Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: How big is the Jewish community in the Netherlands?
The Jewish Historical Museum Foundation was established in Amsterdam in 1930 for the purpose of “collecting and exhibiting that which presents a picture of Jewish life in general and Dutch Jewish life in particular, in the broadest sense of these terms; discussing in meetings everything related to this; and making use of all such means to promote Jewish art and learning”. The museum itself is now housed in what were originally four Ashkenazi synagogues, built between 1671 and 1778.
Permanent exhibitions include Religion, History of the Jews in the Netherlands 1600-1900 and History of the Jews in the Netherlands 1900 to the Present Day.
The museum’s Resource Centre holds approximately 43,000 books, brochures, documents, photographs, and audiovisual titles, all of which are available for consultation.
In the unique hands-on Children´s Museum, children from ages 6 to 12 can learn about Jewish life and Jewish traditions in a playful way, with videos, games and more. It features three floors that have been furnished as the home of a Jewish Family, the Hollanders. Mum, Dad and the three children each experience being Jewish in their own way. Max the Matzo is the guide in the house. He tells jokes, has a lot of wisdom and makes the visit into a real party. In the living room visitors meet the Hollander family, in the music room they can play instruments and in the kitchen children learn about kosher food and can bake their own challah (braided bread for the Sabbath).
We spoke with Moncef Beekhof, the Museum’s Marketing and Communication Manager, about the history of the museum and its different sections and exhibits.