Find out more about the greatest Belgian, including Jean-Claude Van Damme, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Leopold II of Belgium.

People who have never been to Belgium will joke that nobody can name even five famous Belgians. Or quip how trite the Belgians are? That besides beer and mussels, there is nothing more to add to Belgium’s portfolio. But the truth is that Belgium, with its remarkable history of art, over 60 UNESCO sites, world-famous carnival celebrations and a wad of peerless men and women, is not half as lackluster and lacking in talent as the world deems. Not the one to blow its own trumpet, Belgium has never ever overplayed its greatness. No wonder most of us did not know that distinguished talents like Hollywood heartthrobs Audrey Hepburn and Jean Claude van Damme, world famous baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, Tin Tin's creator Georges Remi, tennis star Kim Clijsters, bacteriologist Jules Bordet, and noted fashion designer Liz Claiborne are all Belgians. Surprised? Join us as we dig deep into the lives and deeds of many such famous Belgians in the biographies presented below, exploring their timeline, trivia and lesser-known facts on the way.
Jean-Claude Van DammeJean-Claude Van Damme
(Martial Artist & Actor)

18 October 1960

Sint-Agatha-Berchem

Libra

Romelu LukakuRomelu Lukaku
(Football Player)

13 May 1993

Antwerp

Taurus

Eden HazardEden Hazard
(Footballer)

07 January 1991

La Louvière, Belgium

Capricorn

Kevin De Bruyne Kevin De Bruyne
(Footballer)

28 June 1991

Ghent

Cancer

Leopold II of BelgiumLeopold II of Belgium
(Founder of Congo Free State)

09 April 1835

17 December 1909

Brussels

Aries

StromaeStromae
(Rapper)

12 March 1985

Etterbeek, Brussels

Pisces

Peter Paul RubensPeter Paul Rubens
(Painter & Printmaker)

28 June 1577

30 May 1640

Siegen, Nassau-Dillenburg (now North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)

Cancer

Lara FabianLara Fabian
(Singer)

09 January 1970

Etterbeek

Capricorn

Georges LemaîtreGeorges Lemaître
(Scientist & Priest)

17 July 1894

20 June 1966

Charleroi, Belgium

Cancer

Philip I of CastilePhilip I of Castile
(King of Castile)

22 July 1478

25 September 1506

Bruges, Belgium

Cancer

Jacques BrelJacques Brel
(Singer and Actor)

08 April 1929

09 October 1978

Schaerbeek

Aries

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

31 December 1514

15 October 1564

Brussels

Capricorn

HergeHergé
(Cartoonist (Creator of Tintin))

22 May 1907

03 March 1983

Etterbeek, Belgium

Gemini

Anthony van DyckAnthony van Dyck
(Painter)

22 March 1599

09 December 1641

Antwerp

Aries

Michel QissiMichel Qissi
(Actor, Director)

12 September 1962

Oujda, Morocco

Virgo

Eddy MerckxEddy Merckx
(Cyclist)

17 June 1945

Tielt-Winge

Gemini

Rose BertramRose Bertram
(Model)

26 October 1994

Kortrijk, Belgium

Scorpio

Adolphe SaxAdolphe Sax
(Inventor of Saxophone)

06 November 1814

07 February 1894

Dinant

Scorpio

Gerardus Mercator Gerardus Mercator
(Cartographer)

05 March 1512

02 December 1594

Rupelmonde, County of Flanders (in modern-day Belgium)

Pisces

Plastic BertrandPlastic Bertrand
(Musician)

24 February 1954

Brussels

Pisces

Leo BaekelandLeo Baekeland
(Chemist & Inventor)

14 November 1863

23 February 1944

Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium

Scorpio

Ilya PrigogineIlya Prigogine
(Physical Chemist)

25 January 1917

28 May 2003

Moscow, Russia

Aquarius

Christian de DuveChristian de Duve
(Biochemist)

02 October 1917

04 May 2013

Thames Ditton, United Kingdom

Libra

Johannes OckeghemJohannes Ockeghem
(Music Composer, Choirmaster, Singer)

1410 AD

06 February 1497

Saint-Ghislain

Rene MagritteRene Magritte

21 November 1898

15 August 1967

Lessines, Belgium

Scorpio

Henri La FontaineHenri La Fontaine
(Socialist, Senator, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner)

22 April 1854

14 May 1943

Belgium

Taurus

Jules BordetJules Bordet
(Microbiologist and Immunologist)

13 June 1870

06 April 1961

Soignies

Gemini

Adrian WillaertAdrian Willaert
(Music Composer, Teacher, Founder of the Venetian school)

1490 AD

07 December 1562

Bruges

Dominique PireDominique Pire
(Cleric, Educator)

10 February 1910

30 January 1969

Dinant

Aquarius

Albert ClaudeAlbert Claude
(Cell Biologist)

24 August 1899

22 May 1983

Longlier, Neufchâteau, Belgium

Virgo

Belle PerezBelle Perez
(Musician)

29 January 1976

Neerpelt

Aquarius

Orlando LassusOrlando Lassus
(Composer)

1532 AD

14 June 1594

Mons

Michy BatshuayiMichy Batshuayi
(Association football player)

02 October 1993

Brussels

Libra

Matthias SchoenaertsMatthias Schoenaerts
(Actor)

08 December 1977

Antwerp

Sagittarius

Yannick Ferreira CarrascoYannick Ferreira Carrasco
(Association football player)

04 September 1993

Tepito

Virgo

Vincent KompanyVincent Kompany

1986 AD

Uccle

Radja NainggolanRadja Nainggolan
(Association football player)

04 May 1988

Antwerp

Taurus

Leopold I of BelgiumLeopold I of Belgium
(Politician, Military personnel)

16 December 1790

10 December 1865

Coburg

Sagittarius

Marouane FellainiMarouane Fellaini
(Association football player)

22 November 1987

Etterbeek

Scorpio

Adnan JanuzajAdnan Januzaj
(Association football player)

05 February 1995

Brussels

Aquarius

Toby AlderweireldToby Alderweireld
(Association football player)

02 March 1989

Antwerp

Pisces

Charles MartelCharles Martel
(Statesman)

23 August 0686

22 October 0741

Herstal

Leo

GotyeGotye
(Musician, Singer-songwriter, Singer)

21 May 1980

Bruges

Taurus

Dries MertensDries Mertens
(Association football player)

06 May 1987

Leuven

Taurus

Divock OrigiDivock Origi
(Association football player)

18 April 1995

Ostend

Aries

Thomas VermaelenThomas Vermaelen
(Association football player)

14 November 1985

Kapellen

Scorpio

Jan VertonghenJan Vertonghen
(Association football player)

24 April 1987

Sint-Niklaas

Taurus

Bradley WigginsBradley Wiggins
(Track cyclist, Sport cyclist)

28 April 1980

Ghent

Taurus

Jan van EyckJan van Eyck
(Painter)

1395 AD

09 July 1441

Maaseik

Simon MignoletSimon Mignolet
(Association football player)

06 March 1988

Sint-Truiden

Pisces

Albert II of BelgiumAlbert II of Belgium
(Politician)

06 June 1934

Brussels

Gemini

Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of BrabantPrincess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant

25 October 2001

Anderlecht

Scorpio

Leopold III of BelgiumLeopold III of Belgium
(King)

03 November 1901

25 September 1983

Brussels

Scorpio

Axel WitselAxel Witsel
(Association football player)

12 January 1989

Liège

Capricorn

Albert I of BelgiumAlbert I of Belgium
(Mountaineer, Military personnel)

08 April 1875

17 February 1934

Brussels

Aries

Marc DutrouxMarc Dutroux
(Criminal, Electrician, Serial killer)

06 November 1956

Ixelles / Elsene

Scorpio

Jean-Philippe SusilovicJean-Philippe Susilovic
(Television personality)

1975 AD

Belgium

William III of the NetherlandsWilliam III of the Netherlands
(Politician, Judge)

19 February 1817

23 November 1890

Brussels

Aquarius

Cécile de FranceCécile de France
(Actor, Film actor)

17 July 1975

Namur

Cancer

Godfrey of BouillonGodfrey of Bouillon
(Ruler)

18 September 1060

18 July 1100

Virgo

Kevin MirallasKevin Mirallas
(Association football player)

05 October 1987

Liège

Libra

Baudouin of BelgiumBaudouin of Belgium

07 September 1930

31 July 1993

Laken

Virgo

Laurent CimanLaurent Ciman
(Association football player)

05 August 1985

Farciennes

Leo

Georges SimenonGeorges Simenon
(Writer, Novelist, Journalist)

13 February 1903

04 September 1989

Liège

Aquarius

Youri TielemansYouri Tielemans
(Association football player)

07 May 1997

Sint-Pieters-Leeuw

Taurus

Justine HeninJustine Henin
(Tennis player)

01 June 1982

Liège

Gemini

Kim ClijstersKim Clijsters
(Tennis player)

08 June 1983

Bilzen

Gemini

Patrick BauchauPatrick Bauchau
(Actor, Screenwriter)

06 December 1938

Brussels

Sagittarius

Mary of BurgundyMary of Burgundy

13 February 1457

27 March 1482

Brussels

Aquarius

Guy VerhofstadtGuy Verhofstadt
(Politician)

11 April 1953

Dendermonde

Aries

Dedryck BoyataDedryck Boyata
(Association football player)

28 November 1990

Uccle

Sagittarius

Nacer ChadliNacer Chadli
(Association football player)

02 August 1989

Liège

Leo

Carlota of MexicoCarlota of Mexico

07 June 1840

19 January 1927

Laeken

Gemini

John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of LancasterJohn of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
(Nobleman)

06 March 1340

03 February 1399

Ghent

Pisces

Jacques RoggeJacques Rogge
(Physician, Surgeon, Rugby union player)

02 May 1942

Ghent

Taurus

Elio Di RupoElio Di Rupo
(Chemist, Politician)

18 July 1951

Morlanwelz

Cancer

Léon DegrelleLéon Degrelle
(Politician, Journalist)

15 June 1906

31 March 1994

Bouillon

Gemini

Jacky IckxJacky Ickx
(Formula One driver, Rally driver, Motorcycle racer, Racecar driver)

01 January 1945

Brussels

Capricorn

Chantal AkermanChantal Akerman
(Film director, Actor, Screenwriter, Film producer, University teacher, Visual artist)

06 June 1950

05 October 2015

Brussels

Gemini

Cheikhou KouyatéCheikhou Kouyaté
(Footballer)

21 December 1989

Dakar

Sagittarius

Luce IrigarayLuce Irigaray
(Philosopher, Linguist, University teacher, Psychologist, Feminist)

03 May 1930

Bernissart

Taurus