Manneken Pis,is a famous Brussels landmark. It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder and put in place in 1618 or 1619.It bears a similar cultural significance as Copenhagen's Little Mermaid.
The famous statue is located at the junction of Rue de l'Étuve/Stoofstraat and Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat. To find it, one takes the left lane next to the Brussels Town Hall from the famous Grand Place and walks a few hundred metres southwest via Rue Charles Buls.
History And Legends
The 61 cm tall bronze statue on the corner of Rue de l'Etuve and Rue des Grands Carmes was made in 1619 by Brussels sculptor Hieronimus Duquesnoy. The figure has been repeatedly stolen; the current statue is a copy from 1965. The original is kept at the Maison du Roi/Broodhuis on the Grand Place.There are several legends behind this statue, but the most famous is the one about Duke Godfrey III of Leuven. In 1142, the troops of this two-year-old lord were battling against the troops of the Berthouts, the lords of Grimbergen, in Ransbeke (now Neder-Over-Heembeek). The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung the basket in a tree to encourage them. From there, the boy urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle.
The statue is dressed in costume several times each week, according to a published schedule which is posted on the railings around the fountain. His wardrobe consists of several hundred different costumes, many of which may be viewed in a permanent exhibition inside the City Museum, located in the Grand Place, immediately opposite the Town Hall. The costumes are managed by the non-profit association The Friends of Manneken-Pis, who review hundreds of designs submitted each year, and select a small number to be produced and used.
Although the proliferation of costumes is of twentieth-century origin, the occasional use of costumes dates back almost to the date of casting, the oldest costume on display in the City Museum being of seventeenth-century origin. The changing of the costume on the figure is a colourful ceremony, often accompanied by brass band music. Many costumes represent the national dress of nations whose citizens come to Brussels as tourists; others are the uniforms of assorted trades, professions, associations, and branches of the civil and military services.
Although the Manneken Pis in Brussels is the best-known, others exist. There is an ongoing dispute over which Manneken Pis is the oldest - the one in Brussels or the one in Geraardsbergen. Similar statues can also be found in the Belgian cities of Hasselt, Ghent, in the town of Braine-l'Alleud (where it is called "Il Gamin Quipiche"), and in the French Flemish village of Broxeele, a town with the same etymology as Brussels. In Bali, Indonesia, there is a Belgian restaurant called Mannekepis.
It even has the exact replica of the statue standing in front of the restaurant, urinating.In many countries, replicas in brass or fiberglass are commonplace swimming or garden-pool decorations. Many copies exist worldwide as garden ornaments. Manneken Pis has also been adapted into such risqué souvenir items as ashtrays and corkscrews.
In Popular Culture
A promotional expansion for the board game 7 Wonders allows a player to build an eighth wonder of the World; Mannekin-Pis.Manneken Pis is also the name of a book by Vladimir Radunsky.