Joseph De Veuster voted greatest Belgian

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Friday, December 2, 2005

Yesterday, December 1, 2005, the election for the "Greatest Belgian" ("De Grootste Belg") was won by Father Damien (Joseph De Veuster). Runners up were Dr. Paul Janssen, founder of Janssen Pharmaceutica, and Eddy Merkx, a cyclist.

Father Damien is famous for working and living with lepers on Molokai, where he persisted in caring for the outcasts, against directions of church hierarchy. Eventually, Father Damien died from leprosy himself.

The Belgian "Greatest National" poll is organized separately by the Flemish and the Walloon regional television stations. Father Damien was elected "Greatest Belgian" ("De Grootste Belg") in the poll organized by the Flemish television. Next week, the Walloon poll will conclude, so Belgium will have two "Greatest Belgians".