Jewish elite along the canals

The canals in the former Jewish neighbourhood were intended for the well-to-do elite. The section of the Nieuwe Herengracht (canal), with its view of the green area, was particularly popular. Mainly Portuguese-Jewish families lived here, but also a number of German Jews.


The Nieuwe Herengracht mansion got a decorative rococo façade in 1751. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam

Unique Rococo architecture

The stately mansion at number 103 continuously accommodated Jews from the time of its construction in 1685. The commissioning party, Joseph Athias (approx. 1635-1700), was a respected printer. Jewish printing in Amsterdam was highly respected throughout the world in the 17th century. Aron de Pinto (1710-1758) had the premises thoroughly renovated in 1751. The natural stone front from that time with its elegant Rococo-patterns is unique in Amsterdam.


Ornate railings at Nieuwe Herengracht 103. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam

Benjamin Cohen

Another famous resident was Benjamin Cohen (1726-1800). The Cohen family of Italian origin contributed significantly to the success of the tobacco industry in and around Amersfoort. Benjamin Cohen was educated in science and had a huge knowledge of the Jewish doctrine. He maintained close contacts with the House of Orange. Stadtholder Willem V took refuge at the family in Amersfoort for a length of time in 1787.


The front door with lavish accents. Photo: City Archive Amsterdam

Huize Stranders (house)

This mansion came into the possession of Elkan Jacob Levie de Vries in 1813. This diamond trader and philanthropist with the nickname Choone Joofe owned various buildings along this section of the canal. The posh Jewish restaurant Huize Stranders, where many Jewish weddings and other celebrations were held, was established here from 1902 to 1921.