Famous Belgian Men

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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.

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
59
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
(The Most Successful Dutch Racing Driver and 2021 Formula One World Champion)
Max Verstappen
47
Birthdate: September 30, 1997
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hasselt, Flanders, Belgium
 3 
Gotye
(Founding Member of The Melbourne Indie-Pop Trio 'The Basics')
Gotye
13
Birthdate: May 21, 1980
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bruges, Belgium
Belgian-born Australian singer Gotye initially formed the indie-pop group The Basics. The three-time Grammy-winning artist has also had a successful solo career and is best known for his Billboard-topping track Somebody That I Used to Know, which made him the fifth Australian artist to top the Billboard charts.
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 4 
Rene Magritte
(Belgian Surrealist Artist, Who Became Well Known for Creating a Number of Witty and Thought-Provoking Images)
Rene Magritte
9
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.
 5 
Peter Paul Rubens
(One of the Most Influential Artists of the Flemish Baroque Tradition)
Peter Paul Rubens
3
Birthdate: June 28, 1577
Sun Sign: Cancer
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.

 6 
Romelu Lukaku
(Belgian Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Striker)
Romelu Lukaku
53
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.

 7 
Eden Hazard
(Belgian Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Winger /Attacking Midfielder)
Eden Hazard
36
Birthdate: 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.

 8 
Kevin De Bruyne
(Football Player)
Kevin De Bruyne
27
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.

 9 
Thibaut Courtois
(Belgian Football Goalkeeper)
Thibaut Courtois
10
Birthdate: May 11, 1992
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bree, Belgium

Belgian footballer Thibaut Courtois who is a goalkeeper for the Spanish club Real Madrid is considered one of the best of his time. Starting his career with Genk, he later also played for Chelsea. He was also part of the FIFA World Cup third place-holding Belgian squad in 2018.

 10 
Leopold II of Belgium
(Former King of the Belgians (1865 - 1909))
Leopold II of Belgium
22
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 
Stromae
(Rapper)
Stromae
16
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.

 12 
Divock Origi
(Belgian Professional Footballer Who Plays as a Forward)
Divock Origi
2
Birthdate: April 18, 1995
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ostend
 13 
Vincent Kompany
(Retired Belgian Football Centre-Back)
Vincent Kompany
6
Birthdate: April 10, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Uccle, Belgium

Considered one of the fittest central defenders of the world, retired Belgian footballer Vincent Kompany had a successful stint with Manchester City, winning 4 Premier League titles, among other championships, with them. Post-retirement, the star footballer had turned to coaching and now manages the English club Burnley.

 14 
Lance Stroll
(Canadian-Belgian Motorsport Racer Who Competes for Canada in Formula One)
Lance Stroll
12
Birthdate: October 29, 1998
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The son of Canadian business tycoon Lawrence Stroll and Belgian designer Claire-Anne Callens, Lance Stroll began his motorsport career with karting at age 10. He became F1’s youngest rookie podium finisher at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. His achievements include wins at the 2014 Italian F4 and the 2016 FIA European Formula 3.

 15 
Charles Martel
(Military Leader)
Charles Martel
9
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
(Belgian Footballer Who Plays as a Winger)
Adnan Januzaj
5
Birthdate: February 5, 1995
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brussels, Belgium

Adnan Januzaj is a Belgian football player who plays for the Belgium national team as a midfielder. In 2018, he helped his national team win the bronze medal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Adnan Januzaj is also currently a part of the Sevilla Fútbol Club.

 17 
Michy Batshuayi
(Belgian Football Striker)
Michy Batshuayi
9
Birthdate: October 2, 1993
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brussels

Belgian footballer Michy Batshuayi now plays as a striker for the Turkish club Fenerbahçe. Starting his career with Standard Liège, he later had successful stints with clubs such as Marseille and Chelsea, winning a Premier League and 2 FA Cups with the latter. He also won the Ebony Shoe Award in 2013-14.

 18 
Eddy Merckx
(Belgian Former Professional Road and Track Bicycle Racer)
Eddy Merckx
4
Birthdate: June 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Meensel-Kiezegem, Belgium

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.

 19 
Jacques Brel
(Actor & One of the Best-Selling Belgian Recording Artists of All Time)
Jacques Brel
8
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 
Joanna of Castile
(Former Queen of Castile (1504 - 1555))
Joanna of Castile
3
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.
 21 
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. 

 22 
Toby Alderweireld
(Belgian Football Defender)
Toby Alderweireld
2
Birthdate: March 2, 1989
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium

Belgian footballer Toby Alderweireld is best known as a defender for Royal Antwerp. Starting his senior career with Ajax, he later also had successful stints with clubs such as Atlético Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. He was also part of the Belgian squads that played at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup games.

 23 
Jan Vertonghen
(Belgian Football Central Defender)
Jan Vertonghen
2
Birthdate: April 24, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

Belgian footballer Jan Vertonghen is best known as a central defender for the club Anderlecht. Starting his senior career with the club Ajax, he has also had successful stints with Tottenham Hotspur and Benfica. He was part of the FIFA World Cup third-place-winning Belgian team in 2018.

 24 
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.
 25 
Youri Tielemans
(Belgian Professional Footballer Who Plays as a Midfielder)
Youri Tielemans
9
Birthdate: May 7, 1997
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sint-Pieters-Leeuw
 26 
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.

 27 
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.

 28 
Adolphe Sax
(Inventor of Saxophone)
Adolphe Sax
3
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.

 29 
Dries Mertens
(Belgian Professional Football Striker)
Dries Mertens
4
Birthdate: May 6, 1987
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Leuven

Belgian footballer Dries Mertens, also known as Ciro, is a striker/winger for the Turkish club Galatasaray. Starting his senior career with Gent, he has also represented the Italian club Napoli and the Dutch club Utrecht. He was also part of the FIFA World Cup third-place-winning Belgian squad of 2018.

 30 
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.

 31 
Albert I of Belgium
(Former King of the Belgians (1909 - 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 
Radja Nainggolan
(Belgian Football Midfielder)
Radja Nainggolan
5
Birthdate: May 4, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Antwerp, Belgium

Belgian footballer Radja Nainggolan, who plays as a midfielder for Antwerp, has also played for teams such as Cagliari and Piacenza. He began his football career with Tubantia Borgerhout at age 5. A diverse player, he won the Serie A in 2020-2021 with Inter Milan.

 33 
Philip I of Castile
(King of Castile)
Philip I of Castile
3
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.

 34 
Moncef Slaoui
(Moroccan-Born Belgian-American Scientist Who Led Operation Warp Speed)
Moncef Slaoui
1
Birthdate: July 22, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Agadir, Morocco

Moroccan-born scientist Moncef Slaoui completed his doctoral studies in Belgium and the moved to the US for further research at Harvard. In his career of almost 3 decades at GlaxoSmithKline, he oversaw the development of many vaccines. He later headed Operation Warp Speed, the US government’s initiative to develop COVID-19 vaccines.

 35 
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.  

 36 
Marc Dutroux
(Criminal, Electrician, Serial killer)
Marc Dutroux
13
Birthdate: November 6, 1956
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ixelles / Elsene
In 2004, the notorious Belgian serial killer Marc Dutroux was convicted on charges of murder, kidnapping and rape and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Earlier, his case aroused widespread public outrage at the inefficiency and corruption of the Belgium’s law enforcement agency and led to the White March which was one of the largest demonstrations in Europe since WWII. 
 37 
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco
(Belgian Footballer Who Plays as a Winger and Wing-Back)
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco
3
Birthdate: September 4, 1993
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vilvoorde, Belgium
 38 
Mousa Dembélé
(Retired Belgian Football Midfielder)
Mousa Dembélé
2
Birthdate: July 16, 1987
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wilrijk, Belgium

Retired Belgian footballer Mousa Dembélé was best known as a central midfielder for clubs such as Fulham, AZ, and Tottenham Hotspur. He has also played for the Chinese club Guangzhou City and been part of the FIFA World Cup third-place-winning Belgian team in 2018.

 39 
Abraham Ortelius
(Flemish Cartographer Who Created the World's First Modern Atlas)
Abraham Ortelius
0
Birthdate: April 14, 1527
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Antwerp
Died: June 28, 1598

Flemish cartographer of the 16th century, Abraham Ortelius is remembered as the person who created Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the world’s first modern atlas. Starting his career as an engraver, he later switched to map-making. He also served as Spanish king Philip II’s official geographer and proposed the idea of continental drift.

 40 
Baudouin of Belgium
(King of the Belgians (1951 - 1993))
Baudouin of Belgium
1
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.

 41 
Marouane Fellaini
(Moroccan-Origin Belgian Football Midfielder)
Marouane Fellaini
5
Birthdate: November 22, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Etterbeek, Belgium

Moroccan-origin Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini is a midfielder for the Chinese Super League club Shandong Taishan. Starting his senior career with Standard Liège, he has also played for Everton and Manchester United. He is the son of a footballer who had to become a bus driver due to lack of paperwork.

 42 
Joseph Plateau
(Belgian Physicist & Mathematician - One of the First People to Demonstrate the Illusion of a Moving Image)
Joseph Plateau
1
Birthdate: October 14, 1801
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brussels
Died: September 15, 1883

Belgian physicist and mathematician Joseph Plateau was a pioneer of the modern animation and movie industry, as he invented the phenakistiscope, the world’s first device to create an illusion of motion through images. He also laid down the structure of soap films through Plateau's laws.

 43 
Leopold III of Belgium
(King of Belgium from 1934 to 1951)
Leopold III of Belgium
5
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.

 44 
Raf Simons
(Belgian Fashion Designer)
Raf Simons
0
Birthdate: January 12, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Neerpelt, 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.

 45 
Jacky Ickx
(Belgian Retired Racing Driver)
Jacky Ickx
0
Birthdate: January 1, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brussels

Jacky Ickx is a Belgian retired racing driver best known for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans on six occasions. He also achieved 25 podium finishes and eight wins in F1. Jacky Ickx is also known for his association with Scuderia Ferrari as he was the leading driver for the team for several seasons in the 1960s and 1970s.

 46 
Andreas Pereira
(Belgian-Born Footballer Who Plays as a Midfielder for Brazil)
Andreas Pereira
0
Birthdate: January 1, 1996
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Duffel, Belgium

The son of Brazilian footballer Marcos Pereira, Andreas Pereira is a fine midfielder in his own right and plays for Fulham. The Belgian-born footballer started his senior career with the club Manchester United. While he initially represented the youth teams of both Belgium and Brazil, he later joined the Brazilian senior national team.

 47 
Nacer Chadli
(Belgian Footballer Who Plays as a Winger)
Nacer Chadli
3
Birthdate: August 2, 1989
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Liège, Belgium

Nacer Chadli is a Belgian football player who plays as a midfielder for the Belgium national team. In 2018, he helped his nation win the bronze medal at the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Nacer Chadli also represented Belgium at the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship. A versatile midfielder, Nacer Chadli has also played for popular clubs like Tottenham Hotspur.

 48 
Anthony van Dyck
(Flemish Baroque Artist)
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.

 49 
Georges Simenon
(One of the Most Widely Published Authors of the 20th Century)
Georges Simenon
2
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.

 50 
David Goffin
(Tennis player)
David Goffin
1
Birthdate: December 7, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Liège, Belgium

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.