A small number of Jews settled in Veenendaal during the middle of the 17th century. At first, the Jews of Veenendaal prayed together in the house of one of their numbers, the leaseholder of the local lending bank.

By the first half of the 18th century, the Jewish population of Veenendaal had risen to the point that an organized Jewish community could be formed. The newly-founded community soon opened a small synagogue, located outside the village.

Synagoge in Veenendaal

Synagogue in Veenendaal

In 1761, the Jews of Veenendaal obtained the right to bury their dead at the Jewish cemetery at Wageningen. A feud between two families led to a split in the Veenendaal community that was resolved in 1793 through the intervention of the town council of Rhenen. A few years later, the community at Veenendaal hired a rabbi of its own.

With the reapportionment of Jewish communities in the Netherlands in 1821, the community at Veenendaal was recognized as a Ringsynagoge or regional community under the aegis of the Jewish community at Amersfoort. The Jewish population at Veenendaal grew throughout the early- and mid-19th-century and reached its peak during the late 1860s. The size of the community declined as the century progressed, in part to a large number of mixed marriages.

In 1852, the Veenendaal community built a new synagogue located on the Verlaat. The synagogue remained in use until the Second World War. The community established a cemetery of its own on the Parallelweg in 1900. At the outset of the 20th century, the community was governed by a board consisting of three members. The Veenendaal community's only voluntary organization, a women's society, was established in 1901. At the time, Jewish children of Veenendaal received their religious education from a teacher based in Amersfoort. The textile factory Veenendaalse Stoom Weverij, owned by the Jewish Bottenheim family, was an important force in the economic development of Veenendaal during the period. Jews were also active in local government.

During the World War II German occupation of the Netherlands, the Jews of Veenendaal suffered the same lot as Jews throughout the Netherlands. The majority of the Jews of Veenendaal were deported and murdered although a few local Jews did manage to survive the war in hiding. Approximately 100 other Jews, mostly from Amsterdam, also found hiding places in the surroundings of Veenendaal. During the war, the Germans vandalized the Veenendaal synagogue and stole or destroyed most of its Torah scrolls and ceremonial objects; however, three Torah scrolls that had been taken to Amsterdam and hidden were recovered after the war.

The Jewish community at Veenendaal was officially disbanded in 1951 and the locale was placed within the boundaries of the Jewish community at Utrecht. The synagogue was sold soon after the war and was razed in 1967. The Jewish cemetery currently is maintained by the local authorities. The house for the ritual preparation of the dead at the cemetery was restored in 1990. A plaque unveiled in 1988 at the Keermuur near the Duivenwal commemorates the former Jewish community at Veenendaal.

The Jewish population of Veenendaal and surroundings:

The size of the Jewish community over time