Occupied by Nazi Germany from 1940 to 1945, the Netherlands was at the forefront of World War II. As such, these Amsterdam museums chronicle the ways in which the city and the country dealt with the war, its atrocities, and its end.
Plantage Kerklaan 61
This repeat earner of "Best Historical Museum in the Netherlands" offers visitors an in-depth view of how the Dutch resisted the oppression brought by German occupation during World War II through strikes, protests, forgery, and hiding the persecuted. Housed in a former 19th-century Jewish social club, the collection enlightens visitors on life in Amsterdam and the Netherlands before, during, and after the war with impressive recreations of street scenes and building interiors.
Location: Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal)
See where Anne Frank penned her now world-famous diary, which tells the story of a young Jewish girl in hiding with her family during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam in World War II. Viewing the secret annex and many other rooms in this restored canal house is a deeply moving experience and well worth enduring the ever-present crowds. Avoid lines by visiting early or late in the day, or by purchasing special access evening tickets in advance.
Plantage Middenlaan 24
This building in the Plantage/Jewish Quarter area of Amsterdam has a sadly contradictory history. Opened in 1892 as a theater to provide entertainment and camaraderie for the Jewish community, in 1942, it became a World War II deportation center for Jews. On this formerly festive spot, Jewish men, women, and children gathered to await transfer to a transit camp in Holland and later to Nazi death camps. The memorial features a courtyard bearing an eternal flame and a permanent exhibition.
Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1
While not a World War II history museum per se, the Jewish History Museum certainly has much to teach visitors about this historical period. The museum treats Jewish history from 1600 to the present, with special emphasis on the Dutch Jewish community, which numbered 75,000 people at its peak. The permanent exhibits revisit the catastrophic events of World War II and the Holocaust, offer a window onto daily life in this period, and trace the recovery of the Jewish population in Amsterdam, which now hovers at around 15,000.
Edited by Kristen de Joseph.