Jewish Amsterdam

In the 17th century the first jews from Southern Europe arrived in Amsterdam. They were allowed to establish themselves on a couple of islands in the eastern
part of Amsterdam. These sephardic jews built a large synagogue in 1675. The neighbourhood wasn't exclusively Jewish:  Rembrandt lived for a long time in this neighbourhood. Below is a picture of the large Synagogue.



Somewhat later, starting in the 17th century a lot of jews from Eastern Europe, the so called Asjkenaziem settled in Amsterdam. The numbers of these asjkenazic
jewish people grew sharply. Before the second world war 85% of the jews in Amsterdam was of Eastern European origin. These people spoke jiddish, a language
that is based on german. A lot of them were small traders. The still existing flee market at Waterlooplein used to be a place that had a jewish ambiance.

Other professions that were common among Jews in Amsterdam were diamond cutting and working in the printing and graphic industry. Many artists before the
second World War in Amsterdam, especially in the entertainment industry like actors, comedians and musicians, were Jewish.  

We provide tours of the former Jewish neighbourhood. Our private guide will take you around and will show you the highlights of the former jewish neighbourhood. A tour of the former Jewish neighbourhood can be combined with visiting Anne Frankhouse. A tour of the former Jewish neighbourhood can be combined with visiting the Dutch Resistance Museum as well. The Dutch Resistance Museum is quite close to the former Jewish neighbourhood. To get more information about a tour with our private guide in the former Jewish neighbourhood, please use this form.

Between the second half of the ninenteenth century and the Second World War a lot of jewish people in Amsterdam, worked in the diamond industry. Amsterdam in those days was almost even important for diamond trading as Antwerp. A couple of the most well-known diamond-companies are still existing. They show how diamondcutting is done and they show their stock of diamonds and jewelry for sale. Sometimes it is possible to see the most expensive diamonds from their safes. The crown below has been manufactured in Amsterdam.



Still at some diamondfactories you can see diamond polishers working. Below you see a diamondfactory, wich is still in use.

Up to the Second World War there was a considerable influence of Jewish presence on local culture of Amsterdam. Especially there were a lot of words of Jiddish origin in local amsterdam dialect, humour and mentality. During the second world war sadly enough a large part (85-90%) of the jewish people in Amsterdam has been killed. Because of that the jewish influence on the ambiance has diminished a lot.

Anne Frank was a jewish girl that tried to hide herself for the prosecutions in a house at the Prinsengracht. She wrote in her diary about her life in hidance. Shortly before  the end of the war and after several years hiding they were betrayed, arrested and sent to the concentration camps. She died of exhausting during a transport early 1945. Her former hiding place is transformed to a well-known museum. Another place that remembers of the tragic events during the second world war is the Resistance Museum. This is very impressive too and more quiet than Anne Frankhouse, where often long queues occur. There are many memorials to commemorate the persecutions of the Jewish community in Amsterdam, especially in the former jewish neighbourhood.

Please don't hesitate to fill in this form or call us (+31 646502718) to book or plan a tour of the former jewish part city or to ask for further information.