Anne Frank House Marbles Show Rolls In Big Crowds

How Tiny Museum Outdraws Amsterdam Heavyweights

Child’s Play: Anne Frank plays marbles on the sidewalk before the Nazi invasion of Holland.
anne frank house
Child’s Play: Anne Frank plays marbles on the sidewalk before the Nazi invasion of Holland.

By Cnaan Liphshiz

Published February 07, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(JTA) — When the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam unveiled its widely publicized offsite display of its namesake’s marble collection this week, it was yet another example of this small museum having a big impact with tiny objects.

Despite its narrow scope and limited exhibition material — in a city where visitors can choose from among a panoply of heavyweight museums and tourist attractions — the Anne Frank House is one of Holland’s most popular museums.

With more than a million visitors in 2013, it outranked even the Rijksmuseum — a mammoth institution that keeps churning out breathtaking exhibitions thanks to what seems like an inexhaustible reservoir of monumental artworks.

Trailing only the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House also surpassed the world-famous Stedelijk modern arts museum, the Escher Museum and the Dutch Railway Museum.

The Anne Frank House, where the young diarist hid from the Nazis with her family, owes its appeal to Frank’s worldwide fame. The museum is also one of the few Holocaust-related sites in Amsterdam.

The museum had a budget of $18.6 million that year, roughly two-thirds of the budget came from admissions fees, with almost all the rest coming from revenues from sales, projects, activities and services. With a collection of artifacts that are emotionally jarring but inexpensive to maintain, the museum has been able to focus its resources on outreach and educational work.

The latest example of the minimalistic but powerful curating choices of the Anne Frank House are the marbles, which went on display for the first time on Feb. 5, not at the house, but rather at the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam.

Before she went into hiding, Anne had given the marbles to her childhood friend and neighbor Toosje Kupers for safe-keeping. Kupers, now 83, donated the marbles to the museum when she moved last year. A similar display opened in 2012, featuring a tea set that Anne also gave to Kupers.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.