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The gateway to Denmark

Jewish life in the 1700th century


"The Gate to Denmark" is one of our permanent exhibitions and is about the establishment of Jewish life and culture in Denmark in the 1700th century.
The exhibition introduces the new communication tools for the future permanent exhibition at the museum. It is a glimpse into the Danish Jewish Museum of the future, which you can help shape through your comments and input. At the same time, it also marks the 400th anniversary of Jewish life in Denmark. 
The exhibition opened in 2022.
You can read more about tickets and opening times here

The 1700th century is a decisive period in Danish Jewish history

After the arrival of the Jews in the 1600th century, Judaism took shape as a religious minority in Denmark. But it wasn't until the 18th century that we really saw the establishment of Jewish burial grounds and synagogues in the country.
The Jews were given certain privileges and rights to practice their religion, but only behind closed doors. They were also allowed to establish businesses and trade in certain areas under the protection of royal prerogatives. However, this development was not without opposition, both theologically and popularly, and hatred of Jews was unfortunately not uncommon.
At the end of the 1700th century, the ideas of the Enlightenment began to influence the attitude towards the civil rights of Jews. A Jewish Enlightenment movement arose and argued that it was possible to be both Jewish and a citizen in a secular society. But these ideas faced massive criticism for various reasons, including religious, political and national concerns.
This debate had a great influence on Denmark and the rest of Europe at the time and still raises relevant questions today about integration, cultural heritage and identity. In Denmark, the debate led to Jews being granted civil rights in 1814 after a heated debate known as the Literary Jewish Feud. But the outcome was not the same everywhere; in Norway, the same debate led to a clause in the Norwegian constitution from 1814, which expelled and forbade Jews from staying in the country.














"The Gate to Denmark" is part of the museum's upcoming permanent exhibition. As a guide to the future historical journey, here follows a brief outline of Danish Jewish history over 400 years

In 1622, Jews are invited to the country by King Christian 4. He invites a number of foreign experts to develop the country, including Jews who had a wide trade network.

Especially in the second half of the century, the number of Jews in Denmark increases, although it is still a very small minority. Jewish life is consolidated with the establishment of synagogues and burial grounds.

Danish Jews gain civil rights in Denmark, but at the same time lose special Jewish privileges. You go from being a "Jew" to being a "Dane of the Mosaic faith". Danish Jews integrate and contribute to the development of modern Denmark. For some it was positive, for others it meant a loss of Jewish culture and identity.

A century characterized by immigration and emigration due to war, flight and persecution – and the dream of a better life. Jewish life is developing in step with this, and there is still a rich Jewish life in Denmark. It can look like many different ways and is met today in just as many ways – both positive and negative.














Guided tour

Book a tour of our permanent exhibition and immerse yourself in Danish Jewish history in the 1700th century.
The exhibition is suitable both for private groups, but in particular also for school classes with a focus on tolerance and humanity in history and social studies. Our experienced museum hosts will take the group on a journey through historical milestones and defining moments in Danish Jewish history. 
You can read more about tours of the exhibition for groups or school classes here .