Ancient Amsterdam Jewish Cemetery Refurbished After 70 Years of Neglect

Moroccan and Jewish Youths Spruced Up Zeeburg Cemetery

By JTA

Published March 17, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

An ancient Jewish cemetery in Amsterdam has been reopened after almost 70 years of neglect, thanks to help from Moroccan and Jewish youths who renovated it.

jewish historical museum

The Zeeburg cemetery will be open to the public on the first Sunday of every month, a spokesperson for the Association for the Restoration of the Zeeburg Cemetery told JTA.

The opening was made possible by a few dozen Jewish and Moroccan youths who volunteered with the association since 2011 to clean up the area, where approximately 175,000 Jews are buried, the association’s deputy chairman Marcel Mock said. Along with other volunteers referred by the City of Amsterdam, the youths painted over graffiti-covered walls, cut overgrown grass and weeds, and helped restore some of the paths that crisscross the site in eastern Amsterdam.

In total, the restoration cost about $150,000, which was raised from Jewish and non-Jewish sources, including the city. The Zeeburg association – known in Dutch as Stichting Eerherstel Joodse Begraafplaats Zeeburg – hopes to complete further renovations ahead of the cemetery’s 300th anniversary next year.

Having remained closed to the public since 1945, the cemetery – one of the largest of its kind in Western Europe – attracted a crowd of 1,100 visitors last year when it opened its doors for just one day.

Historically, the cemetery was the final resting place for the poorer members of Amsterdam’s Jewish community. Many originally were immigrants from Eastern Europe who settled in Amsterdam in the 18th and 19th centuries.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.