The Joods Historical Museum, or the Jewish Historical Museum, is an award winning Amsterdam attraction, documenting the history and culture of the Jewish people in the Netherlands by showcasing historical objects, art and photographs.
The recently renovated museum tracks the history of the Dutch Jewish population from their arrival in the Netherlands in the 17th Century, through to their modern day identity and culture. With a collection of more than 30,000 items and regular exhibitions, there is plenty to see for history enthusiasts, including large murals, historical film footage and real-life.
The museum prides itself on offering visitors a firsthand experience of being in an original Synagogue, with much of the building's interior designed to put many of the ceremonial items on display as they would have been in a place of worship.
The ground floor of the building is decorated to accurately depict the surroundings of a Synagogue, placing many of the items on display into their appropriate context. This is furthered by video interviews and the personal stories from the owners of certain items; all of which helping to give the displays an authentic and at times emotional perspective.
The museum itself is steeped in history. After its opening in 1930, the Jewish Historical Museum Foundation collected a vast array of objects of importance to both Jewish culture and records, including key documents and influential pieces of art.
However, the success of the foundation was soon hampered by the Second World War, when many of the collected items were confiscated after the Germans demanded that the museum be closed in May 1940. Sadly, many of the lost items were never recovered.
Nevertheless, in 1955, after many years of closure, the museum was re-opened by the then Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees, and from then on amassed a compilation of more than 30,000 documents, historical items, art and films.
For anyone who has a keen interest in Jewish History, or indeed Jewish Culture and Art, a visit to the Jewish Historical Museum is a must. Upcoming exhibitions can be found on their website, www.jhm.nl.
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