On this day in Belgium

JanuaryFebruary MarchAprilMayJune July August September October November December

January

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

1 –

  • January 1, 1922: Belgium officially institutes bilingualism, with documents to be printed in both French and Flemish.
  • January 1, 1945: The Chenogne Massacre: American soldiers retaliate for the Malmedy Massacre by killing 80 German prisoners of war.
  • January 1, 1976: A fire at the Six-Neuf Club in La Louviere, and the subsequent panic, kills 15 partygoers.
  • January 1, 2002: The Euro enters into circulation to replace the Belgian franc.

2

3

4

5

6

7

8 – January 8, 1930: Crown Prince Umberto of Italy marries Princess Marie-José of Belgium in the Pauline Chapel of the Quirinal Palace in Rome. Marie-José was the last Queen of Italy

9 – January 9, 1983: The third victim of the gang known as the Brabant Killers: the robbery and murder of a taxi driver in Brussels.

10 –

  • January 10, 1929: First appearance of The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé, in Le Petit Vingtième.
  • January 10, 1940: A German aircraft with an officer on board carrying the plans for the German attack on the Low Countries crash-lands near Vucht in the modern-day municipality of Maasmechelen.

11 – January 11, 1923: French and Belgian troops begin the occupation of the Ruhr in response to Germany’s default on its reparations payments.

12

13 –

  • January 13, 1940: Belgium puts its armed forces on full alert.
  • January 13,1984: The Belgian fishing boat Zeepaard sinks off the north-east coast of England in a storm with the loss of its crew of five.

14 – January 14, 1941: Former Belgian Justice Minister Victor de Laveleye suggests in a BBC radio broadcast that Belgians use a V sign as a symbol of resistance, since the French and Flemish words for “victory” both started with the letter V.

15 –

  • January 15, 1940: The Belgian government rejects the proposal to grant Allied troops access to Belgian territory.
  • January 15, 1968: Violence erupts on the campus of the Catholic University of Leuven after the announcement that classes will continue to be held in French in addition to Flemish.
  • January 15, 1985: A car bomb planted by Cellules Communistes Combattantes explodes outside a NATO/SHAPE command center in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, injuring two American G.I. soldiers.

16

17

18 – January 18, 1928: Belgian businessman Emmanuel Janssen establishes the biopharmaceutical manufacturing company UCB.

19

20 – January 20, 1993: Ulrika Bidegård, a member of the Swedish national show jumping team, is kidnapped in front of her family home in Sint-Genesius-Rode.

21

22

23 –

  • January 23, 1968: The unrest from January 15 spreads to other cities in Flanders, with students demonstrating and walking out of their classrooms.
  • January 23, 1974: A fire at the Sacred Heart College in Heusden kills 23 teenage boys.
  • January 23, 1978: Wealthy French-Belgian industrialist Baron Édouard-Jean Empain is kidnapped in Paris.
  • January 23, 2009: The Dendermonde nursery attack in the Fabeltjesland daycare centre in Sint-Gillis-bij-Dendermonde leaves 3 people dead and 12 seriously injured.

24

25 –

  • January 25, 1945: Liberation of Belgium is completed at the end of the Second World War.
  • January 25, 1993: Police storm an apartment in Brussels and recover the kidnapped Ulrika Bidegård after four days of captivity, and her kidnapper is arrested.

26

27 – January 27, 2010: A gas explosion destroys a building in the center of Liège, killing 14 and injuring 19. The landlord was sentenced to 10 years for negligence.

28 – January 28, 1923: Thousands of French-speaking Belgians protest against the use of Flemish in Ghent University.

29

30 –

  • January 30, 1926: The Allied occupation of the first zone of the Rhineland ends when the British, French and Belgians withdrew their troops in advance of the Rhineland’s sovereignty being formally returned to Germany.
  • January 30, 2016: Cyclist Femke Van den Driessche is caught concealing a motor and battery in her bicycle during the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zolder. She is found guilty of “technological fraud”, the world’s first case of mechanical doping in cycling.

31 –

  • January 31, 1953: North Sea flood damages Belgian coastal defenses, killing 28.
  • January 31, 1967: Death of Marthe Gabrielle Donas (81), an important abstract and cubist painter who is recognized as one of the leading figures of Modernism.

February

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

1 – February 1, 1931: The Belgian public broadcaster NIR starts broadcasting on medium wave from Veltem, on 322m in Flemish and 484m in French.

2

3 – February 13, 1903: Birth of prolific writer Georges Simenon, creator of fictional detective Maigret, in Liège. 

4 –

  • February 4, 1917: The Council of Flanders is established by members of the Flemish Movement in German-occupied Belgium, with the aim of realizing the independence of Flanders from Belgium using German support.
  • February 4, 1945: Belgium is reported to be free of German troops.
  • February 4, 1967: Death of Herman Teirlinck, a Belgian writer who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature six times.
  • February 4, 2017: Mayor of Mechelen, Bart Somers, wins world mayor of the year award for his efforts to promote integration and prevent crime.
  • February 4, 2020: Public confirmation of first patient tested positive for the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium.

5 –

  • February 5, 1941: The Belgian franc is withdrawn from circulation and replaced with the Reichsmark.
  • February 5, 1993: Belgium becomes a federal monarchy rather than a unitary kingdom.

6 – February 6, 1968: The Vanden Boeynants coalition government collapses as a result of the linguistic crisis around the Catholic University of Leuven.

7 –

  • February 7, 1831: The new constitution of Belgium, drafted by the National Congress, is approved.
  • February 7, 1948: Micheline Lannoy and Pierre Baugniet become Olympic figure skating champions at the 1948 Winter Olympics; the only Winter Olympic gold medal for Belgium to date.

8

9

  • February 9, 1979: Biochemist Désiré Collen discovers that a specific tissue plasminogen activator protein (tPA) could be used to dissolve blood clots. It leads to tPa therapy for thrombosis, reducing the number of deaths from heart attacks and strokes.
  • February 9, 2013: Five people are killed when a small Cessna passenger plane crashes at Brussels South Airport in Charleroi.

10 –

  • February 10, 1960: A conference about the proposed independence of the Belgian Congo begins in Brussels.
  • February 10, 1848: Birth of neo-Impressionist painter Anna Rosalie Boch in Saint-Vaast. She held one of the most important collections of Impressionist paintings of her time, and promoted many young artists, including Vincent van Gogh.

11

12 –

13 –

14 –

  • February 14, 1878: Birth of priest-physicist Julius Nieuwland in Hansbeke. He was involved in making synthetic rubber which led to the invention of neoprene by DuPont.
  • February 14, 1920: Daylight saving time or “summer time” comes into effect for the first time in Belgium.

15 –

  • February 15, 1961: Sabena Flight 548, a Boeing 707-329, en route from New York City to Brussels, crashes on approach to Brussels airport in Berg-Kampenhout, killing all 72 people on board and one person on the ground. The fatalities include the entire United States figure skating team.
  • February 15, 1975: Doel Nuclear Power Station is commissioned.
  • February 15, 2003: An Italian gang steals loose diamonds, gold and jewelry valued at more than $100 million from a vault in Antwerp, one of the largest robberies in history.
  • February 15, 2010: Two passenger trains collide in Buizingen in snowy conditions, killing 19 people and injuring 171, making it the deadliest rail accident in Belgium in over fifty years.

16

17 –

  • February 17, 1934: Albert I, King of the Belgians, dies in a mountaineering accident.
  • February 17, 1947: Micheline Lannoy and Pierre Baugniet win the pairs competition in the World Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm.
  • February 17, 1949: Birth of Peter Piot, microbiologist who co-discovered the Ebola virus, led efforts to contain the first-ever recorded Ebola epidemic, and became a pioneering researcher into AIDS.

18 – February 18, 2017: A passenger train derails outside Leuven, killing one person and injuring 27.

19

20

21

22

23 – February 23, 1934: King Leopold III is inaugurated as the fourth King of the Belgians.

24

25

26 – February 26, 1947: In Brussels, a parade of 50,000 former Belgian POWs demand payment of bonuses promised to them during the war. A riot injures 100 people.

27 – February 27, 1996: A multiple-vehicle collision on the E17 near Nazareth claims 10 victims.

28 – February 28, 2020: Diane von Fürstenberg, fashion designer best known for her wrap dress, is made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur for her contributions to fashion, women’s leadership, and philanthropy.

29

March

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

1 –

  • March 1, 1934: Birth of artist Jean-Michel Folon in Uccle, Brussels.
  • March 1, 1963: Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, comes into existence and is headquartered in Brussels.
  • March 1, 2004: Trial begins of serial killer and child molester Marc Dutroux, eventually sentenced to life imprisonment.

2 –

3 –

  • March 3, 1983: The fourth victim of the gang known as the Brabant Killers: a supermarket worker in Halle.
  • March 3, 1983: Death of Georges Prosper Remi, better known as Hergé, the creator of The Adventures of Tintin, one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century.

4 – March 4, 2020: Archaeological discovery of a Roman ironworks in Ninove; the first such find in Belgium.

5 – March 5, 1921: All 43 crew on the Belgian cargo ship Madimba die after the vessel collides with another Belgian vessel, the Italier, and sinks in the North Sea.

6 –

  • March 6, 1925: Annexation of Eupen and Malmedy to the Kingdom of Belgium, following the First World War.
  • March 6, 1987: The MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes moments after leaving the port of Zeebrugge, killing 193 passengers and crew.

7 – March 7, 1978: Belgian alpine skier and wealthy businessman Baron Charles Bracht is kidnapped. His body is found with a bullet wound to the head.

8 – March 8, 1921: 10,000 French troops and 5,000 Belgian troops move into the Ruhr Area in Germany to enforce reparations payments, taking up occupation in the cities of Düsseldorf, Duisburg and Ruhrort.

9

10

11

12 –

  • March 12, 1950: A referendum on allowing Leopold III’s return to Belgium, and restoration of his powers and duties as monarch, is held. The proposal is approved by 58% of voters.
  • March 12 1985: Birth of Paul Van Haver, better known as Stromae, Belgian musician, rapper, singer and songwriter who has sold over 8.5 million records worldwide.

13 – March 13, 2012: A coach transporting mostly Belgian schoolteachers and students from a skiing holiday in Switzerland back to their two schools in Belgium crashes into a wall in the Sierre Tunnel. 28 are killed, including both drivers, all four teachers, and 22 children.

14

15 – March 15, 1971: Jean-Pierre Monseré (22), the reigning UCI World Cycling Champion, is struck and killed by a car while riding in a race in Retie.

16

17 – March 17, 2020: Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès announces stricter social distancing measures in response to the coronavirus outbreak in Belgium, with non-essential travel prohibited, non-essential shops to close, and gatherings banned.

18 –

19 – March 19, 2008: Death of leading Belgian author Hugo Claus, from euthanasia, which although legal in Belgium, led to considerable controversy.

20

21

22 –

  • March 22, 2004: Child murderer Marc Dutroux is sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • March 22, 2016: Terrorist attacks in Brussels kill 32 civilians and injure 300.

23

24 –

  • March 24, 1992: Dirk Frimout becomes the first Belgian in space, on the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
  • May 24, 2014: A gunman opens fire at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels, killing four people.

25 – March 25, 1957: Belgium is a signatory to the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community.

26

27 – March 27, 2001: Two passenger trains collide head-on in Pécrot, leaving 8 dead and 12 injured.

28 –

  • March 28, 1914: From outside King Albert I’s palace in Laken, experimental long wave radio broadcasts are transmitted, and can be picked up in a radius of 70 to 80 km. It’s the first and last time long wave is used in Belgium.
  • March 28, 1933: An Armstrong Whitworth Argosy II passenger aircraft operated by British airline Imperial Airways, crashes near Diksmuide, after suffering an onboard fire; all 15 people aboard are killed.

29 – March 29, 1985: Death of Jeanne-Paule Marie “Jeannine” Deckers, also known as Soeur Sourire and The Singing Nun.

30 – March 30, 1875: Death of Marie Pleyel, one of the most admired pianists of the 1830s.

31 – March 31, 1929: Birth of Liz Claiborne in Brussels. A fashion designer and businesswoman, she is the first woman to become chair and CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

April

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

1 –

  • April 1, 1916: Gabrielle Petit, a 23-year old Belgian citizen, is executed by firing squad after spying on occupying Germans for British intelligence. She later becomes a Belgian national hero.
  • April 1, 1964: Most of the 12,000 doctors and dentists in Belgium go on strike as a protest against the government’s medical reform program.

2 – April 2, 2006: Murder of 17-year-old Joe Van Holsbeeck at Brussels Central train station in rush hour following the attempted theft of his MP3 player.

3 – April 3rd, 1955: A fire in the Cine Rio cinema in Sclessin kills 39.

4 –

  • April 4, 1958: Tourist information office opens on the Place de Brouckère, Brussels.
  • April 4, 1990: King Baudouin is suspended as king for 36 hours after refusing to sign a law legalizing abortion.

5 –

  • April 5, 1930: A new law makes Dutch the only official language of the University of Ghent, against the wishes of the French-speaking minority in Flanders.
  • April 5, 1943: Allies target the Minerva car factory in Mortsel, used for repairing Luftwaffe planes, in a bombing raid. Collateral damage from missed targets kills 936 civilians, Belgium’s greatest loss of WW2.

6

7

8

9

10 – April 10, 1965: All 54 people on board a Royal Jordanian Airlines flight from Beirut to Jordan are killed when the plane catches fire and crashes into a mountain near Damascus, Syria. Nearly all of the passengers are from Belgium, on a vacation tour of the Middle East.

11

12 – April 12, 1958: Bokrijk open-air museum opens.

13 – April 13, 1992: A very strong earthquake centered in Roermond, The Netherlands, also is felt and causes damage in Belgium.  

14

15 – April 15, 1924: Flemish-Walloon riots in Louvain leave one dead.

16

17 –

  • April 17, 1915: Start of the Battle of Messines, which includes the detonation of 19 mines beneath the German front position, which devastates it and leaves 19 large craters.
  • April 17, 1958: Opening of Expo 58 in Brussels, the first major World Fair since the Second World War.

18 – April 18, 1964: Belgium’s 18-day strike of doctors and dentists ends with an agreement between their representatives and the Belgian government.

19 –

  • April 19, 1839: Treaty of London is signed, finalizing international guarantees of Belgian independence and neutrality.
  • April 19, 1943: A train transporting Jews to Auschwitz is stopped by Belgian resistance fighters in Boortmeerbeek, the only place that this happened.

20

21 – April 21, 1921: Women are allowed to vote in Belgian municipal elections for the first time.

22 – April 22, 1915. Beginning of the Second Battle of Ypres. First use of chlorine gas on the Western Front.

23 –

  • April 23, 1920: At a pre-Olympic Games event in Antwerp, ice hockey is played for the first time as an Olympic sport. Sweden defeats Belgium 8-0.
  • April 23, 2010: Pope Benedict XVI accepts the resignation of Roger Vangheluwe as Bishop of Bruges after revelations of his sexual abuse of minors.

24

25 – April 25, 1966: In Walfergem (Asse), a drunk driver of a bakery truck crashes into a class of schoolchildren outside a school, killing ten children.

26

27

28

29 –

  • April 29, 1899: Belgian racing car driver Camille Jenatzy becomes the first person to break the 100 km/h speed barrier, in his electrically powered rocket car called “Jamais Contente”.
  • April 29, 1942: An ammonium nitrate explosion at a chemical plant in Tessenderlo kills 189 people.

30

May

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

1 –

  • May 1, 1904: The Belgian national football team plays its first official game against France, drawing 3-3.
  • May 1, 1985: A car bomb explodes in front of the Federation of Belgian Enterprises building in Brussels, killing two firemen and injuring 13 other people.
  • May 1, 2021: Death of Pieter Aspe, a Belgian writer of a series of detective stories starring inspector Pieter Van In. These were adapted for the long-running TV series Aspe.

2

3 – May 3, 1986: Sandra Kim wins the Eurovision Song Contest singing “J’aime la vie”.

4 –

  • May 4, 1929: Birth of film actress Audrey Hepburn at number 48 Rue Keyenveld in Ixelles, Brussels.
  • May 4, 2021: Cyber attack disrupts accessibility of websites using the .be domain, including those of the government, parliament, police, educational and research institutions, healthcare, and public broadcasters.

5 –

  • May 5, 1835: The first railway track on the European mainland is officially used for the first time. 900 guests travel in a convoy pulled by three engines: La Flèche, Stephenson and L’Eléphant. The trip lasts 50 minutes from Brussels-Groendreef to Mechelen.
  • May 5, 1850: National Bank of Belgium is founded.

6 –

  • May 6, 1882: North Sea Fisheries Convention is signed.
  • May 6, 1916: Belgian troops march into Kigali, German East Africa.
  • May 6, 1949: Death of Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgian playwright, poet, and essayist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911.
  • May 6, 2007: Former World No. 1 ranked tennis player Kim Clijsters announces her retirement.

7

8

9 –

  • May 9, 1919: Women in Belgium who were widows or single mothers of servicemen that were either killed in action, taken prisoner by the enemy, or were involved in the resistance movement are allowed to vote and run for office.
  • May 9, 1940: Belgium declares a state of emergency and places its military on alert.

10 –

  • May 10, 1940: Germany invades Belgium: the beginning of Belgian involvement in the Second World War. German para troops land on the roof of Belgian Fortress Eben-Emael. The Luftwaffe bombs Brussels and Antwerp.
  • May 10, 1941: The Strike of the 100,000 begins in Nazi-occupied Belgium when workers go on strike for a wage increase.

11 –

  • May 11, 1940: German forces encircle Liège. The fortress Eben-Emael surrenders.
  • May 11, 1950: An explosion in a coal mine near Mons kills 41 miners.

12 –

  • May 12, 1869: Violent repression of strikes in Belgium inspires Karl Marx to write The Belgian Massacres.
  • May 12, 1940: The Battle of Hannut begins in which the Germans attempt to capture the important strategic point of Sedan and cross the Meuse. It is the largest clash of tanks to date.
  • May 12, 1958: Birth of Dries Van Noten in Antwerp, a Belgian fashion designer and an eponymous fashion brand.

13 – May 13, 1940: The German army captures Liège and Dinant and crosses the river Meuse in various places.

14 – May 14, 1940: The Battle of Gembloux begins.

15 – May 15, 1914: Dinant is destroyed by German bombs. One of the injured soldiers is Lt Charles de Gaulle (24).

16 –

  • May 16, 1940: Following the German invasion, the Belgian national radio starts broadcasting via Radio Lille in France. The Belgian government moves its seat to Ostend.
  • May 16, 1953: Death of Django Reinhardt, Belgian jazz musician.

17 –

  • May 17, 1940: The Belgian army abandons the line Antwerp-Leuven. German troops march into Brussels.
  • May 17, 2010: Death of Bobbejaan Schoepen (85), singer-songwriter, entrepreneur, and founder of the Bobbejaanland amusement park.

18 –

  • May 18, 1940: The Belgian government decides to leave the country; King Leopold and four ministers stay behind.
  • May 18, 1941: The Strike of the 100,000 officially ends after the German occupiers agree to raise wages.
  • May 18, 2021: Manhunt begins for Jürgen Conings, a Belgian soldier under suspicion of far-right extremism who had taken weapons from a military barracks and made violent threats towards the Belgian government and virologists.

19 – May 19, 1992: A bus carrying women from an association in Heusden-Destelbergen crashes in Breda, the Netherlands. 7 passengers lose their lives.

20

21

22 – May 22, 1967: Fire at the Innovation department store in Brussels kills 322, injures 62, and destroys the building.

23 –

  • May 23, 1923: SABENA, the national airline of Belgium, is founded.
  • May 23, 1940: The Belgian Army abandon the city of Ghent.

24 –

  • May 24, 1940: The German Army captures Ghent and Tournai.
  • May 24, 2014: Shooting at the Jewish Museum of Belgium kills four.

25 – May 25, 2008: A Boeing 747 operated by Kalitta Air, over-runs the runway during takeoff at Brussels Airport, causing the aircraft to split into three main pieces. Passengers sustain minor injuries.

26 –

  • May 26, 1903: On leaving Antwerp, the passenger-cargo ship SS Huddersfield collides with the Norwegian steamer Uto in the River Scheldt and sank. All 22 passengers – emigrants from Galicia on their way to Canada – are drowned. The crew of 17 are rescued.
  • May 26, 1922: Ernest Solvay (84) dies; Belgian chemist and inventor who developed the ammonia-soda process for the manufacture of sodium carbonate. He also founded the Solvay company.

27 – May 27, 1942: Jews in Belgium are obliged to wear the yellow star of David.

28 –

  • May 28, 1868: Birth of Lieven Gevaert in Antwerp, who founded Gevaert & Co, which later merged with Agfa AG to become Agfa-Gevaert NV.
  • May 28, 1940: King Leopold III signs the capitulation of the Belgian army. The Belgian Pierlot government, assembled in Poitiers, France, indicates its willingness to continue fighting and takes executive power away from the King.

29 –

  • May 29, 1940: Tancrémont Fortress near Pepinster surrenders; the last island of resistance in eastern Belgium and the last of the Liège forts to fall.
  • May 29, 1985: The Heysel Stadium disaster; 39 people are killed and 600 injured when a wall collapses an hour before the Juventus–Liverpool final of the European Cup.
  • May 29, 2018: A prisoner on temporary leave from prison stabs two female police officers, takes their guns, shoots and kills them and a civilian in Liège.

30

31 –

  • May 31, 1916: Start of the Battle of Jutland, off the North Sea coast of Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula. It is the only full-scale clash of battleships during the First World War.
  • May 31, 1930: Work starts on the Albert Canal, which stretches for 130 km from Antwerp to Liège.
  • May 31, 1940: Belgian members of parliament, having fled to Limoges, declare the signing of the capitulation by King Leopold to be unconstitutional.
  • May 31, 1941: Expropriation of Jewish property in Belgium begins.

June

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

1 –

  • June 1, 1940: Hitler flies in to Brussels Evère airport for a visit to Belgium and France.
  • June 1, 2003: Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Belgium.
  • June 1, 2011: Belgium breaks the world record for length of time taken to form a government (541 days).

2

3

4

5 – June 5, 2016: A passenger train and a freight train collide in Hermalle-sous-Huy, killing 3 people and injuring 36.

6 – June 6, 1921: Birth of Augusta Chiwy, a nurse from Belgian Congo who displayed great courage and compassion during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

7 –

  • June 7, 1917: The British Army detonates 19 mines under the German lines near Messines, killing 10,000 enemy soldiers in the deadliest deliberate non-nuclear man-made explosion in history.
  • June 7, 2021: Death of Arctic explorer Dixie Dansercoer.

8

9 – July 9, 1932: Two miners are killed during riots by minders striking for more pay and better conditions.

10 – June 10, 1929: Prince Charles of Belgium is fined 100 francs for failing to vote in provincial elections the previous day, in violation of the country’s compulsory voting law.

11 – June 11, 1938: The strongest earthquake in Belgium for 45 years kills two people. Its epicenter is between Audenarde and Renaix.

12

13 – June 13, 1870: Birth of Belgian bacteriologist Jules Bordet in Soignies. He developed the first vaccine against the whooping cough virus as well as the Wassermann test for syphilis.

14 – June 14, 1936: 120,000 Belgian miners go on strike.

15

16

17 – June 17, 1945: Birth of cyclist Eddy Merckx in Meensel-Kiezegem.

18 –

  • June 18, 1836: Belgium adopts the metric system, replacing old units of measurement like the perche, livre, arpent, loth and schiffpfund.
  • June 18, 1989: Brussels-Capital Region comes into being.
  • June 18, 2021: A building collapses at a school construction site in Antwerp, killing 5 construction workers and injuring 20 others.

19 – June 19, 1945: Leopold III of Belgium refuses to abdicate.

20 –

  • June 20, 2017: After an explosion without casualties in Brussels Central Station, a suspect is shot dead by patrolling soldiers.
  • June 20, 2021: Body of Jürgen Conings is found in a Limburg forest; he had died of suicide by gunshot.

21

22

23 – June 23, 2020: Physicist and mathematician Baroness Ingrid Daubechie, best known for her work with wavelets in image compression, receives the Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research. She also developed the mathematical model used by the FBI to stock fingerprints.

24 –

  • July 24, 1927: The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is dedicated in Ypres, as a monument to nearly 90,000 soldiers of the British Empire who went missing in action in the three Battles of Ypres in World War I.
  • June 24, 1967: A tornado severely damages the village of Oostmalle.
  • June 24, 1968: The Gaston Eyskens government announces that the French section of the Catholic University of Leuven is to relocate to a planned town in Wallonia, dubbed “New Leuven” (Louvain-la-Neuve).

25 – June 25, 1979: NATO commander Alexander Haig is the target of an assassination attempt in Mons.

26 – June 26, 1949: Women in Belgium are allowed to vote for the first time in parliamentary elections. After the First World War women were allowed to vote in municipal elections.

27

28 – June 28, 1846: Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax patents the saxophone for use in orchestras and military bands.

29

30 – June 30, 1960: The Belgian Congo receives its independence from Belgium, as the Republic of the Congo.

July

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

1

2

3 – July 3, 1929: Georges Landoy, a newspaper editor from Antwerp, falls into a hot spring in the Old Faithful area of Yellowstone National Park. He dies of his burns two days later. The hot spring into which he falls is subsequently named “Belgian Pool“.

4 – July 4, 1928: Alfred Loewenstein, a Belgian financier and one of the wealthiest people in the world at the time, is killed after falling out of his private plane over the English Channel. He is last seen walking to the rear of the aircraft to use the bathroom, and opened a door opposite.

5

6

7

8

9 – July 9, 1966: Birth of Baroness Fabienne Claire Nothomb (better known by her pen name Amélie Nothomb), a prolific Belgian novelist.

10 –

11

12 – July 12, 1934: The wearing of political party uniforms is banned in Belgium.

13

14

15 – July 15, 2021: Heavy rainfall leads to devastating flooding in parts of Wallonia, causing 42 deaths.

16 –

  • July 16, 1951: King Leopold III abdicates in favor of his son Baudouin.
  • July 16, 2001: Jacques Rogge is elected as President of the International Olympic Committee.

17 –

  • July 17, 1894: Birth of Georges Lemaître, Belgian priest and physicist who first proposed the “Big Bang Theory”.
  • July 17, 1951: King Baudouin is inaugurated as the fifth King of the Belgians.

18 –

  • July 18, 1945: The Belgian senate votes to forbid the return of Leopold III from exile.
  • July 18, 1973: A coach from Zinnik, with 49 passengers, crashes on the Côte de Laffrey heading towards Grenoble and ends up in the river Romanche in Vizille, with the loss of 43 people.
  • July 18, 1991: Assassination of Socialist politician André Cools.

19 – July 19, 1970: Eddy Merckx wins the 1970 Tour de France and is also king of the mountains.

20 –

  • July 20, 1945: Belgian Prime Minister Achille Van Acker asks Leopold III to abdicate for his “grave and unpardonable mistakes”.
  • July 20, 1969: Eddy Merckx wins the 1969 Tour de France; the only time that a single cyclist wins the general classification, the points classification and the mountains classification at the same time.
  • July 20, 1994: Death of artist Paul Delvaux.

21

22 –

  • July 22, 1942: The first Belgian Jews are deported to Auschwitz.
  • July 22, 1950: King Leopold III returns to Belgium after six years in exile.

23 –

  • July 23, 1907: Official opening of the Port of Zeebrugge.
  • July 23, 1926: National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS/SNCFB) forms as an autonomous government company and successor to the Belgian State Railways.

24 – July 24, 1929: Ceremony takes place of the unveiling of the Menin Gate in Ypres. The Last Post has its first performance here.

25 –

  • July 25, 1921: The Belgium–Luxembourg Economic Union, an antecedent of the European Economic Community and the European Union, was created by a treaty between the two monarchies and signed in Brussels.
  • July 25, 1966: 27 children and 6 adults from Belgium are killed when the bus they are travelling in skids off a bridge outside Idstein, West Germany. All were on their way home to Brussels from a vacation in the Austrian Alps.
  • July 25, 2019: The hottest day to date in Belgium, with a temperature of 39.7°C measured at the Royal Meteorological Institute in Uccle and 41.8°C in Begijnendijk.

26

27 –

  • July 27, 1920: Philippe Thys becomes the first cyclist to win the Tour de France three times.
  • July 27, 1980: A Syria-born Palestinian uses grenades to attack a group of 40 Jewish children waiting with their families for a bus in Antwerp to take them to summer camp. One boy was killed and 20 other people were wounded.

28

29

30 –

  • July 30, 1915: The flamethrower is used for the first time in combat, with German forces using it to flush out British soldiers from their trenches at Hooge.
  • July 30, 2004: A high-pressure natural gas pipeline in Ghislenghien ruptures; the resulting explosion kills 24 and leaves 150 with severe burns.

31 –

  • July 31, 1917: The Battle of Passchendaele, also called the Third Battle of Ypres, begins.
  • July 31, 1950: 80,000 protesters march towards the royal palace at Laeken to demand the abdication of King Leopold III.
  • July 31, 1993: Death of King Baudouin.

August

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

1 –

  • August 1, 1950: King Leopold III of Belgium abdicates in favor of his 20-year-old son Baudouin.
  • August 1, 1985: The Belgian-French family Houtekins-Kets is kidnapped from their yacht Silco in the Mediterranean Sea and held in Libya for nearly five years.
  • August 1, 1996: Capital punishment in Belgium is formally abolished for all crimes, in both peacetime and wartime.

2 –

  • August 2, 1914: Germany issues a 12-hour ultimatum to neutral Belgium to allow German passage into France.
  • August 2, 1831: Start of the Ten Days Campaign, a failed attempt by the Dutch King William I to halt the course of the Belgian Revolution.

3 – August 3, 1914: King Albert of Belgium refuses the German request to violate his country’s neutrality, resulting in Germany declaring war on Belgium and on France.

4 –

  • August 4, 1914: Germany invades Belgium, signifying the start of Belgian involvement in the First World War.
  • August 4, 2003: Kim Clijsters becomes the first Belgian to be world no.1 in women’s tennis.

5 –

  • August 5, 1914: Liège becomes the first European city to be attacked by a German Zeppelin airship, killing 9 civilians. The Battle of Liège is the first major battle of World War One.
  • August 5, 1929: King Albert decrees that the Albert National Park in the Belgian Congo is to expanded and the land set aside for preservation and scientific study. Severe penalties are to be imposed on anyone harming the flora or fauna of the region.
  • August 5, 1942: The first transport of Belgian Jews arrives in Birkenau concentration camp.

6

7 – August 7, 1980: The Belgian Senate grants limited autonomy to the northern region of Belgium, Flanders, where most residents speak Flemish, and the southern region Wallonia, where the predominant language is French, with the Capital Region of Brussels to be separate.

8 – August 8, 1956: Mining accident of Marcinelle claims 262 lives, including 136 Italian foreign workers.

9 –

  • August 9, 1950: Philipp Schmitt, German SS Sturmbannfuhrer who oversaw the deportation to Germany of prisoners from Belgium, is executed by a firing squad, becoming the last person to be executed in Belgium.
  • August 9, 1993: King Albert II is inaugurated as the sixth King of the Belgians.

10 – August 10, 1883: Death of Hendrik Conscience, a Belgian author who is considered the pioneer of Dutch-language literature in Flanders, and best known for his romantic nationalist novel, The Lion of Flanders (1838).

11 –

12 –

  • August 12, 1914: The first cavalry action of the First World War takes place at Halen and is called the Battle of the Silver Helmets.
  • August 12, 1944: Suzanne Spaak, Belgian member of the French Resistance, is executed by the Gestapo.

13 – August 13, 1996: Child-murderer Marc Dutroux is arrested.

14 –

  • August 14, 1920: The 1920 Summer Olympics are held in Antwerp.
  • August 14, 2005: The first edition of Tomorrowland in Boom, which has become the world’s most popular electronic dance festival.

15 –

  • August 15, 1914: German soldiers capture the Citadel of Dinant in the First World War.
  • August 15, 1967: Death of Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte.
  • August 15, 1969: Death of Stijn Streuvels, influential Belgian writer, usually dealing with the rural life of poor farmers in Flanders.
  • August 15, 1971: The first flower carpet is held in Brussels, the brainchild of landscape architect Etienne Stautemans.

16 – August 16, 1914: After the 11-day Battle of Liège, the German army occupies the last fort in Liège, and captures Belgian General Léman.

17

18 –

  • August 18, 1950: Julien Lahaut, the Chairman of the Communist Party of Belgium, is assassinated by two unknown gunmen outside his home in Seraing.
  • August 18, 2011: The 26th edition of music festival Pukkelpop is canceled after a freak thunderstorm leaves 5 people dead and 140 wounded.

19 – August 19, 1914: King Albert I orders that all radio transmitters in Belgium are destroyed so that they don’t fall into the hands of the German occupying force.

20 –

  • August 20, 1914: German army captures Brussels as the Belgian army retreats to Antwerp.
  • August 20, 1920: Paul Hymans, Foreign Minister of Belgium, is elected to preside over the first assembly of the League of Nations.

21 –

  • August 21, 1914: Reconnaissance cyclist Private John Parr (perhaps aged 15) was the first British soldier to be killed on the Western Front, at Obourg in Belgium.
  • August 21, 1967: In Martelange, a driver of a tanker truck with 40,000 liters of liquid gas skids and overturns. The gas explodes, killing 22 people and leaving 47 with severe burns.
  • August 21, 2004: Justine Henin wins the Olympic final against French tennis player Amélie Mauresmo, earning the gold medal.

22 –

  • August 22, 1914: Austria-Hungary declares war on Belgium.
  • August 22, 1914: First encounter between British and German troops in Belgium, at the Battle of Mons.
  • August 22, 2016: Death of Toots Thielemans, Belgian jazz musician and probably the world’s most renowned harmonica player.

23 – August 23, 1914: The Battle of Dinant, during which the German 3rd Army kills 654 civilians and burn 1200 homes.

24

25 –

  • August 25, 1914: German troops in occupied Belgium begin the six-week “Sack of Leuven,” destroying historical buildings and killing hundreds of civilians. The population of 10,000 is expelled, and 248 civilians die. More civilian deaths are reported in Aarschot (156), Andenne (211), Tamines (383), and Dinant (674). The library of the Catholic University of Leuven is set on fire by German troops, resulting in the destruction of over 300,000 medieval books and manuscripts.
  • August 25, 1950: Belgium creates the Corps Voluntaires Corea to fight in the Korean War, and sends 900 men in the 1st Belgian Battalion, arriving in December.
  • August 25, 2017: Two soldiers are injured in a knife attack near the Grand Place in Brussels; Islamic State claims responsibility.

26 – August 26, 1939: Hitler guarantees the neutrality of Belgium.

27 – August 27, 1958: Birth of Tom Lanoye, novelist, poet, columnist, screenwriter and playwright, and one of the most widely read authors in the Dutch language.

28 – August 28, 1979: A bombing conducted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) against a British Army band on the Grand Place injures 7 bandsmen and 11 civilians.

29 –

  • August 29, 1914: In a desperate attempt to prevent the German Army from over-running the last major territory in Belgium, engineers open the sluices controlling the tides of the North Sea and flood 1.6 km of lowland from the coast to the town of Diksmuide.
  • August 29, 1935: A car accident in Switzerland claims the life of Astrid of Sweden, the Queen of the Belgians and first wife of Leopold III.
  • August 29, 2021: Death of Jacques Rogge, Belgian Olympic sailor and 8th President of the International Olympic Committee.

30

31 –

  • August 31, 1920: Belgium starts paying old age pensions.
  • August 31, 1929: China and Belgium sign a charter for the return of the Tianjin-Belgium Concession.
  • August 31, 2018: The summer of 2018 is declared Belgium’s hottest summer in almost 200 years.

September

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

1

2

3 –

  • September 3, 1921: Belgian Communist Party forms.
  • September 3, 1932: Miners end their four-week strike and accept a 10% increase in wages.
  • September 3, 1944: The British Army crosses the Belgian border near Lille. The Americans liberate Mons. The Welsh Guards liberate Brussels.

4

5

6 – September 6, 1944: Polish forces liberate Ypres from occupying German forces.

7

8 –

  • September 8, 1831: Election of the first Belgian parliament.
  • September 8, 1947: Death of Victor Horta, Belgian architect and designer, and one of the founders of the Art Nouveau movement.
  • September 8, 1944: The Belgian government in exile led by Hubert Pierlot returns to Brussels from London.
  • September 8, 2007: Justine Henin wins the U.S. Open women’s tennis singles championship defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.

9 –

  • September 9, 1944: British forces reach Oostende and Nieuwpoort, Canadians cross the Canal Brugge-Gent. The Americans cross the Belgian border near Maastricht and cross the Meuse in Liège.
  • September 9, 1966: NATO moves the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) to Mons.

10 –

  • September 10, 1944: An undamaged bridge across the Maas-Scheldt canal near Lommel is stormed and captured by the Irish Guards. It will be a springboard for Operation Market Garden.
  • September 10, 1983: The gang known as the Brabant Killers rob a textile factory in Temse, killing their fifth victim.

11 –

  • September 11, 1929: Fourteen members of the crew of the Belgian cargo ship Estella die after the freighter collides with a German lumber ship in the Scheldt River and sinks.
  • September 11, 2005: Belgium gets its first female rabbi: Floriane Chinsky accepts her appointment in the new synagogue of Forest.

12 –

  • September 12, 1915: Belgian fighter pilot Jan Olieslagers forces down a German Aviatik while flying a Nieuport named Le Demon, becoming the first Belgian pilot to score an aerial victory during the First World War.
  • September 12, 1950: The Belgian government dismisses all communist civil servants.

13 – September 13, 1920: The Belgian government ratifies its military alliance with France, ending its policy of neutrality.

14

15

16

17 – September 17, 1983: The gang known as the Brabant Killers claim their sixth and seventh victims: a couple who stop besides a store that the gang is burgling. Their eighth victim is a policeman who pursues them.

18

19

20 – September 20, 1976: The first Brussels metro line opens: one branch from De Brouckère to Beaulieu; another from De Brouckère to Tomberg (converted from pre-metro tramways that were inaugurated on December 17, 1969).

21

22

23

24

25 – September 25, 1983: Death of King Leopold III.

26 – September 26, 1917: The Battle of Polygon Wood, when British and Australian divisions launch a new offensive against the Germans in Flanders. Polygon Wood is named for its geometric shape on military maps.

27 – September 27, 1985: The gang known as the Brabant Killers claim more victims, taking their toll to 20. Three people are killed during an armed robbery of a Delhaize supermarket in Braine-l’Alleud, followed by the deaths of five people during an armed robbery of a Delhaize supermarket in Overijse.

28 –

  • September 28, 1918: Begin of the Fifth Battle of Ypres; the Allies launch a major offensive in Flanders against Germany and gain much of the ground lost up to Passchendaele.
  • September 28, 1940: Radio Belgium starts broadcasting via the BBC for 10 minutes per day.

29

30 – September 30, 1982: The first victim of the gang known as the Brabant Killers occurs following an armed robbery of a weapons dealer in Wavre when a policeman is killed at the scene.

October

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

1 –

  • October 1, 2003: Merger between three universities leads to the establishment of the University of Antwerp.
  • October 1, 2010: Conclusion of the Parachute Murder trial: suspect sentenced to 30 years in prison.

2 –

  • October 2, 1944: The Battle of the Scheldt begins in northern Belgium.
  • October 2, 1971: British European Airways Flight 706, whilst en route from London to Salzburg, develops problems while at 19,000 ft, 35 minutes after takeoff, and crashes near Aarsele, killing all 63 passengers and crew.
  • October 2, 1983: The gang known as the Brabant Killers claim their ninth victim: the owner of a restaurant in Ohain.

3

4 – October 4, 1830: The Provisional Government declares that the Belgian provinces form an independent state, and appoint a commission to draft a new constitution.

5

6 –

  • October 6, 1916: Death of Isidore De Loor, a Belgian priest who assisted cancer patients during World War One despite suffering from cancer himself. He is beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1984.
  • October 6, 1942: A law is passed in Nazi-occupied Belgium obligating able-bodied citizens to work for the government if ordered to.

7 –

  • October 7, 1914: The German Army arrives in Ypres.
  • October 7, 1983: The gang known as the Brabant Killers claims its tenth victim: a customer in a supermarket in Beersel that the gang is robbing.

8 – October 8, 2013: Theoretical physicist François Englert, Professor emeritus at the ULB, and Briton Peter Higgs are awarded the Nobel prize for Physics for the discovery of the Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism.

9 – October 9, 1968: Death of Belgian singer, songwriter, actor and director Jacques Brel.

10

11 – October 11, 2009: Father Damien is canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in the presence of King Albert II and Queen Paola.

12 –

  • October 12, 1915: Despite international protest, Edith Cavell, an English nurse in Belgium, is executed by the Germans for aiding the escape of Allied prisoners.
  • October 12, 1986: The renovated La Monnaie opera house reopens with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

13 –

  • October 13, 1914: The Belgian government in exile is installed at Sainte-Adresse in Le Havre.
  • October 13, 1937: Germany tells Belgium they will guarantee Belgian neutrality as long as it refrains from military action against Germany.
  • October 13, 2020: Eliane Tillieux becomes the first woman to serve as President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives.

14 –

  • October 14, 1914: The British and French armies arrive in Ypres.
  • October 14, 1953: A Sabena Convair CV-240 crashes 3 km north of Frankfurt, killing all 44 occupants.
  • October 14, 1962: Rioting in Brussels between Flemish nationalist and Francophone demonstrators over language issues.

15 – October 15, 1980: The first regional parliament of Wallonia takes place in Namur, representing the 3.5 million French-speaking citizens of Belgium who live outside Brussels.

16

17 – October 17, 1933: Birth of Jeannine Deckers, “The Singing Nun”

18 –

  • October 18, 1949: Exiled King Leopold III agrees to a referendum on his return to Belgium, promising to remain in Switzerland if he receives less than 55% support.
  • October 18, 1960: Birth of Jean-Claude Van Damme, “The Muscles from Brussels.”

19-

  • October 19, 1914: First Battle of Ypres begins.
  • October 19, 1918: The last cavalry charge of the First World War; two squadrons of the Belgian Guides Regiment charge and overrun German defenses at Burkel Forest between Oedelem and Maldegem.
  • October 19, 2013: Ten skydivers and the pilot of a small private plane die when their aircraft crashes near Namur.

20 –

  • October 20, 1981: The Black September Organization carries out a bombing attack at the Antwerp synagogue. Three people are killed and 103 injured.
  • October 20, 1996: The White March: 300,000 people demonstrate against police and judicial inefficiency after the Dutroux affair.

21

22 – October 22, 1940: After evading French and Spanish authorities, Belgian prime minister Hubert Pierlot arrives in London, marking the beginning of the Belgian government in exile.

23 – October 23, 1958: Comic book illustrator Pierre Culliford (“Peyo”) introduces the world to The Smurfs, small, blue, humanoid creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest.

24 –

  • October 24, 1885: Birth of Ernest Claes in Zichem, a Belgian author best known for his regional novels.
  • October 24, 1920: Publication of Agatha Christie’s first Hercule Poirot mystery novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The Belgian detective would be the subject of 33 novels, two plays and over 50 short stories before the character is killed off in Christie’s final novel, Curtain, in 1975.
  • 24 October, 1953: Firedamp explosion in the Many pit in Seraing kills 26 (12 Belgians and 14 Italian immigrant workers).

25 – October 25, 1962: First Belgian nuclear reactor begins operation, in Mol.

26 – October 26, 1917: Start of the Second Battle of Passchendaele; British and Canadian forces attack defensive ridges east of Passchendaele that the Allies failed to take earlier in the month.

27 – October 27, 2019: Sophie Wilmès is appointed head of the caretaker government: Belgium’s first female Prime Minister.

28

29

30 – October 30, 2020: Government announces second lockdown in response to rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates.

31 – October 31, 1953: First public television broadcast of the Belgian National Broadcasting Institute, from the Flagey Building in Brussels.

November

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

1

2

3 – November 3, 1979: The British consulate in Antwerp is bombed by the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA).

4

5 – November 5, 1967: About 30,000 Flemish activists march in Antwerp to demand that the Catholic University of Leuven becomes monolingual.

6 –

  • November 6, 1917: British and Canadian forces make one final push and capture the village of Passchendaele after three months of bitter fighting and horrendous casualties.
  • November 6, 2001: Belgian national airline Sabena is declared bankrupt.

7 – November 7, 1939: King Leopold of Belgium calls for peace and offers his services as mediator.

8

9 – November 9, 1985: The gang known as the Brabant Killers claim 8 more victims, taking their toll to 28, during an armed robbery at a Delhaize supermarket in Aalst.

10

11 –

  • November 11, 1918: Canadian soldier George Lawrence Price is killed by a sniper at Ville-sur-Haine. He is the last soldier of the British Empire to die in World War One, two minutes before the armistice was to go into effect.
  • November 11, 1972: First National Women’s Day in Belgium, organized by leading Belgian feminist Liane “Lily” Boeykens.

12

13

14 –

  • November 14, 1863: Birth of Leo Baekeland in Ghent, described as “The Father of the Plastics Industry” for his invention of Bakelite, an inexpensive, nonflammable and versatile plastic.
  • November 14, 1960: Belgium threatens to leave the United Nations over criticism of its policy concerning the Republic of the Congo.

15 –

  • November 15, 1908: Belgium assumes sovereignty of the Congo, officially making Belgian Congo a colony of Belgium.
  • November 15, 2020: “New Kim”, a 2-year-old racing pigeon from a breeder in Berlaar, is bought for a world record 1.6 million euros.

16 – November 16, 1937: A Junkers Ju 52/3m owned by Belgian airline Sabena hits a tall factory chimney while attempting to land at Stene aerodrome near Ostend, killing members of the Hesse royal family on their way to London for the wedding of Louis, Prince of Hesse.

17

18 –

  • November 18, 1955: Christian trade unions win five-day working week in Belgium.
  • November 18, 2006: The Parachute Murder: Amateur skydiver Els Clottemans sabotages the parachutes of another woman, fellow skydiver Els Van Doren, because Van Doren was a rival for the love of Marcel Somers, also a skydiver.

19 –

  • November 19, 1940. King Leopold III meets Hitler in an attempt to get him to release Belgian POWs and issue a public statement about Belgium’s future independence. He fails.
  • November 19, 1949: Death of Belgian painter James Ensor.

20

21 –

  • November 21, 1898: Birth of René Magritte, Belgian surrealist artist.
  • November 21, 1918: One of the worst train explosions in history. Two German munitions trains catch fire and explode in Hamont. The two trains are destroyed, along with three German ambulance trains and part of the town. More than 1,000 individuals are killed.

22 –

  • November 22, 1914: The first serious damage to the buildings of Ypres occurs: two of the town’s most famous historic buildings, St Martin’s Cathedral and the Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) are set on fire by incendiary shells.
  • November 22, 1918: The Belgian royal family returns to Brussels after the First World War, with King Albert I of Belgium having commanded the Allied army group in the autumn Courtrai offensive which liberated his country.

23 –

24 – November 24, 1931: Creation of the Belgian Rugby Federation.

25

26

27 –

  • November 27, 1899: Death of Guido Gezelle, influential writer and poet and a Roman Catholic priest; famous for his use of the West Flemish dialect.
  • November 27, 2017: A passenger train collides with a car on a level crossing at Morlanwelz, after which the train runs away for 14 km before colliding with a stationary passenger train at Strépy-Bracquegnies. Two people are killed and 7 injured.

28

29

30 – November 30, 2016: UNESCO lists beer culture in Belgium as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

December

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

1 – December 1, 1983: The gang known as the Brabant Killers claim their 11th and 12th victims: the two owners of a shop in Anderlues.

2

3 – December 3, 1930: The 1930 Meuse Valley Fog kills 60 people owing to a combination of industrial air pollution and climatic conditions.

4

5 –

  • December 5, 2014: Death of Fabiola, 86, Queen of the Belgians from her marriage to King Baudouin in 1960 until his death in 1993.
  • December 5, 2018: Belgium’s first recorded death by hazing (an initiation rite). The 20-year-old KU Leuven student Sanda Dia dies after taking part in the initiation ceremony for the subsequently disbanded Reuzegom fraternity.

6 – December 6, 1985: A bomb explodes in the Palais de Justice in Liège, killing a law student.

7

8

9

10 –

  • December 10, 1929: 17 passengers are killed and 60 injured in a train accident near Namur.
  • December 10, 1938: Belgian physiologist Corneille Heymans wins the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for showing how blood pressure and oxygen content are measured by the body and transmitted to the brain.

11 – December 11, 1958: Dominican friar Dominique Pire receives the Nobel Peace Prize for his work helping refugees in post-World War Two Europe.

12 – December 12, 2011: A Pakistani family is convicted and sentenced in the honor killing of Sadia Sheikh. The case has been called Belgium’s first honor killing trial.

13 – December 13, 2011: Nordine Amrani kills 5 people and injures 125 others in a shooting and grenade attack in Liège before killing himself.

14 –

  • December 14, 1960: Start of the six-week general strike of 1960-1961. It brings 700,000 workers out on strike.
  • December 14, 2018: Death of Jean-Pierre Van Rossem, a Belgian stock market guru, economist, author, politician, and convicted fraudster.

15

16 –

  • December 16, 1944: The Battle of the Bulge begins.
  • December 16, 1944: A German V-2 rocket fired from the Netherlands lands on the Cinema Rex in Antwerp, killing 567 people including 296 Allied servicemen.

17

  • December 17, 1865: King Leopold II is inaugurated as the second King of the Belgians.
  • December 17, 1944: The Wereth Massacre in the Belgian Ardennes, during which 11 black soldiers from the 333rd Field Artillery Battalion are massacred by German SS troops. The Malmedy massacre: 84 American prisoners of war are murdered by their German captors.

18

19

20 –

21

22

23 –

  • December 23, 1909: King Albert I is inaugurated as the third King of the Belgians.
  • December 23, 1982: The second victim of the gang known as the Brabant Killers occurs following an armed robbery of a restaurant in Beersel, Belgium, when the caretaker is killed.

24 – December 24, 1944: The bombing of Houffalize begins. The Belgian troopship SS Léopoldville is sunk by German submarine U-486 in the English Channel; approximately 763 American soldiers and 56 crew are killed. The Bande Massacre: 34 men are executed in retaliation for the killing of three German soldiers.

25

26 – December 26, 1927: Belgian science fiction author J.-H. Rosny indirectly coins the word “astronaut” at a meeting of the French Astronomical Society. Asked to suggest a descriptive word for space travel, Rosny proposes “l’astronautique”.

27

28 –

  • December 28, 1944: Eisenhower and Montgomery meet in Hasselt.
  • December 28, 2020: 96-year-old Jos Hermans receives Belgium’s first coronavirus vaccine at the Sint-Pieter residential care center in Puurs.

29

30 – December 30, 1933: An Imperial Airways Avro Ten aircraft collides with a radio mast at Ruysselede and crashes, killing all 10 people on board.

31 –

  • December 31, 1994: Fire breaks out during a New Year’s Eve party in the Switel Hotel in Antwerp, killing 15 people.
  • December 31, 2021: A gas explosion in an apartment block in Turnhout claims four lives.

Your comments and additions please!

I strive for accuracy in this timeline of Belgian events. But if you see something that you think is not correct, please add a comment below or contact me. Also, this is a continually evolving project. I am constantly adding new dates and checking reference links. So feel free to suggest additions. Thanks. Denzil

To subscribe to Discovering Belgium and get new posts straight into your inbox, add your email below:

Join 7,223 other subscribers

3 thoughts on “On this day in Belgium”

Add your comment or question:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.