The Mannekin Pis. This tiny, 17th century bronze fountain statue of a little boy peeing is wildly famous and loved by Brussels so much that there are large and small replicas of him all over the city from waffle shops to trinket shops. There are even Mannekin Pis chocolates for sale (does anyone else find that a bit unappetizing?).
Since I had visited Brussels several times, I was already very familiar with this “interesting” fountain, but when my girls first saw it, they were quite shocked and a bit disgusted, “Why would they make a fountain like this anyway?” their contorted facial gestures conveyed. Trevor, on the other hand, found it hilarious and kept saying while laughing, “I can’t believe he’s peeing!”
According to the Brussels website, the Manneken Pis plays a full part in the city’s annual calendar and even has an outfit for every occasion. His wardrobe ranges from Santa suits to national costumes from countries around the world. On special occasions, brass bands play and Manneken Pis is hooked up to different flavors of Belgian beer, which is poured from his fountain tip and given out to the public (again…a bit unappealing? Or is it just me?).
Stories of Manneken Pis
“Many great legends bring this little statue to life in the hearts of visitors, and the question is why was this statue erected? One story tells of a tourist father who lost his son in the city and after receiving help from villagers to find the boy, he gifted this statue to them. Another, more daring, tale is one where the boy was a spy during a siege of the city. He literally put out a ploy to bomb the city by urinating on the explosives! Many stories such as this have given the Mannekin Pis a firm place in Brussels’ city-life but none would compete with its present-day glory.”
Here are photos of some of Mannkin Pis’ costumes: