The Portuguese Synagogue is an important part of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam. During the Dutch Golden Age in the 16th and 17th centuries, Jewish men and women wished to escape persecution in areas like Spain, Portugal, and Eastern Europe. In the Netherlands’ thriving Jewish community, families could finally feel at peace. These individuals called themselves Portuguese Jews in order to set themselves apart from Spain, which was a great enemy to the Dutch during this time.
The Synagogue was built by the Dutch government as a place of refuge. The building still stands today, nearly 400 years after it was first constructed. It is still used as a place of worship, with services held every week that are open to the public. If visitors do not practice the religion, they can still explore the grounds and the beautiful architecture inside when there is no service.
Located on the grounds is the Ets Haim Library, which prides itself on being the oldest Jewish library in the world. Translated as the “Tree of Life” in Hebrew, Ets Haim began as — and still is — an important link between those of the Jewish faith and their history.
Today, visitors can explore these cultural landmarks, as well as the other museums in the Jewish Cultural Quarter. By clicking the Tours and Tickets button below, you can visit all of the museums with just one ticket!