The chesnut tree is planted on the grounds inside a residential block just north of the Westerkerk, between the Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. Look up the site at Google Maps.
Anne Frank writes in her Diary about the chestnut tree. While hiding in her safe house this is her only contact with outdoor life and the changing seasons that she can observe from her attic window.
A first threat to the chestnut tree: the Anne Frank Foundation plans to extend its buildings. It wants to expand its lot at the Keizersgracht, adjacent to the Anne Frank House, to a point quite near the tree. To render this possible, a considerable part of its root system must be cut off. Local residents oppose this intent to harm the tree and the plan is eventually dropped.
The soil surrounding the tree is cleaned up in connection with an oil spill. The Amsterdam City Centre Borough takes over the care for the tree. In the following years the tree recovers from the damage caused by this soil pollution.
In a circular letter to the local residents, the Borough announces that the chestnut tree is in a poor condition. Local residents ask Mr Werner, the managing director of Pius Floris Amsterdam, the company that attends to the tree on behalf of the Borough, what measures, such as improving the soil, are taken to counteract this decay. The reply is: nothing.
Local residents conduct garlic actions. They plant twothousand garlic cloves around the foot of the chestnut tree. Traditionally, garlic is an anti-bacterial remedy against tree disease.
25 June 2005:
The chestnut tree’s crown is cut. The Borough orders the tree’s crown to be reduced by Pius Floris. As a result, the tree no longer juts out as high above the houses as it used to and will suffer less from wind. This reduces its risk of being blown down.
Mrs Fassbinder and Mr Versteegen interview Mr Pius Floris, the founder of the mother company. They ask him whether the tree might benefit from treatment. He answers in the affirmative. His company can provide treatment for a sum of 1,000 euros.
Mr Werner, managing director of the Pius Floris Amsterdam company, promises he will request permission from the Borough for such treatment. In spite of repeated phone calls there is no positive reply.
Mr Werner then asks Mrs Fassbinder to allow him access to her garden in order to perform a pulling test to measure the trees stability. A date and time are agreed, but the pulling test is postponed for reasons that remain unclear. During follow-up telephone calls questions about this issue are not answered.
13 November 2006:
At an informational meeting called by the Borough, the local residents are presented with a study by Pius Floris Amsterdam. The study concludes that the tree should be cut. Local residents ask whether municipal tree consultant Hans Kaljee agrees with the report and its conclusions. Mrs Hijne, the civil servant in charge of the application for the cutting permit, adamantly confirms that he cooperated with the study and agrees with its conclusions. However, when the next day the local residents approach the consultant in person, he proves to be uninformed and not to be involved in the study and its conclusions in any way.
Local residents also requested the Borough for a second opinion, since one study constituted a very narrow basis for felling the tree. However, the Borough considers this unnecessary.
14 November 2006:
Articles in the morning newspapers reveal that the national and international press had already been informed of the need to cut down the tree.
20 November 2006:
The Borough publishes the application for the cutting permit. The local residents are informed of this by letter and told that the application may be perused at the city hall until 18 December.
18 December 2006:
Local residents submit their views. They are opposed to cutting the tree.
6 March 2007:
The submitted views do not prevent the Borough from granting a definitive cutting permit to the owner of the Anne Frank tree, Mr Pomes.
24 March 2007:
An action committee composed of local residents organises a colloquium about the Anne Frank tree in the Jordaan community centre. A panel of tree experts from all over the Netherlands discusses the study report by Pius Floris and unanimously agrees that the tree does not need to be cut. Conservation measures and anchors are a possible alternative.
The working committee orders an alternative study by the renowned English tree expert Neville Fay, who employs more refined methods than Pius Floris. The result is positive for the tree.
Middle of April 2007:
Several local residents and the Dutch Tree Foundation submit objections to the Borough against the granted cutting permit. On top of this, an injunctive relief is requested from the district court to suspend the effectuation of the cutting. A few days later the court reports that the permit holder Mr Pomes has stated he will not use the cutting permit until the decision by the Objections Committee has been announced. The request for an injunctive relief is subsequently withdrawn.
The Borough’s Objections Committee conducts a hearing to discuss the written objections that have been submitted. During this hearing it transpires that the Borough wilfully misquotes a report by the municipal tree consultant: the report recommends further study instead of cutting the tree.
The objectors and the Dutch Tree Foundation set up a working committee to develop an alternative plan aimed at the tree’s preservation.
18 September 2007:
The Objections Committee issues a ruling, granting the objectors the opportunity to present an alternative plan before 1 January 2008.
A pulling test is prepared. This is to be conducted on Wednesday 14 November on behalf of the Dutch Tree Foundation.
13 November 2007:
In the evening a letter from the chairperson of the Objections Committee is delivered by courier. It states that the tree will be cut with the permission of Mr Pomes due to the acute danger of collapse. To support this decision they enclose the inspection report by Pius Floris, written in September 2007. The cutting is scheduled to take place on 21 November 2007.
14 November 2007:
Tree experts arrive in the morning to verify the Pius Floris inspection data on behalf of the Tree Foundation. However, before long a police officer arrives at the scene to deny them access to the tree. The pulling test is banned due to the acute danger that the test is presumed to cause. After talks between the tree’s owner and Mr Koot of the Tree Foundation permission is granted to conduct a sonic inspection. This inspection reveals that the tree’s three remaining supporting roots are strong enough to carry its weight.
15 November 2007:
Pius Floris repeats its inspection in the morning. This time around they do not wait a month and a half before presenting their results. The very same evening the objectors receive by courier a message from the Borough informing them of the results. The conclusions are identical to those of the previous report and the intention to cut the tree on 21 November is confirmed.
19 November 2007:
At long last Mr Pomes allows the working committee to conduct the pulling test. The Borough demurs and tells the Tree Foundation (but not the owner) that it will not be held accountable if the pulling test is actually performed. In spite of this, the pulling test is carried out just before dark: the tree turns out to be very stable.
In the mean time the Tree Foundation has also commissioned studies into the nature of the decay. These prove that the observed fungi are not of the aggressive variety that Pius Floris claims they are.
20 November 2007:
The district court rules in summary proceedings. The working committee is put in the right: it is granted permission to elaborate its alternative plan and is given the time until the middle of January 2008.
21 November 2007
In spite of the ruling by the district court, the Borough and the Anne Frank Foundation hold a press conference during which they repeat their claim that there exists “acute danger”. They urge the Mayor of Amsterdam to proceed to emergency cutting.
The Dutch Tree Foundation, the working committee Support Anne Frank Tree, the Anne Frank Foundation and the Borough Amsterdam Centre join in a mediation proces, lead by Eberhard van der Laan. The tree is subject to further analysis
17 December 2007: The alternative plan (PDF, 2.12 MB, / ) was presented by the working committee Support Anne Frank Tree. The report has english abstracts & conclusions.
3 January 2008: The treespecialists from both sides have made a joined statement about the tree's condition & care. For now, the tree does not endanger its surroundings. Its main risk is a breaking of the trunk: without leaves the tree can handle 200% of wind force 11, with leaves 100%. A supporting construction can be build to ensure safety in summer. With the construction and good care, the tree can live at least 5 to 15 years. The costs of the build would be around € 50.000 and the care € 20.000 this year, and later on a yearly € 10.000.
16 January 2008: The appeal committee of the borough Amsterdam Centre has declared that the borough has rightfully granted the cutting permit. The borough says that this doesn't mean that the tree will be cut down. It regards the permit as a means to the owner of the tree, to cut it down in case Support Anne Frank Tree's plans to save the tree fail.
February 2008 - august 2010
The Foundation Support Anne Frank Tree takes care for the tree. Worldwide
The Anne Frank tree collapsed during a violent storm and heavy rains at 14.20 on the 23rd of August. The construction supporting the tree could not keep it from falling. The abundant leaves heavy with rain, proved to be too much weight in the extremely strong winds as it crashed within the boundaries of the courtyard . There were no casualties, no damage to surrounding buildings save two supporting walls and gazebos. This was a terrible and unexpected event.
In the following years:
In many countries, as in the Netherlands, in France, in Spain, in Germany, in the United States, in South America, not to forget on the small Mediterranean island of Corsica, where the persecuted Jews were protected by a sacred law of hospitality: not one of them has been betrayed - everywhere descendants of the great tree have struck root in squares, in schoolyards, in museums, and other important public places.
Meanwhile, the World Tree Foundation has taken over the task of remembrance. It assists in planting and in supervision of the young trees, making it possible for them to grow into world trees, never to be threatened by a saw or an axe, to act as symbols of inviolable humanity.