Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stan and Vas on holiday Part 4

From Stan's lightly fictionalised journal

Saturday 12 August

I've been to the Belgian National Records Office and it's official: There are only 9 famous Belgians! They are:

Adolphe Sax - inventor of the saxophone (also the saxhorn and saxtromba)

Lambert Adolphe Quetelet - Mathematician and inventor of the Body Mass Index

Gerardus Mercator - Cartographer, mathematician and geographer (hence Mercator projection)

Jean-Marc Bosman - Footballer who caused the transfer rules to change

Eddy Merckx - Legendary cyclist

Rene Magritte - Surrealist painter and theorist

Georges Remi aka Hergé - Creator of Tintin

Jean-Claude Van Damme - The Muscles from Brussels

Audrey Hepburn - Who, I hope, requires no introduction

One reason for the lack of famous people is the relative youth of the country, which was only founded in 1830. Hence the introduction of earlier "Flemish" personalities, and the slightly questionable inclusion of Audrey Hepburn, born in Brussels (as Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston) to a British father and a Dutch mother.

The Belgians themselves see this situation as a challenge rather than a problem and have a plan in hand to upgrade Johann Tserclaes Tilly from "well known general" to "famous general" by 2015; to rebrand an existing famous historic figure as Belgian by 2017; and to create a brand-new modern celebrity by 2020!

[With apologies for Stan's grotesque ignorance of famous Belgians, who are currently enumerated by one website to the figure of 259]
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