Steeped in history, the Amsterdam Jewish Quarter is unmissable for those seeking to understand the history of our beautiful city and all of Europe
That was when thousands of Spanish and Portuguese Jews fled persecution they suffered in the Iberian peninsula during the 15th century. They came to Amsterdam, already famous as a bastion of liberality and tolerance. Unlike many other cities, Amsterdam did not establish a Jewish ghetto, and arriving Jews developed their own community in the eastern part of the old medieval city center. Here they developed a more distinct culture which drew on Spanish and Portuguese tradition. The Sephardic community referred to Amsterdam as the “Jerusalem of the West”, a reflection of the sense of belonging they achieved here.
Their contributions to science, philosophy and the arts left an incredible legacy. In 1632, Benedito de Spinoza was born here, a brilliant philosopher whose thought on liberal philosophy and politics has inspired the systems of liberal democratic government of today. In the late 17th century, the Jewish community received a large influx of Ashkenazim Jews from eastern Europe. This further developed its inimitable character. Anne Frank, whose diary gives an amazing perspective on the suffering of the Jews during the holocaust, belonged to this community.
The suffering of the Jewish community during this period is writ large in the monuments and museums of the area. However, this is not the defining aspect of this beautiful neighbourhood. Here the dominant ethos is of survival and success. The Jewish community has gone from strength to strength, recovering from the terror of the war and emerging as a stronger, prouder community. A tour of the Jewish quarter will leave you in no doubt of the indomitable will and strength of Amsterdam’s Jewish Quarter.
The rich history of the Amsterdam Jewish Quarter is perfectly displayed in the many sights and venues that are unforgettable for anyone passionate about the history of the city. The Jewish Cultural Quarter is home to some of Amsterdam’s most popular and famous attractions such as:
A trend setting museum housed in four synagogues. The museum’s large multimedia collection ranges from paintings to 3D presentations and it always offers one or two temporary exhibitions.