I’m going to start off with a little story, back from when I was at the end of primary school, at around the age of 10.
I had just finished reading the Diary of Anne Frank. I love to read and I was reading a lot of books at that age, but this was the first book that really hit a nerve. It stuck with me, reading her story not just for how terrifying that must have been for her and her family in hiding, but it was incredibly humbling. Ever since finishing her diary, going to the Anne Frank House had been high on my bucket list.
Fifteen years later and there I was, looking in awe at the bookcase that concealed the entrance to the secret annexe.
Aside from wanting to visit the Anne Frank House, I’d also wanted to come to Amsterdam for the beauty of the city. The picturesque canals, the small side streets, the quirkiness. Everyone I knew who had visited would rave about how amazing Amsterdam is and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
Once we had dropped our bags off near Centraal Station – Drop&Go is situated right by the station and is only 5 Euros in cost for a small suitcase – we set off to explore. At first, the smell of weed everywhere took a little while to get used to, as well as seeing ladies in red lit windows from 12pm, but as we wandered around the canals, you see how beautiful the city is. Peaceful in parts, there is no shortage of canals and bridges to look at or walk over. The buildings that line the streets are uniquely Amsterdam; tall, narrow with big beautiful windows and sometimes have a bright lick of paint on the outside. It frames the canals perfectly.
The main point of our trip was for a gig on our second night but that didn’t stop us from exploring as much as we could. Free beer was drank at the Heineken Experience, had a picture of the infamous sign outside the Rijksmuseum and a great tour of the Amsterdam ArenA was also completed. I’m no art expert but the museums are a must; in particular the Van Gogh Museum. It is wonderfully laid out, with plenty of his best work on his display and you find out so much more about the man himself. As much as the Rijksmuseum is grand and impressive, the Van Gogh Museum was my favourite and definitely worth a visit.
But the Anne Frank House for me was a moment that I could finally say I’d been there. It is very well preserved and it will tug on your heartstrings, from the height markings on the wall, to the narrow staircase. It’s so humbling and sad, particularly if you know what the fate of the family is.
Amsterdam is a city like no other. Just a 50-minute flight from the UK, it is the perfect place for a short break away and trust me; once you leave, you’ll be aching to go back.