Think Clijsters is world’s most famous Belgian? Not so fast…

September 14, 2009

tintinI was very disappointed to log on to this morning and see nary a mention of Kim Clijsters. How much more famous can a Belgian get?

According to the interweb’s leading authority on all things Flanders and Walloon, the world’s most famous Belgian is, currently, Eddy Merckx, who last raced professionally about 20 years ago.

How Clijsters isn’t top is beyond me given her astonishing return to grand slam tennis at the U.S. Open. She’s even been overlooked by the Belgian Tourist Office. Ho hum. Here’s their full list anyway:

clijsters21. Eddy Merckx, five times winner of the Tour de France

2. Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone

3. Herge (Georges Remi) , the creator of TinTin

4. Audrey Hepburn, actress

5. Plastic Bertrand, punk/rock singer of ‘Ca Plane Pour Moi’ fame

6. Peter Paul Rubens, baroque painter

7. Rene Magritte, surrealist painter

8. George Lemaitre, astronomer who invented the Big Bang theory

9. Albert Claude, the first biochemist to isolate a cancer cell

10. Leo Hendrik Baekeland, the inventor of bakelite

To which I can only say, Audrey Hepburn? Who knew?

PHOTO 1: Belgian artistic director Michel Bareau displays the logo of the new Tintin museum, January 14, 2009. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir.

PHOTO 2: Kim Clijsters and her daughter Jada pose with the U.S. Open trophy in New York, September 13, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  


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Frankly I am astonished, amazed and maybe a litte disappointed that Jean-Claude Van Damme fails to even make the top 10. Shocking.

As for Clijsters, despite her win at Flushing Meadows, I would say she isn’t even the most famous Belgian tennis player, with Justin Henin, albeit a retired one, overshadowering her as she did for much of Aussie Kim’s career.

Posted by bigjezza | Report as abusive

Yes, Where is Jean-Claude! I think we should be told. And that’s not even mentioning Enzo Scifo…

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Not sure why Kim Clijsters isn’t more high profile in Belgium either, although perhaps because she has been known as Leo Clijsters’ daughter for so long?

As for Audrey Hepburn…she is actually half Dutch and half British. Sure, she was born in Ixelles, Belgium but she grew up in Arnhem, Holland and London. To classify her as Belgium would be like labelling a Canadian as Polish just because s/he was born in Warsaw. I know the laws in each country are different but I don’t think I can agree to this classification.

Posted by AlbertCAN | Report as abusive

Hercule Poirot?

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

No, Mr Hercule Poirot actually belongs in the Famous Fictional Belgians List, together with TinTin, Asterix, Lucky Luke and the Smurfs…

Posted by patrik | Report as abusive

What about ‘Manneke Pis’. He epitomizes all Belgians. The laughing stock for all the Dutch.

Posted by Fred de Boer | Report as abusive

Ah yes, the Manneke Pis. How could I have forgotten? But would he go on the fictional list?
The one you really can’t do without on the fictional list is Doctor Evil from the Austin Powers films.
“The details of my life are quite inconsequential… My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium…”

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

for all your audrey hepburn check out this site and be sure to use this promo! – hollymega

Posted by stacey | Report as abusive