Manneken pis, Brussels


Manneken Pis has become the symbol of Brussels, like Eiffel tower for Paris.The name means in Dutch as “Little man Pee”. It is a  small bronze sculpture (61 cm), depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder in 1618. It is not very far from the town hall,  take the left lane next to the Brussels Town Hall  and walk a few hundred metres southwest via Rue Charles Buls/Karel Bulsstraat. Also you can ask the pedestrians, many of them going right towards the statue.

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There are many stories about the origin of Manneken pis ‘.The most famous story is  about Duke Godfrey III of Leuven. In 1142, the troops of this two-year-old lord were battling against the troops of the Berthouts. The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung the basket in a tree to encourage them. From there, the boy urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle.

Another story is  that in the 14th century, Brussels was under siege by a foreign power. The city had held its ground for some time, so the attackers conceived of a plan to place explosive charges at the city walls. A little boy named Julianske spied on them and urinated on the burning fuse and thus saved the city. As there was really an attack from French force and a history of severe fire across grand place, I wonder may be there is some truth in this legend.

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Others talks about a wealthy merchant who, during a visit to the city with his family, had his beloved young son go missing. The merchant hastily formed a search party that scoured all corners of the city until the boy was found happily urinating in a small garden. The merchant, as a gift of gratitude to the locals who helped out during the search, had the fountain built.   Another legend was that a small boy went missing from his mother when shopping . The woman called upon help from everyone she came across, including the mayor of the city. A city-wide search began and when at last the child was found, he was urinating on the corner of a small street.

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The stories were passed down over time and the statue erected as a tribute to the well-known legend.   Whatever the truth may be, Mannekin pis has become a part and parcel of Brussels  common life. Chocolatiers made chocolates  as his memoir, every souvenirs of the city depicts him and there is a whole wardrobe for him in the Museum of the city of Brussels. So don’t  miss him, and also visit his female counterpart Jeanneke Pis .DSC08719 DSC08720©, 2016-21. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.


20 thoughts on “Manneken pis, Brussels

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  1. Reblogged this on Tour Suggest and commented:
    Manneken Pis has become the symbol of Brussels, like Eiffel tower for Paris.The name means in Dutch as “Little man Pee”. It is a small bronze sculpture (61 cm), depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder in 1618.


  2. Good Post. Saw this little guy in 1984. Amazing what constituted art so many years ago. On past trips to Europe, we saw grown up people emulating this statue in Edinburgh, Paris and Lyon, unknowingly, risking arrest for public urination. I wonder f they could get away with it, if they claimed they were imitating art. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

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