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The Belgian business landscape loses one of its pioneers with the death of Denis Van Hool, the son of Bernard Van Hool, founder of the well-known bus builder Van Hool.

Denis passed away at the age of 91, a loss that is felt within and outside the sector. His passing was confirmed on Saturday evening by Het Laatste Nieuws, and marks the end of an era for a family deeply intertwined with Belgium's industrial history.

Born on March 14, 1932, Denis became involved in the family business at an early age. Together with his three brothers, he helped his father found Van Hool when he was just 14 years old. This early start laid the foundation for a lifelong career within the company, where Denis fulfilled various key roles, from director of the NV to director of operational affairs. His work covered a wide range, from human resources to IT, which underlines his versatility and dedication to the company.

Denis Van Hool was not only a key figure in building Van Hool into a respected name in the bus building industry, but he was also involved in the wider development of the sector in Europe. His vision on business operations and innovation contributed to the growth and success of Van Hool, which is known for its high-quality buses and coaches.

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Van Hool
Photo: © Pitane Blue - Van Hool

In 2013, he handed over the management of the company to his son, Filip Van Hool, who took on the role of CEO. Under Filip's leadership, the company continues to carry on the vision of his grandfather and father, albeit under challenging circumstances, as recently illustrated by the bankruptcy and subsequent takeover.

Denis' death comes at a time the family and the company were already dealing with significant challenges, including the recent financial problems and the takeover of their activities. This makes the loss even more painful for those who were close to him and for whom he was a source of inspiration and leadership.

According to reports, Denis Van Hool's funeral will take place in an intimate circle, which is in keeping with the modesty he often displayed during his life. It is a moment of reflection for the many people whose lives he has touched, both within and beyond the boundaries of his company.

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