Mayor Leopold Lippens of Knokke-Heist has died aged 79

One of the most colourful figures in local politics in Flanders Count Leopold Lippens has died aged 79. Count Lippens had been Mayor of the municipality that includes the upmarket seaside resort of Knokke for over 40 years. At the end of last year, he announced that he had leukaemia. 

Never one to shy away from controversy the Count Lippens was often quoted in the press and made numerous TV appearances. Although his comments were at times controversial his affable manner made him extremely popular among the residents of Knokke, Heist and Duinbergen. Time after time Count Lippens’ list was re-elected to govern the municipality called “Monaco on the North Sea” by some. Among the many rich and powerful people Count Lippens met during his life was the former US President Donald Trump. Like Mr Trump Count Lippens was a keen golfer and they met by chance in the bar of an exclusive golfing resort in Ireland.

Count Lippens health problems were first made public in an announcement by the municipal cabinet of Knokke-Heist in November of last year. Shortly afterwards it became clear that he had leukaemia.  

Count Leopold Lippens was the older brother of Maurice Lippens, the former Head of the now defunct bank and insurance company Fortis.

In a reaction to Count Lippens’ death the Association of Flemish City and Municipal Authorities wrote “Next month he would have been in active politics for 50 year, a monument”.


Radio 2

Top stories