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.
The original Synagogue interior features wooden benches and impressive chandeliers which can be illuminated by hundreds of candles.
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.
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 (under renovation).
Note, the Jewish Cultural Quarter was closed between 13 March and 31 May 2020 due to coronavirus measures. Since reopening on 1 June it is mandatory to pre-book a ticket and timeslot in order to maintain social distancing.
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 (2020)||€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, the Portuguese Synagogue, 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. From Amsterdam Central, take tram 14 or metro lines 51, 53 or 54 to Waterlooplein.|
Portuguese Synagogue, Mr. Visserplein 3, 1011 RD Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 5310 310, jck.nl