A Guide To Amsterdam's Jewish Cultural Quarter

The Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam
The Portuguese Synagogue, Amsterdam | © AAWJ Rietman/WikiCommons
Tom Coggins

In Amsterdam, the area between Nieuwmarkt and Plantage was historically known as Jodenbuurt (the Jewish Quarter). This neighborhood contains many historically important buildings that are currently preserved and managed by The Jewish Cultural Quarter, an organization that is dedicated to the conservation of Jewish culture within Amsterdam. All of these buildings can be accessed with a single ticket bought from any box office associated with the Jewish Cultural Quarter.

1. The Portuguese Synagogue

Library, Synagogue, Historical Landmark

Inside the Portuguese Synagogue
© Chajm Guski / WikiCommons
The Portuguese Synagogue was built in the late 17th century by Amsterdam’s Sephardic Jewish population. During this period, many Jewish people fled from the Iberian peninsula to escape persecution and settled in the Dutch Republic, partly due to the country’s liberal religious laws. The Portuguese Synagogue is still an important place of worship and contains one of the oldest Jewish libraries in the world, Ets Haim Library.

2. Jewish Historical Museum


Jewish Historical Museums main entrance
© S Sepp/WikiCommons
The Jewish Historical Museum conserves over 11,000 culturally important artefacts and regularly hosts temporary exhibitions covering specific aspects of Judaism. Its two permanent exhibitions trace the history of Judaism in the Netherlands and detail important Jewish ceremonies, traditions and customs. The museum is built upon four former synagogues that originally stood in Amsterdam’s historical Jewish quarter. A smaller museum for children is also located on its grounds.

3. The National Holocaust Memorial Hollandsche Schouwburg


The National Holocaust Memorial Hollandsche Schouwburg
© Henk Toorman/WikiCommons
During the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, the Hollandsche Schouwburg theater was converted into a deportation centre. Thousands of Jewish people were forcefully gathered in this building and then sent to transportation camps on the Dutch-German border. Most were eventually transported to extermination camps inside Germany or Poland and murdered. After the war, Amsterdam’s municipality converted the theater into a monument and erected a memorial obelisk in its courtyard.

4. National Holocaust Museum


National Holocaust Museum
© Persia Dutch Network/WikiCommons
The National Holocaust Museum looks directly onto the Hollandsche Schouwburg, and is built inside a former school that was used by Dutch resistance fighters to smuggle Jewish children out Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation. The museum documents the stories of people effected by the Holocaust and regularly hosts temporary exhibitions covering modern Jewish history.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article