The Cultural Garden of Amsterdam

27 Aug 2016

Turn Your Phone Off and Put on Your Yamaka


Some museums leave you feeling as though you will never see them in their entirety, that you need to choose something to focus on. Jewish Historical Museum is one of them. The permanent exhibitions on Jewish religion and history, plus two temporary exhibitions are just too much to take in for one visit. This is ideal for those who hold a multiple entry museum pass and can always come back to continue where they left off, but the one-time visitor will need to make a plan and decide how to criss-cross the museum, or alternatively, be blessed with an unending attention span.

The fact that the museum seems to ask its visitors to choose a focus actually fits the message they are intending to deliver. The Jewish people have a moral obligation to perfect the world, which they try to accomplish by spreading awareness. And the only way to do that is to take time with important moments and events, whether it’s together with others or individually. Even though the teachings of this religion are more than four thousand years old, its message still rings true today.

The museum is very inspiring, but the sheer number of stories and objects on display makes it difficult to remain focused. All the touchscreens with even more menus, two auditoriums, four hundred years of history and all the art combined with a vibrating phone in my pocket and a long to-do list in my head make me wish I had time for reflection. Glancing out the window, I can see the Portuguese Synagogue – my next stop? 


posted by José Boon

‘As a student of Public History at the University of Amsterdam, I've visited most of the museums in the Plantage and report here on my experiences!’

José Boon,
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