From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mokum (מקום) is the Yiddish word for "place" or "safe haven".[1] It is derived from the Hebrew word makom (מקום, "place").[2]

City Yiddish Translation
Alkmaar Mokum Aye
Amsterdam Mokum Alef City A
Berlin Mokum Beis City B
Delft Mokum Dollet City D
Rotterdam Mokum Resh City R
Winschoten Mokum van het Noorden City of the North

In Yiddish, the names for some cities in the Netherlands and Germany were shortened to Mokum and had the first letter of the name of the city, transliterated into the Hebrew alphabet, added to them. Cities named this way were Amsterdam, Berlin, Delft, and Rotterdam.[3]

"Mokum" pasted over "Amsterdam" on a city limit sign in 1963

Mokum, without Aleph, is still commonly used as a nickname in the Netherlands for the city of Amsterdam. The nickname was first considered to be bargoens, a form of Dutch slang, but in the 20th century it lost its negative sound and is now used by Amsterdammers as a nickname for their city in a sentimental context.[4] Examples are the song "Brand in Mokum" (derived from "Scotland's Burning"); Mokum 700, an exhibit in the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre celebrating the 700th anniversary of Amsterdam in 1975;[5] and "Mama Mokum", a song about Amsterdam by Ramses Shaffy from 1997.[6]


  1. ^ "Yiddish Dictionary Online". Archived from the original on July 13, 2015.
  2. ^ "Milon". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
  3. ^ Martens, Hadewych (2006-09-26). "Jiddisch, ontstaan en etymologie". Archived from the original on 2006-10-07. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
  4. ^ Berns, Jan; Daan, Jo (1992). Hij zeit wat. De Amsterdamse volkstaal (in Dutch). The Hague: BZZTôH. p. 66. ISBN 90-6291-756-9.
  5. ^ "700-jarig bestaan van Amsterdam 1275–1975", Amsterdam City Archives. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  6. ^ "Ramses '97", Discogs. Retrieved 2020-02-11.