New Synagogue


New SynagogueAlthough three synagogues already existed here in the eighteenth century, the continuing growth of the community created a constant need to expand.

At the start of the eighteenth century an empty plot was purchased on Deventer Houtmarkt for the construction of a new synagogue.

On 17 July 1730 this first New Synagogue was dedicated: it was a relatively small building.

Around 1750 another four adjacent premises were acquired. One of these was the home of Chief Rabbi Arjeh Leib ben Saul, founder of the Ashkneazi Beth Hamidrash Ets Chaim.

New Synagogue All these buildings, including the 1730 synagogue, were demolished to make way for a new edifice: the present New Synagogue.

Koepel in de Nieuwe Synagoge, 1987 (foto Jeroen Nooter)The design is attributed to Amsterdam's city architect Gerard Frederik Maybaum. The synagogue's floor space is a little over 19 x 19 metres, making it the largest of the four synagogues. The plan is generally similar to that of the Great Synagogue. Here too, four marbled columns carry the vaulted ceiling and the galleries.

Unlike the Great Synagogue, the New Synagogue only has two galleries, one along each side wall.

The most remarkable aspect of the synagogue is its magnificent central glass dome.

At the end of the eighteenth century the synagogue seated 596 men and 376 women. The New Synagogue was dedicated on 25 March 1752. Few changes were made to the building over the years. In 1923 the windows beside the Ark were bricked up, but otherwise the synagogue remained much in its original state until the Second World War.

New Synagogue Hebrew inscriptions can be seen above the main entrance on today's Jonas Daniël Meijerplein. The letters of the uppermost quotation, from Psalm 14:7, give the date of the dedication. Below it is the verse: 'This is the gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter' (Psalm 118:20).

The ground floor of the New Synagogue houses temporary exhibitions. The galleries of the New Synagogue feature a part of the permanent presentation: The Jews in the Netherlands in the twentieth century.

New Synagogue