Henri Baels

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Henri Baels
Henri Baels (1878-1951).jpg
Born Henri Louis Baels
(1878-01-18)18 January 1878
Ostend, Belgium
Died 18 June 1951(1951-06-18) (aged 73)
Knokke, Belgium
Nationality Belgium
Occupation shipowner, politician

Henri Louis Baels (18 January 1878 – 18 June 1951), was a Belgian Catholic Party politician and ship-owner from Ostend.


He was the son of Julius Ludovicus Baels (18 August 1851 - 11 November 1896) and wife (m. Ostend, 18 January 1876) Delphina Alexandrina Mauricx (11 June 1848 - 24 September 1931).


He eventually became Minister of Agriculture, then Minister of the Interior, and, finally, Minister of Public Works and Public Health. He crowned his career by becoming Governor of West Flanders in 1936. A friend of King Albert I of the Belgians, and later equally trusted by Albert's son, King Leopold III of the Belgians, Henri Baels was responsible, among other important public initiatives, for the creation of the famous Albert Canal. Henri Baels was also a great friend of Dom Marie-Albert van der Cruyssen, the Abbot of the Cistercian Monastery of Orval, Belgium, and took a lead in supporting the restoration of the Monastery, a project the Abbot (who was also a highly decorated Belgian war hero of World War I) had undertaken.


The ancestors of Henri Baels' wife, Anne Marie de Visscher (7 April 1882 - 6 July 1950), daughter of Adolphus Gustavus de Visscher (3 February 1854 - 3 November 1920) and wife Alicia Victoria Carolina Opsomer, included illustrious personages such as the Count Felix de Muelenaere, member of the Belgian National Congress (which founded the Kingdom of Belgium in 1831), and three-time Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1831 and 1841.

The couple had eight children: princess Lilian (second wife of Leopold III), Elza Baels, Susanne Baels, Ludwina Baels, Walter Baels, Hermann Baels (who married), Henry Baels and Lydia Baels (who married Jean-Jacques Cartier and had two children, Viviane Mary Cartier (b. Dorking, 22 December 1946) and N. N. Cartier (b. Dorking, 26 April 1948)).


  • Luc Schepens, De provincieraad van West-Vlaanderen (1921-1978), Tielt, 1979.