The story started in 1837 when Willem ten Boom opened a small watch shop at the front of his family home in Barteljorisstraat in Haarlem. Ten Boom family was known to be devoted Christians, inspire to help their community and active in social work around town. Their corner property in the main shopping street was referred to as BéJé. BéJé was later passed down to Willem’s son Casper.
During the second world war, Ten Boom family house became a safe haven for the Jews hiding from the Nazis. Casper and his daughters, Betsie and Corrie, helped aiding fugitives as part of Dutch underground resistance movement. They risked their lives providing a hiding place behind a false wall located within Corrie’s bedroom. Eventually, the family was betrayed, caught and sent to concentration camp. Only Corrie survived the Ravensbrück concentration camp and was released in December 1944. She was 53 years old.
This historic house museum was established on 15 April 1988. It is a well-known gem as one of the FREE THINGS TO DO in Haarlem. It has been partly refurbished with old furniture, family photographs, memorabilia and other objects to reflect the living situation during that period. The bedrooms on the upper floor have been converted into one exhibition gallery filled with antiques, artifact, documents, books, photos, etc. The former residence is a living memorial to the Ten Boom family for their bravery and sacrifices made to help others in need. According to the website, Ten Boom family and their many friends saved the lives of an estimated 800 Jews and other refugees.
Corrie Ten Boom House museum can only be visited with a guided tour. Visitors will get an idea about Corrie’s life, family members, stories and events that happened during that era. Be prepared to climb narrow and steep stairs. Experience hiding in that secret ‘Hiding Place’ yourself! Reportedly, when the Gestapo raided the house in 1944, six people were in the hiding place and could only be liberated by the Resistance two and a half day later.
The duration of this tour is 60 minutes and admittance is FREE of charge. However, your voluntary donation is greatly appreciated or purchase something when the tours end at the tiny gift shop.
Address: Barteljorisstraat 19, 2011 RA Haarlem. It is located behind the watch shop along an alley way.
How to get there: 10 min walk from Haarlem train station or nearest car park is Appelaar Parkeergarage at Damstraat 12. 2011 HA Haarlem.
Guided tours: Tuesday to Saturday in Dutch and English.
Museum schedule from 1 Apr to 31 Oct
10:00 am English (reservation possible)
10:30 am Dutch (reservation possible)
11:30 am English (reservation possible)
12:00 pm Dutch (reservation possible)
13:30 pm English
14:00 pm Dutch
15:00 pm English
15:30 pm Dutch
Museum schedule from 1 Nov to 31 Mar
11:00 am English (reservation possible)
11:30 am Dutch (reservation possible)
12:30 pm English (reservation possible)
13:00 pm Dutch (reservation possible)
14:30 pm English
15:00 pm Dutch
The above tour schedule is listed on the website. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this timetable so please double check the timing displayed on the front door of the museum on the day of your visit. There is a maximum capacity of 20 people per tour.
All visitors have to wait outside the museum door (regardless of the weather) and will only be invited in on time to start the tour. Tour guides are volunteers, which means the content and quality of your tour do differ. I have done this tour three times. Once, I had an English speaking guide who went on a little excessively about Christianity rather than the history and insight of this family. Nevertheless, I do recommend this tour because it is free, educational and inspirational!