Tourguide historian Amsterdam Jewish heritage Naomi Koopmans
What’s it like?
What’s it like to be a tourguide historian of Jewish heritage in Amsterdam?
After my experience as a Jewish history Master of arts and licensed tourguide in Israel and Rome, the most natural thing for me to do
upon my return to Amsterdam was to set up my Jewish Amsterdam Tour.
In the past decade I’ve guided thousands of people through Amsterdam’s Jewish heritage:
the Portuguese Synagogue, the Jewish Museum, the Holocaust Memorials and landmarks in Amsterdam’s former Jewish district.
It’s hard to describe in words what these places mean to me. Beyond the sense of belonging and identification, I feel privileged to show people around these beautiful places.
Especially people with a shared longing to explore Jewish history and culture.
Conversing along the way and over time with my cross-denominational and multinational clientele, has enriched me more than any history book has so far.
One lady from the US on my tour showed me her genealogy.com account on her mobile phone. It featured as her ancestor Isaac Aboab da Fonseca, whose name is listed on one of the synagogue’s walls. I informed her that he was the ‘Chaham’, chief rabbi, who inaugurated the Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam in the year 1675. I can’t tell you enough how excited we both were to reveal this lineage!
‘Chaham‘, chief rabbi, Isaac Aboab da Fonseca
who inaugurated the Amsterdam Portuguese Synagogue
in the year 1675.
Plaque on wall Portuguese Synagogue Amsterdam
that celebrates its 1675 inauguration
‘Chaham‘, chief rabbi, Isaac Aboab da Fonseca.
Inauguration of the Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam
in the year 1675.
Another lady who took my tour, also from the US, turned out to be descendant of the famous Rabbi Tzvi Ashkenazi. He traveled to Amsterdam in the 17th century and served there as rabbi for some time. Now, 4 centuries later, this lady, also rabbi, was traveling to Amsterdam to discover its Jewish history!
Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Ashkenazi who traveled to Amsterdam in the 17th century
to serve there as rabbi for some time.
Had the world famous 17th century Amsterdam Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza not died childless, I would have waited patiently to meet his offspring on my Jewish Amsterdam Tour … 😉
Baruch Spinoza, world famous 17th century Jewish philosopher
who lived in Amsterdam.