Former synagogue in BurenBuren was the home of one of the Netherlands' oldest Jewish communities.

It is possible that German Jews had settled in Buren as early as the fifteenth century, attracted by Buren's fairs and horse market. By the eighteenth century, Buren counted a small Jewish community among its population.

From the outset, the Jews of Buren held religious services in private homes. In 1804, the community purchased a house along the walls of the city at the Kniphoek, today the Oranjestraat, and converted it into a synagogue. The square and street across from the synagogue became known as Jodenkerkplein and Jodenkerkstraatje respectively. Jodenkerk, meaning Jews' Church, has a somewhat negative connotation in Dutch. The synagogue was renovated in 1864 but by 1899 was no longer in use.

Synagogue in Buren, 2005 (photo D.S. van Randen)In 1900, with the departure of the last Jewish family, Buren's Jewish community ceased to exist. In 1906, it was officially merged into the Jewish community of Tiel. The synagogue was then sold and converted into a warehouse. Years later, in 1968, it was restored and put to use as a meeting and exhibition hall. In 2004, it was purchased by the municipal government and loaned to Buren's Cultural Council to be used by artists and cultural organizations.

From the mid-eighteenth century until 1845 the Jews of Buren buried their dead in a cemetery on the Aalsdijk, outside the town. Between 1864 and 1896, the community used a portion of the public cemetery located in the park on the Kasteelwal. Today, both cemeteries are maintained by municipal authorities.

The Jewish population of Buren:

1809 53
1840 25
1869 15
1899 9


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