Further to semprini's description of Anne Frank Huis, I disagree with the way in which they dismiss the building and museum.

It is true that it is sparsely furnished and one should not expect to wander into a quaint mock-up of exactly "how it would have been". This is totally understandable however, when one considers the tiny area the families had to live within. Had the rooms been maintained with furniture it would have been impossible for any great number of visitors to see the rooms or move about in them. They are NOT big as previously described. I'm sure the previous occupants would not describe them as big. The rooms are not completely without character - Anne's room is covered with cuttings and pictures she had glued on the walls with her own hands. You can stand by the same window she did and look out through the cracks of the black-out curtain. All it takes is a little imagination (although perhaps a failing commodity in the days of shortened attention spans).

Anne Frank Huis lies on the Princes Canal, and the area around it is indeed very pretty. However, to suggest that such a place "seemed somehow wrong" as a place for a monument to the horrors of the holocaust is a somewhat sort-sighted view to take. Fascism and violence take hold in the most beautiful and unlikely of places. In fact, part of the affecting experience of visiting the building is in its simplicity. There is no hyperbole or overly cheesy trappings. Because everyone knows what happened - in the end - the place is undercut by a dark feeling that does not need to be made explicit or gratuitously apparent.

In 1960 the building was made into a museum and the building next door was subsequently converted into an extension of the museum. Visitors enter through this second building and then work their way upwards through Anne Frank Huis, entering the Secret Annex itself through the same hidden doorway still complete with false bookcase. Having gone through the hidden rooms, one returns through into a new part of the museum featuring various artefacts (including the actual diaries themselves) and videos including an interview with Otto Frank, Anne's father. There are also letters written by him that chronicle his attempt to find his children and ultimate despair when he discovers they are no more.

Semprini's main objection with Anne Frank Huis seems to be that it did not provide them with what they would consider an "authentic" experience of the Holocaust. At the risk of being somewhat churlish, I feel the need to ask the question, just how authentic would one like one's Holocaust experience? Seeing your parents getting dragged away? Or perhaps being stripped naked and pushed into what you think is either a gas-chamber or a shower? Obviously not that authentic (I hope). Anne Frank Huis does not pretend to be anything more than it is and is a simple building where a handful of people lived exceptional lives for several years.

Buildings of historical significance to the Holocaust are not rides designed to give the "Holocaust experience". However, it clearly appears that some visitors lack the required imagination to link the place with people and events without the help of some visual clues or material objects. The way in which sites of the Holocaust are viewed by the general public is questionable, especially when it is considered that most people who visit them do so whilst on holiday, as though as a tourist attraction. Morbid curiosity is no doubt a major motivation for many. But then if such motivation and visitors result in awareness of and knowledge of the Holocaust surviving in a stronger form, then perhaps this is no bad thing.

If people visit Anne Frank Huis and come out unmoved, then people should not worry about it. It is after all only a fairly bare building and it's understandable. But don't then complain that it wasn't hardcore enough for you. THAT would be insulting and ridiculous.