The Portugese Synagogue in Amsterdam

This monograph describes the cultural history of the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam. It tells the story of this remarkable building and the people who have worshipped there through the centuries.

The 2011 restoration of the Portuguese Synagogue occasioned this publication, which sheds light on the cultural and historical significance of this remarkable building, located on the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein in Amsterdam. The book tells the complete story of the synagogue and its interior, from architect Elias Bouman, to the building’s structural conservation and the functional significance of its design and its annexes. It is also a fascinating account of the history of the Portuguese Jewish community in Amsterdam. An entire chapter is devoted to the synagogue’s ceremonial art treasures.

A historic building and a living symbol

The Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam is one of the most important historic buildings in the country. The stunning interior with its intact seventeenth-century furnishings is unrivalled in the Netherlands. From a cultural and historical perspective, this synagogue’s significance is even greater. In seventeenth-century Europe it was unheard of for Jews to build a monumental place of worship that was clearly identifiable as such. Yet in the tolerant Dutch Republic they were allowed to do so. This knowledge makes the building a living symbol of the emancipation of the Jews.

This book is also available in Dutch.

Who is this publication for?

This book is for anyone interested in the Portuguese Synagogue and the history of the Jewish community in the Netherlands.

Publishing details

Writers: David P. Cohen Paraira, Kees Doornenbal, Roos Keppler, Mirjam Knotter, Eloy Koldeweij, Coert Peter Drabbe, Dik de Roon, Jos Smit and Pieter Vlaardingerbroek
Editor: Pieter Vlaardingerbroek
ISBN: 978-90-400-0762 0
© The Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency, Amsterdam Office of Listed Buildings and Archaeology, WBOOKS, 2013