famous Belgians


** Click here for Episode 167 **

Now whoever could have predicted that the topic of famous Belgians would get you so hot and bothered? Here are just a few of the slew of emails we’ve had about it. First up are Elodia & Julian:

We were both born and brought up in Belgium, and together with our fellow expats we’ve been defending the reputation of the country we call home for as long as we can remember. So here is a list of famous Belgians, to quell once for the misapprehension that “there are no famous Belgians”.

Hergé (author of the Tintin comic books)
Kim Clijsters (professional tennis player)
Simenon (writer, author of the Maigret novels)
Eddy Merckx (professional cyclist)
Jean-Claude Van Damme (actor)
Adolphe Sax (invented the saxophone)
Erasme (politician, active in the creation of the Belgian constitution)
Georges Lemaitre (proposed what became the big bang theory)
Magritte (artist)
Rubens (Flemish baroque painter)
Peyot (author of the Smurf comic books)
K’s choice (pop-rock band)
Hooverphonic (pop/rock band)
Vaya con Dios (latin band)
……..there are more……..

We hope this clears up any confusion as to the importance of our dear old waffle-land.

Despite that valiant effort (which does ignore the rule imposed by my mean schoolteacher, who specified no sports players), this email from Chick from Leeds shows even Belgians don’t necessarily have great faith in their homeland’s position in the celebrity galaxy:

I remember when I was about 10 we were in a restaurant in Belgium, and we asked our Belgian waiter to name ten famous Belgians. Off the top of his head he got about four – Jean Claude Van Damme, Hergé, former footballer Giles de Bilde, and the King of Belgium(!) – before pondering for a moment and walking off saying ‘I’ll phone my mother’.

He’s a long way from Belgium, but Steve from Oakland, California still has nominees:

Aside from the Belgian Waffle I thought of three famous Belgians right away:

– Epic mass-murderer Leopold II
– Epic depictor-of-mostly-exposed-buttocks Peter Paul Rubens
– Epic kicker-of-faces Jean-Claude Van Damme.

So, it looks like the consensus nominates Van Damme and Hergé as the most famous Belgians, unlikely equals that they are. If you’re still in doubt, however, you may like to peruse this site that Michael from Brisbane kindly brought to our attention: famousbelgians.net. But take note that in their top 10 they include the not-Belgian Audrey Hepburn and the inventor of Bakelite. That’s all I’m saying.

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3 Responses to “famous Belgians”

  1. pete from somerset Says:

    According to Helen’s brother, every Belgian person is just called “Benoire Waffle”. So I’m pretty sure the only famous Belgian is Benoire Waffle.

  2. Tom Robinson Says:

    God yes, dEUS 🙂 But also what about Jacques Brel…

  3. Moz Says:

    Why has no one mentioned the best quirky indie rock band, dEUS?!? ‘Suds & Soda’ would be one of my desert island discs. They are amazing!

    That is all.

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