The Story Behind the Mannekin Pis

Estimated reading time 2 min

Anyone who travels to Brussels, Belgium is sure to see one of the more unusual statues in Europe, the Mannekin Pis.  Only a five-minute walk from the Grand Place, this tiny statue is to Brussels what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.

Originally created in stone and designed by Jerome Duquesnoy in 1619, the Mannekin Pis is a small bronze fountain of a little boy, well, urinating.   A statue as unusual as this must have a meaning!  There are several different legends associated with the statue and which one is the real story is unknown.  About half the legends are associated with the boy rescuing the city through the act of urinating.  The other legends tell versions of the little boy becoming lost and when searchers found him he was urinating on the street.  Whatever the truth, the sculpture is extremely popular and was stolen several times.  The current version of the sculpture was created in 1965.

Strangely enough the statue has a variety of costumes which are managed by the non-profit association, The Friends of Mannkin Pis.  Everyone from kings to celebrities, government officials and members of the public has donated costumes for the little statue.  On special occasions during the year the statue is dressed in costume, at other times visitors can see some of his wardrobe items on display at the Museum of the City of Brussels, which include a variety of athletic costumes, a samurai warrior costume and a Mozart costume.


Mannekin Pis

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