Skip to main content

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?

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*
Anonymous 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!
Anonymous said…
Cuckoo Clocks were invented in Germany.

You may now call me Pedant.
Peter 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 !!
Anonymous 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.
Fred Harrison 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)
Anonymous said…
And among the Swiss:
Ulrich Zwingli, a leader of the Reformation
Anonymous 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.
Anonymous 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)

Popular posts from this blog

Post Truth and Justice

The past decade has seen the rise of so-called "post truth" politics.  Instead of mere misrepresentation of facts to serve an argument, political figures began to put forward arguments which denied easily provable facts, and then blustered and browbeat those who pointed out the lie.  The political class was able to get away with "post truth" positions because the infrastructure that reported their activity has been suborned directly into the process. In short, the media abandoned long-cherished traditions of objectivity and began a slow slide into undeclared bias and partisanship.  The "fourth estate" was always a key piece of how democratic societies worked, since the press, and later the broadcast media could shape opinion by the way they reported on the political process. As a result there has never been a golden age of objective media, but nevertheless individual reporters acquired better or worse reputations for the quality of their reporting and

We need to talk about UK corruption

After a long hiatus, mostly to do with indolence and partly to do with the general election campaign, I feel compelled to take up the metaphorical pen and make a few comments on where I see the situation of the UK in the aftermath of the "Brexit election". OK, so we lost.  We can blame many reasons, though fundamentally the Conservatives refused to make the mistakes of 2017 and Labour and especially the Liberal Democrats made every mistake that could be made.  Indeed the biggest mistake of all was allowing Johnson to hold the election at all, when another six months would probably have eaten the Conservative Party alive.  It was Jo Swinson's first, but perhaps most critical, mistake to make, and from it came all the others.  The flow of defectors and money persuaded the Liberal Democrat bunker that an election could only be better for the Lib Dems, and as far as votes were concerned, the party did indeed increase its vote by 1.3 million.   BUT, and it really is the bi

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo