This cocky emblem of Brussels has drawn sightseers for centuries but after all the hype—after all, this is an image that launched a thousand tchotchkes—you may be underwhelmed by the minuscule statue of the peeing boy. The first mention of the Manneken dates from 1377, and he's said to symbolize what Belgians think of the authorities, especially those of occupying forces. The present version was commissioned from noted sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy in 1619. It is a copy;
the original was seized by French soldiers in 1747. In restitution, King Louis XV of France was the first to present Manneken Pis with a gold-embroidered suit. The statue now has 517 other costumes for ceremonial occasions, an ever-increasing collection whose recent benefactors include John Malkovich and Dennis Hopper, and his own personal dresser. On one or two days of the year, he spouts wine or beer, rather than water. A female version set up by an enterprising restaurateur, the Jeanneke Pis, can be found off the Rue des Bouchers but has been ranked as much a disappointment as the little gentleman.
Rue de l'Etuve at Rue du Chêne, Brussels, B1000, Belgium
Jan 5, 2004
When something becomes famous expectations grow. Previous posts are expressed disappointment as this small statue is in fact not the size of the Statue of Liberty. No, it is not. And certainly it is not the size of the hype that surrounds it's cultural value one way or an other. It is meant to be a "small decoration" in a small charming neighborhood, on the corner of some small streets. It was erected at the time when value was measured by "appropriateness"
not by vanity. It is sweet, charming, low key, small and looks like... a small boy who is pissing in to the water. If you want to see something else if you expect to see something else you would be disappointed. If you are able to value things what they are and not for what other people expect to be, you will love it. By the way... if you are in Brussels, why would you miss out on it?
Oct 19, 2003
After so much we heard about it, we were disappointed to find out the tiny boy is nothing Grand like the rest of Brussels. I mean, for a pissing boy, it could be more entertaining.