Since I started researching the Ten Boom family for Gutsy Girls, I’ve dreamed of visiting their home in the Netherlands. Then when I found out the museum’s bookshop was carrying Gutsy Girls on sisters, Corrie and Betsie ten Boom, the illustrator, Beverly Wines, and I decided to board a plane.
Gutsy Girls: Corrie and Betsie ten Boom go to the Netherlands
Bread, tulips, truly good people, and the gorgeous city of Haarlem. Oh my. When I tell you I ate approximately four loaves of bread during my three-day visit to the Netherlands, this is not an exaggeration. See this bread? I ate it. All of it. Fine, minor exaggeration.
Corrie ten Boom: watch shop worker, caretaker of foster children, people with disabilities, and the persecuted, Dutch resistance worker, concentration camp survivor, lover of God, speaker of truth, forgiver of sins, flat out ordinary woman who trusted in God, and lived an unimaginable life.
The Ten Boom Museum, Gutsy Girls, and 9 Facts You Can’t Learn From Photos
1. Ten Boom is pronounced Ten Bome. Seriously. Think of the word “home” and put a “b” on it. Who knew?
Gutsy Girls: Book 2 on Sisters, Corrie and Betsie ten Boom go to the Ten Boom Museum!
2. The Ten Booms’ legacy lives on through a staff of 40 volunteers including one dedicated director. Meet Frits Nieuwstraten, a man who played in the Ten Boom home as a child and whose wife worked in the watch shop before she and Frits were married.
Talking with Frits Nieuwstraten, Director of the Ten Boom Museum
Frits has deep ties to the Ten Boom home, and Beverly and I enjoyed one-on-one time with Frits. People, it was highlight of our visit! Not only is Frits dedicated to his work at the museum, he is determined to take Corrie 4 Kids, a children’s program complete with lesson plans and videos into schools.
3. Once a watch shop, still a watch shop. The area in which the Ten Boom family ran their watch shop is now a jewelry store that sells watches. Even though this jewelry store isn’t a part of the museum, it’s housed in the same building, and I loved that the space is being used in a similar way that the Ten Booms used it.
Beverly showing the illustration of 800 watches in Gutsy Girls in front of the current jewlery shop.
4. Tours of the Ten Boom home are free! Visitors can and should make online reservations because tours fill quickly and there are only a set number of tours a day. There is a small fee for making reservations.
5. Wait outside and mingle. Forget heading into the museum early. Instead, visitors wait outside until the door is opened by one of the museum’s staff members. Waiting outside is fun, and it allows visitors the chance to interact with people from all over the world (China, Brazil, England, Australia!) who also came to learn about the Ten Boom family.
6. The Ten Boom family prayed for Jewish people for over one hundred years. Although I knew this fact, it meant more when I sat in the living room and saw photos of the people who actually prayed for a people whom they had little connection. Corrie ten Boom’s father and grandfather held weekly prayer meetings for the Jews long before World War II started or the Ten Booms were personally involved in the lives of Jewish people. One hundred years.
7. Practice drills still happen in the Ten Boom home. On Mondays the museum is closed to the public, but open to school groups. During this time, children are led through an activity in which they pretend to be members of the Ten Boom family, an alarms rings, and the kids race upstairs and into the hiding place as fast as possible. These drills are similar to the drills the Ten Booms practiced, and I love that the museum allows children this experience.
Entrance into the hiding place
Peeking into the hiding place
8. The Ten Boom home is smaller than it appears in photos. The Ten Boom home is actually two homes joined together. There is a home in the front, which is where the watch shop was located. At some point, the back wall of the Ten Boom house was knocked out, and the front house was joined with a thin, steep house in the back. In between the homes is a steep winding staircase. Combining two houses sounds as if it would create a lot of space, right? Nope! For a house that was constantly full of foster children, family members, Jews, and Dutch resistance workers, the rooms in the Ten Boom home are small. Bedrooms, which housed multiple people looked like oversized closets.
9. Once a gathering place, still a gathering place. The Ten Boom home was always known as a safe place filled with people whose love of people was topped only by their love for Jesus. Visitors can feel that love even many years later.
One of the fun people I met during the tour
Ten Boom Related Resources for You
Read about Corrie in the classic book, The Hiding Place.
Introduce the littles in your life to Corrie and Betsie by having them read Gutsy Girls: Strong Christian Women Who Impacted the World.
Book Club Guide for Gutsy Girls: Corrie and Betsie ten Boom.
Lesson Plan for Gutsy Girls: Corrie and Betsie ten Boom.
Enrichment Guide for Gutsy Girls: Corrie and Betise ten Boom.