Editor’s Note: We originally published this article in 2014 when visitors would have to line up (sometimes for several hours!) to get into the Anne Frank House. Now you can only visit with online tickets. We have updated the information to reflect the most recent changes to the ticketing system as of May 2019.
Every summer my short stint as an Amsterdam tour guide begins with great intentions. We start at the Dam Square, stroll for an hour and soak in the good vibes from enjoying our afternoon wander. We check out the secret garden Begijnhof, dip into the art hall from the Amsterdam Museum, wander to the Flower Market and through the Canal Ring’s 9 Streets. Maybe we talk about weed and the Red Light District, and I always ramble off a to-do list for nightlife.
In the past, as we edged closer to the Anne Frank House, a cloud would roll over our heads. I would beg the museum gods to show mercy on my tour group, but starting in May, we were usually met with an entry line that rivaled the Louvre and Uffizi. Once July would come, my groups of first-timers to Amsterdam wouldn’t even try to get in.
But a new ticketing system at the Anne Frank House has added a ray of hope, especially for those that are good at planning ahead. Read on to find out how to make sure you see this essential attraction in Amsterdam.
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Tips for visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam
An article in The New York Times reported that attendance at Europe’s top museums have caused enough congestion that directors are running out of ideas.
But that doesn’t mean you have to give up. In fact, a new ticketing system launched in 2016 (and then revised in 2018) has changed visitors’ strategy, and we are here to let you in on a few insider tips and answer questions like: How can you skip the line? When is the best time to go? Can I get tickets in advance? Here are your best options.
1. Reserve online and pick your time slot
The only way to get tickets to the Anne Frank House is to reserve them online. There are no more tickets at the door. As soon as you have your Amsterdam dates inked in the calendar, go to the Anne Frank House website and use your credit card to buy those tickets. Commit to a time slot and stick with it.
80% of tickets can be purchased up to two months in advance for entry to the museum. The other 20% is released each morning at 9 am for visits that day.
There used to be a policy that after 3:30 pm, the museum would open up to visitors without advance tickets. But this is no longer the case.
Tip: Do NOT arrive in Amsterdam and try to reserve a ticket for the following day. Chances are they will be sold out, as there is only a selected amount available online.
2. Know the museum rules for getting tickets
Tickets go on sale at noon (Amsterdam time) exactly two months in advance of the date you want to go. So if you plan on going to the Museum on August 24th, the earliest you can buy tickets is June 24th. Noon in Amsterdam is 6 am in New York and 3 am in Los Angeles.
From April to October the Anne Frank House is now open daily from 9 am to 10 pm, and November to March 9 am to 7 pm (and Saturdays until 9 pm). The museum is open every day of the year except Yom Kippur.
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3. Early bird really does catch the worm
If you didn’t have a chance to get tickets before your trip, don’t give up hope! You can wake up and log onto the website at 9 am each day to try to get one of the 20% of tickets that are allocated. You might have to wait in an online queue, but at least you won’t waste hours waiting outside in the hot sun or cold rain. And if you don’t get tickets during your trip, you’ll just have another reason to return!
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4. Making the most of your time before your visit
If you have extra time before your entry time, I encourage visitors to picnic or enjoy a coffee break. Across the street from the Westerkerk is an Albert Hein grocery store, even a bakery or two. Grab a cup of coffee, a sandwich, snack, or whatever looks good.
You can also plan the rest of your day because They have Wi-Fi that you can connect to while you wait for your entry time.
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5. Off-season relief
If you are visiting Amsterdam after late September, patron traffic stays calm and cool until tulip season emerges early April and bus coaches come rolling in again. You’ll have a better chance of getting an online ticket less than two months in advance.
At €10.50 a ticket (€5.50 for kids 10-17), the Anne Frank House is a good deal of history at a lower price than most museums in Amsterdam. However, if you don’t score tickets for that day, you’re out of luck. Looking for alternatives to the Anne Frank House? Check out 20 free things to do in Amsterdam and smart alternatives for big attractions.
Do you have any tips for visiting the Anne Frank House? Let us know!