Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Manneken Pis

So, we were in Brussels and were going to see Manneken Pis – the most iconic and photographed monument in the city. I had heard so much about this famous landmark and was really excited to see it.

When we arrived, the street was already crowded with busloads of tourists jostling for selfies.

Well, did we get the pay-off we had come all the way to see?

The Manneken Pis was quite literally what it means "little peeing man".

Unimposing, overrated and underwhelming the statue is merely 24 inches tall! Even more disappointing, the diminutive sculpture is only a replica of the 1619 original, which is now in the nearby Brussels Museum.

Mannekin Pis ranks #4 on TOP10HQ's Top 10 Most Disappointing Tourist Destinations list!
Size does matter!
So, why is this little naked boy peeing in a fountain so famous? And why are people (even the locals) flocking daily to take a photo of it?


Manneken Pis is a little statue with a big wardrobe! Pee Boy gets dressed in different costumes several times each week. The costumes are managed by a non-profit organization called The Friends of Manneken-Pis. The organization reviews hundreds of designs submitted by fans each year, and selects a small number to be made and used. The schedule of costumes is published on the web and on the posters plastered around the fountain.

Over the years, Mannekin Pis dressed as Santa, Elvis Presley, Nelson Mandela, Uncle Sam, an astronaut  and even as a condom on World Aids Day!


Photos from Manneken Pis' FB page.


There are many stories surrounding the inspiration for this statue.

Here are just three:

1. During the Middle Ages, tanners let children and street urchins urinate on their leather as the ammonia in urine made the leather more supple. The peeing statue was most probably a homage to the tanners.

2. The most popular story suggests that it was a tribute to a local boy named Julianske who saved Brusssels by urinating on a burning fuse of an explosive lit by enemies who were trying to blow up the walls of the city.

3. According to a folklore, the son of a noble abandoned a procession to urinate on the wall of a house where a witch lived. Pissed, the angry witch cursed the lad to pee for eternity by turning him into stone, thus a peeing statue!

It was amusing to see this mascot of sorts gracing the streets of Brussels. His likeness appears on all things imaginable –  from street art to tourist souvenirs to lollipops. You’ll even find him made of chocolate!

image credit - Teeny Tiny
Just when we thought we had enough of peeing statues, our tour guide took us to see Mannekin Pis' family – a peeing girl and yes, a peeing dog!


According to our guide, not many people who live outside Brussels know about this female counterpart of Manneken Pis.
Rumour has it that the little girl in pigtails was commissioned in 1987 by a local restaurant owner to attract visitors to the restaurant. While Jeanneke Pis still squats. the restaurant is no more.

Zinneke Pis

A video of the thousands of costumes worn by Mannekin Pis throughout the years.

Which one is your favourite?

Musings Of A Tired Mummy


Sandee said...

I like the dog one the best. I can see where this came from. Thanks for the history of the fountain.

Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥

betty said...

Oh how funny! What a great sense of imagination with all the different customs! I didn't watch the whole video but saw about 2 minutes of the various customs. So very clever with people submitting ideas on what to dress him in. I think I would have to buy one of his in chocolate just for the novelty of it.


Sheltie Times said...

What a bizarre tradition.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I love all the stories. Fascinating. Thank you for sharing these stories and photos with us.

roughterrain crane said...

Never have I dreamed that there are many kinds of manneken pis. Thanks for sharing us.

yonosoymillenium said...

que figuras mas interesantes, gracias por enseñarnosla y viajar a través de ti

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I’ve read about these statues before, but hadn’t read all the history. Very interesting .... and hilarious pictures , especially of (omg) the chocolate one. (Uh, thanks, much as I love a good Belgian chocolate)). Still kicking myself because we didn’t make it to Brussels .

Sarah said...

Veronicia, this is an amusing and very interesting post. Thank you for putting this together. I love the idea of the costumes! Great job!!!

Hena Tayeb said...

Oh God! Look at his little costumes.. unfortunately many tourist attractions end up being overrated and disappointing.. the lore behind the statue is interesting though.

Amy Johnson said...

Oh my goodness, too funny! I never heard of such a thing.

Kelly Steel said...

Oh, my! So funny! Bizarre tradition, though!

stevebethere said...

Haha briliant I liked them all especially the Jeanneke Pis heheh!

Have a pistastic week :-)

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I love all the costumes made for the little guy.

Jackie McGuinness said...

Saw him way back in 1992 and was not very impressed either. But it looks like I need to go back and see him in costume.

NCSue said...

I think I would tire rather quickly of the peeing theme.
Thanks for sharing at

Emma said...

How interesting! I knew vaguely of the statue but nothing of the tales behind it or the costumes. #globalblogging

riitta k said...

I have not seen Manneken Pis in person, but knew that he is very small. But I did not know that he has this vast garderobe! Janneke & the peeing dog are fun. There are a million stories in Brussels, too!

csuhpat1 said...

All of those are so very cool. #anythinggoes

Tom said...

...thanks for cluing me into this peeing going on in Brussels! I must live a rather sheltered life. Zinneke Pi is my favorite. Thanks for stopping by the neat post. Enjoy your week.

An Apel a Day said...

I like the big image on the building. Lots of statues of people/animals peeing there. LOL

nancyc said...

I had no idea this statue was so popular! :)

Birgitta said...

Oh my! These were interesting pictures!

XmasDolly said...

Hellooooooooooooooooo Girlfriend, and how are you doin' today my lil' travelin' Queen??? Now, this Lil' fella takes the cake! bwahahahahahaha Peeing for eternity! Ohhhhhhh brutha! Okay, I think I like the 3 Muskateer outfit the best! Now what I can't understand is the little girl peeing naked and plus let's throw a dog in while we're at it!!! bwahahahahaha Well, I'm glad you got some pictures anyway! Gee, where are you off to next to see volcanoes erupting... no no no that's too dangerous! I know one of those old German folk bands? Well, if you ever go to Sicily (by Italy) say hello to my Aunt and 3 cousins. My family is from Sicily on my mother's side. Many years ago my grandparents came to America by boat and she has a picture of the Statue of Liberty and someday I'm going to make her give me a copy of it that picture for sure!!! I have relatives in London also & Dusseldorf Germany I'm told. Not that I know them... just related. Well, my dearest I'm so happy for you and I'm jealous that you get to go see all these neat places, but thank you sooooooooooo much for sharing! Sending BIG HUGS!!!

Mellie said...

Hilarious! I have never heard of that before. You sure saw some interesting sights on your trip. SO many outfits... I don't think I can pick a favorite.

junieper/Jesh said...

Lived in my childhood in Holland, about 1 1/2 hrs. North from Brussels, so I know manneke Pis, but not with costumes on, which makes him adorable.I like Jeanneke Pis, but it will be harder to get costumes on her:) Thanks for coming by my blog!

mail4rosey said...

That's cute about the costumes. It is a little disappointing to come across a landmark that isn't all that great. I felt that way about the Mona Lisa (can I say that out loud?!). :)

betty-NZ said...

It's a shame when the you don't really see the original statue, but they certainly have a lot of fun with this one! What a great history, I'm so glad that you shared all the photos and the information, too!

It's great to see you joining us on 'My Corner of the World' this week!

My Corner of the World

Claire Justine said...

I had not heard of this before. I really enjoyed reading about it. Love his different outfits :) Thanks for stopping by

Antionette Blake said...

Wow - I am at a loss for words... #TrafficJamWeekend Linky Party

Heather Keet said...

I absolutely love the idea of this tiny statue being such a popular spot, I know I want to see it just to laugh at all the costumes they use. What a brilliant find! #GlobalBlogging

Indah Nuria Savitri said...

I remember seing the Manneken piss for the first time during my internship in Brussels back in 2004 :)..well, do you know that Manneken Piss also has Lampungnese traditional costume, the area where I'm originally from? it was great to see it wear that beautiful Tapis :)

Natasha said...

Dearest Veronica <3

I just love al your posts. So unique, and one different from the other and with such fascinating stories to tell.

I'm so glad to have you link up with us on #WordlessWednesday.
I'm blown over by the Manneken Pis folklores and now the additions, the dog and the girl.

Had no idea whatsoever that Manneken was dressed up in different costumes as well.

Woahh!! Such incredible fun facts, dearest.

Big hugs and big love. Have a blessed week. xoxox

Aditya Narayan Mohanty said...

Great .