Major Alida Bosshardt - Hero
Across Pacific Ministries
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Major Alida Bosshardt
Amsterdam Hero

Source of Inspiration

By Jeff Fountain

Amsterdam was paying tribute this weekend to a woman whom one paper called a 'figurehead of goodness', as we started our four-week Summer School of European Studies in the city.

In a funeral service carried on national television, attended by prime ministers past and present, Major Alida Bosshardt of the Salvation Army was honoured by all for her genuine love and acceptance of rejects and royalty alike.

Major Alida BosshardtThe 'Major' is a household name in Holland. Her consistent  witness to God's love won her great respect and affection despite her daily appearance in a uniform harking back to a bygone era. Drug addicts and prostitutes eagerly told television crews how much they had lost a friend. The 'Major', they said, would be irreplaceable. 

In a city which recently unveiled a statue to honour prostitutes, this outpouring of respect and thankfulness for a woman whose message was clear and consistent is remarkable. That respect has earned her immortality in Madame Tussaud's wax museum, standing in her familiar uniform holding her beloved Bible. (The real Major is on the right in the photo.)

She made no secret of the fact that that book had been her life-long source of inspiration. She pointed countless prostitutes to its central message and to its central character. So much so,  it was recounted at the funeral, that criminal elements once planned to intimidate her by throwing her into the canal. Despite a police tip-off, the Major continued her daily duties unperturbed-although she did take the extra precaution of wearing an old uniform that day.


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