List of people from Brussels
This is a list of notable people from Brussels.
- 1 Patroness of Brussels
- 2 Political leaders in Brussels
- 3 Born in Brussels
- 4 Life and work in Brussels
- 5 Brussels as a safe harbor
- 6 References
Patroness of Brussels
- Saint Gudulae of Brussels and Eibingen, Saint of the city and national saint of Belgium
Political leaders in Brussels
The Belgian Monarchs
- Leopold I (1790–1865), the first King of the Belgians
- Leopold II (1835–1909), the second King of the Belgians
- Albert I (1875–1934), the third King of the Belgians
- Leopold III (1901–1983), the fourth King of the Belgians
- Baudouin (1930–1993), the fifth King of the Belgians
- Albert II (born 1934) the sixth King of the Belgians
Minister-Presidents of Brussels
- Charles Picqué (P.S.) (1989–1999)
- Jacques Simonet (M.R.) (1999–2000)
- François-Xavier de Donnéa (M.R.) (2000–2003)
- Daniel Ducarme (M.R.) (2003–2004)
- Jacques Simonet (M.R.) (2004) (replaced Daniel Ducarme who resigned)
- Charles Picqué (P.S.) (2004-2013)
- Rudi Vervoort (P.S.) (2013–present)
Governors of Brussels
Mayors of Brussels
- Joseph Van De Meulebroeck (lib.) (1939–1956)
- Lucien Cooremans (lib.) (1956–1975)
- Pierre Van Halteren (lib.) (1975–1982)
- Hervé Brouhon (P.S.) (1977–1983)
- Freddy Thielemans (P.S.) (1983–1988)
- Michel Demaret (PSC, now CdH) 1989–1994)
- François-Xavier de Donnéa (M.R.) (1995–2000)
- Freddy Thielemans (P.S.) (2001)
Born in Brussels
Following notable people were born in the area today known as the Brussels-Capital Region.
- Mary of Burgundy (1457–1482), Duchess of Burgundy from 1477–1482
- Charles VII (1697–1745), Holy Roman Emperor
- Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium (1927–2005), Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
- Princess Luisa Maria at Clinique Saint Jean in 1995
- Princess Laetitia Maria at Clinique Saint Jean in 2003
- Paul Deschanel (1855–1922), president of France (1920)
- Antoine Duquesne (1941–2010), Belgian MP and Senator, Member of the European Parliament
- Pierre Harmel (1911–2009), Prime Minister of Belgium (1965–1966)
- Paul-Emile Janson (1872–1944), Prime Minister of Belgium (1937–1938)
- Annemie Neyts (born 1944), politician, former president of the Liberal International, president of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
- Étienne Pinte, French MP and mayor of Versailles
- Paul-Henri Spaak (1899–1972), Prime Minister of Belgium (1938–1939, 1946 and 1947–1949), President of the United Nations General Assembly (1946–1957), Secretary-General of NATO (1957–1961)
- Emile Vandervelde (1866–1938), President from 1900 of the Second International
- Chantal Akerman (born 1950), filmmaker and director
- Patrick Bauchau (born 1938), actor
- Gérard Corbiau (born 1941), film director
- Thierry De Mey (born 1956), film director and composer
- Jacques Feyder (1885–1948), screenwriter and international film director, one of the founders of poetic realism in French cinema
- Fernand Gravey (1904–1970), also known as Fernand Gravet, film actor
- Audrey Hepburn (1929–1993), Anglo-Dutch actress, fashion model, and humanitarian
- Helena Noguerra (born 1969), actress, singer and television presenter
- Raymond Rouleau (1904–1981), actor and film director
- Jean-Claude Van Damme (born 1960), actor, nicknamed "The Muscles from Brussels"
- Alexandra Vandernoot (born 1965), actress
- Jaco Van Dormael (born 1957 in Ixelles), film director
- Agnès Varda (born 1928), French film director
Performance / dance
- Akarova (Marguerite Acarin, 1904—1991), dancer, choreographer and artist
- Jan De Cock (born 1976), visual artist
- Hilda Madsen (1910–1981), British-American artist and dog breeder
- Jacques Brel (1929–1978), singer-songwriter and actor
- Plastic Bertrand (Roger Jouret) (born 1958), rock musician
- Jean-Luc De Meyer (born 1963), musician, lead singer of Front 242
- Lara Fabian (born Lara Crokaert, 1970), singer
- Richard Jonckheere (born 1965), musician, among others member of Front 242
- Brian Molko (born 1972), songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist of the band Placebo
- Pierre Rapsat (1948–2002), singer and musician
- Edna Stern (born 1977), pianist
- The Singing Nun (Jeanine Deckers) (1933–1985), member of a Dominican Convent, famous for her song "Dominique"
- Toots Thielemans (born 1922), jazz musician
- Tonia (born Arlette Antoine Dominicus 1947), singer
- Régine Zylberberg (born 1929), pioneer of the modern nightclub
Painting / sculpture / architecture
- Pierre Alechinsky (born 1927), artist
- Colijn de Coter (c. 1446–1538), Renaissance painter
- Lodewijk de Vadder (1605–1655), landscape painter
- Francois Duquesnoy (1597–1643), sculptor
- Jean Henri Simon (1752–1834), engraver and soldier
- Constantin Meunier (1831, Etterbeek –1905), painter and sculptor
- Joseph Poelaert (1817–1879), architect, author of the Palais de Justice
- Paul Saintenoy (1862–1952), architect
- Liz Claiborne (1929–2007), fashion designer
- Diane von Fürstenberg (born 1946), Belgian-American fashion designer
Literature / cartoon
- Julio Cortázar (1914–1984), Argentine novelist and poet
- Jacques Danois (1927–2008), actor, journalist, writer
- Michel De Ghelderode (1898–1962), dramatist
- André Franquin (1924–1997), cartoonist
- Jacqueline Harpman (born 1929), novelist
- Hergé (Georges Remi) (1907–1983), Belgian cartoonist, creator of The Adventures of Tintin
- Edgar P. Jacobs (1904–1987), comics writer, created the series that made him famous, Blake and Mortimer.
- Camille Lemonnier (1844–1913), writer
- Pierre Mertens (born 1939), writer, director of the Centre de sociologie de la littérature at the Université Libre de Bruxelles
- Paul Nougé (1895–1967), surrealist poet and philosopher
- Peyo (Pierre Culliford) (1928–1992), illustrator and creator of the Smurfs
- François Schuiten (born 1956), comics artist
- Benoît Sokal (born 1954), Belgian comic artist and video game developer
- Charles Spaak (1903–1975), screenwriter
- Philippe Tome (Philippe Vandevelde), (born 1957), comic strip writer
- Jean-Philippe Toussaint (born 1957), writer, Prix Médicis 2005
- Jean Van Hamme (born 1939), novelist and scenario writer of comic books
- Geert van Istendael (born 1947 in Uccle), writer
- François Weyergans (born 1941), writer, Prix Goncourt 2005
- Marguerite Yourcenar (1903–1987), French writer and first female member of the Académie française
- Jean-Jacques Cassiman (born 1943 in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek), researcher and professor of human genetics
- François d'Aguilon or Aguilonius (1546–1617), mathematician and physicist
- Pierre Deligne (born 1944), mathematician
- Francois Englert Nobel Prize in Physics 2013
- Friedrich Moritz Hartogs (1874–1943), German-Jewish mathematician
- Claude Lévi-Strauss (born 1908), French anthropologist
- Joseph Plateau (1801–1883), physicist; invented an early stroboscopic device, the "phenakistiscope"
- Jacques Tits (born 1930), Belgian-French mathematician
- Jan Baptist van Helmont (1579–1644), chemist, physiologist and physician
- Pierre François Verhulst (1804–1849), mathematician
- Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564), anatomist and author of the first complete textbook on human anatomy, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Workings of the Human Body)
Intellectuals / religion
- Victor Amédée Jacques Marie Coremans (1802–1872), archivist, journalist, and historian
- Pieter Crockaert (1470–1514), philosopher and theologian of the Southern Netherlands
- Charles A. Didier (born 1935), General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Henri La Fontaine (1854–1943), lawyer and president of the International Peace Bureau, Nobel Prize for Peace in 1913
- Pascal Vanderveeren (born 1946), lawyer and president of the International Criminal Bar
- Thierry Boutsen (born 1957), Formula One driver
- Raymond Goethals (1921–2004), (national) soccer trainer; his team Olympique Marseille won the 1993 European Cup
- Georges Grün (born 1962), football (soccer) defender
- Jacky Ickx (born 1945), racing driver
- Vincent Kompany (born 1986), football (soccer) player
- Axel Merckx (born 1972 in Uccle), son of Eddy Merckx, professional road bicycle racer, bronze medal Olympic road race 2004
- Tarec Saffiedine (born 1986), martial artist
- Philippe Thys (1890–1971), cyclist and three-time winner of the Tour de France
- Ivo Van Damme (1954–1976), middle distance runner, silver medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics, in both the 800m and 1500m; Memorial van Damme in Brussels, one of the major track and field meets of the season, named in his honour
- Constant Vanden Stock (1914–2008), president and player of Brussels football club R.S.C. Anderlecht
- Franky Vercauteren (born 1956), football left winger in R.S.C. Anderlecht and R.W.D. Molenbeek, football manager in R.S.C. Anderlecht and national soccer trainer
- Marc Dutroux (born 1956), serial criminal
Life and work in Brussels
Following notable people lived or worked in Brussels at least during a certain period of their life.
- Jean Absil (1893–1974 in Brussels), composer, organist, and professor at the Brussels Conservatory.
- Nicolas Ancion (born 1971), writer, lived and worked from 1994 till 2000 in Brussels
- Henryk Arctowski (1871 - 1958), scientist and Arctic explorer, worked at the Royal Observatory of Belgium from 1903 to 1909
- Arno (born 1949), rock artist from Ostend, lived a while in Brussels
- Benno Barnard (born 1954), Dutch writer
- Maurice Béjart (born 1927), French choreographer. He founded the Ballet du XXe Siècle in 1960 and the Mudra School in 1970, both in Brussels.
- Jules Bordet (1870–1961), immunologist and microbiologist. Founded the Pasteur Institute in Brussels. Winner of the 1919 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
- Jeroen Brouwers (born 1940), Dutch author. Lived from 1964 till 1976 in Brussels.
- Pieter Brueghel the Elder (c. 1525–1569), painter
- Jan Bucquoy (born 1945), filmmaker and director
- Hendrik Conscience (1812–1883), writer
- Alexandra David-Néel (1868-1969), explorer and writer
- Jan Decorte (born 1950), dramatist
- Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker (born 1960), choreographer. She founded the dance company Rosas in 1983 and the dance school P.A.R.T.S. in 1995 in Brussels.
- Marc Didden (born 1949) film director, made Brussels By Night (1983)
- Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466–1536), humanist and theologian. Lived in Anderlecht (Erasmus House) from 31 May till 28 October 1521.
- M. C. Escher (1898–1972), Dutch graphic designer, lived in Uccle from 1937 to 1971.
- François-Joseph Fétis (1784–1871), musicologist, composer, critic and teacher, one of the most influential music critics of the 19th century. He became director of the conservatory of Brussels and the chapelmaster of King Leopold I.
- Jan Greshoff (1888–1971), Dutch writer, lived from 1927 till 1939 in Schaerbeek on the August Reyerslaan 130.
- Willem Frederik Hermans (1921–1995), Dutch author.
- Victor Horta (1861–1947), architect, one of the most influential European Art Nouveau architects
- Enver Hoxha (1908–1985), Albanian dictator, worked as secretary at the Albanian consulate in Brussels from 1934 to 1936.
- Nicholas Lens, author/composer
- René Magritte (1898–1967), surrealist artist
- Ian McCulloch (born 1959), singer of the English rock band Echo & the Bunnymen
- Eddy Merckx (born 1945), considered by many to be the greatest cyclist of all-time. Youth and adolescent years in Brussels.
- Jef Mermans (1922–1996), nicknamed "The Bomber", football striker who played much of his career at R.S.C. Anderlecht
- Eugene Nida (1914-2011), linguist, developer of the dynamic-equivalence Bible-translation theory
- Amélie Nothomb (born 1967), novelist, writing in French
- Emma Orczy (1865–1947), Hungarian-British novelist, spent part of her childhood in Brussels (1868 to 1873).
- Ilya Prigogine (1917–2003), physicist and chemist. Studied chemistry in Brussels and was appointed in 1959 director of the International Solvay Institute in Brussels. He was awarded the 1977 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
- Adolphe Quetelet (1796–1874 in Brussels), astronomer, mathematician, statistician and sociologist. He founded and directed the Brussels Observatory. Inventor of the Body mass index.
- Vini Reilly (Vincent Reilly, born 1953), rock musician, guitarist of the English band The Durutti Column. He also performed on Morrissey's first solo album in 1988.
- Jan van Ruysbroeck (also known as Jan van den Berghe), architect of the 15th century (dates of birth and death unknown). Amongst his work the belfry of the Hotel de Ville of Brussels.
- John of Ruysbroeck (or Jan, Jean, Johannes) (c. 1293–1381), 'mystic', priest in Brussels and Groenendaal
- Jan Zygmunt Skrzynecki (1787–1860), Polish general, high-ranking officer of the Belgian army from 1832 to 1839.
- Ernest Solvay (1838–1922), chemist, industrialist and philanthropist. Founded different institutes and the Solvay Business School in Brussels.
- Nicolas de Staël (born Nikolai Vladimirovich Stael von Holstein, 1914–1955), Russian-French abstract painter. Lived in Uccle from 1922 to the early 1930s and studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts.
- Olivier Strelli (born Nissim Israël, 1946), fashion designer
- Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502–1550), painter
- Rogier van der Weyden (c. 1399–1464), painter
- Emond van Dynter (c. 1370–1449), writer
- Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890), Dutch painter, studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels from 1880 to 1881.
- Paul Van Himst (born 1943), nicknamed Polle Gazon, football player, four-times winner of the Belgian Golden Shoe award, eight-times winner of the Belgian championship with R.S.C. Anderlecht.
- Bernaert van Orley (c. 1488–1541), Renaissance painter
- Johan Verminnen (born 1951), singer-songwriter
- Antoine Wiertz (1806–1865), painter and sculptor
- Jan Yoors (1922–1977), Flemish artist, studied at La Cambre from 1941 to 1942
Brussels as a safe harbor
Brussels was known to be a safe harbor for artists and thinkers facing political (or simply criminal) persecution. This was particularly true during the 19th century, although it was a cause of some debate, and policies were prone to change (e.g. the case of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who were expulsed from the city in 1848).
- José de San Martin (1824–1830), Argentine General and 1st President of Peru
- Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), French poet
- Louis Blanc (1811–1882), French poet, French politician and historian
- Georges Boulanger (1837–1891), French general and politician
- Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825), French painter
- Alexandre Dumas, père (1802–1870), French author, known for his historical novels
- Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), German social scientist and political philosopher, co-author of The Communist Manifesto
- Willem Frederik Hermans (1921–1995), Dutch writer
- Victor Hugo (1802–1885), one of the most influential French writers of the 19th century. Completed Les Misérables in Brussels.
- Joachim Lelewel (1786–1861), Polish historian and politician, associate of Karl Marx, lived in Brussels from 1833 to 1861
- Karl Marx (1818–1883), German political philosopher, wrote The Communist Manifesto in Brussels.
- Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker) (1820–1887), Dutch author, wrote his masterpiece Max Havelaar in 1859 in Brussels.
- Cyprian Norwid (1821–1883), Polish poet, stayed in Brussels from August 1846 to January 1847 after his expulsion from Prussia.
- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865), French philosopher, the first individual to call himself an "anarchist"
- Auguste Rodin (1840–1917), French sculptor
- Paul Verlaine (1844–1896), French poet. Was joined briefly by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud.
- Edward de Maesschalck, Marx in Brussel (1845–1848), Leuven, Davidsfonds, 2005, 200 pp., ISBN 978-90-5826-332-2, and recenses on Platform Rosa blog and Vonk.
- Johanna M. Welcker, Douwes Dekker, Eduard, in Biografisch Woordenboek van het Socialisme en de Arbeidersbeweging in Nederland, 5, pp. 45-58, 1992, of which a slightly adapted version is available on the site of the Biografisch Woordenboek van het Socialisme en de Arbeidersbeweging in Nederland.