The Salvation Army

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Shared values

It may seem like an odd combination, The Bulldog and the Salvation Army. But we actually have a lot in common. Much like the Salvation Army, our doors are open to everyone, we offer a safe living room environment for people to relax and we support those in need in many different ways.

And that’s no coincidence.

How it started

It all began when founder Henk de Vries was only 12 years old. At the time he was a little rascal, often getting into trouble on the streets of Amsterdam. Life was tough and full of crime and violence. But there was one person in the Red Light District who was looking out for Henk and the people there: Alida Bosshardt, commonly known as Major Bosshardt of the Salvation Army. She showed compassion where others didn’t and created a little light in the darkness.

Henk’s ‘second mother’

As he was Major Bosshardt’s next door neighbour, Henk came under her wing after he got caught joyriding. The judge wanted to make sure it wouldn’t happen again and assigned Henk to a family guardian, who turned out to be Major Bosshardt. He was greatly influenced by her look on life and unconditional love and care for her fellow man. She helped him find his way in life and be the man he is today. In time Major Bosshardt even became like a second mother to Henk. Their relationship remained strong and lasted for decades, until Major Bosshardt sadly passed away in 2007.

Support the Salvation Army

You can help the Salvation Army continue helping people by making a donation to your local branch.

Show your compassion

Giving something back

Henk would never forget the life lessons Major Bosshardt taught him. As soon as The Bulldog began operating as a business, he wanted to show his gratitude to Major Bosshardt and the Salvation Army. It started small, with bringing a closet to the Salvation Army during a harsh winter and giving away much needed products like socks, underwear hats and scarfs. He did this because he had heard that all the people’s clothing had become torn and frayed from the washing machine.

 Feeding the community

During that same time, The Bulldog Mack opened its doors, which also played a big role in helping the local community. Each day, Mama Ali (a former neighbour), Tante Anna (Henk’s mother in law) and Kitty (Henk’s mother) prepared family dinners for the homeless in the Center. Thirty to forty people would gather to enjoy the cozy setting and a nice hot meal.

Once a month, our staff members still shop for groceries and cook meals for The Salvation Army guests at their shelter in The Red Light District. In the cold winter months when warm, healthy food is most important, we step up a gear and help out more often. To also reach out to the homeless of Amsterdam beyond the Red Light District we participate in a mobile soup bus distributing food. Through this hands-on approach we never lose touch with our community and are continuously reminded how lucky we are.

 Spa days

To help people in poverty feel a little better about themselves we host many different activities for the people visiting the Salvation Army. From time to time the Salvation Army takes them on holidays and we organise spa days at the Salvation Army’s Hotel in Lunteren, where people can get massages, manicures, haircuts and more. At night, they’re the stars of a variety show, where they perform specially dressed up and made up for the occasion. To help the people stay clean and healthy, our staff give them cosmetics and care products. All to give them a little more self-esteem and happiness.

Playing Santa

Around Christmas, times are extra tough when you’re homeless or poor. That’s why in December, together with the Salvation Army, we make an extra effort to warm the peoples’ hearts. During their annual Christmas dinner at the Koepelkerk, our own Santa hands out Christmas bread, butter, chocolate milk, cookies and toys, which they can give to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A caring relationship

The Salvation Army will always have a special place in our heart. What started as a bond between a young boy and his neighbour, has grown into a strong and caring relationship between two global organisations. We are proud to associate ourselves with the Salvation Army and we’ll continue working together in the future to help those who need it most.

Everything Henk does, is because he loves to help people in need. And always with the loving memory of the Major in mind, believing that every step he takes, she would have taken as well. Henk donates all year round, to make sure the people have everything they need.


In gratitude for his contributions, Henk was honoured with a very special award: the Majoor Bosshardt Onderscheiding. Only ten have been made, one of which was given to the former Queen of The Netherlands, Princess Beatrix.

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