Judging by the dozens of emails I receive every week, many visitors seem intrigued by the motivation of creating this website and want to know who is behind it. So here goes ...
My name is Marc Tielemans. I was born in Belgium (Lier, near Antwerp) and lived there for the first 22 years of my life. I studied Electronics (A2) in Lier, then did one year at University in Brussels (Radio and Television Broadcasting) and finally a 2-year Photography Course in Antwerp.
For personal reasons, I then moved to Swindon, a large town in the county of Wiltshire, England, right in the middle of the pictoresque Cotswolds. My arrival in the UK fortunately coincided with the birth of mobile telephony and I found employment with Racal-Vodac in Newbury (now the mighty Vodafone) within months as an engineer. Over the next 17 years, I did very well in the booming mobile phone industry, ending up as Business Development Director at Cellular Operations Limited, a large mobile phone Service Provider.
In 2004, I started my own company Let Us Auction It Limited (www.letusauctionit.co.uk), essentially an auction house for local people to auction their valuables on eBay.
I started this website in 1990, a few years after I moved to the UK. The joke "I bet you can't name 5 famous Belgians" probably originated in the UK, I was asked that stupid question by just about everyone I met. I got so sick of it, that I decided to start this website. It was very basic to start with. Remember, very few people had a website back then. Google wasn't even born yet !
The response has always been good and I receive dozens of emails from visitors daily. Some are downright rude but the vast majority are complimentary and helpful, with many visitors suggesting new names or requesting the removal of names. I have had many heated (but courteous) debates with people on the merits of certain Belgian individuals and whether or not they are worthy of appearing on the list !
A favourite passtime of many visitors in the early days, was to print a copy of my list and hang it up in the toilet or on the noticeboard at work. Students also loved it and many of them found it a fascinating subject and highly suitable to impress their professors.
The media, both here in the UK and in Belgium, also liked it and I have been interviewed for radio and TV several times. A few years ago the main Belgian TV station made a series of programmes on Famous Belgians and several newspapers also ran their own voting campaigns. I wonder where they got the idea from ....
After a lot of hard work, the website has recently been re-launched and now has many new features, facilitating more interaction with visitors.