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BELGIUM

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Heleendje
184355.  Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:43 pm Reply with quote

A brilliant glossary for anyone who wants to know more about Belgium and its inhabitants. It truly is an undervalued country I find...

http://www.isg.rhul.ac.uk/~martin/belgobib.htm


Greetz,

Heleen.

 
Bondee
184359.  Thu Jun 21, 2007 4:03 pm Reply with quote

No mention of Conspiracy Records, the finest record label/mail order company in Europe.

<I'm hoping Joris or Nathan will read this and give me a discount on my next order>
: )

 
costean
184409.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:40 am Reply with quote

Very good Heleendje.

There is always the old story/game that no-one can name a famous Belgian. This is quite wrong and unfair. Without doubt the three most famous Belgians are:

Manneken Pis
Tintin
Hercule Poirot

And what does it matter that none of them ever actually existed? <ok only kidding>

Here is a list of famous Belgians (I have explained what they do/did in backets after each name (just in case you have never heard of them)). <ok kidding again>

George Remi (creator of Tintin)
Geradus Mercator (mathematician and cartograher)
Adolphe Sax (inventor of the saxaphone)
Jean Baptiste "Django" Reinhardt (guitar wizz)
Plastic Bertrand (80s legend - over here anyway)
Jacky Ickx (Formula One)
Kim Clijsters (Tennis)
Eddy Merckx (cycling legend)
Jacques Rogge (president IOC)
Georges Simenon (writer)
Rene Magritte (painter)
Peter Paul Rubens (painter)
Sir Anton van Dyck (painter)
Peter Bruegel the Elder (painter)
Hieronymus Bosch (painter)
Audrey Hepburn (actress)

Here is a website which claims to list 259 famous Belgians. Although, I have to confess I have never heard of most of them.

http://www.famousbelgians.net/categories.htm

 
Tas
184411.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:44 am Reply with quote

You have missed out the astonishingly famous:

Stella Artois.

:-)

Tas

 
samivel
184420.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:53 am Reply with quote

Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jacques Brel
Justine Henin

 
suze
184450.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:31 am Reply with quote

Good work costean and samivel, but since I can't do much else just now I feel obliged to indulge in a spot of pedantry!

Rubens was German. His mother took him to live in Antwerp after the death of his father, but he was born in Siegen, not so far from Cologne.

Quite where Pieter Brueghel the Elder was born is uncertain - but it was probably Breda in the Netherlands. He lived in Brussels in later life though.

Hieronymus Bosch was certainly Dutch - his real surname was van Aken and the byname Bosch implied that he was from the city of 's-Hertogenbosch (aka den Bosch).

Now, pedantry over. A couple more Belgians:

Jean-Marc Bosman (wasn't a great footballer and played mainly in the Belgian Second Division, but the reform to the transfer system which he caused into existence makes him famous)
Charlemagne (the place of his birth is uncertain, but was probably somewhere near Liège)
Ivo van Damme (middle distance runner; died young and a race in his memory is held every year in Brussels)
Vesalius (one of the early anatomists)
Eddy Wally (the greatest recording artiste in Flemish speaking Belgium. It must be true, because Eurotrash said so.)

Oh, and Dr Evil.

 
costean
184465.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 7:16 am Reply with quote

Yes, good points - that will teach me to take unreferenced internet sources as gospel.

Breugel was, according to the Enc Brit, Flemish and
Quote:
born c. 1525, probably Breda, duchy of Brabant [now in The Netherlands]

So not really Belgian.

Rubens was born in Westphalia (I will have to concede this one).

Bosch - Brabant again - so Dutch.

I have just had to look up who Dr Evil was (so I am not speaking with any authority whatsoever here). My good friend Wiki says:

Quote:
In the third Austin Powers film, Goldmember, Nigel Powers reveals that Dr. Evil is Austin Power's twin brother and that his real name is Douglas ("Dougie") Powers. He explains that Douglas and Austin were separated as babies following a car explosion, and that he thought that only Austin had survived. Douglas was raised by Belgians, which is what made him so complex and evil. His home town is Bruges, a Flemish-speaking town (despite this, he claims to not know how to speak Dutch [very similar to Flemish], although this may be an oversight on the writer's part).


So, perhaps might there be grounds for calling his supposed Belgianicity into question?

 
costean
184502.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:19 am Reply with quote

Another really quite interesting Belgian was John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.

Third son of Edward III and father of (among a fair few others) Henry IV. He was the power broker during the reign of Richard II.

He was called John of Gaunt because he was born in Ghent, which is in Belgium.

 
suze
184504.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:35 am Reply with quote

Ooh, top marks for John of Gaunt - that one I didn't know. His mother, Philippa of Hainault, was French though (I looked her up thinking that she might be another Belgian).

As for Dr Evil's Belgianicity, well yes it's doubtful. He is after all pretend! All the same, in the first movie he alleges:

Dr Evil wrote:
My father was a relentlessly self improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15-year-old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet.


But since he also claims that he spent his summers practising the luge in Rangoon, we may not have to give too much credence to this.

On other famous pretend Belgians, it's usual to assume that Tintin was Belgian because Hergé (Georges Remi) was. But we are never actually told so explicitly - although it's hard to see what he was doing in the Congo otherwise. E'en so, at some points in the books it makes more sense if he's French.

Hercule Poirot was indubitably Belgian. I always get this vague feeling from the TV adaptations that he was also a Communist, but that may just be me.

 
96aelw
184508.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:47 am Reply with quote

William the Conqueror's missus, Matilda, was at least Flemish, her dad being Count of Flanders, although I haven't been able to establish yet if she was born in a part of the County that's in Belgium these days. She is also claimed, in various places, to have been England's shortest Queen, at a mere four foot two. Haven't managed to verify that either, yet. Hmm.

I think that may well be just you with the Poirot/Communism thing, incidentally. A new and intriguing one on me, certainly. Any particular reason? I'm desperately trying to think of anything political Poirot may have said, now.

 
Heleendje
184510.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 8:54 am Reply with quote

My word! Thank you all for those quite interesting contributions, I stand amazed at the level of interestingness of my country and its peoples :)


For another quite interesting Belgian, I present to you:
Orlandus Lassus (1532-1594), a Franco-Flemish composer of late Renaissance music.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orlande_de_Lassus

I sang his "Cantionum Trium Vocum" at a concert for ancient music in march. Soothes the mind, i find :)

 
96aelw
184513.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:02 am Reply with quote

96aelw wrote:
I haven't been able to establish yet if she was born in a part of the County that's in Belgium these days.


And neither, it seems, has anyone else. 'Flanders' is, it seems, as specific as it is possible to be about her natal locale. Still trying to get somewhere with the height.

 
suze
184515.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:04 am Reply with quote

96aelw wrote:
I think that may well be just you with the Poirot/Communism thing, incidentally. A new and intriguing one on me, certainly. Any particular reason? I'm desperately trying to think of anything political Poirot may have said, now.


It may well just be me, certainly. Next time I watch one I'll look out for it - but basically, it's his apparent dislike of the upper classes and the fact that he tsks at remarks about minority groups (Jews, blacks, Chinese etc) which would be unacceptable today but were common and socially acceptable then. But no, at no point does he start quoting Marx or advocating the collectivization of detective work.

 
costean
184518.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 9:13 am Reply with quote

Could it be something to do with the moustache? Stalin's (reasonably) similar upper-lip apparel became a symbol for what some political scientists call 'gulag communism'.

 
samivel
184581.  Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:47 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
it's his apparent dislike of the upper classes and the fact that he tsks at remarks about minority groups (Jews, blacks, Chinese etc) which would be unacceptable today but were common and socially acceptable then. But no, at no point does he start quoting Marx or advocating the collectivization of detective work.



That's not how he behaves in the books - a bit of political correctness on the part of the TV folk, I presume. The closest he comes to a political statement in the books is when he says: 'I have a bourgeois attitude to murder; I disapprove of it', but I can't remember which book it's in.

 

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