History of Medicine

Jewish Hospitals in 20th Century Amsterdam: A Tale of Growth, Change, and Decline

Jack Yehudi Vanderhoek


Major improvements in medical diagnostics and treatments in Dutch hospital care during the second half of the 19th century led to a shift from a nearly exclusive focus on indigent patients to an increasing proportion of hospital beds dedicated to paying middle-class patients. To accommodate this change, three private non-sectarian hospitals for middle-class patients were established in Amsterdam between 1857 and 1902. However, the two Jewish hospitals in the Dutch capital, the Dutch Jewish Ashkenazi hospital (NIZ), and the Portuguese Jewish hospital (PIZ), initially established exclusively for poor Jews, were much slower to respond to the trend of increasing hospital care for the middle class. This study examines how these hospitals addressed the needs of both poor and middle-class patients in the first decades of the 20th century as well as the success of the Centrale Israelitische Ziekenverpleging (CIZ, Central Jewish hospital) that was established solely for middle-class Jewish patients. The report also investigates how, after the devastation of the Amsterdam Jewish community during WW2, the CIZ managed to remain and today is the only ritually observant Jewish hospital unit in the Netherlands.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2023;14(4):e0025