Even before 1750, two Jewish families from Germany settled in Naaldwijk. The breadwinners both worked as butchers. A Jewish community was founded in 1793 and held religious services in a private home. A year later, the community purchased a cemetery on the Opstalweg.
During the reign of King Louis Napoleon, the Jewish community purchased the old Catholic church in the Heilige Geesthofje in 1807 and converted it into a synagogue. There was also a Jewish school in the Millenstraat. Many Naaldwijk Jews worked as meat butchers, retailers or milliners.
As a result of urbanization during the second half of the nineteenth century, the number of Jewish residents of Naaldwijk declined sharply. By 1920, so few Jews lived there that it was decided to abolish the Jewish community. This was finally accomplished in 1924, when the community was merged into that of The Hague. The dilapidated synagogue was sold, then restored in 1933 and furnished as a Gemeentemuseum in 1935.
The Jewish population of Naaldwijk and surroundings:
The size of the Jewish community over time