Europe’s largest synagogue was built in 1675 by Sephardic Jews who moved to Amsterdam from Spain and Portugal. The building was restored in the 1950s and today it looks pretty much as it did 3 centuries ago. The women’s gallery on the upper floor of the synagogue is supported by 12 stone columns representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and the large, low-hanging brass chandeliers together hold 1,000 candles. In the courtyard complex that surrounds the synagogue, effectively cutting it off from the rest of the city, are the mikvah ritual baths; the mourning room complete with a coffin stand; and the synagogue’s treasure chambers containing precious menorahs, torahs, and ornate clerical robes.
- Frommer's Staff