Beth Haim Cemetery – Ouderkerk, Amsterdam

imageI don’t know of any other Jewish cemeteries depicted in 17th century art. This one was by the Dutch painter Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael in his aptly titled “The Jewish Cemetery at Ouderkerk.” Established in 1616 next to the church outside of town, it was expanded several times throughout the century, and it is still used today.

imageThe location of the cemetery is along the Amstel river, outside of Amsterdam. The river is how the community used to bring bodies to burial and the river entrance gate is still there.

imageI was able to arrive there by land thanks to Ben Stibbe (benstibbe@online.nl), who is a guide and community member. We entered through the gate next to the caretakers building.

imageMany of the flat tomb stones are elaborately decorated, as was the custom in the various Portuguese communities during the 17th and 18th centuries. On the stones you can see all kinds of symbols and imagery, as well as Portuguese.

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imageThe cemetery includes a memorial to those who perished in the holocaust. Nowadays there are about twelve burials a year. It was stirring to walk through this special Jewish resting place.

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One response to “Beth Haim Cemetery – Ouderkerk, Amsterdam

  1. Pingback: Bayonne, France – Nefuzot Yehuda | Shalom Says Hello·

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