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Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam

The Jewish Historical Museum (Joods Historisch Museum) is a fine Jewish museum in the heart of Amsterdam's old Jewish Quarter. Housed in a grand 17th-century synagogue complex, the museum displays Jewish religious objects as well as Jewish art, historical artifacts, and multimedia presentations.

History

The Jewish Museum is housed in a complex of four Ashkenazi synagogues dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. In the 17th century, Ashkenazi Jews began fleeing the pogroms in Central and Eastern Europe and many found refuge in the tolerant Dutch Republic.

A wealthy Sephardic community (from Spain and Portugal) was already settled here, and resented the increased competition imposed by their often poorer brethren. The two communities remained generally separate, with the Sephardi worshipping at the nearby Portuguese Synagogue (completed 1675).

The Ashkenazi built several synagogues in Amsterdam, four of which make up the museum complex:

The Jewish community that filled these synagogues thrived in religious freedom until Nazi occupation (1940) and World War II, when the vast majority of Amsterdam's Jews were killed and the synagogues were plundered. Before the Nazis arrived, 120,000 Jews lived in Amsterdam; after the war only 20,000 Jews were left in all of the Netherlands.

In 1987, the four Ashkenazi synagogues were restored and skillfully combined with new glass and steel architecture to form a world-class museum of Jewish history.

What to See

The Jewish Historical Museum documents the 400-year history of the Jewish people in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, covering themes such as Jewish identity, religion and culture as well as Jewish history in the Netherlands..

Stars of the collection include an 18th-century Sephardic Torah Mantle, a carved wood Ark dating from 1791, and the autobiographical works of Berlin artist Charlotte Solomon (1917-43).

Artifacts such as these are accompanied by photographs, artworks, interactive displays, historical videos, and a study room with a library, all of which combine to give visitors insight into the Jewish way of life.

The museum also includes a kosher cafe, which makes a great place for a snack or light lunch even for those not visiting the museum: it is quiet, inexpensive and serves good food.

Quick Facts on Jewish Historical Museum

Site Information
Names:Jewish Historical Museum; Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam
City:Amsterdam
State:North Holland
Country:Netherlands
Categories:Museums
Faiths:Judaism
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates:52.367198° N, 4.903936° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Jewish Historical Museum

Below is a location map and aerial view of Jewish Historical Museum. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.

References

  1. Personal visit (November 2006).
  2. Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish Historical Museum) - Frommer's
  3. Joods Historisch Museum - Fodor's

More Information

Article Info

Title:Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:12/07/2009
Permalink:www.sacred-destinations.com/netherlands/amsterdam-jewish-museum/netherlands/amsterdam-jewish-museum
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