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!
  • The rose petals have settled, and Andi has made her (Jewish?) choice. We look back on the #Bachelorette finale:
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • 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.