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Van Houtte Family Blog has moved to ‘Erick Van Houtte’s Blog’

As I indicated on my very first post, I am taking this project as an opportunity to learn and develop new skills using Blogs, having my own website, social media and general online activities.

For ‘Erick Van Houtte’ or ‘’ to become more recognizable on the Internet, I have decided to move the Van Houtte family story blog to

the blog can be accessed the following ways:

from my new website:


I apologize for any inconvenience. will remain active, but I will not update information there (for now).  Eventually, as other family members or friends participate, I would like to open it so it does become a family blog.  For now, this is a personal project.


I have been traveling, business conference in Orlando, since last Sunday and am now at hotel getting ready to head for airport to go home  (I do miss the wife and kids).  I did not have any time to work on the book, but I did have time to read about online strategies…this explains how I came change the address of the blog.

I do have time today as I will wait for my flight…next post will have new info on the book.

Why did the Van Houtte horse business in France falter?

That is a question that has bothered me since in the original story of “La Famille Van Houtte,” I take a few assumptions, for which I believed I was writing with context, but did not possess all the facts.

My answers were with Christophe Van Houtte, son of Albert-Louis. I conducted a few interviews and even have recordings, yet never managed to get the answer. The very sad event is that Christophe passed away, while I was in deep research….my key source of fact was no longer there.

I believe to have figured out why Albert-Louis went to Canada, why he started with the Percheron horse breed business, but not what factually happened for him to leave France. His business was going through a difficult period; this we know from Christophe and Pierre Van Houtte (youngest child of Albert-Louis). However, we (I) do not know why that business started to falter.

In “La Famille Van Houtte,” I attributed the arrival of the automobile as the problem, but that is just not realistic. The automobile really took force after Albert-Louis was already in Canada.

Who can know this? Do you, reader, have an answer?

Was it:

– a poisoned inheritance?

– the economic environment?

– Albert-Louis?

– the family feud that strained relationships following the inheritance?

– something else?

This needs to be answered and I will take time to do so.

If you have any information (ideally with facts), theories or hearsay, please provide this information here….it will be very much appreciated.

Origin of “van” in Van Houtte, Vanhoutte

On the Van Houtte blog, I do not plan on providing the story itself; it will be available once complete in ePub format.  However, I will provide snip-its, either because I am looking for information, want to answer  a comment on the blog, to share some interesting information or, well just because I feel like it.

Harvey Greenberg commented on the previous post about the origin of ‘van’ in Van Houtte.

Below is the very first paragraph of the first chapter:

Van Houtte is a Flemish name from the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region in Northern France (used to be part of the Southern Netherlands), on the border of Belgium.  Designates those that originate from a place called Houtte, Hout (popular Netherlanders toponym:  hout = the ‘woods’ Hout, ten Houte).  Variances:  Vanhoute, Vanhoute, Van Houtte, Van Hout, Vanhout, Vandenhaute, Van den hout, Van den Haute, Van den Houdt, Vandenhoute.


Rewriting the Van Houtte story

Not too much activity this week translating the Van Houtte family history, being quite busy at work.  I do need to spend (find) more time.

The first section of the original Van Houtte story I am translating proved to be more challenging than expected and also more educational.  This is the period that pre-dates concrete evidence of what actually happened.  This period deals with Albert-Louis Van Houtte’s parents, where they lived, the profession and the arrival of the children (Albert-Louis and siblings).

I reached the period of what I consider to be Albert-Louis Van Houtte’s teens.  Clearly, all people I interviewed over eleven years ago were not even born at that time, nor did they even  relate to the pre-World War I era.  From the original version, I stripped some unnecessary material as well as what was much redundancy.  In the original Van Houtte book I wanted so much to establish how the family was hard working, disciplined, etc, that I overdid it and now find it horrible to read.  I knew then and am surprised people did not say it (thank you for having been so nice back then).  Dorothée (my wife) did not hesitate, and she was right.  These changes are done.

I suspect the new edition of the Van Houtte book will be shorter as I strip out more fat.  Not a bad thing, as the intent is a simple story, not to have an excessive amount of pages.  I’ll be happy with half the volume, better quality and happy readers.  After reading the new version, I’d like the readers to say to their friends:  “ah, good little story, you should read it.”

One piece of history I am happy to have refined:  the horses.  I was able (took the time) to understand better the horse activity in Northern France at that period.  I was not too far off in the original version…now I have a type of horse:  the Percheron breed.  Many articles….find out more on Wikipedia at:

I’m leaving tomorrow on a business trip for a full week, so will have little time to work on the project (maybe on the plane).  I’ll be leaving the family…I’ll miss them…and I will be away for my wife’s Birthday….ouch!

Today I will send emails out to friends about the Van Houtte blog.  From family, to friends to the world!

Work on the Van Houtte story has begun

This weekend was productive.  I reviewed the original book “La Famille Van Houtte, l’histoire d’un bon café” published in 2001 and started translating.

Some is easy, some not so.  Though my English is superior to my French, some of the words and some of the expressions are engrained in my mind in French.  Interesting, but actually not surprising.

As expected, some of the text needs revision.  I know exactly where I want refreshing…I knew it eleven years ago, now is no different.  The time lapse has helped detach myself, so I am much more objective.  Most of this is in the first chapter, where I wanted to establish the main character, Albert-Louis Van Houtte, but overdid it.  This is being corrected.

I am happy to also have more clarity on one historical event:  why Albert-Louis left France for Canada.  I will get to this later, but now feel I have better qualified information.  There are facts missing, which we may never get.  This is where I hope the Van Houtte blog will help, particularly with family that are of the other descendents of Auguste Louis Vanhoutte (the brothers and sisters of Albert-Louis).  From my current sources, I do not expect to get anything new.  I’ve narrowed the gap, but it is not closed.  There is time to address this, certainly until going live with the ePub.

Today I also sent an email to the immediate family.  I feel it important they be the first informed of this…a simple question of respect.  I will wait a few days then invite friends.  There appears to have been a little bug, as a few people reported receiving my email 16/17 times.  I have no explanation for this.  I checked my email and all is normal.  Also, others only received it once.  This could be an issue with incoming servers or other.  Anyway, my apologies if it created an inconvenience to anyone.

Three (3) pages translated out of 135, or 1,325 words on 63,000.

The Van Houtte blog…of adventure, cultural impact, coffee and entrepreneurs

Why a Van Houtte blog?  I’ve been thinking about one for years!  This is to be the home of our family and friends. I will begin the Van Houtte blog by sharing online the experience of creating and bringing to market an ePub.  My first ePub will be the translation of ‘La famille Van Houtte, l’histoire d’un bon café’, (Erick Van Houtte, 2001, Les Éditions Logiques).

The Van Houtte blog will also enable me, with context, to learn about blogging, about writing an ePub and promoting online.  I enjoy writing, always have, and look to the blog for fun and personal interest.

The first question for the Van Houtte blog is if it is in French or English.  Je vais principalement écrire en anglais, car mon anglais est sans doute supérieure, et aussi parce que le but est de rendre disponible en anglais le livre ‘La famille Van Houtte, l’histoire d’un bon café’.  In the end, I will blog in both languages and so can you.

I will translate the book and use the Van Houtte blog to share the experience.  When I wrote the book in 2001, I did not have all the facts, so filled in some blanks that now are clearer to me.  I admit on some points having interpreted too quickly the chain of events, and will also correct them where pertinent.

And then…. more projects, more writing.  As the Van Houtte blog develops, grows and evolves, there are two categories of writing I want to tackle (they are diametrically opposed):

1)     Business Books…. this is another friendly project for which I will be looking for many subject matter experts to participate…a collaborative adventure for the benefit of many;
…and at the other end of the spectrum from business books…

2)     Children’s Stories…. yes indeed.  Take the creative business mind and apply it to the little ones…in a fun, quasi-interactive personalized way.

Stay tuned for another blog and website.

I am very motivated and enthusiastic about the Van Houtte blog and hope you will support me by providing feedback, constructive criticism, contribute to some of the research and content.  With context, I hope you regularly visit the Van Houtte blog.

L’aventure commence…le meilleur est à venir.

Sincerely, Erick Van Houtte

Useful links:

Erick Van Houtte’s Website (site is brewing):

Paper copy of La famille Van Houtte, l’histoire d’un bon café:

Van Houtte