Cultural edification

The Jewish Practice Makes Perfect Choral Society was established in 1854 by diamond workers who held cultural edification in high regard. Here they practised singing, playing instruments and reading literature. Workers who had earned a lot during the heyday of the Cape Era (1870-1876) often invested in culture.

 

The previous building Pancius, now the location of the Resistance Museum. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam.

Synagogue services

In 1876 the Plancius Building, named after the clergyman and geographer Petrus Plancius (1550-1622), was one of the first permanent structures in the Plantage. The building was detached and surrounded by greenery and the surrounding neighbourhood was built at a later date. In addition to musical performances, synagogue services were also held in the Plancius Building. The Jewish Municipality had a shortage of accommodation during important religious holidays, so various theatre halls were converted into temporary synagogues.

 

Image used around 1975-1900. The building was then in use for the Jewish Practice Makes Perfect Choral Society. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam.

Socialist stronghold

The Plancius Building also served as a stronghold for the emerging socialist movement, which had many Jewish followers. Political heavyweights such as Domela Nieuwenhuis, Pieter Jelles Troelstra and Henri Polak drew packed halls. Polak considered establishing the General Dutch Diamond Cutters Union here, but eventually the union acquired its own headquarters just around the corner. Composed almost entirely of Jewish socialists, the Voice of the People choral society was established in the Plancius Building in 1898.

 

The star of David in the top of the building shows the Jewish use of the building. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam.

The Resistance Museum

By 1913 the Plancius’ heyday was over and the building was sold to the taxi company ARM and served as a garage for over 80 years. The Resistance Museum opened its doors here in 1999. The museum gives visitors an idea of what daily life was like during the years of occupation, 1940-1945, and raises questions about choices relating to collaboration and resistance.