Colourful People

Major Bosshardt

majoor bosshardt‘Alida Margarethe Bosshardt’ (1913 – 2007) finds her destiny in the Salvation Army at the age of 18 and contributes to the quality of life of the homeless, addicts and prostitutes until her death in 2007. During the occupation in the Second World War she helped Jewish children to hide from the Germans and their collaborators. After the war, Alida resumed her social work at the headquarters of the Salvation Army at the Prins Hendrikkade. In 1948 Alida started selling ‘De Strijdkreet’ (a magazine published by the Salvation Army) in the Red Light District. Since then her name has always been linked to the Red Light District. By the end of 1951 Alida successfully rented building ‘Leeuwenburgh’ at the Oudezijds Voorburgwal 14 from the Hendrick de Keyser association. This became her new office.

Alida had a very good relation with the Royal Family. She was once photographed with Princess Beatrix when the princess visited the Red Light District incognito at a young age.

In 2013, Major Bosshardt got a statue on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal and also a bridge over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal was named after her. An old friend of Major Bosshardt, Princess Beatrix, opened a new shelter of the Salvation Army in the Red Light District in 2014 named: ‘Major Bosshardtburgh’.


Rob van Hulst     

Rob van HulstRob van Hulst lives in the Red Light District since 1975. He studied at the Theatre Academy and was actor in several theater and television productions. Rob was one of the main characters in a popular soap ‘Medical Center West’ which ran on National TV from 1988 until 1994. After that Rob hosted his own television show about the Red Light District. From 1980 Rob and his team give behind-the-scenes-tours in the Red Light District. Part of Rob’s tours are unique conversations with policemen and prostitutes.



A prostitute called Mien lived and worked for 35 years opposite the Old Church, at Oudekerksplein 28. She had her working space downstairs and lived upstairs with her husband and children. Every Sunday morning, when the church bells rang, Mien always closed her curtains and stopped working for two hours. Not so much out of respect for the faithful but more to avoid confrontations with her regulars who passed by her window when they went to church with their families.