Portuguese Jewish community

There were originally three Sephardi communities: the first, Beth Jacob, already existed in 1610, and perhaps as early as 1602. Neve Shalom was founded between 1608 and 1612 by Jews of Spanish origin. The third community, Beth Israel, was established in 1618. These three communities began co-operating more closely in 1622. Eventually, in 1639, they merged to form Talmud Torah, the Portuguese Jewish Community of Amsterdam  which still exists today. Portuguese Jews played a significant part in the cultural and economic development of the Dutch Republic. Moreover, they enjoyed a freedom of religion unique in Jewish history. The community produced rabbis, scholars, philosophers, artists, bankers as well as founders and trustees of major international commercial companies.

When Nazi Germany invaded Holland in 1940 there were around 140.000 Jews living here, a majority of them living in Amsterdam; of these about 4.300 were Sephardi Jews. The synagogue was left undamaged. Why is still a mystery - it was certainly an exception in occupied Holland.
After the war there were only some 20,000 Jews left in Holland, about 800 of whom were Sephardi. At present there are between 20.000 and 25.000 Jews in Holland, around 15.000 to 20.000 of whom in Amsterdam. The Portuguese Jewish community had in 2011 about 600 contributing members who live, like most of the Ashkenazi community, outside the Amsterdam city centre.