Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam

1st January 1970

The Portuguese Synagogue also known as the Esnoga or Snoge, is a 17th-century Sephardic synagogue in Amsterdam. Esnoga is the Ladino word for synagogue. The Amsterdam Sephardic community was one of the largest and richest in Europe during the Dutch Golden Age, and their very large synagogue reflected this. The description in a speech in January 2012 by Israeli Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “one the most beautiful synagogues I have ever seen” reflects a very common view, and the synagogue is a popular tourist attraction.

The Jews were expelled en masse from Spain in 1492 by the Alhambra decree. Many who fled to Portugal were forced to convert to Catholicism in 1496, while the other Jews were expelled from Portugal in 1497. For hundreds of years, the Inquisition continued to investigate the converts and their descendants on suspicions that in secret they still practiced Judaism.Some of those who wished to enjoy a freedom of religion found refuge in Amsterdam. During a substantial migration that took place in the 17th century, these Jewish refugees from the Iberian peninsula called themselves Portuguese Jews to avoid being identified with Spain, which was at war with the Dutch Republic at the time.

Photo Attribution:
Johnbod, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Willem Nabuurs, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

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