Famous Belgian Men

A small country in Western Europe, Belgium has been home to some of the world renowned artists, musicians, sports personnel, inventors, scientists, literary giants and fashion designers, who have greatly contributed to country’s political, economic and cultural panorama. If you don’t believe us, then read ahead. Imagine growing up without reading Georges Remi’s TinTin Adventures or watching the film ‘The Muscles from Brussels’ without Jean Claude van Damme or even listening to a musical piece without Adolphe Sax’s invention saxophone! Have your eyes opened wide enough? Surely, for all of them are famous Belgian men, who, through their work, have touched our lives in more ways than one. But that is not all when we talk about famous Belgian men for the list goes long and wide.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Belgian Men

 1 
Jean-Claude Van Damme
(Actor and Martial Artist Best Known for His Martial Arts Action Movies ‘Bloodsport’, ‘Cyborg’ and ‘Kickboxer’)

Jean-Claude Van Damme
44
Birthdate: October 18, 1960
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sint-Agatha-Berchem, Belgium

Belgian actor,Jean-Claude Van Damme is best known for a string of martial arts films. He started his career as a karate fighter and competed in a number full-contact and semi-contact matches. Later he took up acting and became a star with the 1988 Hollywood film, Bloodsport. Cyborg, Lionheart, Double Impact and Universal Soldier are some of his notable films.

 2 
Max Verstappen
(Racing driver)

Max Verstappen
38
Birthdate: September 30, 1997
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hasselt, Flanders, Belgium

Rene Magritte
4
Birthdate: November 21, 1898
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lessines, Belgium
Died: August 15, 1967
Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte is remembered for his art that displayed alternate perceptions of reality. His creations were influenced by elements of pop art and minimalist art. Some of his most notable works were The Empire of Light and Les Amants. The Magritte Museum is dedicated to his work.
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 4 

Peter Paul Rubens
3
Birthdate: June 8, 1577
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Siegen, Germany
Died: May 30, 1640

Peter Paul Rubens is considered the most influential artist of the Flemish Baroque tradition. He lived during the Dutch Golden Age. His style of art emphasized movement, color, and sensuality. He painted altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings and also drew cartoons for the Flemish tapestry workshops. He was a classically educated humanist scholar as well.

 5 
Romelu Lukaku
(Football Player)

Romelu Lukaku
39
Birthdate: May 13, 1993
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium

Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian football player, is known for his goal-scoring abilities. He plays in the forward position and can also play as a winger. He has scored more than 50 international goals while playing for the men’s national team of Belgium. Inter Milan, Chelsea, West Bromwich Albion, Everton and Manchester United are some of the clubs he has played for.

 6 
Eden Hazard
(Football player)

Eden Hazard
21
Birthdate: May 13, 1993, 1991
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: La Louvière, Belgium

One of the best Belgian footballers of all time, Eden Hazard is also regarded as one of the best players of the current generation. Thanks to his ability to retain possession among other footballing skills, Hazard is often compared with players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

 7 
Kevin De Bruyne
(Football Player)

Kevin De Bruyne
19
Birthdate: June 28, 1991
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Drongen, Ghent, Belgium

Often described as a complete football player, Kevin De Bruyne is also widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation. Over the years, he has had a major impact on the Manchester City Football Club, helping his team win several games. He is also a key player for the Belgian national football team.

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 8 
Thibaut Courtois
(Footballer)

Thibaut Courtois
7
Birthdate: May 11, 1992
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bree, Flanders, Belgium

 9 
Stromae
(Rapper)

Stromae
11
Birthdate: March 12, 1985
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Etterbeek, Brussels, Belgium

Stromae is a Belgian musician, singer, songwriter, and rapper. He achieved popularity with the release of his song Alors on danse in 2009, which topped several music charts in many European countries. He has won several prestigious awards, such as the World Music Awards. Stromae is often promoted as the face of the New Beat generation.

 10 
Leopold II of Belgium
(King of the Belgians (1865-1909))

Leopold II of Belgium
15
Birthdate: April 9, 1835
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: December 17, 1909

Leopold II of Belgium reigned over Belgium as its second king from 1865 to 1909. He also owned the Independent State of the Congo from 1885 to 1908. Congolese people were subjected to torture and murder under Leopold's administration; the term crimes against humanity was coined by George Washington Williams in 1890 to describe the atrocities of Leopold's administration.

 11 
Vincent Kompany
(Footballer centre-back)

Vincent Kompany
5
Birthdate: April 10, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Uccle, Belgium

 12 
Lance Stroll
(Racing driver)

Lance Stroll
7
Birthdate: October 29, 1998
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

 13 
Michy Batshuayi
(Association football player)

Michy Batshuayi
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1993
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brussels

 14 
Matthias Schoenaerts
(Actor role in the drama Bullhead, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign film in 2011)

Matthias Schoenaerts
2
Birthdate: December 8, 1977
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium

A Belgian actor, film producer and graffiti artist, Matthias Schoenaerts debuted at the age of 13 and attained star status with his 2008 film Loft. Later, his films Bullhead and Rust and Bone further increased his fame and brought him multiple awards. In 2015, the French Ministry of Culture named him the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters. 

 15 
Charles Martel
(Military Leader)

Charles Martel
5
Birthdate: 0686 AD
Birthplace: Herstal
Died: October 22, 0741

Charles Martel was a Frankish military leader and statesman. From 718 until his death in 741, Martel served as the de facto ruler of Francia. He is credited with restoring centralized government in Francia and re-establishing the Franks as the masters of all Gaul through a series of military campaigns.

 16 
Adnan Januzaj
(Footballer Winger, attacking midfielder)

Adnan Januzaj
2
Birthdate: February 5, 1995
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium

 17 
Joanna of Castile
(Queen of Aragon)

Joanna of Castile
1
Birthdate: November 6, 1479
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toledo, Spain
Died: April 12, 1555
Joanna, the 16th-century queen of Castile and Aragon, also known as "Joanna the Mad," was declared insane and locked up at the Royal Convent of Santa Clara by her father. Following her father’s death, she nominally co-ruled the kingdom with her son, Charles I, but remained imprisoned till her death.

 18 
Divock Origi
(Association football player)

Divock Origi
2
Birthdate: April 18, 1995
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ostend

 19 
Jacques Brel
(Actor & One of the Best-Selling Belgian Recording Artists of All Time)

Jacques Brel
5
Birthdate: April 8, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Schaerbeek, Belgium
Died: October 9, 1978

Jacques Brel was a Belgian singer, actor, director, and songwriter. He is remembered for composing and performing thoughtful, literate, and theatrical songs. Apart from inspiring French musicians, Brel's works have also had a major influence on English-speaking performers like David Bowie, Scott Walker, Rod McKuen, Marc Almond, and Alex Harvey. Brel is the third-best-selling Belgian music artist of all time.

 20 
Toby Alderweireld
(Football player)

Toby Alderweireld
2
Birthdate: March 2, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium
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 21 
Eddy Merckx
(Cyclist)

Eddy Merckx
4
Birthdate: June 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Meensel-Kiezegem, Tielt-Winge

Eddy Merckx is a Belgian former road and track bicycle racer. Widely regarded as the most successful rider in competitive cycling history, Merckx achieved several important victories, such as 11 Grand Tours, three World Championships, and all five Monuments. He is also considered the greatest cyclist of all time. After retiring, he coached his national cycling team for 11 years.

 22 
Jan Vertonghen
(Association football player)

Jan Vertonghen
2
Birthdate: April 24, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

 23 
Dries Mertens
(Association football player)

Dries Mertens
1
Birthdate: May 6, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Leuven

 24 
Hergé
(Cartoonist (Creator of Tintin))

Hergé
0
Birthdate: May 22, 1907
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Etterbeek, Belgium
Died: March 3, 1983

Better known by his pseudonym, Hergé, Belgian cartoonist Georges Prosper Remi was the man behind Tintin, a cartoon series that several generations of kids and young adults have grown up reading. He was a self-taught artist and wrote Destination Moon, featuring Tintin, 15 years before Neil Armstrong’s feat.

 25 
Youri Tielemans
(Association football player)

Youri Tielemans
7
Birthdate: May 7, 1997
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sint-Pieters-Leeuw

 26 
Georges Lemaître
(Scientist & Priest)

Georges Lemaître
1
Birthdate: July 17, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Charleroi, Belgium
Died: June 20, 1966

Georges Lemaître was a mathematician, astronomer, and professor of physics. Lemaître was the first person to theorize that the expansion of the universe can be used to explain the recession of nearby galaxies. In 1927, Lemaître published the first estimation of the Hubble constant. He also came up with the Big Bang theory to explain the origin of the universe.

 27 
Adolphe Sax
(Inventor of Saxophone)

Adolphe Sax
2
Birthdate: November 6, 1814
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dinant
Died: February 7, 1894

The inventor of the saxophone, Belgian musician Adolphe Sax, was born to instrument-maker parents who had themselves re-designed the French horn. As a child, he was known as "the ghost" for his frequent brushes with death. He made many other instruments, which were included in the French army bands.

 28 
Radja Nainggolan
(Association football player)

Radja Nainggolan
4
Birthdate: May 4, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium

 29 
Andreas Vesalius
(Founding Father of the Modern Human Anatomy)

Andreas Vesalius
4
Birthdate: December 31, 1514
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: October 15, 1564

Renaissance physician Andreas Vesalius is credited with illustrating the first anatomy textbook. Born into a family of physicians, he studied at the University of Paris medical school and often dissected corpses retrieved from cemeteries. He was the first to reject Galenic anatomy and to introduce human dissection in anatomy.

 30 
John of Gaunt
(Nobleman)

John of Gaunt
0
Birthdate: March 6, 1340
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ghent, Belgium
Died: February 3, 1399

John of Gaunt was an English prince, statesman, and military leader. An influential figure, John of Gaunt is credited with founding the royal House of Lancaster, which would later produce men to ascend the royal throne. Early in his career, John spent considerable time in Spain participating in the Hundred Years' War.

 31 
Albert I of Belgium
(King of the Belgians (1902-1934))

Albert I of Belgium
6
Birthdate: April 8, 1875
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: February 17, 1934

Albert I of Belgium ruled as King of the Belgians for over 25 years from 1909 to 1934. He played a crucial role during World War I, for which he is often referred to as the Soldier King or Knight King in Belgium. A renowned alpinist, Albert died in a mountaineering accident and his death was mourned around the world.

 32 
Philip I of Castile
(King of Castile)

Philip I of Castile
2
Birthdate: July 22, 1478
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bruges, Belgium
Died: September 25, 1506

Philip the Handsome, son of Roman emperor Maximilian I, served as the Duke of Burgundy from 1482 to 1506 and then as the first Habsburg King of Castile, as Philip I, in 1506. Also known as the Fair, Philip died of typhoid fever in September 1506, although many suspected poisoning.

 33 
Moncef Slaoui
(Who served as the Head of Operation Warp Speed)

Moncef Slaoui
0
Birthdate: July 22, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Agadir, Morocco

 34 
Leopold I of Belgium
(First King of the Belgians (1831-1865))

Leopold I of Belgium
3
Birthdate: December 16, 1790
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: December 10, 1865
Leopold I, the youngest son of Duke Francis of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was the first king of Belgium and reigned from 1831 to 1865. He fought against Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars. He rejected the throne of Greece. His reign is known for establishing Belgium's first railway and for its modernization.

 35 
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco
(Footballer winger and wing-back)

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco
1
Birthdate: September 4, 1993
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vilvoorde, Belgium

 36 
Bradley Wiggins
(Track cyclist, Sport cyclist)

Bradley Wiggins
1
Birthdate: April 28, 1980
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ghent

British road and track cyclist Bradley Wiggins scripted history by becoming the first British racer to win the Tour de France, in 2012. Though born to Australian track cyclist Gary Wiggins, he was initially a fan of football but turned to cycling after watching the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  

 37 
Marouane Fellaini
(Football - Midfielder for Belgium)

Marouane Fellaini
2
Birthdate: November 22, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Etterbeek, Belgium

 38 
Baudouin of Belgium
(King of the Belgians)

Baudouin of Belgium
0
Birthdate: September 7, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Château du Stuyvenberg, Brussels, Belgium
Died: July 31, 1993

The elder son of King Leopold III of Belgium, Baudouin ruled Belgium for over 4 decades. He is remembered for his impartial treatment of both the Flemish- and French-speaking Belgian factions. He also served as the sovereign of the Belgian Congo and later supported Congolese independence.

 39 
Raf Simons
(Fashion Designer)

Raf Simons
0
Birthdate: January 12, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Neerpelt, Pelt, Belgium

Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons initially gained fame as a furniture designer and later established his own menswear label. Inspired by music and arts, his label has gradually turned its focus to simple silhouettes. He has also been associated with Dior and is now the co-creative director of Prada.

 40 
Joseph Plateau
(Mathematician, Physicist, Scientist)

Joseph Plateau
1
Birthdate: October 14, 1801
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brussels
Died: September 15, 1883

 41 
Andreas Pereira
(Footballer midfielder)

Andreas Pereira
0
Birthdate: January 1, 1996
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Duffel, Belgium

 42 

Michel Qissi
2
Birthdate: September 12, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oujda, Morocco

Michel Qissi is a Moroccan-Belgian actor who achieved fame for his portrayal of Tong Po in the popular 1989 American martial arts film, Kickboxer. An exponent of boxing, Shōtōkan Karate, kickboxing, and Muay Thai, Qissi is known for his collaboration with Jean-Claude van Damme, whom he befriended at an early age.

 43 

Mehdi Dehbi
0
Birthdate: December 5, 1985
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Liège, Belgium

Belgian actor and theatre director Mehdi Dehbi is best known for his acting in films The Other Son, Mary Queen of Scots and A Most Wanted Man. In recent times, he starred in the lead role in the Netflix thriller series Messiah. He has also performed in stage plays and has also directed a play titled Les Justes.

 44 

Anthony van Dyck
1
Birthdate: March 22, 1599
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium
Died: December 9, 1641

Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who started painting at an early age before going on to become the leading court painter in England. Although he is best remembered for painting the aristocracy, van Dyck also painted biblical and mythological subjects. In 1632, Anthony van Dyck received a knighthood from Charles I.

 45 
Mousa Dembélé
(Football player)

Mousa Dembélé
2
Birthdate: July 16, 1987
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wilrijk, Belgium

 46 
Georges Simenon
(Novelist)

Georges Simenon
1
Birthdate: February 13, 1903
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Liège, Belgium
Died: September 4, 1989

Georges Simenon was a Belgian writer who published nearly 500 novels during his illustrious career that spanned several years. Simenon is credited with creating one of the most popular fictional detectives of all time, Jules Maigret. A self-proclaimed Casanova, Simenon claimed in 1977 to have had sex with 10,000 women since his 13th birthday.

 47 
Toots Thielemans
(Jazz Musician)

Toots Thielemans
0
Birthdate: April 29, 1922
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: August 22, 2016

Toots Thielemans was a Belgian jazz musician best remembered for his chromatic harmonica playing. A multi-talented personality, Thielemans was also renowned for his whistling skills, composing, and guitaring. Toots Thielemans is credited with popularizing harmonica in the jazz scene which made him the preeminent jazz harmonica player.

 48 
Leopold III of Belgium
(King of Belgium (1934-51))

Leopold III of Belgium
4
Birthdate: November 3, 1901
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium
Died: September 25, 1983

Belgian king Leopold III was despised by his countrymen for surrendering Belgium to the Germans during World War II. After being imprisoned by the Germans near Brussels, he went to Austria, and went back to Belgium later, only to be faced by a civil war that forced him to abdicate.

 49 
Nacer Chadli
(Footballer winger)

Nacer Chadli
2
Birthdate: August 2, 1989
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Liège, Belgium

 50 
Abraham Ortelius
(Cartographer)

Abraham Ortelius
0
Birthdate: April 14, 1527
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Antwerp
Died: June 28, 1598

Father of oil painting, Jan Van Eyck, world famous baroque player Peter Paul Rubens, architectural giant Victor Horta, legendary harmonica player Jean ‘Toots’ Thielemans, sports hero Eddy Merckx, creator of synthetic rubber Reverend Julius Nieuwland, eminent bacteriologist Jules Bordet, celebrated fashion designer Dries Van Noten all call Belgium their home. Now, are you stunned? Go through this section and find out more about famous Belgian men, their life and works.