Literally, meaning the “little man peeing”, in Dutch- Manneken Pis – the famous piece of bronze sculpture makes for an important landmark in Brussels. Designed by the much revered Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder, Manneken Pis refers to the statue of a kid peeing in to the basin of a fountain. For Brussels, the statue of a peeing man stands as an enduring symbol of sense of humor and independence of mind. If you’re planning a trip to Brussels soon, then this one must top your checklist. Before embarking on a trip – let’s learn about the same in the course of the post.
Manneken Pis: The Mascot for Various Reasons
To start off with, let us tell you that this cute mascot of Brussels has an immensely interesting history to offer. It’s interesting because a part of its past is largely shrouded in mystery. It has been stated that it has gone on to receive appreciation from lords and kings and has been abducted quite a few times as well. Needless to say, the mystery surrounding its history is partly responsible for the interest that it has been able to give rise to – for so many years now.
For instance, one of the legends states that the peeing little man refers to the Medieval boy who had once saved Brussels. The city had been surrounded by enemies who only pretended to retreat – hiding gunpowder under the city. It was kid named Julien who had seen the burning fuse and was quick enough to douse it by peeing on it. So, the statue today stands as a mark of gratitude for the boy.
There are more legends than you thought
There are other stories that instead of glorifying the boy speak of his cursed past. As per the legend, a witch had once cursed a boy for peeing in her door. He was cursed that he would urinate for eternity.Fortunately a man happened to see everything and quickly replaced the boy with a statue.
Then there are other stories that suggest that boy wasn’t really saved from the situation and was actually turned into a stone. Now, there are many who aren’t aware of the fact that besides Manneken Pis, there are other “pee-pee” statues. Actually Brussels sees this peeing statues as the ultimate symbols of the grounded surrealist Bruxellois. While Manneken Pis remains one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Brussels beside Grand Place, do not forget that it’s not the only pee-pee statue here.
Zinneke Pis, for instance, shows a static pissing dog (there’s no fountain here). It had been placed at the strategic corner of one of the most happening shopping centres of the city in the year 1998. Zinneke in Dutch refers to a stray dog.
Jeanneke Pis shows a little girl which was reportedly established to offer a counterpart to Manneken Pis. A restaurant owner was reportedly keen on asserting the equality of sexes as a result of which he wanted to set Jeanneke up as a female foil to Manneken. There are cynics who suggest that the main reason behind getting this built was to draw people to the restaurants.
The key is to remember that Manneken Pis is not the only pissing statue featuring in this happening city. There, of course, are other counterparts as well. So, if you are actually keeping it high on your list, make sure you are taking a tour of the places where the counterparts are present as well. This will only leave you with a sense of completeness about your trip.
If you delve deeper into its history, you will actually come to believe that all the aforementioned claims stem from nothing but storytelling. There is an old archivist of Brussels who opined that the origin of this statue offered nothing in particular. In fact, its history is completely unknown. It was way back in the year 1747 that the British came here in Brussels and drawn by it sheer originality had outweighed it in a van. It was the inhabitants of Grammont who discovering the secret --- right after the enemy left the country had exposed him in Grand Palace. Brussels did not really take much time to claim the original statue.
Later the French tried to steal the statue but were faced with the wrath of the people of Brussels.
So, as you can see the significance of the statue extends way beyond its immediate form – i.e. what you’re getting to see. A peeing boy statue has got years of eventful history and incredible legends behind the same. So, make sure you are educating yourself about the same in accordance. Right as you start planning for Brussels, make sure you’re actually leaving no stone unturned to get all the possible information about it. Besides planning your flights and hotels you should also ideally be dedicating substantial time to investigate the tourist attractions of the place. You will end up discovering that Manneken Pis makes for one of the noteworthy icons here. The points mentioned above must have told you by now – why it’s so!. Please do make sure that you are informing yourself as much as you can before setting off for Brussels.