Manneken Pis statue

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Manneken Pis (little pissing man) statue is connected with Brussels, as is the Eiffel Tower connected with Paris, or Statue of Liberty with New York. This small statue of a little peeing boy peeing into fountain basin has been the main attraction of Brussels for centuries. It is located on the corner of Stoofstraat / Rue de L'Etuve and the Eikstraat / Rue du Chêne, close to the Groke Markt.

The statue is believed to be originally the top of the fountain in the Middle Ages. “Mannenken-pis” fountain already existed in the 15th century in the Stoofstraat / Rue de l'étuve. However, the official origin dates back to the 13th August 1619. The sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy was asked to make a new bronze statue of manneken-pis, because the old one was withered.

Throughout the centuries, the statue was often hidden to protect it against possible damage during the wars. Manneken-pis has also been stolen several times by plundering soldiers and even by the citizens of Geraardsbergen. They claimed that they had possessed the oldest statue.

The little peeing boy is often dressed. His wardrobe is stored in the King’s House or City Museum at the Grand-Place and it consists of more than 600 costumes. He received his first costume on 1st May 1698 from the governor of the Austrian Netherlands on the occasion of festivities organized by one of the guilds of Brussels. Since then, he has received a new costume whenever any folklorist groups visit Brussels. To his most famous outfits belong the one of Elvis Presley, Mickey Mouse or of Santa Claus. The costumes are changed according to a schedule managed by the non-profit association Les Amis de Manneken-Pis, in ceremonies that are often accompanied by brass band music.

Many legends are connected with the manneken-pis. One of them says that one little boy watered against the door of a witch who lived where the fountain stands now. She was so angry about it that she turned him into a statue. According to another one, the little boy got lost and when his father found him two days later, he was peeing. The father gave the fountain constructed as the gratitude. But the most famous of all the legends is the one about Duke Godfried II of Brabant. When he was 2 years old, in 1142, his troops lead battle against the troops of Berthouts the lords of Grimbergen, in Ransbeke. The little lord was put into a basket and hung on a tree to encourage his troops. From there, he urinated on the enemy troops, who finally lost.
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