Amsterdam Jewish Culture

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Amsterdam Jewish Culture

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    European Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    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.

    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.

    Seminar, including oral presentations, and excursions.

    Oral presentation (20%) and written paper (80%).

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

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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