This collection of a thousand picture postcards has been brought together by collector Jaap van Velzen, and entered the possession of the Jewish Historical Museum in 1998.
Most cards show us Amsterdam's Jewish district where a substantial part of Dutch Jews resided. But there are also two hundred cards from 'the Mediene', the Jewish communities in 'the provinces', outside of Amsterdam. Images of villages and cities often show a synagogue or Jewish cemetery. These are sometimes pictured fully, but are obscured on other postcards, on which the sender at one time added an arrow along with the word 'synagogue'.
Most of the cards are from the beginning of the twentieth century, the 'golden age' of the picture postcard. Postcards were first introduced in 1870, initially as greeting cards, of which we can find several dozen within this collection, mainly to celebrate the Jewish New Year.
Later, from 1883, the first picture postcards with topographical images appear, and became extremely popular before long. The third kind of picture postcard in this collection is a selection of cards picturing Jewish performing artists, including singers, actors, magicians and comics.