Did you know that the oldest Manneken Pis is not in Bruxelles but in Geraardsbergen? There's 160 years age difference here! While in Geraardsbergen Manneken Pis was "born" in 1459, the Geraardsbergen inhabitants call the Brussels one 'an imitation'. Naturally!
There's also a big difference in location. In Geraardsbergen, Manneken Pis is proudly presented in front of the town hall. In Brussels the manneken pis is tucked away in some side street off the great market square.
In the museum (De Permanensje, see Things to Do tip) the endearing statue is dressed in many costumes (hundreds in total). Geraardsbergen inhabitants have a Brotherhood of Manneken Pis to keep its heritage and enjoy fun activities around the little man.
This event takes place on the first Sunday after August 24th which is St. Bartholomews day.
(Sunday 28 August 2011 is the next one).
The link below provides only information in Dutch, unfortunately. But do go and look at the pictures there.
Since the year 1515 ertain relics are moved from one church to another on this day, accompanied by 3 giants of 2.5 to 4.5 metres high. All the local clubs make up the procession, each dressed appropriately. It must be a very colourful and musical event!
I am definitely planning to return to Geraardsbergen to experience this event.
I've added a link below with a full description of this big event that started in 1393 and celebrates 25 centuries of history.
The link is because obviously I haven't been there myself and also because I couldn't describe it any better than the story that the City Council offers.
So, please read and hopefully it will trigger your interest to come and see for yourself!
The event takes place at the end of winter (the last but one Sunday before the first Monday of March). If I'm correct, then that is 21st of February 2011.
In a Shopping Tip I have told you that I found a few recipe books, typical for Belgium.
In one of them I found a recipe typical for Geraardsbergen. Now I am curious of VT members living in Geraardsbergen know about this recipe. Will you let me know?
This is the recipe. I've translated and adapted the recipe a little to make it clearer.
For 6 persons
1 kg beef cubes (which you would use for soup)
1 marrow bone
1 pork ham
500 gram mutton breast
2 whites of leek
1/2 curly cabbage
2 celery stalks
fresh thyme, parsley and bay leaf bound together with a string
100 gram lard or butter
Put all the meat in a pan and cover with water, bring to the boil. Skim off the greyish froth regularly until more or less clear. Add coarsley cut vegetables, pepper and salt and the herbs.
Leave to simmer for 2 hours at least. Then take out the cabbage, cut small. During simmering you will have fried the onions in lard. Add the cabbage to the onions. Take a large serving dish, put in the onions/cabbage and add some of the cooking liquid. Put the meat on top and the vegetables around. Boil down the cooking liquid (season if needed). Serve with boiled potatoes and pour the gravy on top. Sprinkle with parsley.