‘GELYKSTAAT DER JODEN’ – ‘EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW FOR JEWS’
Many Jews in The Netherlands had fled here to escape war and persecution. In the 17th century, in the wake of the Portuguese Jews, many ‘Hoogduitse’ Jews (Jews who had lived for generations in Germany) came here. They had their own language, Yiddish, which was based on old German and had elements of Polish, Russian and Hebrew. Jews could not become members of the Guilds nor be appointed to a public office. At the end of the 18th century, inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment Jewish associations started to push for the emancipation of the Dutch Jews. In 1796 they finally obtained full civil rights like the Protestant burghers. In practice it was still a long road before they could fully enjoy these rights.