Famous Orban's

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Some famous Orbans in

Belgium BE

In the XIXth century, Joseph-Michel Orban built one of the first blast furnaces of the continent near Ličge in 1823 and with his son Henri-Joseph (see hereunder), he introduced modern methods of puddling in the steel industry. They were among the people who introduced the first industrial revolution on the European continent.

Henri-Joseph Orban (Liège 30.11.1779 - 5.12.1846) was a steel manufacturer in Grivegnée and Sainte Ode, former member of the Regency Council, the Provincial States and the National Congress of 1830 that created the Kingdom of Belgium. Henri Joseph Orban was a great industrialist, a politician with strong opinions and an excellent administrator. As the son and successor of Michel-Joseph Orban, he created 6 collieries, 2 steel manufactures, many other industrial activities related to steel, gas plants, steam machine plants, naval docks, etc. He was the first in Belgium to use steam extraction of coal. He was the ancestor of a large family described in the book of countess Madeleine Lippens-Peltzer: " Descendance de Henri-Joseph Orban ".

Hubert Walter Frčre-Orban was born on 22 April 1812 in Ličge, French Empire (now in Belgium) and died on 1 January 1896 in Brussels, Belgium. He is not really an Orban, but got the double family name after his wedding with Claire Orban, daughter of industrialist Henri-Joseph Orban of Liège (see above). A strong advocate of free trade, Frčre-Orban played a prominent part in the Liberal movement while practicing law in Ličge. He was sent in 1847 to the Chamber of Representatives as a member from that city. From 1847 to 1894 he served as the leading Liberal member of the lower house in addition to holding many ministerial posts. As minister of finance (1848-52), he founded the the National Bank of Belgium, the Crédit Communal, a large bank for the Belgian cities, and the CGER, the largest savings bank in the country. He abolished the newspaper tax, reduced the postage, and modified the customs duties as a preliminary to a free-trade policy. To facilitate negotiations for a new commercial treaty, he conceded to France a law of copyright, which proved highly unpopular in Belgium. He resigned and the rest of the Cabinet soon followed him. While serving again as finance minister in 1857, he embodied his free-trade principles in commercial treaties with Great Britain and France and abolished the octroi duties (local import taxes) and tolls on national roads. After becoming prime minister in 1868, he defeated a French attempt to gain control of the Luxembourg railways (1869). In his second term as prime minister, he provoked the bitter opposition of Belgium's Catholic party by establishing secular primary education (1879) and by breaking off diplomatic relations with the Vatican (1880). Although Frčre-Orban grudgingly conceded an extension of the franchise (1883), the hostility of the Radicals and the discontent caused by a financial crisis resulted in the overthrow of his government in the elections of 1884. He continued to lead the Liberal opposition until 1894. (Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica). His death announcement is available on Internet. Picture: Frère-Orban, detail of an oil painting by Louis Gallait, 1880; at the Banque Nationale, Brussels © A.C.L., Brussels.

There were two deputies with the name Orban,

and also six senators (see special page with the genealogy of the first five): The latter was also Minister of Agriculture in the Belgian Government.

Augustin Orban de Xivry (1812-....) was lieutenant-general in the Belgian army, aide-de-camp of the count of Flanders, brother of King Leopold II; he loved fishing and went to fishing trips in Scotland and on the banks of the Danube.

Agnčs Orban de Xivry (1886-1944) was married in La Roche in 1909 with count Luigi RUFFO de CALABRIA, uncle of the present Queen Paola of Belgium. During the Battle of the Bulge, she died on 26 December 1944 when the castle where she was hidden with her daughter Yolande and half of the houses of La Roche were bombed by American planes.

In Brussels, there is an Avenue Orban. This is related to Jean-André Orban (29/11/1747-15/05/1817), son of Jean-Baptiste Orban, who was chosen under Napoleon as the first mayor of Woluwé-Saint-Lambert (a commune of the Brussels agglomeration) from 1800 to 1808 because of his good command of the French language. He was the owner of the famous cabaret "In de kwak" in the early XIXth century (it still exists and belonged to a collateral branch of the family until 1996). His family originated from Namur and Jean-André was a tanner before becoming a café owner. See special pages in French on the story of Jean-André Orban and on the current Brasserie "de Kwak".

Suzanne Orban (1887-1971) was a nurse who became famous for working in a war hospital during World War II. See her story on a special page devoted to her (in French).

Marcel Orban (Liège, 1884-1969) was a composer of lyrical works ("Thomas l'Agnelet")

Playwrite Hendrik Orban wrote the play "De draak van Gent" (The Dragon of Ghent, in Dutch) in 1944.

In sports, Rémy Orban won a silver medal in rowing at the 1908 London Olympics.

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Hungary HU

The earliest mention of the name Orban goes back to the year 1453, when a cannon maker from Hungary named Orban helped the Ottomans overthrow the Byzantine empire in Constantinople. The book says: "My report notes sections on a summary, dynasties, Constantine, Mehmed, and the cannon maker; which really details the battle with the 96 inch diameter cannon made by Orban. Constantine employed a Wallachian cum Hungarian gunnery specialist named Orban or Urban. Orban apparently defected to Mehmed for more money; and Orban was given all resources to make the large cannon: people, material, a foundry. The cannon was called "Basilica". The story continues with the cannon being moved to Constantinople in February 1453. On April 15th during the siege, the cannon blew up, killing Orban. On May 29, 1453, Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks, who ruled this empire until 1923, when Kemal Ataturk made Turkey an independent republic. (Source: The Crescent and the Cross, by David Dereksen; and: The World on the Last Day, by the same author. Both books are advertised as "An exciting narrative of the fall of Byzantium: May 1453". The books have the whole story, with more detail about the cannon: making, testing, size, power, etc.). Another book confirms this story: in Imperatores Ottomanici a Capta Constantinopoli, cum Epitome Principum Turcarum, Tomus I, Tyrnaviae, Typus Academicis Societatis Jesu, MDCCLX, the Jesuit A.P. Nicolao Smith writes: (in the index) "Orban, gente Dacus, machinas bellicas fundit" (translation: Orban, from Dacia, made war machines); (at page 12) "Frumentum undique convehi jubet: Adrianopoli mavhinae murales mirandae magnitudinis fiunt, usus solerti opera cujusdam Daci Orbani nomine. Hic stipendia fecerat olim apud Graecos." Another book was issued in 2005: "CONSTANTINOPLE: The Last Great Siege, 1453" by Roger Crowley (Faber £16.99 pp304). The story of Orban was mentioned in a reviewed in the Sunday Times on 2 October 2005 by Malise Ruthven with these words:

Crowley’s most compelling passages are those that expose the struggle in fascinating technical detail. On the Ottoman side the most significant breakthrough came with the casting of huge bronze cannons by the brilliant Hungarian metallurgist Orban, who offered his skills to Mehmet after being slighted by the cash-strapped Byzantine emperor. Crowley’s account of the casting of the largest of these superguns, a 27ft monster, 30in in diameter, known as the Basilica, recalls the great bell-casting scene in Tarkovsky’s film Andrei Rublev. The breaches in the walls made by the stone cannonballs terrified the defenders and exhausted them by forcing them to work throughout the night on improvised repairs using wood and buckets of earth.

In an old castle in the city of Eger in northern Hungary, there is a reference to a catholic bishop named Orban, at some point during the Turkish conquest of the area.

One of Hungary's greatest poets, Sándor Petöfi, wrote a poem about a person named Orbán, who liked vines so much, that the tip of his nose was always red.

Baron Balázs Orbán (1830-1890) participated in the 1848-49 revolution. He later lived in exile, mostly in Turkey, and travelled extensively. He was a linguistic genius, and, when he returned, he became a famous member of the Academy of Science. He is also known as an egyptologist and a writer who wrote A Székelyföld leírása, 6 volumes about Szekely customs and folklore, illustrated with his own fine drawings, still used as the best reference book from that period about that easternmost, mountaneous part of Transylvania where the Szeklers still live. He was buried in Szekelyudvarhely (Odorheiul Secuiesc).

Ottó Orbán is a poet with excellent verses. Read his poem Ágnes Nemes Nagy in the Sky in its English translation by Bruce Berlind. See comments on his work by Daniel Hoffman, the American poet and retired Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who received the Memorial Medal of Hungarian P.E.N. in 1980 for his translations of Hungarian poets. Available through Internet (click the link hereunder and enter Otto Orban under "Books"):

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Another poet is András Orbán. His poem in Hungarian Ballagás is also on Internet.

Dezsö Orbán was a painter born in Györ in 1884. He was still a university student reading mathematics, when be began to paint, exhibiting his pictures in the Palace of Exhibitions and in the National Salon in 1905 and 1906. He went to Paris in 1906 an artist group called the Society of Seekers was formed in Orbán's studio in Budapest, organizing exhibitions under the name "The Eights" after 1911. During the First World War the artist served in the Army, and although he took part in the work of the Art Directory during the Council Republic of 1919, he decided not to emigrate after is fall. He spent the years 1925 and 1926 in Paris. Beginning with the 1920s he published articles on art; in 1931 he founded a school and workshop of design. In 1939 he emigrated to Australia, where he continued in art education, running a private college after 1942. He died at the age of hundred and two. Visit a virtual gallery with some of his most famous paintings.

Gabor Orban (1795-1840) is another painter for which I have less information.

Anti Orbán (1888-?) is a sculptor who made many large statues in honour of war heroes.

László Orbán was a silver medalist in lightweight boxing at the 1972 Olympic games.

Dr. Viktor Orbán was a member of the Hungarian parliament and the chairman of the Hungarian Citizens Party (Fidesz); he became prime minister of his country in 1998. He was defeated in his quest for re-election in April 2002 and returned to the parliament as an ordinary deputy. In the following election in 2006 he was re-elected with a large majority and became again Prime Minister. In January 2011 with Hungary taking the presidency of the European Union he was at the helm of Europe for six months.

He named as chief of the Hungarian police Brig. General Peter Orbán (to whom he is not related).

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Romania RO

György Orbán is a composer from Cluj-Napoca, born in 1947, who wrote a Suite pour piano, a Wind quintet (1984) and several masses. You can listen to the Sanctus of his Missa II by The Women's Chorus of Dallas at this link. This live recording features the world premiere of MISSA II. You can order the CD or cassette containing MISSA II and secular music that is uplifting and inspiring here

His new Mass No. 6 has 4 movements: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus-Benedictus, and Agnus Dei. It was premiered at the North Central ACDA Convention in the Spring of 2000. It is typically Orban: unusual and spectacularly beautiful. You can order CDs with music of Orban at the following link:

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Janos Orban is the Senate office chief of the Hungarian Party.

Olga Orban was silver medalist in fencing (Women's Individual Foil) at the 1956 Olympic games.


Alex Orban was a U.S. saber (fencing) champion who participated in the 1968 Olympics.

Tina Jo Orban is a fitness model and former Playboy model.

Sarah Orbanic is a fitness model of Croatian origin

And then, there is the marvelous story of Philip Orban

France FR

A famous publisher in Paris goes by the name Olivier Orban.

Author Christine Orban, born in Casablanca in 1955, wrote several romans in French, available through Internet. She is the wife of publisher Olivier Orban.

Philippe Orban is a master in the partial art of aikido

Germany DE

Gabor Orban (1915-2002) was a famous dancer with Slovak roots. See a website in memory of his deeds.

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