The Synagogue at the Koornmarkt in Delft

History of the Jewish Community

In 1798, only 7 Jews were living in Delft. By 1811, under the compulsory name adoption order of Napoleon, 5 Jewish families totalling 29 persons were registered. The Jewish Congregation was officially established in 1821 with services being held in a private dwelling. From 1840 Jewish settlement increased and on the initiative of Léon Winkel, a Delft graduate of Civil Engineering, a commission was set up in 1861 to investigate the feasibility of building a synagogue. Financial contributions came from various quarters including a donation of 250 florins from William III. The foundation stone was laid on October the 8th 1861 and by mid-August 1862 the building was finished. On 22nd of August 1862 the Synagogue was consecrated by the Chief Rabbi of The Hague, and the poet Estella Herzveld recited one of her own poems. She was married in the Delft Synagogue on 7th December 1863. During the 1860's the congregation flourished, but by the First World War membership had fallen to 100 souls and by 1938 it had dropped to only 46. In the aftermath of the bombardment of Rotterdam, a number of Jews moved from there to Delft. The first Jews were deported from Delft in 1942 and by 5th March 1943 none remained. Only 12 Jews returned to Delft after the war. On the festival of Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) Friday 7th September 1946, the Synagogue was reconsecrated. However membership was insufficient to maintain the Synagogue, and in 1949 it was sold to Delft Municipality. The interior was taken to The Hague, where its whereabouts are unknown. Between 1950 and 1962 the Jewish congregation of Delft existed on paper only, after which it officially came to an end. However, in 1996 the Foundation Synagogue Delft bought back the Synagogue, and it is currently used as a Jewish Cultural Centre, with occasional services being held.

The Synagogue's Architecture

The Synagogue at the Koornmarkt is built in a neoclassic style with an Ionic temple facade. The forecourt is enclosed by an iron fence which Léon Winkel had designed to be crowned with Stars of David (6 points) but which, due to an error, were constructed as pentagrams (5 points). The Holy Ark is situated in an elaborate Corinthian-style construction with free standing columns and a curved "fronton" as main section. The Scrolls of the Law were housed in the centre of the "fronton". Above the Synagogue entrance is the Women's Gallery. The original iron railings decorated with Stars of David have disappeared. During renovation in 2002 glass, decorated with the original motif, was put in its place. In addition, the Women's Gallery was raised and an extra floor added with toilet facilities. The most striking feature of the Synagogue are the windows next to the Ark, with their extraordinary colours. They date from 1887 and were restored to their original condition in 1977.

Contact information:
Foundation Synagogue Delft
Hendrik Marsmanlaan 116
2624 TM Delft
The Netherlands
e-mail:
Synagogue:
Koornmarkt 12
Delft.
 The drawing by architect ir L. Winkel

The drawing by architect ir L. Winkel

facade

facade

 interiour

interiour

the fence

the fence