“There are always crowds around this little boy and it makes you wonder why you went out of your way to see this small statute of a boy.”
Manneken Pis is a famous Brussels’ landmark, designed by Jerome Duquesnoy. It is a small bronze fountain depicting a naked little boy who is urinating into the fountain’s basin. It was put in place in 1618 or 1619 and is located at the intersection of Rue de l’Étuve/Stoofstraat and Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat. Just take left from the famous Grand Palace when you get to the Brussels Town Hall and continue walking for a few hundred meters.
The legendary Manneken Pis is composed of several versions detailing its origin. Tourists are most familiar with the story about a wealthy merchant, while visiting the beautiful city of Brussels with his family, had his beloved young boy go missing. Immediately, the merchant formed a search group that investigated every section of Brussels. It turned out that the child was found cheerfully urinating in a small garden, therefore being the inspiration for the Manneken Pis as a gift from the merchant to the city.
Our preferred version is of a young boy who was awoken by a fire and saved the day by putting it out by urinating on the fire and helped to stop the king’s castle from burning into pieces.
Manneken Pis is dressed in a costume many times every week. There is a schedule published and posted on the railings around the fountain. His wardrobe counts more than 800 suits. The Museum of the City of Brussels presents one hundred of these suits.
Each year, the non-profit association The Friends of Manneken-Pis review costume designs submitted and select a small number to be produced and used.
It is a fascinating ceremony when the costumes are changed and is accompanied by brass band music. The costumes usually selected represent the national dress of certain nations whose citizens choose the beautiful Brussels as a destination. Another theme of some of the costumes is based on uniforms from professions, associations, trades and even branches of military services.
Once in a while, the statue is connected with a keg of beer and cups are filled and given to people who just happen to be passing by.
Thousands of visitors in Brussels gather around the fountain each year. Brussels just would not be the same without this small boy called the Manneken Pis.
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