a sacred space to me. All audioguides are turned off and you enter it and walk around in silence. Very moving!

Posted by
9871 posts

The Anne Frank Huis is so worth it. But an online reservation is mandatory, and the usually suggested time is to do it in the two months in advance that is suggested by their website.

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks, all! 4 of us will be visiting Amsterdam April 10th-13th then leaving on an 8 day bike ride through South Holland. We have just started making our AMS itinerary, using Ricks latest Netherlands guidebook. We will definitely make an online reservation 2 mos in advance for the AF house, and will plan to visit the Keukenhof Gardens. RS said there are 2 ways to see the gardens: take the tour boat or rent a bike and ride the perimeter of the gardens. That led me to believe you couldn’t go into the gardens. He did not mention walking—maybe I’m too literal!
I appreciate everyone’s helpful thoughts and comments!

Posted by
21544 posts

The official website of the Keukenhof is at https://keukenhof.nl/en/ There is good information about getting to the area and what to do when you are there. if you go down to "Discover the park" and then tap "What is Keukenhof" you can see a video of the park by drone. It is short and gives good info.

Posted by
2695 posts

Amsterdam has seen a 50% increase in the annual number of visitors since 2009. The Anne Frank House had been severely affected by overcrowding and queues making the visiting experience a bit stressful despite the historical significance of the place. However, since all tickets are now for time slots scheduled in advance, the overcrowding problems have been much reduced (the downside is that it now requires advanced planning to visit).

Posted by
10 posts

I did the Keukenhof Tulip Tour with That Dam Guide in April 2018. Small group tour (limited to 8), they drove us to Keukenhof in the morning and we had 3 hours in the gardens on our own to explore. Then we met back up and they drove us around the area to some working tulip fields, then into the countryside to a traditional Dutch Pancake house for a late lunch. We then went to Haarlem and toured a windmill, walked around the city centre and had coffee. Then back to Amsterdam. It was a full day (8am - 5pm) and well worth it.

Posted by
288 posts

I have been to Amsterdam many times and once was at the Anne Frank house. yes I read the book and know the history. The wait is almost unbearable long and the house itself is very small and not much to see. Its now on my list of "Seen it" but nothing else. Never been to Keukenhof but we are booked for end of March and I found a web site which has lots of information. I am bringing my camera for sure. Enjoy your trip Holland is a beautiful country. If you plan on going to a museum buy the entrance tickets in advance as the lines are also very long.

Posted by
6258 posts

I don't think anyone has mentioned it but if your schedule allows, I'd try to do the Dutch Resistance Museum before you go to the Anne Frank House. It gives an excellent picture of what the city was like at the time and at what kinds of choices people made or were forced to make.

I'll also say the only caution I would throw out to anyone on a visit to the Anne Frank House is that if someone is claustrophobic this is not the place to be. The stairwell is cramped going up, you may encounter a crowd of people and it may be hot in there. I don't have claustrophobia (in this situation) but a teenaged girl in front of me was having a huge problem. She was claustrophobic AND overwhelmed at the story of this young girl. Her friend and I helped her thru it and she was able to continue but it was tough for her. I suspect from the looks of concern on the docent's faces this happens a lot.

I thought the visit was very powerful and it falls into the category of "must see so we don't forget".

Posted by
1037 posts

@Pam, thank you for your suggestion to see the Dutch Resistance Museum prior to visiting the Anne Frank House. We will certainly look into this for our upcoming visit! Also appreciated your comment "must see so we don't forget."

Posted by
3785 posts

Note that the small theater (Stadsschouwburg) used for deportation is very near the excellent Resistance Museum. It is not obvious from the exterior that it is an important (and powerful) monument of wartime opression and death. Photos and English text inside.