Amsterdam Jewish Culture


Course Objective

At the end of the course the student will have gained insight into the
historical development, internal dynamics, positioning within the city,
and the image-formation of the Jewish population of Amsterdam from 1600
up until today. The student will be familiar with the most important
sources, theories and the historiography on Amsterdam Jewish history;
and with the world famous Amsterdam Jewish heritage institutions. The
student will be able to analyse historical and actual Jewish spaces in
and around the city, using socio-spatial theory, from local and
transnational Jewish perspectives.

Course Content

Amsterdam developed into the largest Jewish metropolis of Europe in the
eighteenth century. The image of Amsterdam as a ‘Jewish City’ – Mokum –
has since become strongly connected to the city’s identity. This
interdisciplinary course will study when and how this image took root
and in how far this reflected the historical development of the city’s
Jewish communities. The course will focus on (1) the Sephardi
‘Portuguese Nation’: the Iberian conversos who settled in Amsterdam
around 1600, converted to Judaism and constructed a complex identity;
(2) the Ashkenazi ‘High German Nation’: the quickly developing migrant
community of Central and East European Jews; (3) processes of
segregation, concentration and integration; (4) construction of Jewish
spaces and places in the city; (5) transnational connections through
European, trans-Atlantic and colonial networks; (6) the impact of the
Holocaust and the reconstruction of postwar Jewish life in
theneighbourhoods of Buitenveldert and Amstelveen. Excursions and visits
to Jewish heritage institutions are part of the program.

Teaching Methods

Seminar, including oral presentations, and excursions.

Method of Assessment

Oral presentation (25%) and written paper (75%).


Blom, J. C. H., Renate G. Fuks-Mansfeld, and I. Schöffer. The History of
the Jews in the Netherlands. Translated by Arnold J. Pomerans and Erica
Pomerans. Oxford: Littman Library, 2002 (or 2017 Dutch edition: Hans
Blom, David Wertheim, Bart Wallet, Geschiedenis van de Joden in
Nederland. Amsterdam: Balans, 2017)
Additional readings will be announced at the start of the course.

Target Audience

Exchange and Dutch students interested in Amsterdam, (urban) history,
Jews and Judaism, cultural studies and social geography. This course is
also suited for students of the Master Heritage Studies (Erfgoed); they
can follow the seminars and excursions and add their own research as
‘Individuele Verdieping’.

Additional Information

This facultative course is part of the minor 'Amsterdam Urban History'.

Recommended background knowledge

Knowledge of Hebrew, Yiddish, Portuguese and Spanish is recommended, but
not required.

General Information

Course Code L_GCBAALG007
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. B.T. Wallet
Examiner dr. B.T. Wallet
Teaching Staff dr. B.T. Wallet

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: