1863 - 1918 From confectioner to chocolate producer

The confectionery business of Gerardus Johannes Droste was opened in Haarlem in the summer of 1863. Customers could buy a cup of waterchocolate and various types of candy, for example chocolate pastilles, officially called 'Pastilles Droste'.

Droste established a grand reputation in these early years and as a result, the first Droste factory of the firm G.J. Droste opened its doors on August 2nd 1890.

Since 1891 Droste had been able to allocate the complete chocolate process in-house. The cocoa beans were stored in the loft, while sales took place in the retail store. This continued until 1946. Because of a lack of room, the factory was relocated to the Noorder Buiten Spaarne in 1891. It was in this plant were the production of cocoa and chocolate started. This waterside location was very favourable for Droste, enabling the delivery of raw materials and the transport of finished products by boat.

On March 1st 1897 Gerardus Johannes Droste handed over the leadership of the Droste plant to his sons. By then, Droste's assortment had grown to innumerable chocolate figures, pastilles, cocoa, and not to forget the famous chocolate initials.

Despite of severe competition from established and larger chocolate manufacturers, at home and abroad, Droste succeeded in winning a considerable market-share. In 1898 Droste was officially entitled to use the coat of arms of Queen-widow Emma.

By the turn of the 20th century Droste started exporting to Belgium, Germany and France in order to enlarge sales potential. This had soon extended to other countries. In the year 1905 Droste entered the American market.

Around the year 1900 the illustration of the "nurse" appeared on Droste's cocoa tins. This is most probably invented by the commercial artist Jan (Johannes) Musset, who had been inspired by a pastel of the Swiss painter Jean Etienne Liotard "La serveuse de chocolat", also known as "La belle chocolatière". The illustration indicated the wholesome effect of chocolate milk and became inextricably bound with the name Droste.

Jan Coenraad Droste, the son of the founder Gerardus Johannes Droste, retired for health reasons in 1909. At that time businesses went up for Droste and the number of employees increased steadily.

During the First World War Droste had to face serious production difficulties due to a shortage of raw materials.

1918 - 1939 Droste becomes a world-famous brand name

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