The Jewish Cultural Quarter consists of the Jewish Historical Museum, the JHM Children’s Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Hollandsche Schouwburg, and the National Holocaust Museum. The Jewish Cultural Quarter invites its visitors to acquaint themselves with Jewish culture and history, to deepen their existing knowledge, and to think actively about the subject of cultural diversity. The basic principle is to make the Jewish story accessible in a positive way to as much of the general public as possible.
The Anne Frank House is a writer's house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk, in central Amsterdam in the Netherlands. During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex. She did not survive the war but her wartime diary was published in 1947. Ten years later the Anne Frank Foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block. The museum opened on 3 May 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination. In 2013 and 2014, the museum had 1.2 million visitors and was the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.
TEMPORARILY CLOSED. The National Holocaust Museum is located across the street from the Hollandsche Schouwburg. It too serves as a testament to the Dutch Jews who suffered during WWII. The museum contains in-depth exhibitions which explain the events of the holocaust to an international audience. The museum routinely hosts the well known Dutch painter, producer and actor, Jeroen Krabbé, and his exhibition titled, 'The Demise of Abraham Reiss' (De ondergang van Abraham Reiss). The museum is the first of its kind in the Netherlands, showcasing life before, during, and after Germany's occupation, and giving a full overview of Jewish life during these years. The National Holocaust Museum has plans for expansion and growth in the coming years, so be sure to check out this important site. The museum is housed in a former teacher training college on Plantage Middenlaan, next door to the "Crèche" where Jewish children were held before being deported to Westerbork. About 600 children were saved with the help from different Resistance groups, as well as teachers from the training school. These unimaginable stories are illustrated in the museum.
Merwedeplein is the housing complex where Anne Frank and her family lived before going into hiding in the annex. Anne Frank did mention Merwedeplein in her diary, but it was never a tourist attraction until a Frank family plaque was placed in front of the door where she was living (house number 37). On the western side of the square you will also find an approximately life-sized, bronze statue of Anne Frank. Visitors say that the best way to reach Merwedeplein is by taking tram number 4 from central station to the Waalstraat stop. From there it is just a two minute walk to the Merwedeplein.
The Anne Frank statue stands as a tribute to Anne Frank, the young Jewish Dutch girl who was murdered by the Nazis during World War II. The statue is smaller than real life and depicts Anne Frank as a young woman standing proudly with her hands on her back.
The Diamond Company House of Culture (Cultuurhuis Diamantslijperij) was built by the Asscher Family in 1907. It was first used as a factory for The Royal Asscher Diamond Company, Koninklijke Asscher Diamant Maatschappij in Dutch, which was established in 1854. Since then, it has represented the long-standing involvement of Jews in the Amsterdam diamond industry. Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, granted them the ‘Royal’ name they bestow today in 1980, for their long standing hard work and widespread influence. Although the diamonds are no longer cut in this building, the Asscher family continues to hold office here, along with various other creative companies. While the Royal Asscher does not offer guided tours, passersby can enjoy the splendor of this beautiful building. During World War II, the Nazis confiscated the diamonds and deported the Asscher family along with 500 of their polishers to concentration camps. Only ten Asscher members and fifteen other workers survived. After the war, the capital of diamond polishing moved from Amsterdam to Antwerp, and the Asschers were forced to rebuild their empire.
The Jewish Historical Museum (Joods Historisch Museum in Dutch) was established in 1932. The museum is devoted to Jewish history, culture and religion, in the Netherlands and abroad. Located in the Jewish Quarter, the museum prides itself in being the only one in the country of its kind. The museum is home to a vast array of historical artifacts including everyday objects and art, which provide a valuable insight into the different aspects of Judaism in the Netherlands. The JHM Children’s Museum contains relevant Jewish artifacts which are displayed through interactive presentations. The museum hosts temporary and permanent exhibitions which depict cultural Jewish history and showcases about the role of Judaism and the influence that Jewish and Dutch culture had on one another. The museum was originally located in the Weighing House (Waag in Dutch). During WWII, It was closed by the Nazis and many items were looted. In 1955 it was reopened in Nieuwmarkt Square. The museum relocated to its current location in Waterlooplein, in 1987. In 1989 it was awarded the Council of Europe Museum Prize in 1989.