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This vast complex was central to Jewish life in Amsterdam between the 17th and mid-20th centuries and it originally consisted of four synagogues. Built by Ashkenazi Jewish refugees from Germany and Poland in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was sheer luck that the synagogues survived the Nazi occupation in World War II. They have now been turned into a museum relating the story of the Jewish community in Amsterdam from the 17th century to present day and displaying some of the artifacts looted from Jews by the Nazis during the war; some attempts have been made to enliven the displays with interactive screens and personal commentary, but generally the standard of display is pretty dull. 


The adjoining Kindermuseum (Children’s Museum) is much better, cleverly set up as the home of a traditional Orthodox Jewish family, giving kids the chance to bake matzos, learn Yiddish, or celebrate the Sabbath, but that's strictly a child-only zone. Museum tickets are also valid in the Portuguese Synagogue across the road, and the Hollandse Schouwburg, where there is a stark memorial to the Amsterdam Jews murdered in World War II plus a small and sad display of some of their belongings.