In one of my recent visits to Amsterdam’s UvA, I stayed overnight at the campus area only to realize that nearby is the old Jewish area. I visited the Jewish Portuguese Synagogue, which was in a combined ticket with the holocaust memorial and the Amsterdam Jewish museum. I think the building itself is the former Ashkenazi synagogue, and so you’ll be able to get a sense of the differences of the Ashkenazi and Portugeuese styles, and see Jewish cutlrue and history exhibitions in what was once an active place of prayer. While I was visiting I saw a few groups of school kids going around, and although I couldn’t speak Dutch it was interesting to see some of their reactions to all sorts of things presented there. Aside from explanations about the (somewhat peculiar) Jewish faith and way of life, there is a general description of the rich and finally tragic history of the local Jewish community, with some of the more prominent members of the community and the ever tense relationship between the Jewish community and the Dutch leadership and citizens regarding rights and recognition.

 

Here’s a bit of what you can expect to see:

 

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

 

(the former synagogue)

 

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

 

(various Jewish artifacts)

 

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

 

(yes, that’s a former Mikveh)

 

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

 

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

 

 

(some prominent figures, and the struggle for recognition)

 

 

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

Amsterdam Jewish museum : Netherlands

 

(holocaust memorial section)

 

Location:

 

I’d say this is considered a basic must for Israelis and Jewish folks, and an interesting intro to local Jewish culture and history for others interested in better understanding that part of Amsterdam. It’s not the first thing people think about when they think about a visit to Amsterdam, and in the first few visits to Amsterdam I skipped it, but now that I visited I found it enlightening even though I’m well familiar with Jewish culture and somewhat familiar with European Jewish history.



Tags: Amsterdam Jewish museum; Dutch; Jewish area; jewish culture; Jewish history; Jewish religion; Joods Historisch Museum; museum; Netherlands;


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