Henri Louis Baels (18 January 1878 – 18 June 1951), was a Belgian Catholic Party politician, and ship-owner from Ostend.

Henri Baels
Henri Baels (1878-1951).jpg
Henri Louis Baels

(1878-01-18)18 January 1878
Died18 June 1951(1951-06-18) (aged 73)
Knokke, Belgium
OccupationShipowner, politician

Early lifeEdit

Baels was born on 18 January 1878 in Ostend, Belgium. He was the son of Julius Ludovicus Baels (1851–1896) and Delphina Alexandrina Maurics (1848–1931), who married in Ostend in January 1876.


He eventually became Minister of Agriculture, then Minister of the Interior, and, finally, Minister of Public Works and Public Health. He crowned his career by becoming Governor of West Flanders in 1936. A friend of King Albert I of the Belgians, and later equally trusted by Albert's son, King Leopold III of the Belgians, Henri Baels was responsible, among other important public initiatives, for the creation of the Albert Canal.

Baels was also a great friend of Dom Marie-Albert van der Cruyssen, the Abbot of the Cistercian Monastery of Orval, Belgium, and took a lead in supporting the restoration of the Monastery, a project the Abbot (who was also a highly decorated Belgian war hero of World War I) had undertaken.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Baels was married to Anne Marie de Visscher (1882–1950), a daughter of Adolphus Gustavus de Visscher and his wife, Alicia Victoria Carolina Opsomer. She was descended from illustrious personages such as the Count Felix de Muelenaere, member of the Belgian National Congress (which founded the Kingdom of Belgium in 1831), and was a three-time Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1831 and 1841. Together, Anne Marie and Henri were the parents of eight children, including:

There other children included Elza Baels, Susanne Baels, Ludwina Baels, Walter Baels, Hermann Baels (who married), and Henry Baels. Baels died on 18 June 1951 in Knokke, Belgium.[2]


Through his daughter Lydia, he was a grandfather of two Viviane Mary Cartier (b. Dorking, 22 December 1946) and N. N. Cartier (b. Dorking, 26 April 1948).[3]


  1. ^ Luc Schepens, De provincieraad van West-Vlaanderen (1921-1978), Tielt, 1979.
  2. ^ a b "HENRI BAELS" (PDF). The New York Times. 15 June 1951. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b Brickell, Francesca Cartier (26 November 2019). "'The Cartiers: The Untold Story Behind the Jewelry Empire,' by Francesca Cartier Brickell: An Excerpt". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2020.

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