Portuguese-Israelite Synagogue


With dizzying wooden barrel-vaulted ceilings, this was the largest synagogue in Europe when it was completed in 1675. It's still in use today, and has no electric lights – after dark the candles in the vast chandeliers are lit for services. The large library belonging to the Ets Haim seminary is one of Europe's oldest and most important Jewish book collections. Outside (near the entrance) stairs lead underground to the treasure chambers with displays of 16th-century manuscripts and gold-threaded tapestries.

The synagogue's architect, Elias Bouman, was inspired by the Temple of Solomon, but the building's classical lines are typical of the Dutch capital. It was restored after WWII. Candlelight concerts are held here roughly once a month.

Admission also provides entry to the Joods Cultureel Kwartier (Jewish Cultural Quarter) sites, including the Joods Historisch Museum.