A Jewish couple settled in Noordwolde in 1750. A few more families arrived during the second half of the eighteenth century and founded an organized Jewish community. In 1770, the community established a cemetery, located on the Schapendrift. A synagogue was opened on the Hoofdstraat-West sometime prior to 1786.

Monument op de begraafplaats in Noordwolde

Monument of the Jewish cemetery in Noordwolde

The Jews of Noordwolde were mostly retailers and vendors. The Noordwolde Jewish community maintained close contact with the communities at nearby Gorredijk and Steenwijk. At the start of the nineteenth century, the economic situation of the community was so bad that it was unable to pay its taxes. In 1861, the community attempted unsuccessfully to raise money to build a new synagogue. As the century progressed, membership in the community declined to the point that it was merged into the Jewish community at Heerenveen. The synagogue was sold in 1876 and razed in 1880.

Only three gravestones still stand at the Jewish cemetery in Noordwolde. The cemetery is maintained by It Fryske Gea (the provincial ecological organization The Frisian Scenery). In 2003, ownership of the cemetery was transferred to the NIK, the central Jewish consistory of the Netherlands. To mark the occasion, a monument in memory of Jews from the municipality of Stellingwerf (of which Noordwolde is part) murdered during the Second World War was unveiled in the cemetery.

The Jewish population of Noordwolde and surroundings:

The size of the Jewish community over time