Dutch museum to move, reopen as synagogue
A city in eastern Holland has pledged nearly $750,000 for restoring a museum to its previous function as a synagogue.
The switch will become possible in 2015, when the natural science museum in Nijmegen leaves its current building, the Dutch regional daily De Gelderlander reported Thursday.
Jem van den Burg, the head of a nonprofit called Big Synagogue, a Jewish Future, told the daily that the municipality has agreed to finance his plan to the tune of $734,000.
Den Burg has until 2014 to present a business plan for the construction of a Jewish cultural center and synagogue in the building.
The city council will vote on the plan this year. Alderwoman Hannie Art told De Gelderland she was confident that it would pass.
The building served Nijmegen’s 500-odd Jews from 1913 to 1943, when the Nazis killed almost all of them along with 75 percent of Holland’s pre-Holocaust Jewish population of 140,000. Nijmegen’s few Holocaust survivors could not shoulder the costs of keeping the synagogue operational and the building was sold.
Van den Burg oversees the Jewish cemetery as well as archival research about the Jewish municipality.
Since 2012, three Dutch municipalities, Werkendam, Amsterdam and Vlissingen, have transferred five large properties to Dutch Jewish communities.