Belgians

These are Belgians, from the past and the present, whom you might have heard of, placed in no perticular order. For a complete list check this link:  http://www.famousbelgians.net/

Gerardus Mercator

Cartographer

Gerardus Mercator (born 5 March 1512 in Rupelmonde, modern Belgium) was a cartographer, philosopher and mathematician. He is best known for his work in cartography, in 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerardus_Mercator

 

Andreas Vesalius

Anatomist

Andreas Vesalius (31 December 1514 – 15 October 1564) was a Brabantian (in modern-day Belgium) anatomist, physician, and author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy, De humani corporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body). 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andreas_Vesalius

 

Adolphe Sax

Invented Saxophone

Antoine-Joseph "Adolphe" Sax (6 November 1814 – c. 7 February 1894) was a Belgian musical instrument designer and musician who played the flute and clarinet, and is well known for having invented the saxophone.

Trivia: Sax suffered from lip cancer between 1853 and 1858 but made a full recovery.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolphe_Sax

 

Father Damien

Martyr of charity

Father Damien or Saint Damien of Molokai, or Saint Damien de Veuster (January 3, 1840 – April 15, 1889), 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. Father Damien was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday October 11, 2009.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Damien

 

Leo Baekeland

Inventor of Bakelite (marks beginning of age of plastic)

Leo Henricus Arthur Baekeland (November 14, 1863 – February 23, 1944) was a Belgian-born American chemist. He invented Velox photographic paper in 1893 and Bakelite in 1907. His invention of Bakelite, an inexpensive, nonflammable, versatile, and popular plastic, marked the beginning of the modern plastics industry.

Trivia: Baekeland was awarded the Franklin Medal in 1940.  Became a recluse after retirement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baekeland

George Lemaître

Invented the Big Bang Theory and the Hubble constant

Monseigneur Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, (17 July 1894 – 20 June 1966) 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'.

Trivia:  Critics called his theory mockingly the "Big Bang".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lemaître

 

Albert Claude

Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine

Albert Claude (24 August 1899 – 22 May 1983) was a Belgian medical doctor and cell biologist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 with Christian de Duve and George Emil Palade.

His elementary education started in a comprehensive primary school at Longlier, his birth place. He served in the British Intelligence Service during the First World War, and got imprisoned in concentration camps twice. In recognition of his service, he was granted enrolment at the University of Liège in Belgium to study medicine without any formal education required for the course. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1928. Devoted to medical research, he initially joined German institutes in Berlin. In 1929 he found an opportunity to join the Rockefeller Institute in New York. At Rockefeller University he made his most groundbreaking achievements in cell biology. In 1930 he developed the technique of cell fractionation, by which he discovered the agent of the Rous sarcoma, components of cell organelles such as mitochondrion, chloroplast, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, ribosome and lysosome. He was the first to employ electron microscope in the field of bology. In 1945 he published the first detailed structure of cell. His collective works established the complex functional and structural properties of cells.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Claude

François Englert

Physicist and Nobel prize winner

François, Baron Englert (born 6 November 1932) is a Belgian theoretical physicist and 2013 Nobel prize laureate (shared with Peter Higgs). He is Professor emeritus at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) where he is member of the Service de Physique Théorique. He is also a Sackler Professor by Special Appointment in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Tel Aviv University and a member of the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University in California. He was awarded the 2010 J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics (with Gerry Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, Tom Kibble, Peter Higgs, and Robert Brout), the Wolf Prize in Physics in 2004 (with Brout and Higgs) and the High Energy and Particle Prize of the European Physical Society (with Brout and Higgs) in 1997 for the mechanism which unifies short and long range interactions by generating massive gauge vector bosons. He has made contributions in statistical physics, quantum field theory, cosmology, string theory and supergravity. He is the recipient of the 2013 Prince of Asturias Award in technical and scientific research, together with Peter Higgs and the CERN.

Englert was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics, together with Peter Higgs for the discovery of the Higgs mechanism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/François_Englert

Audrey Hepburn

Film and fashion icon (only born in Belgium)

Audrey Hepburn (born Audrey Kathleen Ruston; 4 May 1929 – 20 January 1993) was a British actress and humanitarian. Recognised as a film and fashion icon, Hepburn was active during Hollywood's Golden Age. She was ranked by the American Film Institute as the third greatest female screen legend in the history of American cinema and has been placed in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. She is also regarded by many to be the most naturally beautiful woman of all time.

Born in Ixelles, a district of Brussels, Hepburn spent her childhood between Belgium, England and the Netherlands, including German-occupied Arnhem during the Second World War. In Amsterdam, she studied ballet with Sonia Gaskell before moving to London in 1948 to continue her ballet training with Marie Rambert and perform as a chorus girl in West End musical theatre productions.

After appearing in several British films and starring in the 1951 Broadway play Gigi, Hepburn played the Academy Award-winning lead role in Roman Holiday (1953). She went on to star in a number of successful films like Sabrina (1954), The Nun's Story (1959), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Charade (1963), My Fair Lady (1964) and Wait Until Dark (1967), for which she received Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. For her role in Roman Holiday, Hepburn was also the first actress to win an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for a single performance in 1954. The same year, she accrued a Tony Award for Best Actress in the Broadway play Ondine. Hepburn remains one of few people who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards. She won a record three BAFTA Awards for Best British Actress in a Leading Role.

The movie "The Nun's Story" is partly filmed in Bruges.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audrey_Hepburn

Jean-Claude Vandamme

Movie icon

Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg (born 18 October 1960), 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 (1988), Kickboxer (1989), Universal Soldier (1992), Hard Target (1993), Street Fighter (1994), Timecop (1994), Sudden Death (1995), JCVD (2008) and The Expendables 2 (2012).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JCVD

 

Eddy Merckx

Road and track bicycle racer

Edouard Louis Joseph, Baron Merckx (born 17 June 1945), better known as Eddy Merckx, is a Belgian former professional road and track 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 (with 19 Classics victories in all).  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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddy_Merckx

Kim Clijsters

Tennis player

Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters (born 8 June 1983) is a retired Belgian professional tennis player. Clijsters is a former world no. 1 in both singles and doubles.

Clijsters won 41 WTA singles titles and 11 WTA doubles titles. She won four Grand Slam singles titles: three at the US Open, in 2005, 2009, and 2010 and one at the Australian Open in 2011. She was also runner-up in four Grand Slam singles tournaments and won the WTA Tour Championships singles title in 2002, 2003, and 2010. In doubles, she won the French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2003. She was also runner-up in two Grand Slam doubles tournaments, one WTA Championships doubles tournament, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles tournament. In 2001, Clijsters was part of the Belgium Fed Cup winning team. Clijsters announced her retirement with immediate effect on 6 May 2007, but almost two years later, on 26 March 2009, she publicly declared her intent to return to the WTA tour for the 2009 summer hard court season. In only her third tournament back, she won her second US Open title, becoming the first unseeded player and wildcard to win the tournament, and the first mother to win a major since Evonne Goolagong in 1980.

In June 2011, TIME magazine named her one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future". According to Forbes in August 2011, she became the fifth highest-paid female athlete over the past year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Clijsters

The other Belgian tennis phenomenon from the same period is Justin Henin.

 

Django Reinhardt

Music artist

Jean "Django" Reinhardt (23 January 1910 – 16 May 1953) was a Belgian-born French guitarist and composer of Romani heritage.

Reinhardt is often regarded as one of the greatest guitar players of all time and was the first important European jazz musician who made major contributions to the development of the genre. After his third and fourth fingers were paralyzed when he suffered burns in a fire, Reinhardt used only the index and middle fingers of his left hand on his solos and invented an entirely new style of jazz guitar technique (sometimes called 'hot' jazz guitar) 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".  Without Django, there would be no Jimmy Hendrix, no Eric Clapton, no Neil Young.

Trivia:  Never had music lessons nor could read music notes.  Reinhardt's music has been used in the soundtrack of many films, including in The Matrix,Rhythm Futur, Daltry Calhoun, Metroland, Chocolat, The Aviator, Head in the Clouds.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Django_Reinhardt

 

Jacques Brel

Music artist

Jacques Brel (8 April 1929 – 9 October 1978) was a Belgian singer-songwriter who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following in Belgium and France initially, and later throughout the world. He was widely considered a master of the modern chanson.   Although he recorded most of his songs in French, he became a major influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers such as David Bowie, Alex Harvey, Leonard Cohen, Marc Almond and Rod McKuen. English translations of his songs were recorded by many top performers in the United States, including Ray Charles, Judy Collins, John Denver, the Kingston Trio, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Scott Walker, and Andy Williams.   In French-speaking countries, Brel was also a successful actor, appearing in ten films. He also directed two films, one of which, Le Far West, was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973.   Jacques Brel has sold over 25 million records worldwide, and is the third best-selling Belgian recording artist of all time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaques_Brel

 tootsthielemans

Toots Thielemans

Jazz Musician

Toots Thielemans (born Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans, 29 April 1922, Brussels) 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 (scoring an international hit in the 1960s with his song "Bluesette") and has appeared on dozens of film/series soundtracks (Midnight Cowboy, Cinderella LibertySesame Street,...). In 2009 he became NEA Jazz Master, the highest honour for a jazz musician in the United States.

He moved to the US in 1952 where he was a member of Charlie Parker's All-Stars and worked with Miles Davis.  He has also played and recorded with Ella Fitzgerald, Jaco Pastorius, Stephane Grappelli, Édith Piaf, J.J. Johnson, Michael Franks, Peggy Lee, John Williams, Quincy Jones, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, The Happenings, Astrud Gilberto, Shirley Horn, Elis Regina, Joe Pass, and others.  He may be best known to some as the performer whistling the melody in commercials for Old Spice cologne.

He announced his retirement, at the age of 91, on March 12, 2014.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toots_Thielemans

 

Adamo

Musician

Salvatore Knight Adamo, simply known as Adamo (born 1 November 1943, Comiso, Sicily, Italy), is a Belgian composer and singer of Italian ancestry. He first gained popularity throughout Europe and later in the Middle East, Latin America, Japan, and the United States. He has sold more than 80 million albums and 20 million singles making him one of the most commercially successful musicians in the world. He mainly performs in French but has also sung in English, German, Italian and Spanish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvatore_Adamo

 

Rocco Granata

Musician

Rocco Granata (born 16 August 1938) is a Belgiansinger, songwriter, and accordionist.

Granata was born in Figline Vegliaturo, Calabria, southern Italy; but his parents immigrated to Belgium when he was aged ten. Rocco's father was a coal miner, but Granata pursued music instead. He played accordion and toured Belgium with his band, 'The International Quintet'. He then released the songs "Manuela" / "Marina" as a single in 1959; the B-side became an international hit, reaching #1 in Belgium and in Germany as well as charting across Europe and in the United States. It sold over one million copies in Germany alone, and was awarded a gold disc. It has been covered many times by artists such as Marino Marini, Ilham al-Madfai, Dalida and Louis Armstrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocco_Granata

The Singing Nun

Musician

Jeanine Deckers (17 October 1933 — 29 March 1985), better known as Sœur Sourire ("Sister Smile", often credited as The Singing Nun in English-speaking countries), was a Belgian singer-songwriter and initially a member of the Dominican Order in Belgium as Sister Luc Gabrielle. She acquired world fame in 1963 with the release of the French-language song "Dominique", which topped the U.S. Billboard and other charts.

Trivia: Citing their financial difficulties in a note, she and her companion of ten years, Annie Pécher, both committed suicide by an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol on 29 March 1985.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Singing_Nun

Gotye

Musician

Wouter "Wally" De Backer (born 21 May 1980), better known as Gotye , is a Belgian-Australian multi-instrumental musician and singer-songwriter. The name "Gotye" is a pronunciation respelling of "Gauthier", the French cognate of Gotye's given Flemish name "Wouter" (English "Walter", hence the nickname "Wally").

Gotye has released three studio albums independently and one album featuring remixes of tracks from his first two albums. He is a member of the Melbourne indie-pop trio The Basics, who have independently released three studio albums and numerous other titles since 2002. His voice has been compared to those of Peter Gabriel and Sting.  Gotye's 2011 single "Somebody That I Used to Know" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making him the fifth Australian-based artist to do so and the second Belgian (after The Singing Nun in 1963).  He has won five ARIA Awards and received a nomination for an MTV EMA for Best Asia and Pacific Act. On 10 February 2013, he won three Grammy Awards at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards Show: Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for "Somebody That I Used to Know" and Best Alternative Music Album for Making Mirrors. Gotye has said he sometimes feels "less of a musician, more of a tinkerer."

Gotye is bilingual, speaking both Dutch and English, and also speaks some Japanese,which he studied at University.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotye

la formidable histoire de stromae 8176

Stromae

Musician

Paul Van Haver (born 12 March 1985), better known by his stage name Stromae, is a Belgian musician, singer, rapper and songwriter. He is originally from Laeken, in Brussels.  He established himself in both the hip hop and electronic music genres.

Stromae came to wide public attention in 2009 with his song "Alors on danse", which became a number one in several European countries. In 2013, his second album Racine Carrée was a commercial success.

Winning many awards he collaborated and performed with several stars like Kanye West, will.i.am and The Black Eyed Peas.

Stromae is also known for his distinctive physique and clothing style. He has used this image in launching a limited fashion line, called "Mosaert".

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromae

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