In case you didn’t know, Belgium is more than just delicious chocolate, waffles and beer. There are currently many popular Belgian personalities that are prominent in the world of entertainment and sports. Check out the list of the top 5 most influential people from Belgium to see who made it to the list:
#1 Eden Michael Hazard
Eden Hazard is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as winger for Chelsea and the Belgium national team. Hazard began his youth career with Royal Stade Brainois at the early age of 4 and then made his debut with Belgium’s national team in 2008. His unique playing style, creativity, speed and technical ability earned critical acclaim by the media and coaches who often described the young footballer as “a superb passer”, comparing him with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In 2011, he became the youngest player ever to win the Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) Ligue 1 Player of the Year award.
#2 Kim Clijesters
Kim Clijsters is a retired Belgian professional tennis player who made her professional debut in 1999 at the Women’s Tennis Association tour in Belgium. In 2003, Clijsters managed to earn the world No. 1 ranking and by 2012 she had become a four-time Grand Slam winner. Time Magazine has even named Clijsters as one of the “30 Legends of Women’s Tennis: Past, Present and Future” and according to Forbes, she became the fifth highest-paid female athlete in 2010.
#3 Wouter Andre De Backer
Wouter Andre De Backer, who is known as Gotye, is a Belgian-Australian multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. Gotye’s 2011 single “Somebody That I Used to Know” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, which made him the second Belgian artist to do so. Thus far, he has won three Grammy Awards for the Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for the aforementioned song, as well as Best Alternative Music Album for ‘Making Mirrors’.
#4 Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg
Professionally known as Jean-Claude Van Damme, is a Belgian martial artist, actor and director famous for his roles in many martial arts action films including Bloodsport, Kickboxer Street Fighter and most recently The Expendables 2. After having studied martial arts at the age of 10 and ballet at the age of 16, Jean-Claude Van Damme made his debut in the 1984 film Monaco Forever. As an actor he won the Golden Raspberry Award for the Worst Screen Couple with Dennis Rodman in 1998 and the Bollywood Movie Award for the best International Action Super Star in 2004.
#5 Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku is another famous Belgian footballer who currently plays as a striker for Everton and the Belgium national team. As a left-footed player, Lukaku made his professional debut at the age of 16 and became the 2009-10 top scorer in Belgium when Anderlecht won the Belgian championship. The talented footballer also won the Belgian Ebony Shoe in 2011, broke into the English Premier League with Chelsea FC and even represented his country at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Do you know of any other personalities from Belgium that should have been included in the list? Leave your comments in the comment section below.