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Anne Frank House to be poll station for Dutch vote: mayor

By Agence France-Presse Published Nov 04, 2023 9:39 am

Amsterdam-based voters in the Dutch election on November 22 will be able to register their choice at an unusual location—the world-famous Anne Frank House, the city's mayor said.

Femke Halsema said in a letter to the city council on Thursday that "extra attention will be paid to the security of this polling station given the situation in Israel and Palestinian Territories."

The canalside house, one of the city's top attractions, will in theory be closed for visitors but may allow tourists in "if in practice, few people actually come to vote there," the mayor said.

The Anne Frank House in a statement said it agreed to be a voting location as it "is one of the places that reminds us what happens when democracy and the rule of law disappear."

"Anne Frank was born in a democratic country, which turned into a dictatorship four years later," said Ronald Leopold, director of the Anne Frank Foundation.

"It's important to realize that democracy is fragile and that we should cherish our democratic values," he added, saying "We hope to welcome plenty of Amsterdammers on election day." 

The Netherlands goes to the polls later this month for what promises to be a seismic political event, with new parties shaking up the status quo and current Prime Minister Mark Rutte stepping down after a record 13-year term.

Polls suggest the race is too close to call, with an upstart party created by the popular Pieter Omtzigt currently marginally in the lead, followed by mainstream center-right and center-left parties.

The museum preserves the canalside house where the Jewish Frank family hid from the Nazis and the German-born Anne wrote her famous diary, one of the most haunting accounts of the Holocaust that has sold some 30 million copies.

After two years of hiding, Anne Frank and her family were captured in a raid in 1944. The teenager and her sister died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

The museum receives around one million visitors every year. (AFP)