Architect: unknown. Architect renovation: Harry Elte (1880-1944)
Commissioned by renovation: NIHS
Jews in the Netherlands acquired equal civil rights in 1796 under the influence of the French Revolution. The Jewish community was still highly introverted at the time. A number of prominent Jews became politically active. They aspired to achieve the speedy emancipation and integration of Jews in Dutch society.
Once the seat of the Chief Rabbi, it hasn't been used as a synagogue since 1950
Conservative rabbis had no desire for innovations. The innovatory elite subsequently established a community of its own. A struggle came about between the new community (Neie Kille) and the old community (Alte Kille). It was settled by King Lodewijk Napoleon. The members of the Neie Kille were ordered to return to the mother community. Far-reaching reforms had meanwhile been announced.
Interior of synagogue on Rapenburgerstraat 173, print from ca. 1800
Seat Chief Rabbi
A Chief Rabbi was appointed for each of the Dutch regions. They were to ensure that the reforms were implemented within the synagogue, such as the use of the Dutch language within the synagogues, which was to replace Yiddish. This synagogue became the seat of the chief rabbinate in Amsterdam.
Star of David in the floor mosaic. Photo: Roeland Koning
Nederlands Israëlietisch Seminarium (Dutch Israelite Seminary)
The training programme for rabbis was modernised as well. The Nederlands Israëlietisch Seminarium was established at Rapenburgerstraat (street) 175-179 (to the right of the synagogue) in 1839. Rector, and later Chief Rabbi, J.H. Dünner (1833-1911) gave the training programme an academic character. Generations of rabbis were trained and educated here. The last sixty students were hauled off during the war. Almost all were killed.