THE HAGUE (AFP)---The city of Amsterdam said it was upholding a licence to fell a chestnut tree that Anne Frank gazed on as she hid from Nazi occupation, but added it would still negotiate the landmark’s fate.
Municipal authorities had given permission to cut down the now badly diseased tree last year, but the order was suspended pending an appeal procedure by local residents and the Dutch Tree Foundation.
The independent appeals commission ruled that the municipality "was right" in issuing the license, the city said in a statement Wednesday.
However "this does not mean that the owner of the tree is now obliged to cut it down," the statement said.
"At this moment there is close consultation about the fate of the tree"
with the owner, local residents, the Tree Foundation and the municipality, it added.
The 150-year-old tree stands in the garden of a canal house on Amsterdam’s Keizersgracht and is overlooked by the annex the Frank family hid in during World War II, which is now a museum.
There are fears that the tree trunk, which has a severe mould infection, could snap and the tree could fall on the Anne Frank house.
Campaigners believe the tree is not as badly affected as the city says and want to shore it up with a steel-beam construction.
Anne Frank wrote in her diary on February 23, 1944: "The two of us looked out at the blue sky, the bare chestnut tree glistening with dew, the seagulls and other birds glinting with silver as they swooped through the air."
"We were so moved and entranced that we couldn’t speak."