Famous people from Belgium
Here is a list of famous people from Belgium. Curious if anybody from Belgium made it our most famous people in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.
Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great or Charles I, was the King of the Franks from 768, the King of Italy from 774, and from 800 the first emperor in western Europe since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state he founded is called the Carolingian Empire. The oldest son of Pepin the Short and Bertrada of Laon, Charlemagne became king in 768 following the death of his father. He was initially co-ruler with his brother Carloman I. Carloman's sudden death in 771 under unexplained circumstances left Charlemagne as the undisputed ruler of the Frankish Kingdom. Charlemagne continued his father's policy towards the papacy and became its protector, removing the Lombards from power in northern Italy, and leading an incursion into Muslim Spain. He also campaigned against the peoples to his east, Christianizing them upon penalty of death, at times leading to events such as the Massacre of Verden. Charlemagne reached the height of his power in 800 when he was crowned as "Emperor" by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day at Old St. Peter's Basilica.
Jean "Django" Reinhardt was a French-Gypsy guitarist and composer. Reinhardt is often regarded as one of the greatest guitar players of all time and is the first important European jazz musician who made major contributions to the development of the idiom. Using only the index and middle fingers of his left hand on his solos, Reinhardt invented an entirely new style of jazz guitar technique that has since become a living musical tradition within French Gypsy culture. With violinist Stéphane Grappelli, he co-founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, described by critic Thom Jurek as "one of the most original bands in the history of recorded jazz." Reinhardt's most popular compositions have become jazz standards, including "Minor Swing", "Daphne", "Belleville", "Djangology", "Swing '42", and "Nuages".
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, professionally known as Jean-Claude Van Damme and abbreviated as JCVD', is a Belgian martial artist, actor, and director best known for his martial arts action films. The most successful of these films include Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Universal Soldier, Hard Target, Street Fighter, Timecop, Sudden Death, JCVD and The Expendables 2.
Basketball Point guard
William Anthony "Tony" Parker, Jr. is a French professional basketball player who currently plays for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association. The son of a professional basketball player, Parker played for two years in the French basketball league before entering the 2001 NBA Draft. He was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 28th overall pick in the draft and quickly became their starting point guard, helping the Spurs win three NBA championships in 2003, 2005 and 2007. Employing his pace and high field goal percentage to great effect, Parker has been named to five NBA All-Star games, two All-NBA Second Teams, and an All-NBA Third Team. He was the 2007 NBA Finals MVP. Parker was named as the EuroBasket 2013 MVP following his team's victory over Lithuania in the gold medal game. The point guard finished as the tournament's top scorer with 19 points-per-game. Parker is also a music artist with his own music album TP. He married actress Eva Longoria on 7 July 2007. In November 2010, both parties filed for divorce.
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I as Holy Roman Emperor and his son Philip II as King of Spain in 1556. Charles was the eldest son of Philip the Handsome and Joanna the Mad. His grandmother was Isabella I of Castile. As the heir of three of Europe's leading dynasties—the House of Habsburg of the Habsburg Monarchy; the House of Valois-Burgundy of the Burgundian Netherlands; and the House of Trastámara of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon—he ruled over extensive domains in Central, Western, and Southern Europe; and the Spanish colonies in the Americas and Asia. As Charles was the first king to rule Castile, León, and Aragon simultaneously in his own right, he became the first King of Spain. In 1519, Charles became Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria. From that point forward, his empire spanned nearly four million square kilometers across Europe, the Far East, and the Americas.
Professional Road Racing Cyclist
Sir Bradley Marc Wiggins, CBE, nicknamed "Wiggo", is an English professional road and track racing cyclist who rides for the UCI ProTeam Team Sky. Wiggins began his career on the track, but has made the transition to road cycling and is one of the few cyclists to gain significant elite level success in both forms of professional cycling. Wiggins was born in Ghent, Belgium, before moving to London, where he began track cycling. He has won six gold medals at the track world championships, his first in 2003 and his most recent in 2008; three in the individual pursuit, two in the team pursuit and one in the Madison. He won a gold in the individual pursuit at the 2004 Olympic Games and two golds in the individual and team pursuit at the 2008 Olympic Games. After the 2008 Olympics, Wiggins took a break from the track to focus on the road. Initially viewed as a time trial specialist and as a rouleur, he showed his ability in stage races when he came fourth in the 2009 Tour de France; he was later promoted to third after Lance Armstrong's results were annulled in 2012. In 2011 he claimed his first victory in a major stage race came in the Critérium du Dauphiné, and he also finished third in the Vuelta a España.
Eden Hazard is a Belgian footballer, who plays for English club Chelsea in the Premier League and the Belgium national team. He primarily plays as an attacking midfielder and a winger. Hazard is known for his creativity, speed, and technical ability and is described as a "fearless, explosive attacking midfielder who can change the game with a turn of pace or a dribble". He has also been described as "a defender's nightmare" and has earned critical acclaim for his playing style, which has led to the media, coaches, and players drawing comparisons to FIFA Ballon d'Or winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Hazard is the son of former Belgian footballers and began his football career in Belgium playing for local clubs Royal Stade Brainois and Tubize. In 2005, he moved to France joining first division club Lille. Hazard spent two years in the club's academy and, at the age of 16, made his professional debut in November 2007. He went on to become an integral part of Lille under manager Rudi Garcia, racking up over 190 appearances. In his first full season as a starter, he won the National Union of Professional Footballers Young Player of the Year award becoming the first non-French player to win the award. In the 2009–10 season, Hazard captured the award again becoming the first player to win the award twice. He was also named to the league's Team of the Year.
Steve Darcis is a Belgian professional tennis player. He has won two ATP titles and achieved a career-high singles ranking of World No. 44 on 12 May 2008.
Professional Road Racing Cyclist
Edouard Louis Joseph, Baron Merckx, better known as Eddy Merckx, is a Belgian former professional road bicycle racer, considered to be the greatest pro-cyclist ever. The French magazine Vélo described Merckx as "the most accomplished rider that cycling has ever known," while VeloNews of the United States declared him to be the greatest and most successful cyclist of all time. Merckx, who turned professional in 1965, won the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia five times each, and the Vuelta a España once. He also won all of professional cycling's classic "monument" races at least twice each. Merckx was World Champion once as an amateur and three times as a professional, and he broke the world hour record before retiring in 1978. Since then, Merckx has remained active in professional cycling through various commercial and sporting projects, most notably by manufacturing and selling his own line of bicycles, Eddy Merckx Cycles.
René François Ghislain Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fall under the umbrella of surrealism. His work challenges observers' preconditioned perceptions of reality.
John Mark "Johnny" Galecki is an American actor. He is best known for his roles as Leonard Hofstadter in the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory and David Healy in the ABC sitcom Roseanne.
Marouane Fellaini Bakkioui is a Belgian footballer who plays for English club Manchester United and the Belgian national team. Born in Etterbeek to Moroccan parents, Fellaini played youth football for Anderlecht, R.A.E.C. Mons, Royal Francs Borains and Charleroi S.C. before joining Standard Liège. After winning the Belgian First Division and the Ebony Shoe as a Liège player, he moved to England to join Everton. At Everton, he was the club's Young Player of the Season for 2008–09, when the club were losing finalists in the FA Cup. After six years at Everton, he moved to Manchester United in a deal worth £27.5 million in September 2013.
Kirsten Flipkens is a Belgian professional female tennis player. Her WTA career-high singles ranking is World No. 13, which she achieved in August 2013. She had success as a junior, winning the Girls' singles title at the 2003 Wimbledon Championships, and the 2003 US Open. Since then she has won one WTA singles title, 12 ITF singles titles, and one ITF doubles title. In 2012, she developed life-threatening blood clots which drastically reduced her ranking. Her comeback led to her best grand slam performance at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, where she reached the semi-final, losing to the eventual champion, Marion Bartoli.
Albert II of Belgium
Albert II reigned as King of the Belgians, following his elder brother's death, from 1993 until his abdication in 2013. He is a member of the royal house of "Belgium"; formerly this house was named Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He is the uncle of the current reigning Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Henri. On 3 July 2013, King Albert II attended a midday session of the Belgian cabinet. He then announced that on 21 July, he would abdicate the throne for health reasons. He was succeeded by his son, The Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant, on 21 July 2013. Albert II was the fourth monarch to abdicate in 2013, following Pope Benedict XVI, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, and Emir Hamad bin Khalifa of Qatar. In doing so, he was also the second Belgian king to abdicate following his father, King Leopold III, who abdicated in 1951, albeit under very different circumstances.
Claude Lévi-Strauss was a French anthropologist and ethnologist, and has been called, along with James George Frazer and Franz Boas, the "father of modern anthropology". The work of Lévi-Strauss was also key in the development of the theory of structuralism and structural anthropology. He was honored by universities throughout the world and held the chair of Social Anthropology at the Collège de France, and was elected a member of the Académie française in 1973. He argued that the "savage" mind had the same structures as the "civilized" mind and that human characteristics are the same everywhere. These observations culminated in his famous book Tristes Tropiques, which positioned him as one of the central figures in the structuralist school of thought, where his ideas reached into many fields in the humanities, as well as sociology and philosophy. Structuralism has been defined as "the search for the underlying patterns of thought in all forms of human activity."
Romelu Menama Lukaku is a Belgian footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club Everton on loan from Chelsea and the Belgium national team. He started his career with local side Rupel Boom, before being scouted and joining Lierse. He played well and attracted many clubs to his talents. He alerted Anderlecht and signed for the Belgian Pro League side in 2006. Lukaku continued his development with Anderlecht and made his professional debut while still at school at the age of 16. Whilst playing for Anderlecht, he became the 2009–10 top scorer in Belgium as Anderlecht won the Belgian championship, and won the Belgian Ebony Shoe in 2011. In the 2011 summer transfer window, Lukaku signed for English Premier League club Chelsea for an undisclosed fee, penning a five-year contract with the London club.
Xavier Malisse is a Belgian tennis player. Born in the north-western Flemish city of Kortrijk and nicknamed X-Man, he is the only men's player from his country to have been ranked in the top 20 of the ATP tour, with a career-high singles ranking of World No. 19. He will retire from tennis after 2014 Australian Open.
Philippe of Belgium
Philippe or Filip is the reigning King of the Belgians, having ascended the throne on 21 July 2013. He is the eldest child of King Albert II, whom he succeeded upon Albert's abdication for health reasons, and Queen Paola. He married Countess Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz, with whom he has four children. King Philippe's elder daughter, Princess Elisabeth, is next in the line of succession, thus making her, when the time comes, the nation's first ever Queen. Philippe is Europe's second youngest reigning monarch after The Netherlands' Willem-Alexander. He is also one the four new monarchs to take the throne in 2013 along with the aforementioned Dutch King, Pope Francis of the Vatican, and Sheikh Tamim of Qatar.
Georges Joseph Christian Simenon was a Belgian writer. A prolific author who published nearly 200 novels and numerous short works, Simenon is best known as the creator of the fictional detective Jules Maigret.
Antoine-Joseph "Adolphe" Sax was a Belgian musical instrument designer and musician who played the flute and clarinet, and is well known for having invented the saxophone.
Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter active in Bruges and is generally considered one of the most significant Northern European painters of the 15th century. The few surviving records indicate that he was born around 1390, most likely in Maaseik. Outside of works completed with his brother Hubert van Eyck and those ascribed to Hand G —believed to be Jan— of the Turin-Milan Hours illuminated manuscript, only about 23 surviving works are confidently attributed to him, of which ten, including the Ghent altarpiece, are signed and dated. Little is known of his early life, but his emergence as a collectable painter generally follows his appointment to the court of Philip the Good c. 1425, and from this point his activity in the court is comparatively well documented. Van Eyck had previously served John of Bavaria-Straubing, then ruler of Holland, Hainault and Zeeland. By this time van Eyck had assembled a workshop and was involved in redecorating the Binnenhof palace in The Hague. After John's death in 1425 he moved to Bruges and came to the attention of Philip the Good. He served as both court artist and diplomat and became a senior member of the Tournai painters' guild, where he enjoyed the company of similarly esteemed artists such as Robert Campin and Rogier van der Weyden. Over the following decade van Eyck's reputation and technical ability grew, mostly from his innovative approaches towards the handling and manipulating of oil paint. His revolutionary approach to oil was such that a myth, perpetuated by Giorgio Vasari, arose that he had invented oil painting.
Charles Martel was a Frankish statesman and military leader who, as Duke and Prince of the Franks and Mayor of the Palace, was de facto ruler of Francia from 718 until his death. The illegitimate son of Frankish strongman, Pepin of Heristal, and a noblewoman named Alpaida, Martel successfully asserted his claims to power as successor to his father as the power behind the throne in Frankish politics. Continuing and building on his father's work, he restored centralized government in Francia and began the series of military campaigns that re–established the Franks as the undisputed masters of all Gaul. In foreign wars, Martel subjugated Bavaria, Alemannia, and Frisia, vanquished the pagan Saxons, and halted the Islamic advance into Western Europe at the Battle of Tours. Martel is considered to be the founding figure of the European Middle Ages. Skilled as an administrator and warrior, he is often credited with a seminal role in the development of feudalism and knighthood. Martel was a great patron of Saint Boniface and made the first attempt at reconciliation between the Papacy and the Franks. The Pope wished him to become the defender of the Holy See and offered him the Roman consulship. Martel refused the offer, but it was a sign of the things to come.
Anthony van Dyck
Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England, after enjoying great success in Italy and Flanders. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next 150 years. He also painted biblical and mythological subjects, displayed outstanding facility as a draftsman, and was an important innovator in watercolour and etching.
Professional Road Racing Cyclist
Tom Boonen is a Belgian professional road bicycle racer who won the 2005 world road race championship. He is a member of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team, and is a single-day road specialist with a strong finishing sprint. His personality and looks, with his successes, turned him into Belgium's male sports idol of the mid-2000s, but he incurred censure after testing positive twice for cocaine.
Leopold II of Belgium
Leopold II was the King of the Belgians, and is chiefly remembered for the founding and exploitation of the Congo Free State. Born in Brussels the second son of Leopold I and Louise-Marie of Orléans, he succeeded his father to the throne on 17 December 1865 and remained king until his death. Leopold was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, a private project undertaken on his own behalf. He used Henry Morton Stanley to help him lay claim to the Congo, an area now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885, the colonial nations of Europe committed the Congo Free State to improving the lives of the native inhabitants. From the beginning, however, Leopold essentially ignored these conditions and ran the Congo using a mercenary force for his personal gain. Some of the money from this exploitation was used for public and private construction projects in Belgium during this period. Leopold extracted a fortune from the Congo, initially by the collection of ivory, and after a rise in the price of rubber in the 1890s, by forcing the population to collect sap from rubber plants. Villages were required to meet quotas on rubber collections, and individuals' hands were cut off if they did not meet the requirements. His regime was responsible for the death of an estimated 2 to 15 million Congolese. This became one of the most infamous international scandals of the early 20th century, and Leopold was ultimately forced to relinquish control of it to the Belgian government.
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, KG was a member of the House of Plantagenet, the third surviving son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault. He was called "John of Gaunt" because he was born in Ghent, then rendered in English as Gaunt. When he became unpopular later in life, scurrilous rumours and lampoons circulated that he was actually the son of a Ghent butcher, perhaps because Edward III was not present at the birth. This story always drove him to fury. As a younger brother of Edward, Prince of Wales, John exercised great influence over the English throne during the minority of his nephew, Richard II, and during the ensuing periods of political strife, but was not thought to have been among the opponents of the king. John of Gaunt's legitimate male heirs, the Lancasters, included Kings Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI. His other legitimate descendants included, by his first wife, Blanche, his daughters Queen Philippa of Portugal and Elizabeth, Duchess of Exeter; and by his second wife, Constance, his daughter Queen Catherine of Castile. John fathered five children outside marriage, one early in life by a lady-in-waiting to his mother, and four surnamed "Beaufort" by Katherine Swynford, Gaunt's long-term mistress and third wife. The Beaufort children, three sons and a daughter, were legitimised by royal and papal decrees after John and Katherine married in 1396; a later proviso that they were specifically barred from inheriting the throne, the phrase excepta regali dignitate, was inserted with dubious authority by their half-brother Henry IV. Descendants of this marriage included Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester and eventually Cardinal; Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland, grandmother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III; John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, the grandfather of Margret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII; and Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots, from whom are descended, beginning in 1437, all subsequent sovereigns of Scotland, and successively, from 1603 on, the sovereigns of England, of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the United Kingdom to the present day. The three succeeding houses of English sovereigns from 1399—the Houses of Lancaster, York and Tudor—were descended from John through Henry Bolingbroke, Joan Beaufort and John Beaufort, respectively.
Vincent Jean Mpoy Kompany is a Belgian footballer who plays for and captains both English team Manchester City and the Belgium national football team. He is capable of playing at both centre back and defensive midfield. In the 2011–12 season he was awarded the captaincy of Manchester City, leading his club to win the Premier League that season, their first league title in 44 years. He is also chairman of Belgium D3B Division club BX Brussels. Kompany began his professional career at Anderlecht, spending three years at the Belgian club before moving to German Bundesliga club Hamburg in 2006. In the summer of 2008, at the age of 22, he completed a transfer to his current club, Premier League side Manchester City. He has since established himself as an integral part of the Manchester City squad and is one of the bargain buys of the revolutionised City era, blossoming into one of the Premier League's best centre backs. Kompany was included in the Premier League Team of the Year for two years in a row in 2011 and 2012, and won the Premier League Player of the Season in 2012. He was listed 23rd in The 100 best footballers in the world by The Guardian.
Clovis, was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of royal chieftains to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. Clovis was the son of Childeric I, a Merovingian king of the Salian Franks, and Basina, Queen of Thuringia. He succeeded his father in 481, at the age of fifteen. He is considered the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Franks for the next two centuries. He conquered the remaining rump state of the Western Roman Empire at the Battle of Soissons, and until his death in 511 went on to conquer much of the northern and western parts of what used to be Roman Gaul. He is important in the historiography of the French Republic as "the first king of what would become France". His name, a Germanic name composed of the elements hlod "fame" and wig "combat", is the origin of the later French given name Louis, borne by 18 kings of France.
Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne is a Belgian international footballer who currently plays as an attacking midfielder or winger for Chelsea in the English Premier League.
Jacques Bernard "Jacky" Ickx is a Belgian former racing driver who won the highly prestigous 24 Hours of Le Mans six times, and he also achieved eight wins and 25 podium finishes in Formula One, and is a former winner of the Dakar Rally.
Yanina Wickmayer is a Belgian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world number 40. She reached her career-high ranking of world no. 12 on 19 April 2010. She is also known for reaching the semifinals at the 2009 US Open. She won the award for "WTA Most Improved Player" in 2009. Wickmayer has achieved career victories over Kim Clijsters, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Petra Kvitová, Li Na, Sam Stosur, Francesca Schiavone, Dinara Safina, Ana Ivanovic and Agnieszka Radwańska. In June 2011, Time Magazine named her one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future".
Professional Road Racing Cyclist
Philippe Gilbert is a Belgian professional road bicycle racer for UCI ProTour team BMC Racing Team. Gilbert is best known for winning the World Road Race Championships in 2012, and for being one of two riders, along with Davide Rebellin, to have won the three Ardennes classics – the Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège – in a single season, which he accomplished in 2011. Gilbert also finished the 2011 season as the overall winner of the UCI World Tour. Gilbert was accused of abusing Cortisone by an anonymous former Lotto teammate during this dominant period with Lotto-Belisol, an allegation which the Belgian vehemently denies. A Classics specialist, Gilbert has won several classic cycle races, including Paris–Tours twice, the Giro di Lombardia twice, the Amstel Gold Race twice, La Flèche Wallonne, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the Clásica de San Sebastián. He has also won stages at each of the three cycling Grand Tours; he won a stage at the Giro d'Italia in 2009, a stage at the Tour de France in 2011, and five stages at the Vuelta a España, winning two in both 2010 and 2012, and one in 2013.
Diane von Fürstenberg
Diane von Fürstenberg, formerly Princess Diane zu Fürstenberg, is a Belgian born American fashion designer best known for her iconic wrap dress. She initially rose to prominence when she married into the German princely House of Fürstenberg, as the wife of Prince Egon of Fürstenberg. Following their divorce in 1972, she has continued to use his family name, although she is no longer entitled to use the title princess following her divorce and subsequent remarriage in 2001. She re-launched her fashion company, Diane von Fürstenberg, in 1997, with the reintroduction of her famous wrap dress. The company is now a global luxury lifestyle brand offering four complete collections a year. DvF is available in over 70 countries and 45 free-standing shops worldwide. The company’s headquarters and flagship boutique are located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. In 2005, the Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award and the following year named her as their president, a position she has held since 2006.
César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck was a composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher who worked in Paris during his adult life. He was born at Liège, in what is now Belgium. In that city he gave his first concerts in 1834. He studied privately in Paris from 1835, where his teachers included Anton Reicha. After a brief return to Belgium, and a disastrous reception to an early oratorio Ruth, he moved to Paris, where he married and embarked on a career as teacher and organist. He gained a reputation as a formidable improviser, and travelled widely in France to demonstrate new instruments built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. In 1858 he became organist at Sainte-Clotilde, a position he retained for the rest of his life. He became professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872; he took French nationality, a requirement of the appointment. His pupils included Vincent d'Indy, Ernest Chausson, Louis Vierne, Charles Tournemire, Guillaume Lekeu, and Henri Duparc. After acquiring the professorship Franck wrote several pieces that have entered the standard classical repertoire, including symphonic, chamber, and keyboard works.
Daniel Van Buyten
Daniel Van Buyten is a Belgian footballer who plays as a defender for Bayern Munich, following a June 2006 transfer from Hamburg and the Belgium national football team. His father, Franz, was a popular Belgian catcher/wrestler in Europe from 1960 to 1980. His mother, Renate, is German.
Josquin Des Prez
Josquin des Prez, often referred to simply as Josquin, was a Netherlandish composer of the Renaissance. He is also known as Josquin Desprez and Latinized as Josquinus Pratensis, alternatively Jodocus Pratensis. He himself spelled his name "Josquin des Prez" in an acrostic in his motet Illibata Dei virgo nutrix. He was the most famous European composer between Guillaume Dufay and Palestrina, and is usually considered to be the central figure of the Franco-Flemish School. Josquin is widely considered by music scholars to be the first master of the high Renaissance style of polyphonic vocal music that was emerging during his lifetime. During the 16th century, Josquin gradually acquired the reputation as the greatest composer of the age, his mastery of technique and expression universally imitated and admired. Writers as diverse as Baldassare Castiglione and Martin Luther wrote about his reputation and fame; theorists such as Heinrich Glarean and Gioseffo Zarlino held his style as that best representing perfection. He was so admired that many anonymous compositions were attributed to him by copyists, probably to increase their sales. More than 370 works are attributed to him; it was only after the advent of modern analytical scholarship that some of these mistaken attributions have been challenged, on the basis of stylistic features and manuscript evidence. Yet in spite of Josquin's colossal reputation, which endured until the beginning of the Baroque era and was revived in the 20th century, his biography is shadowy, and next to nothing is known about his personality. The only surviving work which may be in his own hand is a graffito on the wall of the Sistine Chapel, and only one contemporary mention of his character is known, in a letter to Duke Ercole I of Ferrara. The lives of dozens of minor composers of the Renaissance are better documented than the life of Josquin.
Toots Thielemans is a Belgian jazz musician known for his guitar and harmonica playing as well as his whistling. Thielemans is credited as one of the greatest harmonica players of the 20th century. He has worked as a bandleader, as a sideman, and has appeared on dozens of film soundtracks. In 2009 he became NEA Jazz Master, the highest honour for a jazz musician in the United States. He may be best known to some as the performer whistling the melody in commercials for Old Spice cologne.
Baudouin of Belgium
Baudouin reigned as King of the Belgians, following his father's abdication, from 1951 until his death in 1993. He was the eldest son of King Leopold III and his first wife, Princess Astrid of Sweden. Having had no children, the crown passed on to his brother, King Albert II of the Belgians, following his death. He was the first cousin of King Harald V of Norway, Princess Astrid of Norway, and Princess Ragnhild of Norway. Baudouin is the French form of his name, the form most commonly used outside Belgium; his Dutch name is Boudewijn. Very rarely, his name is anglicized as Baldwin.
Philip I of Castile
Philip I, known as Philip the Handsome or the Fair, was the first member of the house of Habsburg to be King of Castile. The son of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, Philip inherited the greater part of the Duchy of Burgundy and the Burgundian Netherlands from his mother, Mary of Burgundy, and briefly succeeded to the Crown of Castile as the husband of Queen Joanna of Castile, who was also heiress-presumptive to the Crown of Aragon. He was the first Habsburg monarch in Spain. He never inherited his father's territories, nor became Holy Roman Emperor, because he predeceased his father, but his son Emperor Charles V eventually united the Habsburg, Burgundian, Castilian, and Aragonese inheritances. The future King Henry VIII of England met Philip the Handsome on a visit Philip made to Henry's father's court in London, and regarded him as providing a model of leadership towards which he aspired.
Andreas Vesalius was a Brabantian anatomist, physician, and author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy, De humani corporis fabrica. Vesalius is often referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy. He was professor at the University of Padua and later became Imperial physician at the court of Emperor Charles V. Andreas Vesalius is the Latinized form of the Dutch Andries van Wezel, a common practice among European scholars in his time. His name is also given as Andrea Vesalius, Andrea Vesalio, Andreas Vesal, André Vesalio and Andre Vesalepo.
Georges Prosper Remi, known by the pen name Hergé, was a Belgian cartoonist. His best known and most substantial work is the 23 completed comic books in The Adventures of Tintin series, which he made from 1929 until his death in 1983. Also responsible for two other well-known series, Quick & Flupke and Jo, Zette and Jocko, his works were executed in his distinct ligne claire drawing style. Born to a lower-middle-class family in Etterbeek, Brussels, Hergé took a keen interest in Scouting, producing both illustrations and the Totor series for Scouting and Catholic magazines. In 1925 he started work for conservative newspaper Le XXe Siècle, where under the influence of Norbert Wallez, in 1929 he began serialising the first of his stories to feature boy reporter Tintin, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. Domestically successful, he continued with further Adventures of Tintin and the Quick & Flupke series at the paper, but from The Blue Lotus onward placed a far greater emphasis on background research. After Le XXe Siècle was closed during the occupation by Nazi Germany, Hergé continued work for Le Soir; after liberation, he faced accusations of being a collaborator, but was exonerated, and proceeded to oversee the creation of Tintin magazine, through which he remained artistic director over Studio Hergé until his death.
Vocal trance Artist
Kate Ryan is a Belgian World Music Award winner. She began her singing career in 2001 and later found fame with a string of dance hits. These included covers, mostly of Mylène Farmer and France Gall, such as "Désenchantée", "Libertine", and "Ella, elle l'a" as well as new material. Ryan represented Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 with "Je t'adore" coming in 12th place in the semi-final.
Celine Buckens is an actress.
René Taelman is a Belgian football manager.
Albert I of Belgium
Albert I reigned as King of the Belgians from 1909 to 1934. This was an eventful period in the History of Belgium since it included the period of World War I, when 99 percent of Belgium was overrun, occupied, and ruled by the German Empire. Other crucial issues included the adoption of the Treaty of Versailles, the ruling of the Belgian Congo as an overseas possession of the Kingdom of Belgium, the reconstruction of Belgium following the war, and the first five years of the Great Depression. King Albert was killed in a mountaineering accident in eastern Belgium in 1934, at the age of 58, and he was succeeded by his son Leopold.
Gerardus Mercator was a cartographer, philosopher and mathematician. He is best known for his work in cartography, particular the world map of 1569 based on a new projection which represented sailing courses of constant bearing as straight lines. He was the first to use the term Atlas for a collection of maps.
Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck was a Belgian playwright, poet, and essayist who was a Fleming, but wrote in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911. The main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life. His plays form an important part of the Symbolist movement.
Dries Mertens is a Belgian footballer currently playing for Napoli and for Belgium. Prior to Napoli, Mertens played for AA Gent, Eendracht Aalst, AGOVV Apeldoorn, FC Utrecht and PSV Eindhoven.
Sven Nys is a professional cyclist who has won his most important victories in cyclo-cross races. Nys is considered one of the greatest cyclo-cross racers ever by his peers and prominent figures of the cyclo-cross world. Nys is the leading man in cyclo-cross in the 21st century.
Frans Hals the Elder was a Dutch Golden Age painter born in the Southern Netherlands. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th-century group portraiture.
Thibaut Nicolas Marc Courtois is a Belgian footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Atlético Madrid on loan from Chelsea, and for the Belgium national team.
Herman Van Rompuy
Herman Achille Van Rompuy is the first full-time President of the European Council. This is a position appointed by the European Council, and therefore not chosen through direct election by the citizens of Europe. A Belgian politician of the Christian Democratic and Flemish party, Van Rompuy served as the 66th prime minister of Belgium from 30 December 2008 until his predecessor succeeded him on 25 November 2009. He has the Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold. On 19 November 2009 Van Rompuy was selected by the members of the European Council as the first full-time President of the European Council under the Treaty of Lisbon. He was appointed to chair the institution for the period starting from 1 December 2009 until 31 May 2012, though he only took up his position officially on 1 January 2010. On 1 March 2012 Herman Van Rompuy was re-elected by the heads of state or government of the 27 EU member states. His second term is set to last two and a half years, from 1 June 2012 to 30 November 2014.
Alternative rock Artist
Brian Molko is a Belgian-born songwriter, lead vocalist, and guitarist of the band Placebo. He is known in particular for his nasal, high-pitched vocals, androgynous appearance, and unique, Sonic Youth-influenced guitar style and tuning.
Axel Thomas Witsel is a Belgian footballer who plays for FC Zenit Saint Petersburg in the Russian Premier League and the Belgium national team. His natural position is centre midfield and can also play attacking midfielder, but he came into the first team as a right-winger. His father has roots in Martinique and is a former football player, and his mother is Belgian.
Tobias "Toby" Albertine Maurits Alderweireld is a Belgian professional footballer who plays for Atlético Madrid in La Liga and the Belgium national team. He plays mainly a central defender he can also play as a right back. Alderweireld is mostly known for his long passes and physical strength and his eye for goal and his reflexes and his short passes and his crosses and his through balls and his tackles and his shooting ability and his aerial ability.
Marc Rich was an international commodities trader, hedge fund manager, financier and businessman. A creator of the spot market for crude oil, he became one of history's most financially successful commodities traders. He was best known for founding the commodities company Glencore and for being indicted in the United States on federal charges of tax evasion and illegally making oil deals with Iran during the Iran hostage crisis. He was in Switzerland at the time of the indictment and never returned to the U.S. He received a controversial presidential pardon from U.S. President Bill Clinton on January 20, 2001, Clinton's last day in office.
Nacer Chadli is a Belgian footballer of Moroccan descent who plays for Tottenham Hotspur and the Belgium national football team as a winger. He can also play as a second striker.
Film score Artist
Wim Mertens is a Flemish Belgian composer, countertenor vocalist, pianist, guitarist, and musicologist.
Pierre-Joseph Redouté, was a Belgian painter and botanist, known for his watercolours of roses, lilies and other flowers at Malmaison. He was nicknamed "The Raphael of flowers". He was an official court artist of Queen Marie Antoinette, and he continued painting through the French Revolution and Reign of Terror. Redouté survived the turbulent political upheaval to gain international recognition for his precise renderings of plants, which remain as fresh in the early 21st century as when first painted. Paris was the cultural and scientific centre of Europe during an outstanding period in botanical illustration, one noted for the publication of several folio books with coloured plates. Enthusiastically, Redouté became an heir to the tradition of the Flemish and Dutch flower painters Brueghel, Ruysch, van Huysum and de Heem. Redouté contributed over 2,100 published plates depicting over 1,800 different species, many never rendered before.
Kevin Antonio Joel Gislain Mirallas y Castillo is a Belgian footballer of Spanish descent who plays as a forward for Everton and the Belgium national football team. He has previously played for Lille, Saint-Étienne and Olympiacos.
Leopold III of Belgium
Leopold III reigned as King of the Belgians from 1934 until 1951, when he abdicated in favour of the heir apparent, his son Baudouin. Leopold III was born in Brussels as Prince Leopold of Belgium, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and succeeded to the throne of Belgium on 23 February 1934 following the death of his father, King Albert I. He was invested as the 1,154th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain in 1923, the 355th Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword in 1927 and the 833rd Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1935.
Monseigneur Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, was a Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Université catholique de Louvain. He was the first person to propose the theory of the expansion of the Universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble. He was also the first to derive what is now known as Hubble's law and made the first estimation of what is now called the Hubble constant, which he published in 1927, two years before Hubble's article. Lemaître also proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, which he called his 'hypothesis of the primeval atom'.
Marc Dutroux is a Belgian serial killer and child molester, convicted of having kidnapped, tortured and sexually abused six girls from 1995 to 1996, ranging in age from 8 to 19, four of whom he murdered. He was also convicted of having killed a suspected former accomplice, Bernard Weinstein, later proved insane. He was arrested in 1996, four years after the disappearance of his victims had begun, and has been in prison ever since, though he briefly escaped in April 1998. Dutroux's widely publicised trial took place in 2004. A number of shortcomings in the Dutroux investigation caused widespread discontent in Belgium with the country's criminal justice system, and the ensuing scandal was one of the reasons for the reorganisation of Belgium's law enforcement agencies.
Marguerite Yourcenar was a Belgian-born French novelist and essayist. Winner of the Prix Femina and the Erasmus Prize, she was the first woman elected to the Académie française, in 1980, and the seventeenth person to occupy Seat 3.
George Albert Boulenger
George Albert Boulenger FRS was a Belgian-British zoologist who described and gave scientific names to over 2,000 new animal species, chiefly fish, reptiles and amphibians. Boulenger was also an active botanist during the last thirty years of his life, especially in the study of roses.
Father Damien or Saint Damien of Molokai, SS.CC. or Saint Damien de Veuster, born Jozef De Veuster, was a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a missionary religious institute. He won recognition for his ministry in the Kingdom of Hawaii, to people with leprosy, who had been placed under a government-sanctioned medical quarantine on the island of Molokaʻi. After sixteen years caring for the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of those in the leper colony, he eventually contracted and died of the disease, and is considered a "martyr of charity". He was the tenth person recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church to have lived, worked, and/or died in what is now the United States. In both the Latin Rite and the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, Damien is venerated as a saint, one who is holy and worthy of public veneration and invocation. In the Anglican communion, as well as other denominations of Christianity, Damien is considered the spiritual patron for leprosy and outcasts. As the patron saint of the Diocese of Honolulu and of Hawaii, Father Damien Day is celebrated statewide on April 15. Upon his beatification by Pope John Paul II in Rome on June 4, 1995, Blessed Damien was granted a memorial feast day, which is celebrated on May 10. Father Damien was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday October 11, 2009. The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him "the Apostle of the Lepers", and elsewhere he is known as the "leper priest".
Léonie Cooreman, known under the stage name Annie Cordy, is a Belgian film actress and singer. She has appeared in 50 films since 1954. She has staged many memorable appearances at Bruno Coquatrix' famous Paris Olympia. Her version of "La Ballade de Davy Crockett" was number 1 in the charts for five weeks in France in August 1956. She was born in Laeken, Belgium, where in 2004, King Albert II of Belgium bestowed upon her the title of Baroness in recognition for her life's achievements.
Benoît Poelvoorde is a Belgian actor and comedian.
Thierry Marc Boutsen is a former racing driver who raced for the Arrows, Benetton, Williams, Ligier and Jordan teams in Formula One.
Thorgan Ganael Francis Hazard is a Belgian footballer who plays for Zulte Waregem on loan from Chelsea. He is the younger brother of Eden Hazard and, like his brother, can play as an attacking midfielder and a winger. Hazard is a Belgian youth international and has represented his nation at under-16, under-17, under-18, under-19 and under 21 level. In May 2013, he was handed his first senior international cap against the United States.
Amélie Nothomb is a Belgian writer who writes in French.
Davide Moscardelli is an Italian footballer who plays for Serie A club Bologna. Moscardelli had spent 7 seasons in Serie B and scored 75 goals. He was nicknamed Battigol as he was compared with Gabriel Batistuta during his stay with Serie B teams. Moscardelli is also something of an internet sensation, having many pages on Facebook dedicated solely to him.
Art Nouveau Architect
Victor, Baron Horta was a Belgian architect and designer. John Julius Norwich described him as "undoubtedly the key European Art Nouveau architect." Indeed, Horta is one of the most important names in Art Nouveau architecture; the construction of his Hôtel Tassel in Brussels in 1892-3 means that he is sometimes credited as the first to introduce the style to architecture from the decorative arts. The French architect Hector Guimard was deeply influenced by Horta and further spread the "whiplash" style in France and abroad. In 1932 King Albert I of Belgium conferred on Horta the title of Baron for his services to architecture. Four of the buildings he designed have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mousa Sidi Yaya Dembélé, also spelled Moussa Dembélé, is a Belgian footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League and the Belgium national football team, where he has achieved 40 caps. Dembélé started his career at Belgian Pro League team Germinal Beerschot before spells at Dutch Eredivisie sides Willem II and AZ. Dembélé transferred to Premier League side Fulham in 2010 before joining current club Tottenham in August 2012. In a poll of currently playing footballers, he was listed 91st in The 100 best footballers in the world by The Guardian in 2012.
Arnold Charles Ernest Hintjens, best known as Arno Hintjens or simply Arno, is a Belgian artist born in Ostend. He was the frontman of TC Matic, one of the best-known Belgian bands of the 1980s. After the band split in 1986 he had a successful solo career. Hintjens, who neither claims to be a singer or an intellectual, sings in a mixture of English, French and his Ostend dialect. For TC Matic, a band which achieved moderate artistic success throughout Europe, he wrote or co-wrote all the band's material, much of it together with guitarist and producer Jean-Marie Aerts. After going solo he released more than a dozen albums during a successful career. In 2002 he received the title "Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres" of the French government. A 2004 biography by Gilles Deleux was translated in Dutch as Een lach en een traan. In the Belgian movie Camping Cosmos he played the homosexual lifeguard Harry who does not pay attention to Lolo Ferrari who is incarnating a caricature of Pamela Anderson.
Radja Nainggolan is a Belgian professional footballer who plays for Cagliari Calcio in Italy, as a midfielder.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck
Professional Road Racing Cyclist
Jurgen Van Den Broeck is a Belgian professional road bicycle racer for UCI ProTeam Lotto-Belisol. He specializes in the time trial, having been Junior World Champion against the clock in 2001. The promise he first displayed in minor stage races like the Tour de Romandie and Eneco Tour was later validated and confirmed by top-10 finishes in all three Grand Tours: the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.
Cécile de France
Cécile de France is a Belgian actress. After achieving success in French cinema hits such as L'Art de la séduction and Irène, she gained international attention for her lead role in Haute Tension and Hereafter.
Helmut Lotti, is a Flemish Belgian tenor and singer-songwriter. Lotti performs in several styles and languages: Once an Elvis impersonator, he has sung African and Latino hit records, and he crossed over into classical music in the 1990s.
Rogier van der Weyden
Rogier van der Weyden or Roger de la Pasture was an Early Flemish painter. His surviving works consist mainly of religious triptychs, altarpieces and commissioned single and diptych portraits. Although his life was generally uneventful, he was highly successful and internationally famous in his lifetime. His paintings were exported – or taken – to Italy and Spain, and he received commissions from, amongst others, Philip the Good, Netherlandish nobility and foreign princes. By the latter half of the 15th century, he had eclipsed Jan van Eyck in popularity. However his fame lasted only until the 17th century, and largely due to changing taste, he was almost totally forgotten by the mid 18th century. His reputation was slowly rebuilt during the following 200 years; today he is known, with Robert Campin and van Eyck, as the third of the three great Early Flemish artists, and widely as the most influential Northern painter of the 15th century. Due to the loss of archives in 1695 and again in 1940, there are few certain facts of van der Weyden's life. Rogelet de le Pasture was born in Tournai in 1399 or 1400. His parents were Henri de le Pasture and Agnes de Watrélos. He married around 1426, to Elisabeth Goffaert, and was made town painter of Brussels in 1436, and changed his name from the French to the Dutch format, becoming 'van der Weyden'. What is known of him beyond this has been woven together from secondary sources, and some of it is contestable. However the paintings now attributed to him are generally accepted, despite a tendency in the 19th century to attribute his work to others.
Plastic Bertrand is a Belgian musician, songwriter, producer, editor and television presenter, best known for the 1978 international hit single "Ça plane pour moi".