Tuesday, April 08, 2008

10 Famous Belgians

The other day I was thinking about the old chestnut about how difficult it is to name 10 famous Belgians. I came up- eventually- with 10 at least significant Belgians:

Magritte - Painter
Georges Simenon -Writer
Herge -Creator of Tintin
Rubens - Painter
Adolphe Saxe -Inventor of the Saxephone
Breughel - Painter
Mercator- Geographer
Jacques Brel -Singer/Songwriter
Godfrey of Bouillon -Inspirer of the Crusades
Jean-Claude van Damme - Actor

Then I thought, that this is a game that any country could play, How about 1o Finnish heroes:

Sibelius - Composer
CGE Mannerheim - General
Tove Jannson - Creator of the Moomins
Miika Hakkinen - Racing Driver
Alvar Aalto - Designer
Paavo Nurmi - Olympian Runner
Aki Kaurismaki - Film maker
Akseli Kallela - Artist
Linus Thorvalds - Developer of Linux
Elias Lonnrot - Poet & Author of Kalevala

10 Portuguese heroes, anyone?

Henry the Navigator - initiator of the age of discovery
Vasco da Gama - First captain to Round the cape of Good Hope
Christiano Ronaldo - Footballer
Marques de Pombal - Statesman
Paula Rego - Artist
Jose Mourinho - Egotist
Mariza- Singer
Ferdinand Magellan - First circumnavigator
Luis Camoes - Poet & Author of the Lusiades
Pedro Nunes - Scientist & Navigator

The Dutch were a bit easier:

Erasmus - Philosopher
Van Gogh - Painter
Rembrandt - Painter
Spinoza -Philosopher
Johan Crujff - Footballer
Michiel de Ruyter - Admiral who burned the Medway towns
Grotius - First philosopher of Diplomacy
Piet Mondriaan - Square Painter
MC Escher- Mind stretching artist
Thomas a Kempis -Mystic

Then, I thought what about ten Romanian heroes?

Constantin Brancusi- Sculptor
Ilie Nastase - Tennis Player
Eugen Ionescu - Absurdist playwright
Ion Tiriac - another Tennis Player
Nadia Comeneci - perfect 10 gymnast
Vlad Tepes - Model for Dracula
Ion Bratianeau - wily statesman
Queen Marie - "friend" to Versailles statesmen
Stefan cel Mare - founder of Medieval kingdom
Mihai Emenescu - Romantic poet

Harder were 10 Bulgarians:

Sts Cyril & Methodius - alphabet inventors and Slavic evangelists
Hristo Stoichkov - Footballer
Ivan Vazov - author of "Under the Yoke"
Zahari Zograf - Icon Painter
Boris III - self sacrificial King
Ivan Rilski - Hermit and Mystic
Stefan Stambulov - Statesman and founder of much of modern Bulgaria
Hristo Botev - Romantic poet and Revolutionary
Georgi Dimitrov - Communist who defied Hitler

Then what about 10 Germans? Here the problem was who to exclude:

Beethoven - supreme Composer
Martin Luther - Founder of the idea of Protest
JS Bach - Composer
Goethe - Poet
Albert Einstein - Genius
Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenburg -would-be assassin of Hitler
Max Planck- physicist
Bismarck - statesman
Karl Marx- Philosopher
Dietrich Bonhoeffer -moralist and martyr

The same problem came with 10 French heroes:

Louis Pasteur: scientist
Jules Verne - Novelist of the future
Charlemagne - Reviver of the Western Empire
Thierry Henry - Footballer
Charles de Gaulle - sustainer of France
Moliere - Playwright
Rene Descartes- Philosopher
Louis Lumiere - inventor of Cinema
Napoleon- flawed political and military leader
Simone Veil - Moral European

Spain too has an impressive list:

Cervantes - writer
Picasso - painter
Dali - personality
Gaudi - unconventional Architect
Goya - painter
Valazquez - Humane portraitist
Ignatius Loyola - Founder of the Jesuits
Ferdinand & Isabella- The Catholic Monarchs- founders of Spain
Christopher Columbus - Reputed discoverer of America
Filipe II - Armada aside, a powerful King

Now I leave a challenge: apart from Calvin, what about 10 great Swiss?

12 comments:

Newmania said...

Most impressive quite a few of these are new to me. I think all the Swiss ever did was to invent the Cuckoo Clock.

*disappears back into the shadows*

OneHourAhead said...

As I live here I suppose I should rise to this challenge:

First one up: Federer (originally had Hingis as well but didn't know whether she would fit your criteria)

No.2. H.R. Giger - the dude that did all the cool design for the Aliens movie. If you go to Gruyeres (where the cheese comes from) then there is a museum of his work, and a cool cafe with all his designs over it.

3. Betrand Piccard - He was the ballonist that got around the world before Branson managed to. He is from the place I live, Lausanne, and is now involved in a project with the Institute I work at - EPFL.

4. Peter Sauber - Used to own the Sauber F1 team

5. Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Philosopher

6. Any of the Bernoulli's - Bigwig mathematicians from the 17th-18th centuries. which leads on to:

7. Leonhard Euler - Taught by one of the above, a large proportion of modern maths comes from this Basel-born gent

8. Carl Gustav Jung - Quack

9. Le Corbusier - Can be found on a 10CHF bank note, created many cool buildings and designs.

and last but definitely by no means least...

10. Ursula Andress - Famous for her bikini.

As an added bonus The Bride of Wildenstein also comes from Lausanne. Luckily I haven't seen her yet!

OneHourAhead said...

Cuckoo Clocks were invented in Germany.

You may now call me Pedant.

Peter Welch said...

I don't think Colombus is really Spanish (from Genoa). So perhaps García Lorca (poet) or Ortega y Gasset (writer and philosopher).

Newmania said...

Amazing how much was achieved prior to the dead homogenising hand of the EU and ubiquitous continental centre left cultural mogodon. All they ever do now is invent forms fill them in and go back to sleep

You see what you are intent on destroying Cicero !!

Well Behaved Orphan said...

The trouble with your Famous Belgians is that only 6 of them would have had any concept of being Belgian.

The country was only created in 1830 and the term "Belgian" was not used for the preceding centuries.

fh said...

More Swiss:

Ursula Andress (born 1936), actress
Irène Jacob (born 1966), actress
Jacques-Laurent Agasse (1767-1849), painter
Carl Franz Bally (1821-1899), founder of the Bally Shoe company
Louis Chevrolet (1878-1941), automobile engineer
Nicolas Hayek (born 1928), entrepreneur, chairman, Swatch Group
Henri Nestlé (1814-1890), founder of Nestlé S.A.
Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), linguist
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), philosopher, author
C.G. Jung (1875-1961), psychiatrist
Hermann Rorschach (1884-1922),
Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793), revolutionary
Felix Bloch (born 1905), 1952 Nobel Prize in Physics

And, lest we forget,
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
(He renounced his German citizenship when he moved to Switzerland)

well behaved orphan said...

And among the Swiss:
Ulrich Zwingli, a leader of the Reformation

Dan said...

10 Famous Finns - how can you leave out Mixu Paatelainen?

Anonymous said...

A bit late now that you have had several sets of famous Swiss, but you should note that Calvin was French and emigrated to Geneva. Furthermore, in his day Geneva was not part of Switzerland.

Ian Bennett said...

You picked Mika Hakkinen as a famous Finn (although you mis-spelled his name), but you missed out the two Finns still in F1; Heikki Kovaleinen and current world champion Kimi Raikkonen. Oddly, they all drove (at one time) for the same team, as did fellow Finn Keke Rosberg.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about your criteria, but what about these:

- Friedrich Duerrenmatt (writer)
- Max Frisch (writer)
- Francois Cailler (chocolate)
- Artur Cohn (film)
- Carla del Ponte (lawyer etc)
- Albert Hoffmann (LSD)
- Erich von Daeniken (hm)
- Paul Klee (painter)