Almost everyone in the Netherlands and the world over knows who Anne Frank is. For more than two years, Anne Frank was in hiding with her family in the Annex of the building at Prinsengracht 263, where Anne’s father, Otto Frank, had his company. Unfortunately, Anne and everyone in hiding would later be betrayed and carried off to concentration camps in Poland. She kept a detailed diary which would later shed light on her experiences and her love for writing, even at such a young age. Her father published the diary after the war and unsurprisingly, it became a bestseller.
On June 12th, which was the 89th birthday of Anne Frank, the Anne Frank House, launched a new virtual reality tour of Anne Frank’s secret attic: The Anne Frank House VR Tour.
The aim of the tour is to give a special insight into the hiding place of Anne Frank and seven other people who hid from the Nazis in the same Secret Annex. All the rooms are furnished and decorated in the style of the World War II period. The tour lasts approximately 25 minutes and is available in 7 languages: Dutch, English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew.
The actual Secret Annex is empty (apart from the growth stripes of Anne and her sister Margot, the map of Normandy and the pictures from Anne on the room walls). The furniture was taken away by order of the Nazis after the arrest of the eight people who were in hiding at the time. It was the wish of Otto Frank, Anne’s father, to leave the rooms in the Secret Annex empty. Otto was the only one of the eight people in hiding who survived the concentration camps. After his return from Auschwitz, he made a strong effort to publish his daughter’s diary and to preserve and open up the hiding place for all to see.
Anne Frank House VR is free and can be found in the Oculus app store for Samsung Gear VR and the recently launched Oculus GO glasses from Oculus and Facebook.
Force Field VR uses the latest VR visualization techniques in combination with intensive manual work to achieve a photorealistic result; all this on the basis of extensive historical research.
The digital tour is also meant for people with limited mobility and as a result, can not climb the stairs of the Secret Annex. The VR tour will later also be shown at other locations outside the Anne Frank House, such as the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York and the Anne Frank Center in Berlin.
One of the most promising and important applications of VR is how it can help visitors view the history of the secret Annex from an entirely new perspective. The VR tour gives people around the world the opportunity to explore Anne Frank’s hiding place as it was from July 1942 – August 1944, the more than two years that Anne Frank went into hiding in the Secret Annex and wrote her diary. The tour offers a “real life” experience to the museum’s teeming visitors.
A virtual reality tour of Anne Frank’s secret Annex is definitely one of the “things to do in Amsterdam” on your next visit. We hope you enjoy the tour.
Let us know your thoughts on the VR tour in the comments sections.