The Manneken Pis is the most representative symbol of Brussels. All souvenirs related to the European capital have as a protagonist the Manneken Pis or the Atomium.
HISTORY OF THE MANNEKEN PIS
The bronze figurine made in the 17th century by Jeremy Duquesnoy in exchange for 30 ducats, is the perfect example of the rebellious spirit of the inhabitants of Brussels. At that time the Manneken Pis was just a drinking fountain, whichprovided the city with water. However, it is no longer a simple figure. It has nowadays become the symbol of Brussels. In 1745 it was stolen by the English, and two years later it was stolen by the French too. The original Renaissance statue remains in the Town Hall since 1965, after being stolen twice, when it was seriously damaged. It was first stolen in 1963 by a group of young people from Antwerp.Two years later it got lost againand it was found by chance, a year later, at the Brussels canal. It seems that the adventures of the Manneken Pis have come to an end. The curet statue in rue l’Etuve is a replica of the original.
LEGENDS ABOUT THE MANNEKEN PIS
Thanks to the legends originated around his creation, the Manneken Pis became a symbol of Brussels. The model to sculpt it was said to be a boy who urinated on a torch with which enemy forces tried to besiege the city.
Another story talks about a citizen who lost his only son during a festival and did not find him until five days later. When he found him, he was urinating. He commissioned,then, to make a statue in that place.
There are many legends, but there is only one truth. In the 17th century the Tanners’ Guild used to pay children a symbolic price to urinateon the leather. The statue comes from that tradition. Thisstatue can also be seen in cities like Antwerp or Ghent.
MANNEKEN PIS COSTUMES
Louis XV gave him his first suit to honour him after the theft carried out by the British and the French. It was a luxurious gold brocade suit. He also conferred the cross of Saint Louis on the Manneken Pis. This meant the beginning of a peculiar wardrobe, which nowadays has more than 900 costumes. These costumes are shown to the public in a fun exhibition that can be seen in the King’s House (Museum of the city of Brussels).
The Manneken Piss costumes’ collectionis very diverse. Football fans can find here the Real Madrid and Barcelona sports equipment. For music fans, there is an Elvis Presley costume. We can also find a bullfighter’s costume, a vampire one, etc. In Christmas, the Manneken Pis is dressed as Santa Claus.
For about 130 days a year the Manneken Pis is dressed. Just with a bit of luck, you will see him dressed!
THE SECRET OF THE MANNEKEN PIS FAME
It may be the secrecy of the little statue, or the legends about it; perhaps his adventures with the thieves, or even his tiny size of 55 cm. All of themmake him famous word-wide. This is why he has become the symbol of Brussels. However, for the inhabitants of Brussels, the Manneken Pis represents the spirit of the revolt and the non-conformism of the city.
THE SYMBOL OF BRUSSELS
After many centuries and many attempted robberies, the Manneken Pis is still in Brussels and has survived, just like the city, adapting itself to the new times and fighting for its existence. Together with the Atomium and the Grand Place, the Manneken Pis is considered to be one of the symbols of Brussels and Belgium.
Discover the Manneken Pis with the Free Tour in Brussels.
Rue de l' Étuve 31 1000 Brussels
HOW TO REACH THE MANNEKEN PIS
- Metro: Bourse and Gare Centrale, lines 1 and 5.
- Tram: Anneessens, lines 3, 4, 31, 32 and 33.
- Bus: 29, 34, 47, 48, 60, 63, 65, 66, 71, 95 and 96
SOME PLACES NEAR THE MANNEKEN PIS
- Grand Place (265 m)
- Museum of the City of Brussels (296 m)
- Saint-Hubert Galleries (467 m)
- Jeanneke Pis (485 m)
- Magritte Museum (679 m)
- Saint-Géry: (435 m)
- Sainte-Catherine (658 m)