One of Western Europe’s largest Hebrew bookstores has closed down in Amsterdam as its former owners prepare to immigrate to Israel.
Samech, located in southern Amsterdam, has been supplying Hebrew-language books to members of Holland’s Jewish community for nearly 40 years and possessed a stock of 100,000 books, according to the website of the Dutch Israelite Religious Community, or NIK.
The store, which used to be the largest of its kind in the Netherlands, belonged to Daan and Shulamit Daniel, who are planning to move to Israel. All their children had already moved out of the Netherlands in favor of “places with richer Jewish lives than Amsterdam,” according to NIK.
The store’s entire stock was sold or given away last month, the report by NIK said. Holland has a Jewish population of 41,000 -45,000, according to the European Jewish Congress.
Immigration to Israel from Western Europe brought 3,243 new arrivals to Ben Gurion Airport in 2012, an increase of six percent from the previous year. However, immigration from the Benelux area - Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg - dropped that year by 26 percent to 209 new arrivals.
Samech used to service Holland’s outsized population of Israeli expats, estimated by the Dutch Jewish community to be around 10,000.
According to Dr. Yinon Cohen of Tel Aviv University, there are about 6,600 Israelis living in France and fewer than 3,000 in Spain, Italy and Portugal put together.
Britain has the largest population of Israeli expats in Europe, with 40,000 of them living in London alone, according to Israel’s foreign ministry.