Judith Belinfante was born to a Dutch Jewish family. She attended the Hague Montessori Lyceum in The Netherlands and then studied modern history at the University of Amsterdam from 1962 to 1969. After graduation, she went to work as a curator at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, where she was named director in 1976. She also ran for political office as a member of the Dutch Labour Party. After four years in Parliament, where she held leadership positions, she returned to the cultural sector. In 2003, she was appointed chief curator of the Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam, a position she held until her retirement in 2008. She has served on numerous national museum, history, and cultural commissions, and was a jury member for the Johannes Vermeer Award. She's the author of several historical works, including Jewish Life in the Golden Age of Amsterdam (1980).