Manneken Pis, Brussels of course!

And let me update this older post on a curiosity of our neighbors to the north Belgium. It is very innovating to have one of the symbols of the city of Brussels, a pis oh well you know. It is now a very tourist attraction and of course if in the city why not come to see it. Let me tell you a bit more of the Manneken Pis of Brussels!

Ok so now I go back to one of my favorite countries Belgium and one of my favorite cities Brussels. I have written extensively on it previously in my blog.  The Manneken Pis is an unusual figure , how can a statue showing someone pissing be so popular! yes it is and very nice quant, we love to stop by even if after several trips the crowds do not stop to grow me think!! The post was from 2018, however, if you notice the pictures are from 2012!! 


The Manneken-Pis, meaning “the Little man who pees” in Brussels, is a fountain in the form of a statue in Bronze of 55.5 cm high ( aprox 22 inches (61 cm with the pedestal) which represents a naked little boy urinating. To be precise, the real name is Menneke Pis. Indeed, in Flemish or Dutch but also in Brussels, een manneke is a small man while a menneke in Brussels means a little boy. The fun of a multilingual city.  It is located in the heart of Brussels, a few steps from the Grand Place, at the intersection of the rue de l’Étuve and rue du Chêne . Since 1965, the statuette present on the spot is a copy identical to that conceived in 1619-1620 which is treasured in the Museum of the city of Brussels located in the Maison du Roi (king’s house). Manneken-Pis is the most famous symbol of Brussels.


A bit of history I like

The earliest mention of the existence of Manneken-Pis is in an administrative text, which can be dated from 1451-1452, on the water pipes feeding the Brussels fountains. From the outset, the fountain plays an essential role in the distribution of drinking water. It is then located on the route of the Rue du Chêne, just before the angle that forms it with the rue de l’Étuve . It takes place on a column and pours its water into a double rectangular stone basin.

The first statue is replaced by a new bronze version ordered in 1619. It is probably melted and installed in 1620 at the same time, the column supporting the statuette and the double rectangular basin collecting the water are completely redone. The fountain is now no longer on the public road, but in a recess located at the corner of rue du Chêne et rue de l’Étuve. In 1770, the column and the double rectangular basin disappear; The statuette is integrated into a new rock-style stone decor from another Brussels fountain that was dismantled.

The statue of the Manneken Pis had several attempts of stealing it. In fact, the first attempt at a confirmed abduction was undertaken in 1747 by a group of French soldiers garrisoned in Brussels. To calm the spirits, the king of France, Louis XV, offered a suit of gentleman to Manneken-Pis, allowing it to carry the sword, and decorated it with the Cross of Saint Louis. Restored once again, the statue was sheltered and is now exposed on the second floor of the Museum of the city of Brussels occupying the Maison du Roi (King’s house) on the spot, at the corner of the streets of rue du Chêne et rue de l’Étuve , it was replaced by an identical copy.

Description and costumes of the Manneken Pis

Since the 20C, many copies or imitations of the Manneken-Pis have been born both in Belgium and abroad. It is necessary to distinguish the official copies offered by the city of Brussels from copies and imitations made privately by fans of the small character. Official copies were offered in Colmar (1921); Osaka (1928); Monaco (1951); London (1959); Broxeele (1979); Benalmadena (1991); and   Nagoya (2015).  The oldest testimony of the tradition of dressing Manneken-Pis dates back to 1615. At the Ommegang in Brussels that year in honor of the Archduchess Isabelle, the Manneken-Pis wears a shepherd’s suit. Traditionally, it is reported that in 1695, Governor-General Maximilian-Emmanuel of Bavaria, stationed in Brussels, offered a suit of blue color both in Manneken-Pis and in the statue of Saint Christopher, patron of the Military Guild of the Brussels archers.

In 1756, an inventory indicates that the Manneken-Pis wardrobe contains five complete garments. His wardrobe did not grow much before the 20C from 1918 to 1940, about thirty costumes were offered to him. But it was especially after 1945 that the movement took on an exceptional scale: the wardrobe has more than 400 costumes in 1994, more than 750 in 2005, more than 950 in 2016. Since 1954, the official presentation of the new costumes is framed by the order of Friends of Manneken-Pis founded that year to consolidate the folklore tradition. The order, in its present form, was revived in 1985. The order aims to stimulate the cultural, tourist, philanthropic and commercial development of Belgium in general, and in particular to preserve the traditions related to the character of Manneken-Pis.   The wardrobe, which has a thousand costumes since 2018, is kept at the Museum of the City of Brussels, located in the Maison du Roi (King’s house) on the Grand Place. In 2017, the city of Brussels opened a new museum space at 19, rue du Chêne entirely devoted to the presentation of the most emblematic garments of the wardrobe of Manneken-Pis. 

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official webpage of the Manneken Pis museum

The Brussels tourist office on the Manneken Pis

The City of Brussels on the Manneken Pis:

Hope you enjoy the post, this is so unique and wonderful to stop by when in Brussels the Manneken Pis is a nice tradition.

And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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