Amsterdam: A Place of History – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Amsterdam: A Place of History – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

[A picture of the outside of Anne Frank’s house]

When I thought about the city of Amsterdam before visiting it, the first two things that came to mind were the many canals that flow through the city and its supposedly seedy red-light district. I didn’t even think about all the history that the city held, especially since it had been taken over by Nazi Germany during World War II. While on this trip, I saw the reality of what life was like during World War II through two of the museums that are found in Amsterdam: the Anne Frank House and the Dutch Resistance Museum.

Many people know of the book A Dairy of Anne Frank, written by a young girl during World War II but many people don’t realize that the Diary was written in the heart of Amsterdam. The city of Amsterdam is where she and her family hid for two years in a secret annex during the war. Today it is still set up just the way it was while they were in hiding and it has the added bonus of being home to the original Diary of Anne Frank. As you can imagine this site is extremely touristy, so to get in we had to stand in line for three whole hours. But the second you step through that hidden doorway behind the book shelf you are transported back in time, back to days when Nazi soldiers roamed the streets below and the families in hiding held their breath out of fear of being found out. Each room tells a different story of what life in hiding was like. From the shared bedrooms to the bathroom which couldn’t be used during the day in case someone down below was to hear the water running and realize that people were being hidden there.

[The actual book case that stood in front of the entrance of the secret annex during the war]

Not far from the Anne Frank House there is another museum that is lesser known of called the Dutch Resistance Museum. The Dutch pride themselves on their open-minded values so when Germany invaded them in World War II they fought them every step of the way. From hiding many Jewish families to smuggling them out of the country, many Dutch citizens put their lives on the line to help out the families that need it. They also organized many protests which were carried out even when their safety was threatened. These protests were always deemed illegal and therefore punishable by law but they got around that by simply telling the police that they hadn’t participated in them. Although the Dutch resisted the Germans, they still felt as though they could have and should have done more to protect their Jewish citizens throughout the war and in 2010 the Dutch Government went as far as to formally apologize to all of its Jewish citizens for not protecting them better.

[One of the posters from the Dutch Resistance Museum]

Amsterdam has so many bright and cheerful places, from the palace of Amsterdam to the I Am Amsterdam that tourists flock to like birds but there is forever a dark spot left on that city. The Anne Frank House and the Dutch Resistance Museum serve as a reminder of the devastation of World War II on the people of the Netherlands. Both museums tell a story about World War II, but they tell the story in two very different ways. One museum tells the story through the eyes of a young Jewish girl and the other tells the story through the many voices of the Dutch citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish, that lived through those dark years. Amsterdam doesn’t hide its history, it boasts it so that it is remembered.

[The sign above the Dutch Resistance Museum]

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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Eleni Birhane and Matthew Breeze, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Amsterdam: A Place of History – by Victoria Hansen. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

  1. Grace Young

    What an amazing article! I haven’t really had a chance to study Amsterdam but I have looked into the Diary of Anne Frank throughout my years as a student. It is so cool to hear your first hand experience and share it with us. I think this storytelling is one way to keep the people talking and make sure no one forgets. Although there is physical evidence of World War II and Anne Frank’s house and the Dutch Resistance Museum, it is extremely important to continue telling the stories. Physical things can be destroyed and lost forever, but word of mouth will stay as long as we keep speaking. I hope that I get to travel to Amsterdam someday and see these historical places first-hand and tell my own story just like you so greatly told us.

  2. Michaela Campbell

    Hi Victoria, seeing this article immediately made me reflect on the awesome experience I had in Amsterdam last summer! I think it is great that you discussed the historical darkness that comes with WWII and the way that the Dutch were impacted by the Nazi occupation. People need to remember these aspects of history so that we can do our best to never repeat them in the future. With that being said, I remember visiting the Anne Frank museum last summer and it was definitely an eye-opening experience. As you mentioned, the Dutch Resistance Museum was a place that was less well known than the Anne Frank Museum, and I wish this was a place that myself and my classmates had visited last summer while we were abroad in Amsterdam. I hope that your future travels can provide you additional historical perspective. Another great article!

  3. Isabella Restrepo-Toro

    I would love to be able to go to the museums you went to. I am extremely amazed by how insightful your experience in both the Anne Frank House and the Dutch Resistance Museum was. I have always wanted to go to the Frank’s house, especially since the college’s theater performed the play last fall and worked on doing the set for the play. I really liked what you said about the Dutch and their pride to be both open-minded and also fight the German’s in their invasion every step of the way. I honestly had no idea that “in 2010 the Dutch Government went as far as to formally apologize to all of its Jewish citizens for not protecting them better” something that I believe is extremely noble. I really like how both museums show different perspectives of World War II as there is always more than one side to each story.

  4. Kendra Brunn

    Thanks for sharing! Since reading The Diary of Anne Frank in middle school, I have always wanted to visit the Anne Frank museum but have never had the opportunity. I’m sure it was not fun to wait 3 hours in line, but I’m glad people are still going to museums like this because it serves as an important reminder. I am sad that I have never heard of the Dutch Resistance Museum because it seems like such an amazing place to experience. Also, I did not know that the Dutch government apologized to its citizens, but I find that very interesting and respectable. I hope I can make it to Amsterdam some day and experience these museums.

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