So now we arrive on our second full day in Amsterdam. Scott and I seriously think we should’ve been born Dutch but, alas, all we can be is visitors to this amazing country! In case you’ve miss it check out our boat journey to Amsterdam, the Heineken Experience, and our day wandering the canals.
Our second day started like every day should start – with pancakes!! It was on my list to have some Dutch pancakes while we were there and we found this really cute corner restaurant near the canal and with relaxing outdoor seating.
That’s a happy Jenna full of delicious apple-cinnamon pancakes! And you can bet we returned there on our last day in Amsterdam before our plane left! So, after that amazing breakfast we decided to walk all the way across Amsterdam to a brewery called Brouwerij’t IJ. Their brewery also is next to a windmill! On are way across the city we were able to walk through the Albert Cuypmarkt which was full of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, stroopwafels, clothes and various other nick-knacks.
This brewery was full of character! As you can see their logo is an ostrich and so they used ostrich eggs as their lighting by the bar, they have a great beer garden with hop vines growing, plus they supposedly have the largest bottle collection in the world! Not to mention that there beers were quite tasty too! So of course we were there right as the bar opened!
After enjoying the brewery we continued to walk the canals and find a bit to eat. We came across this really cute cafe by the zoo. We chatted, relaxed, and took in all the life around us – families, couples, tourists, locals, bikes, and the buzz of life in Amsterdam.
After our lunch was over, Scott and I decided to walk the 20 minutes over to the Anne Frank House. This was of course on my list of things to do but once we arrived we noticed that all the online tickets were sold out. You can still show up at the museum but there is a long line that looked at least and hour long. Since we had no other plans for the day and it was only the afternoon we figured we’d have time to wait in the line. When we got to the Anne Frank House and got in line we were happy to discover that it actually moved quite quickly. We ended up in line for only 35 minutes. I was so glad that we were able to fit this in. I read parts of Anne Frank’s Diary as a kid and taught it two years ago in Buffalo, NY. I made an outline on the floor with tape that was the size of Anne’s room in the annex and each day my students were ready to enter “Anne’s House” (as they referred to it), and learn more about her life and this time in history. It made a huge impact on my middle school students and has a meaningful place in my heart.
The Anne Frank House Museum was really powerful. Unfortunately, but understandably so, you cannot take pictures once inside the house. In case you are unfamiliar about Anne’s story, Anne, her family and a second family hid from the Nazis in this house in Amsterdam during World War II. Sadly her family was found and sent to concentration camps. Anne’s father was the only one to survive. He created this Anne Frank House to preserve her memory and educate others to not only the horrors of World War II but also on tolerance and understanding. In all of Anne’s writings you can see that she is just a young girl – she wanted to be a writer and her loveable spirit shines through in her writing.
The tour through the house is self-guided. In each room there are videos to watch to learn more about their life in hiding and about life during that time. Before actually entering the staircase leading to their hiding spot you see a model of what the house would have looked like at the time. Their hiding space is empty as you walk through it. When the Nazis discovered them they destroyed and cleared everything. Thankfully one of the women who helped them hide took Anne’s diaries before the Nazis could destroy them. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, intentionally left the house empty (no furniture) to represent the emptiness and void that so many survivors felt after the war – lost families, lost livelihoods. The bookshelf that concealed their hiding place still has all the original book keeping files on it. Also in one room you can see Anne and her sister’s height measurements still on the wall. They grew a lot and were in hiding there for 2 years. You can also see magazine clippings that Anne has pasted on the wall in order to make the place more comforting. She has pictures of actresses, parks, and royal families. The shutters are still on the windows and the house was mostly dark even during the day. She often writes that she misses the daylight and the outdoors. Different rooms show videos of people who knew Anne speaking, including classmates and her father. It was quite moving to be there and I wish I could have taken my middle school class from Buffalo with me to Anne’s House – I know it would have been really powerful for them as it was for me.