No, I am not there but think of this as an act of homage from a distance. Here goes:
1. Novelist: There is Simenon, Yourcenar, and Amelie Nothomb. I like them all but do not love them. Can I pick Julio Cortázar, who was born in Belgium even if he did not come of age there and essentially was Argentinian? As for a fictional character, how about Hercule Poirot?
3. Composer: César Franck is the obvious modern pick. There is also Henri Pousseur, and a variety of Renaissance composers, including Heinrich Isaac, Guillaume Dufay, Johannes Ockeghem, and Josquin des Prez. I’ll pick the violin works of Eugène Ysaÿe, as the Renaissance music is arguably more Burgundian or “Franco-Flemish” than culturally Belgian as it relates to the modern nation.
4. Jazz musician: Django Reinhardt, that one is easy, try this cut. Toots Thielmans, the jazz harmonica player, is perhaps runner up.
5. Economist: Jacques H. Drèze and Robert Triffin would be the obvious picks. A dark horse choice would be Jean Drèze, son of Jacques, for his obsessive data work in India. He still awaits a much-deserved major profile. Gustav de Molinari, who first wrote about private protection agencies and arguably was the first modern libertarian anarchist.
6. Painter: This has to be the strong suit. Magritte is an obvious choice, but there is also Gerard David, Hans Memling, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Adriaen Brouwer, Luc Tuymans, Jacob Jordaens, Paul Delvaux, Petrus Christus, Robert Campin, and Pierre Alechinsky, among others. Jan van Eyck is one of the greater painters ever, but for sheer Belgianness I will opt for James Ensor, see the image below.
7. Sculpture: Marcel Broodthaers. Right now there is a nice retrospective of his work on at MOMA.
7. Historian: Henri Pirenne, way ahead of his time.
9. NBA point guard: Tony Parker was born there, to American and Dutch parents, that counts for something.
10. Anthropologist: Claude Levi-Strauss. Tristes Tropiques remains a beautiful book to be read by all.
11. Movie: I cannot think of one I really like, can you help? And I can’t easily digest the works of Chantal Akerman.
11b. Movie, set in: In Bruges, a fun dark comedy.
The bottom line: Once you get into the period where Belgium is a modern nation, it’s all so wonderfully offbeat.