History

In 1492 Spain expelled its Jewish population. Many who fled to Portugal were nevertheless forcibly baptized after 1496. More than 100 years later, their descendants - victims of the Inquisition who wished to live as Jews - began to arrive in Amsterdam. At that time the Dutch Republic was at war with Spain, so to avoid being identified with the Spanish enemy these refugees from the Iberian peninsula called themselves 'Portuguese' Jews. During the seventeenth century large numbers of Ashkenazi Jews arrived from Central and Eastern Europe. They soon formed the largest Jewish community in Amsterdam and Holland.

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