A set of nine postage stamps has been produced in The Netherlands to celebrate the life of the country's most famous Salvationist – and one of its best-loved citizens – Lieut-Colonel Alida M. Bosshardt OF.
Ms. Bosshardt joined the Salvation Army in 1934 and was instructed to work with women in the city's Red Light District shortly after the end of World War II. The colonel died in June 2007 - 94 years old - after a lifetime serving the poor and needy. She spent more than 50 years working for the Salvation Army and established a centre in Amsterdam's Red Light District for prostitutes and drug addicts.
The nine stamps, each worth 44 eurocents, feature a variety of photographs or illustrations of 'De Majoor' ['The Major'] – as she was known even after promotion to lieut-colonel – in her famous Salvation Army bonnet.
Royal TNT Post, the main mail delivery service in The Netherlands, has also produced a special booklet which includes the new stamps and many more photographs of Lieut-Colonel Bosshardt through the years. A biography of the colonel is included in Dutch and English and makes it very clear that her inspiration to work with the poor and dispossessed came from her love of God. The front cover includes – again in two languages – the motto by which De Majoor led her life: 'To serve God is to serve people and to serve people is to serve God.'
Among Ms. Bosshardt's many life time awards were a knighthood in the Netherlands' Order of Oranje Naussau in 2004. The Israeli Holocaust museum gave her a "Righteous Among the Nations" award for helping Jewish children during the war, often taking them on her bicycle to homes where they would go into hiding.