The Salvation Army has been battling social problems in the Netherlands for more than 125 years. Over the course of this period, the Dutch Salvation Army has developed into a well-known faith-based organization as well as an important professional social service provider. These two characteristics: religious work and social work, are regarded by the Army as essential to its identity, and are considered distinct but in – separable. However, as this study shows, during much of the Army’s history this bilateral character created an inescapable field of tension. This became explicitly clear with the development of the Dutch social policy system during the twentieth century, when the evolving relationship between the Salvation Army and the Dutch government created certain problems for both actors. How would the government cooperate with a valued social service provider that had an explicit faith-based identity? And on the other hand, how did the Army cope with this relationship in relation to its identity?
The work presented in this thesis was supported by the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (HU) and the VU University Amsterdam.