Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two diaries, two lives and a fond farewell

Anne Frank's tiny room gives perspective to the isolation Anne and her family suffered through for two years. It is a place where hopes and dreams were recorded by the young, vibrant girl. She lived in a different era yet her desires are timeless. Any young person her age today would have similar hopes and dreams. When visiting the Anne Frank House, one climbs the steep stairs to gain access to the many levels. The highest level is where the back wall contains a hinged bookshelf which conceals a small doorway that leads to the rear annex where the Frank family lived in hiding. The annex is similar to guest quarters attached to the upper rear floors of the main house where Anne's father ran his pectin business.

The Anne Frank House was my favorite site in Amsterdam. Historical yes, but the connection you feel with the human condition is what makes it so personal and important. You can read her story, but to actually feel the space where she lived in hiding makes a visit requisite when in Amsterdam.

The self-taught artistic son of Holland finds posthumous success! And the place where his success remains on constant display is at the Van Gogh Museum. Like the Anne Frank House it contains a diary too; a diary of canvas masterpieces. We entered the museum at the ground floor which showcases the early works of Van Gogh. The museum is laid out in chronological order starting with artwork by the young Van Gogh working, literally, up to the last painting he made. One can actually experience the psychological deterioration of Van Gogh as canvas by canvas attests to the mental illness and dark psychosis he suffered from. Like Anne Frank, Van Gogh was trapped in a place he wanted to escape. The benefit to us is that, like Frank, Van Gogh's artistic output lives on for us to contemplate and enjoy.

Amsterdam folds one more page for the visitor and leaves me with an unforgettable glimpse into a tiny piece of European history. Thank you Anne; thank you Vincent. What a wonderful journey through a truly historic city relevantly positioned for the present and the future.

Thank you Amsterdam. I know I'll back.

No comments:

Post a Comment