The city of Alkmaar was one of the first in the Netherlands to allow Jews to settle and practice their religion. The first Jews arrived around 1613.
The first Shul service in Alkmaar is dated 1744; it takes place in a house in the Paternosterstraat called ‘Voorbij ‘t Hoge Huis’.
Subsequently Shul services were held in five different dwellings.
In 1792 the Jewish community consists of 17 families. These decide to fit up a house in the ‘Laat’ street as a Shul. A weekly sum of 4 guilders (equivalent to EUR 34 in 2010) was raised to pay the debt – quite a burden, considering the very modest comfort level of the community.
In 1811, the community numbered 81 families.
In 1808 a building in the Hofstraat was purchased and fitted up as a synagogue. In 1826 the edifice was expanded by construction of a barrel vault, and provided with a gallery for women. A new façade was put into place; in its top a text in Hebrew from the prophet Haggai reads ‘The glory of this last house will be greater than that of the first’. By then the edifice had acquired the exterior it still has today.
Unique for the region, a mikwe (ritual bath), a house for the rabbi and a ‘cheider’ (Jewish school) were adjoined to the Shul proper.
Up to March 5, 1942, services were to be held in a continuous manner, lastly presided over by rabbi Abraham De Wolff.
Then the Alkmaar Jews were deported and (but for a few exceptions) murdered. The synagogue was looted. The compound remained unoccupied for ten years. On November 15, 1952, it was sold by the Netherlands Israelite Denomination to the Union of Baptists, which fitted it up as a church. On December 23, 2009, the Alkmaar Synagogue Foundation recovered the Shul building.