The Sephardic Synagogue was consecrated on 5 August in 1675 and still stands today (see note 6 below). This building symbolizes the zenith of the Dutch Sephardim who by 1619 had organized 3 communities but by 1639 they had amalgamated their 3 communities and synagogues (Beth Israel, Neve Shalom, Beth Jacob) into one using the Beth Israel synagogue until the new synagogue was built. No doubt a spur to its completion was the rapid growth of the Ashkenasi community - who only organized their first community in 1635, but then went on to complete their united Synagogue before 1675 and then to outnumber the Sephardim by two to one in 1700 (ref 26 provides a useful depiction of these times). The architect of the Portuguese Synagogue was Elias Bouman, one of the leading Dutch architects of the time. Records exist of the Mahamad (see note 1) and community members (see note 7) in this period, and the large number of charitable activities of the community (see note 8 below). Rembrandt's House Museum is nearby; Rembrandt had Sephardic neighbours and his artistic interest was captured many times by the Amsterdam Sephardic community (his etching of Menasseh ben Isarel can be found via note 6 below and a portrait of Dr Ephraim Bueno can be found here - scroll down). Other artists were interested also - impressions of Jewish cultural events at the Synagogue may be found in ref 223.    Nearby was Swanenburgerstraat, shown above, the site of the Louzada house 'Isle of Barbados'. Now there is a large music theatre! David Baruch Louzada #44 in 1694 bought 50% of the house from Rachel - widow of Jacob #1388 - and their 3 adult daughters Rebecca, Simha and Sarah (ref 101). In 1696 Rebecca married her cousin Isaac #1297, son of David #44. These daughters received a bequest from Jacob Israel Pereira #1765 on 3 Feb 1704 (ref 141). Rebecca probably accompanied Isaac to Surinam but in Curacao he had a new wife by 1707. This is a heavily romanticized painting by Jacob van Ruisdael c1628-82, arguably the greatest Dutch landscape painter, of the Sephardic cemetery at Oudekerk. It was painted around 1656 and is entitled 'The Jewish Cemetery' and hangs in Dresden. It has an even more romantic sister painting 'The Jewish Cemetery at Oudekerk' which hangs in Detroit. More prosaic views can be obtained via note 6 below. The Oudekerk Cemetery is called Beth Haim (House of Life!), and is about 20 kilometers upriver from Amsterdam. It was established in 1614, and Baruch Lousadas buried there include Isaac #42 in 1667, Jacob #1388 in 1681 and David #44 in 1699. For more details of the cemetery see note 9 below.


The Northern Provinces decisively parted from Spain in 1588, setting the stage for Amsterdam to emerge as the main trading and cultural centre for Sephardic Jews. Many Sephardic families developed their base here, retaining links with their New Christian kinsmen in France and the Iberian world including Antwerp. Their commercial success in turn greatly added to the wealth of Amsterdam. Spain inadvertently helped - the Dutch-Spanish truce of 1609-21 enabled the Amsterdam Jews to greatly increase their Iberian trade (though there was a slump when the truce ended), and then d'Olivares largely protected wealthy New Christians in Madrid from the Spanish Inquisition during 1626-43 thereby enabling a vast transfer of accumulated wealth to Amsterdam with the New Christian families who fled Madrid after he fell.

The fall of Dutch Brazil in 1654 was a catalytic event - for the strong demand for sugar led to the Dutch Provinces and the Sephardic Jews cooperating in the establishment of replacement sugar-growing colonies. An existing English colony - Barbados - received a boost from this, and new sugar-producing colonies - Surinam, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Domingue, Jamaica - then developed in competition with the Iberian colonies, though sugar was not the only factor at work. Contraband trade with the Iberian colonies added to Jamaica's economic strength, and consolidated Curacao's position. Displaced Brazil Jews experienced in sugar played a role in this round of colonisation, and were joined by other Jews from Livorno and Amsterdam; while New Christians from France and from Iberia and Iberian colonies also participated and converted. Amsterdam played a key role in the sugar trade (see note 3 below). A financier of the later Amsterdam sugar refineries was Abraham Israel Pereira #1628, formerly known as Tomas Rodrigues Pereira about whom much is known (ref 23 p174, ref 59, ref 26, and ref 123). Pereira appears to have reached Amsterdam by 1645 and there is a report of him in 1655 requesting permission to build a sugar refinery with his brother Isaac #1895 (see note 4 below). Pereira was born in Villaflor in 1606, married in Madrid in 1628, was a Mahamad member in 1670 (see note 1 below) and died in Amsterdam on 30 Oct 1674 (ref 144). Pereira was the father of Jacob #1765 (see above), whose will (ref 141) shows his father to have been a close relative of the Baruch Lousadas - a full cousin of Abraham #45 who died in London in 1714 and hence of Moses #46 and his siblings of whom Abraham #45 was the last survivor. The relationship between Pereira and the Baruch Lousadas is discussed here (go to note 12).

Amsterdam records (see note 2 and 7 below) of the family enhanced our image of the early London Baruh Lousadas, and supports the idea that though the family was in Livorno when David #44 was born in 1640, after the fall of Dutch Brazil in 1654 there was a virtually simultaneous arrival in Barbados (Aaron #376, Abraham #45 and David #44), London (Moses #46 and Jacob #1388) and Amsterdam (Isaac #42 and Solomon #1501, and perhaps Moses #1585, with Jacob #1388 moving from London by 1662 and David #44 later from Barbados by 1672). However, from the same source we know that Moses Baruh Lousada #46 appeared annually in Amsterdam in the period 1649-59, presumably a more or less deliberate preparation for the family's move from Livorno in the light of the deteriorating situation in Dutch Brazil (see note 5 below). The Baruch Louzadas who appeared in Amsterdam are shown in a special-purpose chart.



1. On Sep 2017 a 1670 document came to light giving the signatures of 266 community members (see note 7 below) - probably part of the preparation for the construction of the Sephardic Synagogue. The members of the 1670 Mahamad are shown here and as can be seen they include an elderly Abraham Israel Pereira #1628 who was the father of Jacob #1765.

2. In May and June 2013, Ton Tielen substantially assisted our grasp of the Amsterdam Jewish archives - in particular by finding proof of another sibling Jacob Baruh Lousada (ref 99). This sibling was probably the Jacob reported as being in London in 1660 with Moses (ref 6). Ton Tielen kindly provided us with data of the taxes paid by the Lousada family to the Jewish community from which it seems Jacob went to Amsterdam in 1662 and was there at the time of the death of his father Isaac in 1667, but Jacob died in Amsterdam in 1681, whereupon David assumed the leading role in the family until his death in 1699. Another possible sibling Solomon emerges, but the tax data as a whole shows that the family did not arrive in Amsterdam until 1662 ie after Moses and Jacob first appeared in London. But as indicated in ref 105, Ton Tielen revisited the tax records, advising that Moses Baruh Lousada was a regular annual visitor to Amsterdam in the 1649-59 period; he may even have been semi-permanent but not yet commercially successful enough to pay the 'finta', though ultimately he was known to have reached London by 1660 and from France (suggesting that he was not living in Amsterdam in the 1649-59 period).

3. From ref 117 p73 we learn that the number of sugar refineries in Amsterdam was 25 in 1620 and 60 in 1660. This illustrates the growth in sugar demand and also why in 1654 when the Dutch were ejected from Brazil there was such a need to establish replacement supplies of sugar from new plantations especially in the Caribbean using the skills acquired in Dutch Brazil. This led, in a complex way via failed colonisation ventures in Cayenne, Pomeroon and Tobago, to the (Jewish) success of Surinam.

4. This refinery was onsold to a Dutchman in 1664 for 45,000 guilders (ref 143 - see p84 in the chapter by Jonathan Schorsch).

5. The end was likely well before 1654 with some Dutch territory already having been lost due to an earlier revolt of Portuguese planters.

6. John Bury visited Amsterdam in March 2012 and provided a pictorial diary (PDF, 6MB) of his visit; views of the interior can be found in it and also here, and views of the Oudekerk cemetery can also be found in it. He also collected some marriage data relevant to our understanding of the Amsterdam/Barbados Lousadas. Edgar Samuel updated this data, confirming who were the (step-)parents of Moses Baruh Lousada #46 and his Barbados Lousada siblings as partially enumerated by Wilfred Samuel (ref 5). Julian Land visited the Portuguese Synagogue with Ton Tielen (see note 2 above) in Sep 2013 and the results can be found here. Later we became familiar with the online Amsterdam Jewish records for Jewish deaths and marriages, while the marriage banns and the vast notary records became progressively more acessible.

7. A list of the signatories of the 1639 Code of Ascamoth for Amsterdam is given here (thanks to Ton Tielen) whilst a 1648 list of Recife community members is given here. As Ton Tielen point out there are names in common. Of course less than a decade later, many more of the Recife Jews appeared in Amsterdam. On 26 Sep 2017 Ton Tielen communicated his transcribed signatures of the 266 community members who signed the 1670 document identified in ref 220. This contains the signatures of Jacob Baruch Lousada d1681 #1388, and Isaac Louzada 1645-1714 #50 one of the Den Haag Louzadas. Isaac #50 was the father of Sarah #1790, the last wife of Jacob Israel Pereira #1765.

8. David Baruch Lousada #44 was perhaps typical of the way community members supported charitable activities - in his case Dotar, Aby Yetomin, and Terra Santa and his son Isaac and grandson David to a lesser extent emulated him. On 12 Aug 2018 Ton Tielen communicated fascinating details of how the community assisted poor Sephardim migrate throughout the diaspora. See also ref 236 for a list of poor Jews going to Gibraltar and North Africa with Mahamad assistance.

9. A plan of some of the burial plots may be found here. At #17 may be found the grave of Esther Rodrigues da Costa, the 1st Amsterdam wife of David Baruch Lousada #44. The images are not online and were photographed by Ton Tielen at Amsterdam City Archives.