The Most Famous

NOBLEMEN from Belgium

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This page contains a list of the greatest Belgian Noblemen. The pantheon dataset contains 843 Noblemen, 20 of which were born in Belgium. This makes Belgium the birth place of the 9th most number of Noblemen behind Spain and Denmark.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Belgian Noblemen of all time. This list of famous Belgian Noblemen is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Belgian Noblemen.

Photo of Pepin of Landen

1. Pepin of Landen (585 - 640)

With an HPI of 75.28, Pepin of Landen is the most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages on wikipedia.

Pepin I (also Peppin, Pipin, or Pippin) of Landen (c. 580 – 27 February 640), also called the Elder or the Old, was the Mayor of the palace of Austrasia under the Merovingian King Dagobert I from 623 to 629. He was also the Mayor for Sigebert III from 639 until his death.

Photo of Philippe of Belgium

2. Philippe of Belgium (1960 - )

With an HPI of 74.99, Philippe of Belgium is the 2nd most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 72 different languages.

Philippe or Filip (Dutch: Filip Leopold Lodewijk Maria [ˈfilɪp ˈleːjoːpɔlt ˈloːdəʋɛik maːˈrijaː]; French: Philippe Léopold Louis Marie [filip leɔpɔld lwi maʁi]; born 15 April 1960) is King of the Belgians. He is the eldest child of King Albert II and Queen Paola. He succeeded his father upon the latter's abdication for health reasons on 21 July 2013. He married Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz in 1999, with whom he has four children. Their eldest child, Princess Elisabeth, is first in the line of succession.

Photo of John of Gaunt

3. John of Gaunt (1340 - 1399)

With an HPI of 74.38, John of Gaunt is the 3rd most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (6 March 1340 – 3 February 1399) was an English royal prince, military leader, and statesman. He was the third son of King Edward III of England, and the father of King Henry IV. Due to Gaunt's royal origin, advantageous marriages, and some generous land grants, he was one of the richest men of his era, and was an influential figure during the reigns of both his father and his nephew, Richard II. As Duke of Lancaster, he is the founder of the royal House of Lancaster, whose members would ascend the throne after his death. His birthplace, Ghent, corrupted into English as Gaunt, was the origin for his name. When he became unpopular later in life, a scurrilous rumour circulated, along with lampoons, claiming that he was actually the son of a Ghent butcher. This rumour, which infuriated him, may have been inspired by the fact that Edward III had not been present at his birth.John's early career was spent in France and Spain fighting in the Hundred Years' War. He made an abortive attempt to enforce a claim to the Crown of Castile that came through his second wife, Constance of Castile, and for a time styled himself as King of Castile. When Edward the Black Prince, Gaunt's elder brother and heir to the ageing Edward III, became incapacitated due to poor health, Gaunt assumed control of many government functions, and rose to become one of the most powerful political figures in England. He was faced with military difficulties abroad and political divisions at home, and disagreements as to how to deal with these crises led to tensions among Gaunt, the English Parliament, and the ruling class, making him an extremely unpopular figure for a time. John exercised great influence over the English throne during the minority of King Richard II (Edward the Black Prince's son) and the ensuing periods of political strife. He mediated between the king and a group of rebellious nobles, which included Gaunt's own son and heir, Henry Bolingbroke. Following Gaunt's death in 1399, his estates and titles were declared forfeit to the Crown, and his son Henry, now disinherited, was branded a traitor and exiled. Henry returned from exile shortly after to reclaim his inheritance, and deposed Richard. He reigned as King Henry IV of England (1399–1413), the first of the descendants of John of Gaunt to hold the English throne. All English monarchs beginning with Henry IV are descended from John of Gaunt. His direct male line, the House of Lancaster, would rule England from 1399 until the time of the Wars of the Roses. Gaunt is also generally considered to have fathered five children outside marriage: one early in life by a lady-in-waiting to his mother; the others, surnamed Beaufort, by Katherine Swynford, his long-term mistress and third wife. They were later legitimised by royal and papal decrees, but this did not affect Henry IV's bar to their having a place in the line of succession. Through his daughter Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland, he was an ancestor of the Yorkist kings Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III. Through his great-granddaughter Lady Margaret Beaufort he was also an ancestor of Henry VII, who married Edward IV's daughter Elizabeth of York, and all subsequent monarchs are descendants of their marriage. Two of John's daughters married into continental royal houses (those of Portugal and Castile). Through them, many royal families of Europe can trace lineage to him.

Photo of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders

4. Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders (1837 - 1905)

With an HPI of 72.25, Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders is the 4th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Prince Philippe of Belgium, Count of Flanders (Dutch: Filips; 24 March 1837 – 17 November 1905), was the third born and second surviving son of King Leopold I of Belgium and Louise d'Orléans. Born at the Château de Laeken, near Brussels, Belgium, Philippe was created Count of Flanders on 14 December 1840. Upon the death of his nephew Prince Leopold, Duke of Brabant, he became heir presumptive to the Belgian throne. In 1866, after the abdication of Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Prince of Romania, Philippe refused being named the new Romanian sovereign, and the throne was later accepted by Philippe's brother-in-law Carol I. Earlier, he had also refused the crown of Greece, which was offered to him in 1862. Philippe died in 1905. When his brother King Leopold II died in 1909, Philippe's second son ascended the Belgian throne as King Albert I.

Photo of Henry I, Duke of Brabant

5. Henry I, Duke of Brabant (1165 - 1235)

With an HPI of 69.26, Henry I, Duke of Brabant is the 5th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Henry I (Dutch: Hendrik, French: Henri; c. 1165 – 5 September 1235), named "The Courageous", was a member of the House of Reginar and first duke of Brabant from 1183/84 until his death.

Photo of Antoinette de Mérode

6. Antoinette de Mérode (1828 - 1864)

With an HPI of 65.36, Antoinette de Mérode is the 6th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  Her biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Antoinette de Merode (Antoinette Ghislaine; 28 September 1828 – 10 February 1864), was the Princess of Monaco by marriage to Charles III, Prince of Monaco.

Photo of Princess Amélie Louise of Arenberg

7. Princess Amélie Louise of Arenberg (1789 - 1823)

With an HPI of 65.13, Princess Amélie Louise of Arenberg is the 7th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  Her biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Princess Amélie Louise d'Arenberg, full German name: Amalie Luise, Prinzessin und Herzogin von Arenberg and full French name: Amélie Louise, princesse et duchesse d'Arenberg, (born 10 April 1789 in Brussels, Austrian Netherlands; died 4 April 1823 in Bamberg, Kingdom of Bavaria) was a member of the House of Arenberg by birth and, through her marriage to Duke Pius August in Bavaria, a member of the Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen line of the House of Wittelsbach. Amélie Louise was a grandmother of Empress Elisabeth of Austria through her son Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria.

Photo of Gothelo I, Duke of Lorraine

8. Gothelo I, Duke of Lorraine (967 - 1044)

With an HPI of 64.95, Gothelo I, Duke of Lorraine is the 8th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Gothelo (or Gozelo) (c. 967 – 19 April 1044), called the Great, was the duke of Lower Lorraine from 1023 and of Upper Lorraine from 1033. He was also the margrave of Antwerp from 1005 (or 1008) and count of Verdun. Gothelo was the youngest son of Godfrey I, Count of Verdun, and Matilda, daughter of Herman, Duke of Saxony. On his father's death, he received the march of Antwerp and became a vassal of his brother, Godfrey II, who became duke of Lower Lorraine in 1012. He succeeded his brother in 1023 with the support of the Emperor Henry II, but was opposed until Conrad II forced the rebels to submit in 1025. When the House of Bar, which ruled in Upper Lorraine, became extinct in 1033, with the death of his cousin Frederick III, Conrad made him duke of both duchies, so that he could assist in the defence of the territory against Odo II, count of Blois, Meaux, Chartres and Troyes (the later Champagne). In the Battle of Bar on 15 November 1037, Gothelo dealt a decisive blow to Odo, who was trying to create an independent state between France and Germany. Odo died in the battle. Gothelo died on 19 April 1044 and was buried in the Abbey Church of Bilzen. His son Godfrey succeeded in Upper Lorraine, but the Emperor Henry III refused to give him the duchy of Lower Lorraine as well. When Godfrey showed disagreement with the imperial decision, Henry III threatened to pass the duchy to Godfrey's incompetent brother Gothelo. This caused a long rebellion in Lotharingia between the allies of Godfrey (the counts of Flanders and Leuven) and imperial forces (1044–1056).

Photo of Godfrey I, Count of Louvain

9. Godfrey I, Count of Louvain (1060 - 1139)

With an HPI of 64.82, Godfrey I, Count of Louvain is the 9th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Godfrey I (Dutch: Godfried, c. 1060 – 25 January 1139), called the Bearded, the Courageous, or the Great, was the Landgrave of Brabant, Count of Brussels and Leuven (Louvain) from 1095 to his death and Duke of Lower Lorraine from 1106 to 1129. He was also Margrave of Antwerp from 1106 to his death.

Photo of Prince Baudouin of Belgium

10. Prince Baudouin of Belgium (1869 - 1891)

With an HPI of 64.72, Prince Baudouin of Belgium is the 10th most famous Belgian Nobleman.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Prince Baudouin of Belgium (3 June 1869 – 23 January 1891) was the first child and eldest son of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, and his wife, Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Baudouin was the nephew of Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold II's eldest (and only) son, Leopold, Duke of Brabant, died six months before Baudouin's birth. This death left the king with only one person in the line of succession – Leopold II's younger brother, Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders. Baudouin's birth in June 1869 was celebrated throughout the country. He was second in line to the throne at the time of his birth, after his father. King Leopold II was to have one more child, another daughter, Clémentine. Prince Baudouin was thus groomed to eventually succeed his uncle as king. After Prince Baudouin's death, his younger brother, Albert, eventually became heir presumptive after the death of their father, and later succeeded their uncle Leopold II as Albert I of Belgium.

Pantheon has 20 people classified as noblemen born between 585 and 2008. Of these 20, 8 (40.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living noblemen include Philippe of Belgium, Prince Laurent of Belgium, and Stéphanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. The most famous deceased noblemen include Pepin of Landen, John of Gaunt, and Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders. As of October 2020, 3 new noblemen have been added to Pantheon including Antoinette de Mérode, Princess Amélie Louise of Arenberg, and Prince Baudouin of Belgium.

Living Noblemen

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Deceased Noblemen

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Newly Added Noblemen (2020)

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Which Noblemen were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 4 most globally memorable Noblemen since 1700.