Just around the corner (Or: Jewish monument in the city centre)

If you take the stairs underground near the entrance to the C&A department store on the Grote Marktstraat, you’ll find a Jewish monument:


The text reads:

Ik werd voor hen tot een klein Heiligdom in de landen waarheen ze gekomen waren which translates (roughly) to I was a bit of sanctuary for those who come to this land. 


translated as “From 1723 to 1844 there was a synagogue for the Dutch Israeli community of here”

In 1844 the synagogue moved to the nearby Wagenstraat (now the heart of Chinatown). After World War II – from which most deported Jews did not return – the synagogue was closed in 1975. Around the same time the Muslim Turkish community’s numbers began to rise and in 1978 they asked the city for use of the space to turn it into a mosque.

This request was denied, but a group of Turkish Muslims took over the building by ‘squatting’ it. After three years the city granted their request to use it as a mosque. It now houses 1,500 worshippers. The original name of the mosque was Fatih, after a conquerer, but it was later renamed to Aqsa mosque as a reference to the Grand Mosque in Jerusalem.

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