Jewish history is full of departures, migrations and new beginnings. Jews have left many countries to start a new life somewhere else after being driven away from their homes, but also in order to pursue better careers or
business opportunities in other countries.
The Danish Jews belong to not one but many groups with different backgrounds. Families and individuals have immigrated to Denmark for approximately 400 years, sometimes few at a time or individually, other times in waves. Some chose Denmark as their destination, others ended up here by chance. Every person's story is unique, but there are also patterns shared by all European Jews.
Read more about the immigration history of the Danish jews in the menu to the right.
Historically speaking, it is not long since the Jews were recognised as citizens with equal rights. Until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Jews every-where lived as "tolerated" minorities. The price for being a religious and ethnic minority was systematic discrimination throughout the centuries. In Islamic countries, Omar's Law, in return for observing certain laws and paying an extra tax, guaranteed Jews protection and tolerance. In Europe, the representatives of the Jewish communities negotiated with noblemen, kings and clerics for so-called privileges, which gave them the right to settle - again typically in exchange for paying taxes.
Many Jewish communities in the Orient and Europe had inner autonomy with their own judicial system, schools, burial grounds, poor help, political leader-ship, civil servants and institutions such as synagogues and ritual baths. Cases concerning marriage, divorce and inheritance were settled within the community itself. This gave great freedom for upholding Jewish culture. The first Jews in Denmark are referred to in official documents as members "of the Jewish nation", and they established traditional Jewish societies complete with synagogue, school and burial ground.
We are happy to offer guided tours in English every Wednesday and Friday at 2 PM!
Get a discount of 10% at selected cafés by showing your ticket from the museum (Photo: Eddie Michel Azoulay).
Talks, guided tours, films and music - keep up with the museums acitivity program ...
- an exhibition about Jews in Denmark
The exhibition is a broad story of Jewish life in Denmark and focuses on co-exixstence and indentity through 400 years. Read more...