MuseumsThings To Do

Jewish Historical Museum (JHM)

Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam

The Jewish Historical Museum (Joods Historisch Museum) is a museum focussed on Jewish religion, culture and history, particularly with respect to the Netherlands and Amsterdam.

It occupies 4 historic Ashkenazi synagogues near Waterlooplein within the old Jewish quarter of east Amsterdam.

The museum foundation was set up in 1930 to preserve Jewish heritage and to promote Jewish art. Originally on display at the Weighing House (Waag) on Nieuwmarkt, much of the museum’s collection was confiscated during WW2. It reopened its doors in 1955 and slowly expanded, moving over to the current location in 1987.

The museum’s permanent exhibition is housed between the 2 grand buildings – the Great Synagogue (1671) and the New Synagogue (1752).

Across the street lies the Portuguese Synagogue (1675) – also part of the so called Jewish Cultural Quarter.

synagogues amsterdam painting by gerrit berckheyde
Great Synagogue (left) and Portuguese Synagogue – by Gerrit Verckheyde (circa 1675-1680) – on display at JHM

You will enter the atmospheric Great Synagogue hall first at basement level – this space is used to explore the Jewish faith and traditions. Many Jewish ceremonial items are placed in context of the synagogue itself.

great synagogue-jhm-amsterdam
JHM Amsterdam – Great Synagogue

Heading upstairs is a section on the history of Jews in Netherlands between 1600 and 1900 – how the Jews arrived in the “tolerant” city of Amsterdam, what they did to make a living and the difficulties they faced.

Continuing on into the New Synagogue – with its striking central glass roof dome – is a display on the history of Jews in the Netherlands from 1900 to the present day including the volatile war period.

new synagogue at jhm amsterdam
JHM Amsterdam – New Synagogue

There are a number of items/artefacts on display – paintings and sculptures, ordinary everyday objects and personal items, Jewish commercial posters. You can find info on each display using the impressive multimedia display.

new synagogue roof at jhm amsterdam
JHM Amsterdam – New Synagogue roof

There are also various benches around the hall each with a screen showing different photos and films.

Be aware that the museum can only show some 5% of its collection – the rest is archived or occasionally lent out to other museums. Temporary exhibitions also run with a particular focus on Jewish artists or Jewish-themed art.

jewish cultural quarter amsterdam fred stein exhibition 2021
JHM Amsterdam – temporary exhibition (Fred Stein 2021)

There is a Resource Centre with extensive book, video and press archive. It is open for visits with a valid entrance ticket Tue-Fri 1300-1700, by appointment only.

The museum has a café in the basement which sells “kosher-style” snacks including bagels and cakes.

A separate children’s museum (JHM kindermuseum) is located in the Obbene Shul (1685) building.

It is recommended to pre-book a ticket and timeslot online in advance.

Jewish Historical Museum Essential Info

Opening TimesDaily 1000-1700, last entry 1630. Closed on Dutch and Jewish holidays.
Admission Prices (2021)€17.00 for adults, €8.50 for children 13-17, students and CJP cultural youth pass holders, €4.25 for children 6-12 . FREE entry for children 0-5, Museumkaart and Iamsterdam City Card holders.

The Jewish Cultural Quarter ticket is valid for 1 month and allows access to the Jewish Historical Museum, JHM children’s museum and the Portuguese Synagogue. The Hollandsche Schouwburg (National Holocaust Memorial) and the National Holocaust Museum are both under renovation until 2022.

Pre-book your Jewish Cultural Quarter tickets online here

Getting ThereJHM is located very close to Waterlooplein, a short walk from the centre. From Amsterdam Central, either take tram 14 or metro lines 51, 53 or 54 to Waterlooplein.

Jewish Historical Museum, Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1, 1011 PL Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 5310 310, jck.nl

Last updated 10 September 2021. This article was first published in 2010 and has been regularly updated.

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