The Netherlands remained neutral during the Great War. This created opportunities for ambitious trades people. Large profits were made. It is the subject of Conny Braam's novel 'The Irrisistible Bastard', about war time Ymuiden where tradesmen made clever use of dearth and trade barriers.
The Cocaine Factory is about a product the Dutch made a fortune with: cocaine, a commodity of unprecedented popularity in the trenches. All warring parties wanted it. Not only as a pain-killer for the wounded, but above all for soldiers in the front line, who became so much better sodiers with this stuff in their veins. Fearless and intrepid.
In 1900 the Dutch Cocaine Factory was founded in Amsterdam. Colonial Holland cultivated coca plants on the plantations in Indonesia. During the Great War business was booming; soldiers were fighting with a high dose of cocaine in their veins. The Dutch factory became the largest coke factory in the world.
This is the subject of the latest Conny Braam novel. It tells of a young ambitious salesman of the cocaine factory who meets an Englisch soldier who has come from the war severely wounded. A thrilling confrontation.