Manneken Pis, Brussels
That a small statue of a peeing boy became the touristic icon of my city shows that we Brusseleirs appreciate self derision. Can you imagine such a statue as symbol of Paris, Rome, New York or London!
We actually don't know from were came the idea of building a fountain with the water streaming out a pipi, zizi or as used in Brussels and Brabant dialect a "pisellewiet" or "tichke".
What we know is that according to documents from 15th c. there was at the same place already a stone statue called " Juliaenekensborre " or " ‘t Menneken Pist " supplying the residents with drinking water but no representation of this stone statue is left.
In 1619, the city authorities asked Jerome Duquesnoy Senior to make a bronze statue. This statue experienced a turbulent history. A copy attracts now the tourists (and deceives some because the statue is only 58 cm; others are deceived because they expected to be there when Manneken Pis is peeing beer).
Many legends exist to explain the peeing little boy fountain but I wonder if they were not created afterwards to explain this original fountain. I have seen hundred of fountains but none with somebody peeing like here.
The famous Brussels landmark and symbol of the city, MANNEKEN PIS is a 61 cm tall bronze statue of a little boy urinating into the fountain. I was actually shocked at how small it really was. My first impression was "Is that it???"
Designed by Jerome Duguesnoy and placed at its location in 1618 or 1619. It is located at the junction of Rue de L'Etuve' and Rue du Chene. Another little shocker, is that this statue is not the original. Over the centuries, it has been stolen or defaced, so the original is in a museum. The present Manneken Pis is protected by an iron gate, so nobody can get at the little guy.
Manneken Pis is a bronze statuette of a naked peeing boy situated atop a fountain. It was built in 1619.
Sometimes you can see this little boy dressed. He has a rich wardrobe you can see in the City Museum in Grand Place.
There are some legends about it. According to one of them a witch saw a little boy makings his things against her door. She lived where the fountain now stands. The witch was very angry so that she turned him into a statue. Another legend says that a man had lost his little son. After two days he found him near the place where now the fountain is situated. When the father spotted his child, the latter was peeing. As a token of gratitude the father had the fountain with a statue of a peeing boy built.
Pas très loin de la Grand Place, au carrefour de petites ruelles anciennes, ce trouve probablement le plus célèbre monument de Bruxelles : Le Manneken Pis. Il est étonnamment petit (approximativement 50 centimètres de haut). Il est debout sur un piédestal et fournit un ruisseau constant d'eau à la cuvette sous lui.
L'histoire raconte qu'un riche homme d'affaires de Bruxelles dont le petit fils avait disparu a décrété que si le garçon était retrouvé vivant alors il construirait une statue du garçon dans la position où il serait retrouvé. Apparemment le garçon s'était simplement perdu dans les bois et une expédition de secours l'a retrouvé ... occupé à pisser contre un arbre. La statue a une place très spéciale dans les coeurs des habitants du quartier. On voit dans les magasins alentours beaucoup de répliques, dont certaines sont plus grandes que l'original.
Ce jour là, la statue était habillée, et on m'a expliqué que c'est uen coutume des gens du voisinage..
Not very far from the Big Place, to the crossroads of small old alleys, it finds the most famous monument of Brussels probably: The Manneken Pis. It is surprisingly small (roughly 50 centimeter high). Iit is standing on a pedestal and provides a constant stream of water to the pan under him.
History tells that a rich business man of Brussels whose small son had disappeared enacted that if the boy was recovered living then he would construct the boy's statue in the position where he would be recovered. Apparently the boy had gotten lost merely in woods and an emergency expedition recovered it... occupied to urinate against a tree. The statue has a very special place in the hearts of the inhabitants of the district. One sees in the stores around a lot of retorts, of which some are bigger than the original.
That day, the statue was dressed, and one explained me that it is uen custom of people of the neighborhood..
This statue is probably outrageous to some people but he seems to entertain a lot of tourists in Brussels and makes a lot of souvenirs shops richer and richer every day!
Address: On the corner of Rue de L'Etuve and Rue du Chêne.
Check my travelogues for more photos.
More info about this little boy:
Check out the little peeing boy - Manneken Pis...
He is a lot smaller than I expected but still worth having a quick look at.
There seems to be a few different stories about how this little boy statue managed to appear...these days he gets dressed up in various costumes sometimes which you will see on different postcards in Brussels...
Fondest memory: We bought some Belgian waffles nearby and they were great (although VERY sweet!!)...and I am sure we could have found them cheaper if we had gone away from this little touristy area though... ;)
...and Did You Know About JEANNEKEN PIS?
Manneken Pis Legends:
1. A rich bourgeois lost his only son in the crowd during the raucous public festivals in Brussels. After looking for five days, he found the little guy on the corner of Rue de l'Etuve. So happy was he to be reunited with his progeny that he commissioned a statue of the lad exactly as he had found him.
2. He saved Brussels from her enemies by using his puerile fire-hose to extinguish the fuze that would have led to the burning-down of the entire city.
3. A little boy had watered against the door of a witch who lived where the fountain now stands. The witch was so angry that she turned the little boy into a statue.
Location:Manneken-Pis can be found on the corner of Stoofstraat/Rue de L'Etuve and the Eikstraat/Rue du Chêne.
In order to maintain the equality between men and women, a restaurant chef had the idea in 1978 to order this statue of a little girl which is found in the *ilôt Sacré*!
Location: Along Rue des Bouchers at the far end of a side street (remember: head up and watch out for the sign!)
see MANNEKEN-PIS. The events made from Manneken-Pis a legendary Brussels figure, he has become known far beyond the Belgium border. Even this year (2000) he made the news in the US – at least in some puritanical states: the little naked guy was integrated in a label of bottles of beer, and the authorities judged these bottles had to be removed - although every American who ever visited Brussels has undoubtedly a picture from him. The legend tells us that a rich bourgeois citizen had lost his only son amongst the crowd. Only after five days he found his son at the corner of the Schoonstraat (a particular street), doing what he’s still doing at this very moment, namely taking a leak!
Only in 1619 the Brussels authorities ordered Jérôme Duquennoy to make a statue in bronze for their meanwhile famous citizen.
Favorite thing: Beside the Atomium, the Manneken Pis is the only reason I wanted to visit Brussels. I saw it… It wass cute, but so small (less that 60 cm tall!!!)! I expected it much bigger. But I loved the footpath from here to the Grand Place.
Favorite thing: Brussels - Manneken Pis - Perhaps Belgium national symbol. This fountain, a little boy cheerfully pissing into a pool below, dated from 1619 replaced the original stone version, nicknamed 'Little Julian', that stood here from the 14th century. Some say he was modeled on a boy who extinguished a fire...
Manneken Pis, a statue of a urinating boy. According to a legend, this boy was purported to have urinated on a bomb fuse thus saving the Town Hall from terrorists who planned to destroy the building. Today, he pees almost everywhere shamelessly with that boyish stance. And it is no surprise to catch some live performances along the streets as well. Manneken does not wear anything at all, except on holidays when he reluctantly puts on costumes and funky wigs.
Manneken does not perform alone; his female counterpart Jeanneken Pis hides herself at the very end of Getrouwheids alley, smilingly do what her friend can't possibly do. She was caged when I saw her, probably she always is, to avoid harassment.
of course...but he's more little than i thought !!
The world famous peeing boy can be seen every day and night at the corner of Eikstraat/Stoofstraat near the Grand Place.
Trabel Tip: try to find out if the Manneken receives a new costume during your stay. During that occasion he p**s beer instead of water.
Favorite thing: I passed through about 20 times but never spent to much time here. The thing you must see for some reason is Manakin pis they practically wordship this tiny statue, rumor has it some guys once stole it and were killed.You may get lucky and see it dressed up its been everything from a boy scout to a turkish king.
Southwest of the Town Hall, at the junction of Rue de l'Etuve/Stoofstraat and Rue du Chene/Eibstraat, stands the city's landmark - the celebrated Manneken Pis, a statue of a urinating boy. According to a legend, this boy was purported to have urinated on a bomb fuse thus saving the Town Hall from terrorists who planned to destroy the building. Today, he pees almost everywhere shamelessly with that boyish stance. And it is no surprise to catch some live performances along the streets as well. Manneken does not wear anything at all, except on holidays when he reluctantly puts on costumes and funky wigs.
Manneken does not perform alone; his female counterpart Jeanneken Pis hides herself at the very end of Getrouwheids alley, smilingly do what her friend won't possibly do. She was caged when I saw her, probably she always is, to avoid harassment.
This statue of a little boy in a somewhat compromising position has since several centuries been a major tourist attraction in the city. When most people see our 'manneken', the first reaction is always one of amazement: 'Look, how small he is ! Why does everybody want to see him ?' The people of Brussels, however, accept him the way he is. After all, it doesn't always have to be big to be beautiful. Imagine he would be the size of the Statue of Liberty : Brussels would be continuously flooded !