Throughout the eighteenth century, Jewish families occasionally resided in Sneek, however, the local Jewish population did not begin to grow until after 1809. An organized Jewish community was founded in Sneek in 1817. The new community was initially granted the status of a local community (Bijkerk) under the aegis of the Jewish community at Leeuwarden but in 1824 was elevated to the rank of regional community (Ringsynagoge).
Initially, the Jews of Sneek met for prayer in a private residence on the Oosterdijk. Over the course of the nineteenth century, a series of other locations served the community as its synagogue. These included an upstairs room in a house on De Pol, purchased by the community in 1819, and a building on the Wijde Brugstraat, first used as a synagogue in 1836. In 1880, the Sneek community constructed a brand new synagogue on the site of the Wijde Brugstraat building. The building was designed in a neo-Moorish style. It was restored in 1905.
The ground for the Jewish cemetery on the Leeuwarderstraatweg (the present-day Burgermeester De Hooppark) was purchased by the community in 1823. The cemetery was expanded in 1890. Following a split in the community at the end of the nineteenth century over an issue pertaining to taxation, a second Jewish cemetery was opened in a separate section of the Non-sectarian cemetery on the Kerkhoflaan. The issue was eventually resolved and the community reunited.
The Jewish community at Sneek was governed by a community board and community council. Voluntary organizations included a Torah study fellowship, a society for assistance to the poor, a burial society, and a society for the upkeep of the synagogue and its appurtenances. During the first decades of the twentieth century, branches of the Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Nederlandse Zionistenbond were active in Sneek. Many of the Jews of Sneek worked in the retail sector, and a smaller number worked in the meat processing industry.
Under the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, slightly more than half of the Jews of Sneek went into hiding and survived; the others were deported and murdered. The community's synagogue was destroyed by members of the Dutch collaborationist NSB movement. The synagogue's Torah scrolls came through the war unharmed and its silver ceremonial objects, stolen by Germans, were later recovered.
Jewish life did not resume in Sneek after the war. The ruined synagogue building was razed in 1949. A number of its remaining ceremonial objects were donated to the settlement of Kfar Batya in Israel.
In 1950, Sneek was placed within the administrative district of the Jewish community at Leeuwarden. A memorial plaque was placed at the site of the former synagogue in Sneek in 1972; the plaque was moved to the garden of Sneek's town hall in 1999. In 1980, a street in Sneek was renamed after the locally-born Jewish economist Sam de Wolff (1878-1960), an active socialist and Zionist.
The Jewish cemetery at Sneek is currently maintained by the local authorities.
IJlst and Stavoren
From the seventeenth century on, Jews lived in nearby IJlst and Stavoren; their numbers, however, were never sufficient to form a separate Jewish community.
The Jewish cemetery at Workum dates back to 1664 and is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Friesland. It was declared a national monument in 1999.
The Jewish population of Amersfoort and surroundings:
The size of the Jewish community over time