Brussels – Manneken pis

I don’t know where to start on this statuette that all tourists flock to daily, and yes I have seen it myself. But between you and me, I don’t quite understand why a so small toddler (55 cm – 21 in) who urinates in a basin creates so much wonder. Is it the rebellious or humorous side that makes this fountain a local icon?

It is perhaps his clothes that earn him so much admiration. These costumes, more than 1000, are linked to culture (Irish outfit, traditional Mexican attire, Hungarian hussar), a sport (Martial Arts, Belgium Cycling Team, Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club, Barcelona FC Football team), an occupation (firefighter, health worker, bee-keeper), an event (International Peace Day, World Pneumonia Day), a tribute to an existent or fictional person (Elvis, Dracula, Mickey Mouse, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), and much more were initially presented at the City Museum but are, since 2017, presented at the Manneken Pis Wardrobe Museum, at 19 rue du Chêne. The government was the first to offer it, but over time other well-known personalities followed.

What you will find here is not the original bronze statuette from 1451 as it has to be said that it was stolen more than once and the last time it was found it was broken. Nevertheless, it always reappears there and continues to attract crowds.

I think the attention people have given it has been so surprising. The city chose to install a female version (Jeanneke pis) in 1985 and a canine version (Het Zinneke pis) in 1998.

If you like this type of work, consider Piss in Prague by clicking here.

For an overview of Brussels click here.

For all posts on Brussels click here.

Photo by W. Zhong on