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Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam

 

The Portuguese Synagogue is a magnificent 17th century building found in the old Jewish district of east Amsterdam near Waterlooplein.

It is open to the public as part of the Jewish Cultural Quarter and is still used as a functioning Synagogue and also as a venue for candlelight concerts.

Amsterdam had a sizeable Sephardic Jewish community in the 17th century made up of those who had fled Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition plus Ashkenazi Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. Having prospered during the Dutch Golden Age it was decided to build a fitting place of worship.

The Portuguese Synagogue complex was opened in 1675 and is set in a courtyard surrounded by small buildings. The main Synagogue building (Esnoga) has a rectangular form and is built on wooden piles and includes a timber roof structure and 72 cast-iron arched windows.

portuguese synagogue esnoga amsterdam

 The original Synagogue interior features wooden benches and impressive chandeliers which can be illuminated by hundreds of candles.

interior portuguese synagogue amsterdam

Some of the surrounding buildings are also open to visitors and include the Winter Synagogue, the Mahamad (meeting room) and the Ets Haim Library (Livraria Montezinos), the oldest functioning Jewish library in the world.

Below ground can be found the treasure chambers with its unique collection of manuscripts, textiles (silk and brocade), gold and silver ceremonial items and a film screening room.

portuguese synagogue complex amsterdam

A free audio tour is included in admission and explains points of interest. There is also a small shop on site offering a selection of books, music and gifts. 

Note, gentlemen are requested to wear a provided yarmulke (cap) inside the Esnoga.

The Portuguese Synagogue is part of the Jewish Cultural Quarter which also includes the Jewish Historical Museum, JHM children's museum, Hollandsche Schouwburg (National Holocaust Memorial) and the Dutch National Holocaust Museum.

Portuguese Synagogue Essential Info

Opening Times: Sun-Thu 1000-1700 (1000-1600 in Dec/Jan); Fri 1000-1700 May-Aug, 1000-1600 Mar/Apr/Sep/Oct, 1000-1400 Nov-Feb. Closed Saturdays and Jewish/Dutch Holidays.

Admission Prices (2018): Adults pay €15, children 13-17/students pay €7.50, children 6-12 pay €3.75. Free entry for children 0-5, Museumkaart and Iamsterdam City Card holders.

The Jewish Cultural Quarter ticket is valid for 1 month and also allows access to the Jewish Historical Museum, JHM children's museum, the National Holocaust Museum and the Hollandsche Schouwburg (National Holocaust Memorial).

Pre-book your Jewish Cultural Quarter tickets online here

Getting There: The Portuguese Synagogue is located very close to Waterlooplein, a short walk from the centre. By public transport take trams 9 or 14 to Mr. Visserplein or metro lines 51, 53 or 54 to Waterlooplein.

Portuguese Synagogue, Mr. Visserplein 3, Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 5310 310

 

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