Composition of the collections

The ritual objects collection comprises more than 800 precious metal and textile items and is internationally renowned for its special documentation of over four centuries of social and cultural history of this community. 

The diversity of materials and techniques reveal the worldwide trade contacts of the Portuguese Jews in Amsterdam, as well as how personal treasures were reassigned for communal use in the synagogue. Silk, brocade, linen and fashionable cotton fabrics, used almost exclusively by the aristocracy and the clergy, found their way into this collection, which has been preserved and cherished at this site ever since. Both the silver and the gold instruments and the textile items reflect the entire sampling of this art, especially of Dutch origin, each featuring inscriptions referring to the Jews who donated them.

As a whole, the collection offers a unique survey of the cultural history of this community, which is among the oldest cultural and religious minorities in our country. Nowhere else in the world has such a comprehensive collection of ritual Jewish objects been preserved at its original site as in Amsterdam's Portuguese Synagogue.

The cornerstone for this collection consists of ornaments to decorate and protect the Torah scrolls. Here is an impression of the collection.