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Amsterdam’s Portuguese Synagogue wins EU prize

(JTA) — A restoration project at the 17th century Portuguese Synagogue complex in Amsterdam won the European Union’s prestigious Europa Nostra prize for conservation.

The Europa Nostra prizes, which were announced last week, are awarded each year to outstanding projects in the field of cultural heritage.

The Portuguese Synagogue complex, in use since its inauguration in 1675, includes a massive main synagogue surrounded by low buildings that are still used by the Jewish community. The award-winning restoration aimed to preserve the monumental complex and make all the buildings, including the important library and collections of ritual objects, more accessible to the religious Jewish community and the general public.

“Thanks to the restoration work, the Portuguese Synagogue is now much better suited to public viewing, while maintaining its original character,” the award statement said. “Its big treasure, the library, is now accessible to the public for the first time, allowing visitors to understand and experience this enormous cultural heritage."

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