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Belgium People Quizzes, Trivia and Puzzles
Belgium People Quizzes, Trivia

Belgium People: Famous & Historical Trivia

Belgium People: Famous & Historical Trivia Quizzes

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Fun Trivia
7 quizzes and 65 trivia questions.
  Smarter than Poirot    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
How many famous Belgians do you know?
Stock up on some delicious chocolate and take a quiz on famous people from the beautiful country of Belgium.
Average, 10 Qns, 480154st, Mar 04 23
480154st gold member
Mar 04 23
173 plays
  What Did the Belgians Do for Us?   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Belgium is a small country, but with many people who gained international fame. What do you know about the following people, who all have lived at some time in the territory that now is called Belgium?
Average, 10 Qns, JanIQ, Nov 22 17
JanIQ gold member
Nov 22 17
276 plays
  Belgium's Got Talent   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Belgium is one of the smallest countries in Europe by land area. For its size, it has produced many people who have found fame internationally. How many do you know?
Easier, 10 Qns, darksplash, Nov 27 16
378 plays
  Belgian Inventors, Scientists and Entrepreneurs    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Even the natives of small countries occasionally make an international career. This quiz is about Belgians who -inside or outside their own country- made some major contribution to scientific or other progress.
Difficult, 10 Qns, flem-ish, Sep 15 13
516 plays
  Find the Belgian    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
A simple quiz. All you have to do is work out which of the people, places or things named in each question is Belgian.
Tough, 10 Qns, Islingtonian, Dec 28 07
1284 plays
  Famous Belgian People    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Although Belgium is a very small country, we have some people who are well known throughout the world. Enjoy this little trivia quiz about my home country.
Average, 10 Qns, wimm, Mar 03 14
899 plays
  Belgian Stars In The French Sky    
Multiple Choice
 5 Qns
Because many Belgians made a successful career in France, they often were or still are mistaken for genuine French stars.Occasionally the Belgians try to reverse the annexations. See which cases you can identify.
Average, 5 Qns, flem-ish, May 28 13
610 plays
Related Topics
  Belgium Soccer [Sports] (6 quizzes)

  Mixed Belgium [General] (3 quizzes)

  Belgium [Geography] (12 quizzes)

Belgium People: Famous & Historical Trivia Questions

1. Who is called the "father of plastics" because of his invention of the resin officially named polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride? The popular name refers to the inventor's name.

From Quiz
What Did the Belgians Do for Us?

Answer: Leo Baekeland

Leo Baekeland (1863-1944) was born in Ghent and studied chemistry at the Ghent university. In 1889 he started on a world trip to various research institutes, but professor Chandler of Columbia University convinced Baekeland to stay in New York and start his own researches. Baekeland then came up with photographic paper (named Velox), sold in 1899 to Eastman Kodak. In a next step, Baekeland investigated the properties of phenol and formaldehyde, and found that combining these two products under specific conditions of heat and pressure would result in a series of synthetic resins with the formula (C6H6O-CH2O)n, with quite desirable properties. The Bakelite (as Baekeland called this new product) is smooth, resistant to heat, to scratching, to electricity and to some destructive solvents. And even better: it could be made easily in large quantities. Up till the late 1940s Bakelite was used in so many applications one could not count them. Starting with the fifties, cheaper plastics became available and gradually replaced much of the Bakelite. Belpaire (1820-1893) was a Belgian engineer specialised in train locomotives. Vierendeel (1852-1940) was a Belgian engineer and bridge builder. Waterkeyn (1917-2005), another engineer, was born in England, but had Belgian nationality. He designed the monument named the Atomium for the Brussels World Expo in 1958.

2. Without this musician, Lisa Simpson may well have had to find another instrument to play. Who was the famous Belgian who invented an instrument that has had an enormous impact of jazz and rock music?

From Quiz Belgium's Got Talent

Answer: Adolph Sax

Antoine-Joseph "Adolphe" Sax (1814-1894) was born in Dinant, Belgium. His parents were instrument designers and Adolphe learnt to play several instruments. His own first invention was an improvement of the bass clarinet. He moved to Paris at the age of 24 and exhibited several new designs in 1841. His developments of valved bugles proved more successful than those of rivals and became known as saxhorns. A few years later, he developed what was to become his most famous instrument, the saxophone. Although he patented his inventions, these were challenged in the courts and Sax was twice bankrupted. He died penniless. Nowadays there are eight sizes of saxophones, with soprano, alto, tenor, and bass most commonly used (That little yellow cartoon girl, Lisa Simpson, plays a baritone sax.) Saxophones are classed as woodwind instruments, because they use a reed to direct air.

3. One of the more successful emigrants to the U.S.A. was Karel Van Depoele, who died - from overwork - at the age of 46 in Lynn, Massachusetts. His contribution to progress had been the invention of _____________.

From Quiz Belgian Inventors, Scientists and Entrepreneurs

Answer: the trolley tramway

Born in Lichtervelde in Flanders in 1846. He was nicknamed "the Belgian Edison." The stroboscope was another Belgian invention (Joseph Plateau).

4. Who was elected as chairman of the International Olympic Committee in July 2001?

From Quiz Famous Belgian People

Answer: Jacques Rogge

Yes, the most powerful man in sports was Belgian. He was a professional sportman in his early days ...

5. Which Belgian contributed to a vaccine against whooping cough?

From Quiz What Did the Belgians Do for Us?

Answer: Jules Bordet

Believe it or not, but all four these Belgians won the Nobel Prize for Physiology (Medicine). Bordet (1870-1961) worked on immunology. In 1906 he isolated the bacteria responsible for causing whooping cough, which bacteria was named Bordetella pertussis in his honour. Six years later Bordet and Octave Gengou (1875-1957) made the first vaccine available to the public. In 1919 Bordet won the Nobel Prize for his various discoveries in human immunology. Corneille Heymans (1892-1968) dedicated his research chemical receptors in the blood measuring the blood pressure and the oxygen dose. He won the Nobel Prize in 1938. De Duve (1917-2013) and Claude (1899-1983) worked closely together with the Romanian doctor George Emil Palade (1912-2008). The three of them shared the Nobel Prize 1974 for their discoveries in cellular biology.

6. Born in Brussels, who was the famous Belgian cabaret singer whose work had a huge influence on many other singers on both sides of the Atlantic?

From Quiz Belgium's Got Talent

Answer: Jacques Brel

Jacques Brel (1929-1979) sang in French and his songs were well known in his native Belgium and translated into other languages. "If You Go Away" is an English translation of one of his best known songs, "Ne me quitte pas" ("Don't Leave Me"). Meanwhile, Canadian Terry Jacks recorded "Seasons In The Sun" and it became a worldwide chart topper in 1974. The American Rod McKuen also translated Brel songs, and the Chicago-born folkie Tom Paxton has named him as an early influence.

7. Tramways were a Belgian speciality somehow and even the building of the Parisian metro was due to the initiative of a Belgian promoter. Who was he?

From Quiz Belgian Inventors, Scientists and Entrepreneurs

Answer: Edouard Empain, a Belgian financier

Leopold II interfered a lot with Africa and was a great builder within his own capital Brussels, but Belgian royal interference in the affairs of the French Republic would have caused diplomatic problems. Hector Guimard was the Belgian architect who built the popular Art Nouveau style wrought-iron entrances to the Parisian metro (some of which still survive). George Goethals played a major role in the construction of the Panama Canal and was the first Governor of the Canal Zone. Edouard Empain, born at Beloeil in Hainaut, was the son of a primary school teacher. In 1881, at the age of 29, he founded his own bank. In 1883 he became the co-founder of a French railway company (la Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Nord). In the next years he built more railways, but his main contribution was the building of tramway systems in Tashkent, Cairo, Astrakan, Teheran. His industrial empire was later to develop into the Empain-Schneider industrial company. Against the wishes of such people as Victor Hugo, he pushed through the building of the Parisian metro which was opened on 19th of July 1900. One of the few French intellectuals who had supported him was Jules Verne. France was definitely rather late in "modernising" her capital.

8. Which musical instrument was invented by a Belgian (and first demonstrated by him in 1841)?

From Quiz Famous Belgian People

Answer: Saxophone

Adolphe Sax invented it. He had his drawing on the '200 Bef' note but this is no longer in circulation as Belgium now uses the Euro.

9. In which sector of the economy did Philippus Brepols gain his fortune?

From Quiz What Did the Belgians Do for Us?

Answer: Printing

Philippus Brepols (1778-1845) was an apprentice of the printer Pieter Corbeels. When Corbeels was executed by the French in 1798, Brepols took gradually control of the Corbeels print factory in Turnhout and eventually changed the company name to his own. The Brepols company was famous for missals and breviaries during the nineteenth century, and for diaries and agendas during the twentieth century. It started also a venture in printing playing cards, nowadays known under the company name Carta Mundi - one of the largest in the production of playing cards and games. The Belgian contribution to photography was started by Lieven Gevaert (1868-1935), founder of the Gevaert group (nowadays Agfa-Gevaert). Edouard Empain (1852-1929) started his career in metallurgy, but soon invested in railways all over the world, including tramways in Paris, in Russia and in Egypt. Goerges Jacobs (born 1940) started his career as an economist with the International Monetary Fund. Since 1970 he is one of the big shots at UCB, one of the leading Belgian groups in biopharmaceutics. He also is member of the board of directors of several other Belgian companies.

10. Born in Belgium, which action movie star became known as "the muscles from Brussels"?

From Quiz Belgium's Got Talent

Answer: Jean-Claude van Damme

Born Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg, on October 18 1960, Van Damme turned a martial arts background into a successful Hollywood career. His tinsel town debut came in "Woman Between Wolf and Dog" (1976). Among the top-grossing action movies he was involved in were "Double Impact" (1991); "Universal Soldier" (1992); and "Last Action Hero" (1993). He was also a writer, producer and director. Among the awards he won was a Golden Raspberry for "Double Team", winning that jointly with co-star Dennis Rodman in 1998.

11. Among the (semi-)Belgians who, when successful in France, carefully covered up their non-French origins there is of course Jean Philippe Smet, who always stuck to what is in fact only his artist's name:________________

From Quiz Belgian Stars In The French Sky

Answer: Johnny Hallyday

Johnny Hallyday was born in Paris but his father was a Schaerbeekois. His Belgian father never took care of his son.

12. Jacques Rogge served as President of the International Olympic Committee between 2001 and 2013, but what was his profession prior to his becoming president?

From Quiz Smarter than Poirot

Answer: Orthopaedic Surgeon

Rogge retired from medicine to take up his role as President of the International Olympic Committee, but even prior to that he was heavily involved in sports. He represented Belgium in the Finn class of sailing in the Olympic games of 1968, 1972, and 1976, with his best finish being 14th place in the 1972 Munich games. He was also a 16 time Belgian champion and became president of the International Finn Association (IFA) from 1979 to 1981. He was also a keen hockey and rugby player, representing Belgium at Rugby in ten international games, about which he once modestly remarked, "In my country, if you sit by the phone long enough, it will ring and you will be asked to play rugby for Belgium." Ever the medical man, Rogge conducted research on muscle function during sailing as part of his thesis for the Sports Medicine program in 1972, and is remembered by his peers and patients as not only a very good surgeon but also one who continued to closely follow all scientific evolutions within the profession. This dedication allowed Rogge to advance his pre-IOC career until he was head doctor of the Orthopaedic Surgery Department at Ghent Hospital.

13. For those who know something about cycling in general, and 'the Tour de France' in specific, they should know 'the Cannibal'. He won it 5 times and is generally seen as the greatest cyclist of all.

From Quiz Famous Belgian People

Answer: Eddy Merckx & Merckx & Mercx & Eddy Mercx

His son, Axel, also became a professional cyclist.

14. Which Baroque sculptor has left us the Tomb of Archbishop Andreas Creusen?

From Quiz What Did the Belgians Do for Us?

Answer: Lucas Fayd'Herbe

The tomb situated in the Sint-Rombouts cathedral in Mechelen shows us two types of statues made by Fayd'herbe: the usual Baroque style influenced by Rubens' paintings, and a more expressive style with greater emphasis on the vertical axis of the statue. Fayd'herbe (1617-1697) was born into a family of artists. His maternal grandfather and two of his uncles were renowned painters, and his aunt and father taught him the basis of sculpture. Fayd'herbe was an apprentice of Rubens for three years, and then settled himself in Mechelen. He worked in Mechelen, Brussels, and other Belgian cities. He created at least eight altars and several tomb monuments. Fayd'herbe also worked as an architect, for instance for the Basilica of Hanswijk in Mechelen. Meunier (1831-1905) was a painter and sculptor most interested by the common people: factory workers, miners, dockers... Minne (1866-1941) is best known for his "Fountain of Kneeling Youths". Claerhout (1939-2016) worked in bronze and in terracotta, with a style influenced by folklore.

15. Which Belgian became famous by writing about the antics of a clever boy investigator with a canine friend?

From Quiz Belgium's Got Talent

Answer: Georges Remi

Georges Remi, also known as Herge (1907-1983) was born in Etterbeek, Belgium. He started drawing as a youngster and his first published works came with "The Adventures of Totor" in the monthly publication Le Boy-Scout Belge (1926-1930). In January 1929 came the publication of "The Adventures of Tin Tin". The adventures of that clever boy and his canine friend, Snowy, were to delight books lovers everywhere for generations and were turned into TV and movie shows.

16. Georges Remi was a Belgian author known throughout the world by which name?

From Quiz Smarter than Poirot

Answer: Herge

Cartoonist Herge wrote the series, "Quick & Flupke" (1930-1940) about two Belgian urchins and their adventures annoying a local policeman and "The Adventures of Jo, Zette and Jocko" (1936-1957), which was more action based and concerned siblings Jo and Zette along with their pet monkey, Jocko. He is certainly best known for "The Adventures of Tintin" (1929-1976), which were originally serialised in newspapers. Following WWII, Remi founded "Tintin Magazine" in 1946, which ran until 1993, a full ten years after Remi's death. "The Adventures of Tintin" (1929-1976) documented the adventures of fearless reporter, Tintin, and his dog, Snowy, as they bravely sought out the latest hot story for print, although, despite all their heroics, Tintin is rarely seen to hand in a story. If you should ever find yourself in Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium, I thoroughly recommend a trip to the Herge Museum.

17. Another famous Belgian was called Willy Claes. He was chairman of which organisation when he had to resign in 1995 because of an incident of bribery?

From Quiz Famous Belgian People

Answer: NATO

It seems he accepted money from the helicopter builder 'Augusta' when he was responsable for Defense in the Belgian government at the time.

18. One of the world's most famous crime solving detectives was Inspector Jules Maigret of the Paris police. Which famous Belgian created the character?

From Quiz Belgium's Got Talent

Answer: Georges Simenon

Georges Simenon (1903-1989) wrote more than 200 novels under his own name and more under pseudonyms. However he was most famous for his books featuring Inspector Maigret. Maigret first appeared in "The Strange Case of Peter the Lett" (1931) and was to feature in 75 novels in all. Many of the Maigret cases were adapted for TV, radio and movies.

19. Which little known Belgian footballer was catapulted into the limelight after taking his case to the European Court of Justice?

From Quiz Smarter than Poirot

Answer: Jean-Marc Bosman

Jean-Marc Bosman was a Belgian footballer whose transfer from FC Liège to Dunkirk in 1990 was blocked by Liège, despite his contract having expired. In his lawsuit, Bosman sued Liège, the Belgian FA, and UEFA, argued that the rules set out by UEFA, which prevented him from leaving his club even though his contract had expired, amounted to a breach of his rights established in the 1957 Treaty of Rome; this had allowed for freedom of movement within the European Community, now the European Union. The European Court of Justice found in his favour, and in 1995 ruled that players should be free to move when their contracts had expired, thus changing the face of European football.

20. Victor Horta was one of the leading architects in a certain style. Which was the style Horta used?

From Quiz What Did the Belgians Do for Us?

Answer: Art Nouveau

Victor Horta (1861-1947) was born in Ghent and worked mostly in Brussels. Four of his Brussels houses have been classified in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list: the Hotel Tassel, the Hotel Solvay, the Hotel Van Eetvelde and the Maison & Atelier Horta. Horta was one of the pioneers in the Art Nouveau style, which peaked between 1890 and 1910. Art Nouveau was popular in the Benelux and France, whereas in Austria-Hungary the somewhat similar Wiener Sezession and in Germany the very similar Jugendstil prevailed in the same period. In architecture, Art Nouveau was characterized by many decorations on the outside of a building, based upon elegant examples from nature (flowers, birds, butterflies). The neoclassical style builds upon the classical (renaissance) style, which in turn is based upon the style introduced by the ancient Greeks and Romans. In architecture neoclassicism favours symmetrical buildings with emphasis on the horizontal lines. A Belgian architect who worked primarily in the neoclassical style was Alphonse Balat (1818-1895). Constructivism combines state-of-the-art technology with abstract objects. One of the Belgian constructivist architects was Renaat Braem (1910-2001). Gothic architecture stresses vertical lines. Typical examples are the cathedrals built in the years c. 1150-1500. Rombout II Keldermans (1460-1531) was one of several Gothic architects and artists from the same family.

21. Which master painter, born in Seigen and died in Antwerp, was noted for his vivid paintings that included religious figures, historical events, hunting scenes, portraits and landscapes?

From Quiz Belgium's Got Talent

Answer: Peter Paul Rubens

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) is now regarded as one of the greatest European painters of all. He was a master painter by the age of 21, bringing together the realistic tradition of Flemish painting with the freedom and themes of Italian Renaissance painting. Among his most famous paintings were "Samson and Delilah", "The Descent from the Cross", and "A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning".

22. Which man, born in Tournai in present day Belgium, was the first to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler?

From Quiz Smarter than Poirot

Answer: Clovis I

Clovis was born in Tournai, in what was then the Roman Empire, and was a king of the Salian Franks, succeeding his father to the throne in 481, aged 16. At the Battle of Soissons in 486, Clovis led the forces which defeated the Roman army, led by Syagrius. This battle was hugely important as it brought about the end of Roman rule in the area and with the integration into his army of some of the soldiers who had fought for Syagrius. He then plundered much of the Roman territory, taking control of cities such as Verdun and Paris. Through alliances with other Frankish forces, Clovis gained more land and won more battles, including the Battle of Tolbiac in 496, where he defeated the Alamanni, and the Battle of Vouillé in 507, where his forces defeated the Visigothic kingdom of Toulouse. By the time of his death in either 511 or 513, Clovis ruled an area extending from what is now the southern Netherlands to northern France.

23. Who invented the inline roller skates?

From Quiz What Did the Belgians Do for Us?

Answer: John Joseph Merlin

Merlin (1735-1803) was born in Huy, a city between Brussels and Liège. Although most of his inventions now are obsolete, he amazed the world with them at the end of the eighteenth century. The invention that still is sold under the name Merlin, is the inline roller skate. Sources differ as to the date of the invention: some name 1743 as the invention date, others name 1760. Merlin also created clocks, music boxes, a self-propelled wheelchair, a rotating tea table, and improved musical instruments such as the harpsichord. Daemen (born 1965) and Rijmen (born 1970) are cryptographers who together created the Rijndael cypher, named the Advanced Encryption Standard in 2001. Bart Preneel (born 1963) is another Belgian cryptographer.

24. For its size, Belgium has produced an incredible number of successful cyclists. Which five-times winner of the Tour de France is probably best known among them?

From Quiz Belgium's Got Talent

Answer: Eddy Merckx

Eddy Merckx was born on June 17, 1945 in Meensel-Kiezegem. He was known as "The Cannibal" for his strength and consistency. Many observers felt he had no weaknesses in his cycling and he was particularly noted for his time trial and mountain climbing superiority. He was the first cyclist to win all of the major scoring classifications in the Giro d'Italia (in 1968) and in the Tour de France (1969).

25. Which part of a car was invented by, among others, a Belgian?

From Quiz Find the Belgian

Answer: The internal combustion engine

The Belgian, Etienne Lenoir, was one of several to "invent" and patent an internal combustion engine. The "Belgometer", a device for measuring the number of Belgians present in a vehicle at any given time, does not in fact exist. Shame on you if you thought otherwise.

26. Belgian born Agnes Varda has been described as a pioneer and a god. In which field did she make her mark?

From Quiz Smarter than Poirot

Answer: Cinema

Varda is feted as a visionary French film maker, but was born in Ixelles, Brussels. She was hugely influential in the French New Wave film movement of the 1950s and 1960s and her best known works include "La Pointe Courte" (1954) and "Cleo from 5 to 7" (1961). "La Pointe Courte" (1954) is often cited as a pioneering work, the film responsible for the French New Wave, while in 2019, "Cleo from 5 to 7" (1961) was voted the second greatest film directed by a woman in a poll held by the BBC. In 2017, Varda was the first female director to be awarded an honorary Oscar and two years prior to that, in 2015 she was awarded an honorary Palme d'Or by the Cannes Film Festival. She was described as "one of the gods" by none other than multiple Oscar nominated director, Martin Scorsese, who was also a close friend of Varda, as well as being an avid fan of her work. Scorsese justified his choice of phrase by explaining that "She was a wonder to me, reinventing constantly."

27. Who was the Belgian king from 1951 until his death in 1993?

From Quiz Famous Belgian People

Answer: Boudewijn

Our King died 13 July 1993 from a heart disease during his holidays in Spain. Never seen as many Belgian as the next days at the Royal Palace in Brussels...

28. Who invented the Body Mass Index as a rough assessment of whether someone is too thin or too portly, or just fine?

From Quiz What Did the Belgians Do for Us?

Answer: Adolphe Quetelet

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated as the weight of a person (in kilograms) divided by the square of the body length (in metres). This BMI is also called the Quetelet Index. Quetelet (1796-1894) was born in Ghent. He was active as mathematician, statistician, astronomer and sociologist, and he gave the impetus to found the Meteorological Institute in Uccle (near Brussels). Daubechies (born 1954) worked on wavelets in compressed images. Deligne (born 1944) was awarded the Fields Medal in 1978 and the Abel Prize in 2013. His mathematical works include proof on the Weill conjectures (a subject only accessible to trained mathematicians). Tilly (1837-1906) worked on non-Euclidian mechanics (for instance the mechanics involved in the surface of a sphere).

29. To be a famous rock and roll star you have to be a bit destructive. Which Brussels native lived that life to the full, even chopping up a New York hotel room and chucking bits out of the window?

From Quiz Belgium's Got Talent

Answer: Plastic Bertrand

Roger Jouret was born on February 24, 1958 in Brussels and had a massive hit in 1977 with "Ca Plane Pour Moi". He started off in the music business as a drummer and formed a punk band called 'Hubble Bubble'.In 1977, he reinvented himself as Plastic Bertrand and had worldwide success with "Ca Plane Pour Moi". It entered the Billboard Charts in the USA, only the second French-language song to do so, and reached number 35. He embarked on a sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle. In Cannes he set fire to hotel room curtains and in New York he smashed up everything in his room with an axe and threw the debris out of the window. In 2010, a legal dispute revealed that Plastic had not actually sung on any of the songs on his first four albums. He continued to sing throughout the 80s, including a spell in an ABBA tribute show, and represented Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest. He came second from last.

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