An independent Jewish community was established at Zuidlaren in 1883. In 1884, a synagogue was opened in the Zuiderstraat. A Jewish cemetery was established on the Wolferdinge, at the foot of the prehistoric burial mounds just outside Zuidlaren.
Jews living in Zuidlaren worked in commerce, in education, and as butchers. Due to a fall in membership, the Zuidlaren community was dissolved in 1925. The locales of Zuidlaren, Anlo and Vries were then merged into the Jewish community at Assen; nearby Eelde was merged into the Jewish community at Groningen.
During the World War II German occupation of the Netherlands, almost all of the Jews still living in Zuidlaren were deported and subsequently murdered. Only a very few managed to survive the war in hiding.
The former synagogue building at Zuidlaren was set to other uses in the years following the war. Het Comité Joods Erfgoed Zuidlaren (The Committee for the Jewish Legacy of Zuidlaren) has worked for the restoration of both the former synagogue and the Jewish cemetery. A plaque in memory of the murdered Jews of Zuidlaren was affixed to the wall of the former synagogue in 2000.
The building was purchased in 2005 by the Stichting Oude Drentse Kerken (Foundation for the Historic Churches of Drenthe) which transferred ownership to the Vereniging Behoud Synagogue Zuidlaren (Association for the Preservation of the Zuidlaren Synagogue) once the restoration was completed in 2007. In December 2007 the building was consecrated as a house of prayer for the Liberal Jewish community of the North Netherlands, Beth haTsafon. The synagogue now also houses cultural events and is open to visitors.
The restoration of the cemetery was completed in 2002. The cemetery currently is maintained by the local authorities.
The Jewish population of Zuidlaren and surroundings:
The size of the Jewish community over time