For more than 350 years, Amsterdam was a centre of Jewish life, and its Jewish community was a major contributor to the city's vitality and prosperity. The Waterlooplein area was their neighborhood, where they held their market and built their synagogues.
In 1593, Sephardic Jews from Portugal and Spain settled in this neighbourhood. In the course of the 17th century Ashkenazi Jews from Central, Eastern, and partly Western Europe also moved into the district.
In 1602 the Jews started to build their first synagogues. And in the centuries that followed, the neighbourhood was enriched with many more synagogues.