Other than the inventions of the Belgians listed on the Belgians page (world mapsaxophone, pralines, fries, chicory, ...), below are other world-changing Belgian inventions.  For a complete list, go here: (in dutch).

World Wide Web

Robert Cailliau 


The Belgium internet pionier Robert Cailliau, together with the Britt Tim Berners-Lee, is the founder of the World Wide Web.  The WWW was created in CERN: the famous particle accelerator in Genève.  By means of this technique investigators all over the world would be able to exchange their findings.  CERN set the WWW available to everyone in 1993 and the use of it rapidly spread all over the world. 


Rijndael algorithm

Vincent Rijmen - Joan Daemen


The Belgium cryptographers won a compitition in 2000 for the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).  The algorithm makes sure the wireless network is properly secured. This encryption method is use for many applications all over the globe.


Daubechies Wavelets (JPEG2000)

Ingrid Daubechies


Daubechies Wavelets are mathematical formulas used for the compression of images.  Without this the probability of the digital camera break-through might have been somewhat less likely.

Trivia: Ingrid Daubechies never placed a patent for her invention.



Ferdinand Verbiest


Father Ferdinand Verbiest was a seventeenth century Jesuit (astronomer) who went to China on a missionary.  To win the emperor's trust he tried to impress him with his skills and knowledge.
He came up with a 24 inches large mobile for the emperor's kids that ran on steam, thus inventing the first vehicle with an engine.

Trivia:  Father Verbiest died after falling off a horse.

Combustion engine

Etienne Lenoir


Etienne Lenoir produced a gas-fired internal combustion engine similar in appearance to a horizontal double-acting steam engine, with cylinders, pistons, connecting rods, and flywheel in which the gas essentially took the place of the steam. This was the first internal combustion engine to be produced in numbers.

machine1 zenobe gramme

Gramme Dynamo

Zénobe Gramme


He invented the Gramme machine, a type of direct currentdynamo capable of generating smoother (less AC) and much higher voltages than the dynamos known to that point.  The Gramme machine was the first usefully powerful electrical motor that was successful industrially. Before Gramme's inventions, electric motors attained only low power and were mainly used as toys or laboratory curiosities. In 1875, Nikola Tesla observed a Gramme machine at the Graz University of Technology. He conceived the idea of using it for alternating current but was unable to develop the idea at this time.


Light Bulb

Marcellin Jobard


Jobard is proclaimed to have invented the first light bulb, many years before Edison.  He left the development of his idea to his former student Charles de Changy.  In 1850 he set up a patents office, a brokerage for assisting inventors to file patents and protect their inventions.


Asphalt concrete

Edward de Smedt


Asphalt concrete is a composite material commonly used in construction projects such as road surfaces, parking lots, and airports. Asphalt concrete consists of asphalt mixed with mineral aggregate and then laid down in layers and compacted. Asphalt concrete was refined and enhanced to its current state by Belgian inventor and U.S. immigrant Edward de Smedt. It is increasingly being used as the core of embankment dams.

Atlas EELV family

Atlas Rockets

Karel Jan Bossart


Karel Jan Bossart was a pioneering rocket designer and creator of the Atlas ICBM. His achievements rank alongside those of Wernher von Braun and Sergei Korolev but as most of his work was for the United States Air Force and therefore was classified he remains relatively little known.



Karel Van de Poele


Karel Van de Poele managed to make an electrical driven vehicle move forth and backwards on a short track in Chicago.  Later he developed the trolley system to power the vehicle via an overhead wire.


The Pill

Ferdinand Peeters


The first pill available in 1957 was developed by Gregory Pincus and was too heavy dosed.  Many side effects occured and the pill didn't do its job that well.  Ferdinand Peeters created an improved version that was completely safe with far less side effects so that Gregory Pincus was bound to change the composition of his pill.



Albert Hustin - Luis Agote


Albert Hustin was a belgian medical doctor and was the second to successfully practice non-direct blood transfusions with sodium citrate used as an anticoagulant. He added sodium citrate and glucose to the blood to preserve it, and stop it from clotting.  Luis Agote, from Argentina, was the first doctor to practice this kind of transfusion but they worked independently.


Obstetrical forceps

Jan Palfijn


Jan Palfijn was a Flemish surgeon and obstetrician who introduced the obstetrical forceps (Main de Palfijn) into medicine in the early 1720s.



Paul Janssens


Imodium is a drug used against diarrhoea resulting from gastroenteritis or inflammatory bowel disease.  In most countries it is available generically and under brand names such as Lopex, Imodium, Dimor, Fortasec, Lopedium, Gastro-Stop and Pepto Diarrhea Control.

beurs brugge

Stock Exchange

Family Van der Beurze

14nd century

The family Van der Beurze lived in Bruges.  Bruges was the most important city for trading in the international commerce.  On a little square in front of their tavern an organized trading in valued papers started to take place.


V sign

Victor de Laveleye


On 14 January 1941, he asked all Belgians to choose the letter "V" as a rallying sign, being the first letter of victoire (victory) in French and of vrijheid (freedom) in Dutch”. This was the beginning of the "V campaign"" which saw "V" graffities on the walls of Belgium and later all of Europe and introduced the use of the "V sign" for victory and freedom. English occultist Aleister Crowley alleged to have privately suggested the V sign to de Laveleye for use as propaganda against the Nazi swastika



Joseph Plateau


The phenakistoscope was an early animation device that used the persistence of vision principle to create an illusion of motion.  Although the principle behind it had been recognized by the Greek mathematician Euclid and later in experiments by Newton, it was not until 1829 that this idea became firmly established by Belgian Joseph Plateau.

Trivia: Joseph Plateau became blind later in his life.


Sodium carbonate

Ernest Solvay


Sodium carbonate is synthetically produced in large quantities from salt and limestone by a method known as the Solvay process.  It has many purposes like cooking and cleaning but the manufacture of glass is one of the most important uses.  Around the year 1900 the Solvay Company produced about 95% of the global demand for sodium carbonate.

Cricket MCCU


Before 1533

New academic reseach claims cricket is not English, but was imported by immigrants from northern Belgium. A poem written in 1533 has been uncovered, which suggests the game originates from Flanders. In the work attributed to John Skelton, Flemish weavers are labelled "kings of crekettes", according to Paul Campbell of the Australian National University.


Inline skates

John-Joseph Merlin


John-Joseph Merlin was a Belgian inventor and horologist. He was born Jean-Joseph Merlin in 1735 in the city of Huy, which is in Belgium today.  He was noted for the invention of inline skates.  He was also responsible for the Silver Swan automaton now on display at the Bowes Museum.

Trivia: He first demonstrated the inline skates on a high society party in London.  Also being a violin virtuoso, he tried to impress the host by playing violin on his inline skates. Unfortunatly, he crashed into a giant mirror.

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