Danny Van Den Bulcke

4 February 1939 - 8 January 2014

Tributes to Danny

Superman Danny
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EIBA 2010 Porto (147)
Recognition Award - EIBA Chairman 2003-2009
Danny Van Den Bulcke (1939-2014)
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A Little About Danny

It is with profound sadness we inform you that Danny Van Den Bulcke passed away on January 8, 2014. Danny was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness in November 2013. Throughout his last two months, Danny showed an admirable and unyielding courage; unfortunately, the medical treatment was unsuccessful. Danny served on the EIBA Board since 1980. He was the EIBA Chairman from December 2003 to 2009, and Dean of the EIBA Fellows from 2009 to 2012. Among his many professional commitments, Danny was a Faculty Member of the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM) since 1987. Many of you will recall the wonderful times you had with Danny over the years -- so we invite you to record some of these memories (and perhaps share a few photos) on this commemorative website and open forum dedicated to this great man.

- Philippe Gugler, EIBA Chair


Recent Notices

Tribute to Daniël (Danny) Van Den Bulcke
[Speech presented by Prof. Ludo Cuyvers at Danny's funeral, 15 January 2014.]

When you look at the longstanding academic career of Daniël, or Danny, Van Den Bulcke, it is appropriate - yet funny - that it somehow reflects the different stages in the process model of internationalization. His activities started from a local or national interest in international economics and international business, and gradually moved into activities abroad, first in some neighboring countries and later in faraway continents. And, as Danny has always been very versatile, this internationalization process is evident, not only in his research, but also in his teaching career and his active participation in academic networking with colleagues and doctoral students from all over the world. Although other aspects of his career are eminently noteworthy, this tribute will be limited to the three dimensions of research, teaching and service.


After a fellowship of six months in Canada as “Laureate of the Prize of the Belgian Minister of Foreign Trade” at the University of Toronto, Danny was asked by Professor Vlerick at Ghent University to carry out a major research project on Foreign Enterprises in the Belgian Manufacturing Industry. The project was sponsored by the Belgian Agency of Productivity, an offspring of the Marshall Plan. The study was one of the first research studies on the impact of foreign enterprises on a national economy. Later on he used the extensive database set up for this project to analyze the newly ‘discovered‘ phenomenon of the Multinational Enterprise (MNE) for his doctoral thesis.

When he moved to the University of Limburg in 1972, he continued his research activities at Ghent University and carried out a new major empirical research project that was no longer limited to inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Belgian manufacturing sector, but extended to include services and outward FDI.

Danny was often one of the very first researchers to tackle new emerging issues in international business, such as outward FDI, divestment, employment impacts, restructuring, regional headquarters, and coordination centers -often at the request of international organizations and national institutions – such as the United Nations, the European Centre for the Study and Information on Multinationals, the European Commission, the International Labor Organization, and the Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs.

When he moved full time to the University of Antwerp in 1985, Danny‘s research interests spread in geographic scope. In the 1990s, he shifted towards Asia and in 1993 and 1994, respectively, he established at the University of Antwerp, together with some colleagues from the Faculty of Applied Economics, the Centre for International Management and Development Antwerp (CIMDA) and the Centre for ASEAN Studies (CAS).

He also found another challenge – the study of the Chinese economy. Together with his collaborators he wrote extensively about European Direct Investment in China, Chinese outward FDI, state owned enterprises and Chinese multinationals. Throughout this period he maintained his interest in FDI in Belgium, especially American investments, and the activities of MNEs in Europe.

On the occasion of his official retirement, Ludo Cuyvers and Filip De Beule presented him with a Liber Amicorum on Transnational Corporations and Economic Development, published by Palgrave Macmillan, and which contained contributions by eminent scholars in international business from all over the world.

Danny remained actively engaged with the university and the IB research community after his retirement. He had, for instance, organized several panels at the last conference of the European International Business Academy in Bremen, which he was, unfortunately, unable to attend due to his illness.


When Danny started in his academic career, the subject matter of international business did not yet exist in Belgium and most other European countries. The first courses he was asked to teach at Ghent University dealt with European Economic Integration and International Aspects of Economic Development. It was only after he left Ghent University and was appointed at the University of Limburg that he was able to launch a special course about issues of FDI and MNE. During the second half of the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s he was one of the few professors in the Benelux who had been following up on IB matters. As a result, he was asked to kick-start such courses in other universities. At one particular time he taught at seven different institutions and universities in Belgium and the Netherlands – in three different languages. Despite the fact that he had taken on some of those courses on the condition that someone would replace him after two or three years, he actually taught most for more than 10 years, for example, at the College of Europe in Bruges, and ICHEC in Brussels. During his long career he taught at no less than ten Belgian institutes and universities, including the Universities of Leuven, Ghent, Limburg, Brussels and, of course Antwerp, which at that time consisted of three separate universities.

At the University of Antwerp, he became a full time faculty member in 1985 at the Institute of Development Policy and Management – an institute at which he served as President from 1996 until 2001. He not only lectured at the Institute but also at the Faculty of Applied Economics (RUCA as well as UFSIA and served as an example of future integration at the University of Antwerp), the Institute of Transport and Maritime Management (ITMMA) and the Antwerp Management School (AMS).

In 2004, Danny was instrumental in the creation of the Master’s in Global Management at Antwerp Management School. He officially retired as professor from the University in 2004 but, as professor emeritus, remained an active teacher on a number of programs, including the Master’s in Global Management and executive programs.

Like his research, his teaching followed the gradual learning route encapsulated in the “internationalization model”, spreading from Belgium to, first the Netherlands – where during the 1980s he lectured at five Dutch universities, such as Tilburg University and Maastricht University – and Poland and Germany, where he was also very active. His first intercontinental teaching assignment took place in Indonesia in 1986 and would extend later to the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and India. Together with his colleague Ludo Cuyvers, as a part of the development programs of the Flemish Interuniversity Council, he was responsible for giving institutional support to 5 universities in South East Asia towards the development of their business curriculum and research. He also ran international development projects in countries such as Burundi, Cameroon, Madagascar, Rwanda, and South Africa.

For several years at the beginning of the 1990s, Danny also taught an International Management course at the China Europe Management Institute in Beijing, which was the predecessor of the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, and at the Institute of European Studies in Macau. He was also responsible for institutional development of the Xian Institute of Finance and Economics and also lectured there. His contribution to the educational development of Chinese universities won him the Sanqin Prize of Shaanxi Province in China and the Friendship Prize awarded by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Experts in 2000 for his many contributions to the educational development of Chinese universities.


Even as a student Danny was involved in AIESEC, an international student organization that provided traineeships for students in companies abroad. He was president of the local Committee of AIESEC and member of the Board of the Belgian National Committee. It was in this capacity that he participated in his first international conference in Marseilles.

In 1974, together with a number of colleagues from other Belgian universities, he founded the International Trade-invest Institute (ITI) which he served as president from 1981 to 1984. The objective of ITI was to establish greater cooperation between academics active in international trade and practitioners, both from business and government, by organizing seminars and colloquia. It was on his insistence that issues about FDI and the transfer of technology were incorporated in the mission of ITI.

From the end of the 1970s most of Danny‘s energy went into the European International Business Academy (EIBA). Danny served on the EIBA Board from 1979, acting as EIBA’s national representative for Belgium from 1979 to 2004 and EIBA President from 1985 to 1987. He was the EIBA Chairman from December 2003 to December 2009, and Dean of the Fellows from 2009 to 2012.

He was also actively involved in the Academy of International Business (AIB). He was chapter chair of the Western European Region from 1987 to 2000 and vice president during 2000-2002. During his term as AIB vice president he succeeded in bringing India under the AIB umbrella. Both these academic associations recognized Danny‘s contributions by electing him as a Fellow (AIB in 1992, EIBA in 2003).

The doctoral tutorials that he organized for EIBA and the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM) from 1987 until 2004 stand as a lasting legacy of Danny. In the service of his country, he was scientific director of the Intercollegiate Centre of Management Science (ICM) from 1988 to 1993 which awarded doctoral scholarships to promising Belgian students in management. He also was a member of the Faculty of the Danish Summer Research Institute, set up at the beginning of the 1990s to benefit PhD students. In 2010 Danny was instrumental in the establishment and running of a doctoral think-tank for the COST Action on Emerging Country Multinationals.

Danny also supervised, or was otherwise involved in the guidance and the evaluation of numerous doctoral theses at home and across the globe; many by doctoral candidates from far away countries such as China, Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia or Madagascar.


During his long and distinguished career, Danny traveled the world many times over – his ubiquitous camera in hand – and developed deep friendships with numerous people around the globe. In 2009, Filip De Beule edited an Itinerarium Amicorum, with memories by many friends and colleagues of their adventurous or humorous travel experiences with Danny, which he much appreciated.

Danny will be remembered for his thoughtful and principled leadership, as well as for his warm persona. He was a renowned academic expert in IB and highly respected among his peers for his many contributions to the intellectual development of the field.

He truly embodied the belief that increased international exchange can make the world a better place, and he did make it a better one.

[Text prepared by: Filip De Beule, Professor, University of Antwerp | KU Leuven, Belgium;
Ludo Cuyvers, Professor Emeritus, University of Antwerp, Belgium;
Haiyan Zhang, Director Confucius Institute for Business, NEOMA Business School, France.]

Recent Messages of Condolence


I only found out last night that Danny passed away four years ago. We were contemporaries at UGent. He chose his field well. He was a gentleman and a "gentle" man. The look in his eyes tells all about him. I remember him fondly. Willy van Ryckeghem Prof. Em. UGent

willy van ryckeghem 10 November, 2018

Danny was an "elder statesman" for IB in Europe and beyond, and the soul and face of EIBA for many years. Besides yearly conferences, I had the chance to interact with Danny on committees of various sorts once my move to Tilburg made us near-neighbors. There I experience more of the wisdom and good counsel, in occasions joyous and more tense, which made him a wonderful person to be around. My condolences to his family.

Xavier Martin 24 August, 2014

Danny was a great ambassador for EIBA and International Business and a wonderful human being. His insights into the importance of IB for small population advanced economies was an important contribution. Danny, you will be missed but not forgotten.

Peter Dowling 10 March, 2014

We would like to express our deepest sorrow about our loss of a great man. Daniel was an international reference as an academic and a colleague. We were lucky to share a few years working with him in research activities as part of a COST project, and last year we enjoyed his support and wise contributions to the XV World Economy Meeting at Santander-Spain. He has been an unforgettable example for all of us, especially to younger researchers.

Daniel Díaz-Fuentes 24 January, 2014

I will remember Danny as a good friend, a source of much good humour and laughter, and as an indefatigable supporter and promoter of EIBA over many many years. I will miss him enormously, as will anyone who ever had the pleasure to meet him.

Roger Strange 21 January, 2014

His legacy lives on ...