The JHM Children’s Museum

A Journey through the Jewish Tradition


Midden in het Joods Museum staat een huis met drie verdiepingen en in elke kamer is iets anders te zien of te doen. Een kleine rondleiding.



Kindermuseum, foto Ruud van Zwet

Max de Matze

Max de Matze is de gids in dit drie verdiepingen tellende huis. In ieder vertrek neemt hij de bezoeker bij de hand en geeft waar nodig toelichting. Hij zit vol grappen, bezit veel wijsheid en maakt van het bezoek een feest.

Max de Matze. Ontwerp: Ram Katzir, 2006. Collectie Joods Historisch Museum,  M009945.
Max de Matze. Ontwerp: Ram Katzir, 2006. Collectie Joods Museum, M009945.


The House of the Hollander Family

The JHM Children’s Museum, in the Obbene Shul, contains an inviting house that is imaginatively decorated as the home of a Jewish family, the Hollanders. Each family member, Mom, Dad, and their three children, shows in his or her own way what it means to them to be Jewish. In the Hollanders’ home, visitors can experience for themselves what is important in the Jewish tradition. For instance, what food do the Hollanders eat, and what don’t they eat? Who is asking so many questions, and why? And why is it sometimes more important to make a lot of noise than to be quiet?

The Hollanders sitting at their table, which is laid for dinner on Shabbat. Foto: Geek Zwetsloot, 2007. Collectie Joods Historisch Museum, F901026.

Max the Matzo

Max the Matzo is the guide who shows visitors around this three-story house. In each room he takes the visitor by the hand and provides information where necessary. He is always telling jokes, but he is also very wise, and makes the visit into a festive occasion.

Max de Matze. Ontwerp: Ram Katzir, 2006. Collectie Joods Historisch Museum,  M009945.
Max the Matzo. Design: Ram Katzir, 2006. Collection Jewish Historical Museum,  M009945.

The Living-Room

In the living room you can watch a video in which Max the Matzo introduces the Hollander family. There is a large portrait of the family surrounded by their distant relatives: from Abraham and Anne Frank to Moses and Max the Matzo. In a cabinet full of surprises you can find different answers to the question of who and what is Jewish, and why. For some it is all enjoyably familiar, while for others it is the beginning of a visit full of wonderment.

The Living Room. Photo: Liselotte Kamping.

The Study

In the study you can learn about the Torah and Jewish tradition, as well as the importance of studying together and of asking questions. In the video you see the Hollander children talking about the rules for everyday life in the Torah. On the large board with pictures and letters is a Hebrew book from which the children are learning to read. You will notice rabbis and other scholars leaping out from the pages. Each rabbi gives his own explanation of the text and together they encourage the children to discuss the meaning of the commandment Love thy neighbor as thyself.

The Study. Photo: Liselotte Kamping.

The Kitchen

In the kitchen you learn what food is kosher and what is not. The colors red and blue indicate the difference between meat products and milk products. In the video, the youngest son Benji pauses under the table, trying to decide whether he should put the glass of milk he is holding on the red or the blue part of the floor. The large kitchen table is a map of the world. It shows all the places to which Jews have spread around the world (the diaspora). In the kitchen you have an opportunity to bake your own mini-hallah (braided bread roll).

De keuken van het Kindermuseum
In the kitchen.


The speaking wall

A speaking wall tells the story of what the Obbene Shul [link to LR_054] has gone through in the course of time. The wall has been damaged and is purposefully not repaired, the damage serving to remind everyone of how much has been destroyed in times of war. Objects, film images, poems in the wall, and the Hollander family’s own memories tell the story of Amsterdam’s Jewish community. Visitors – adults and children alike – are invited to write down their own personal memories and to leave them at the wall.

The Music Room

In the music room you can play instruments that go with particular Jewish holidays. The tones and sounds of an old shofar (ram’s horn), a modern silver rattle, and a variety of drums are intended to make you think or to drown out evil. They are instruments that make you conscious of your own way of life and of your own responsibility for each other. There is a video showing the Hollanders performing on these instruments in Amsterdam’s smallest theater.

Muziekkamer Kindermuseum
The Music Room. Photo: Liselore Kamping.

In the attic

The bedroom. Photo: Liselore Kamping, 2007

In the attic is a canopy bed where you can rest and daydream. There is a video in which Benji has a strange dream and wonders out loud exactly what being Jewish really means to him and his family. Beside the large bed stands the house of Max the Matzo. Max sings a rap in which he tells you where he comes from and what he dreams of. Max stands not only for Jewish tradition, but also for the values that the JHM Children’s Museum seeks to pass on:

Make peace, both in your home and outside it.

And if something is broken? Try to fix it. Take care of the world.


Deze site is ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands