The Belgian actor Jan Decleir comes from a theatre family. Before he started training as an actor, he took lessons for a few years at the art academy in Antwerp. He has worked extensively with other Belgian artists such as Hugo Claus and has had his work shown in various art exhibitions.
After his training, Decleir worked for five years at the Koninklijke Nederlandse Schouwburg (Royal Dutch Theatre). Following this, he went to act at that the Internationale Nieuwe Scène. Decleir made his film debut in 1971 in Mira. He received numerous awards for his work, such as the Golden Calf (the Culture Prize) during the Netherlands Film Festival in 2003 for his exceptional contributions to Dutch film culture. He also acted in the Oscar-winning films Antonia and Karakter.
Besides plays, Decleir also acted in a number of television series, including Sil de strandjutter (1976), Retour Den Haag (1999), in which he played the former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, and Stellenbosch (2007).