Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mannekken Pis, Brussels and his girlfriend Jeanneke Pis!

Back to Belgium after a series of posts from Switzerland, Norway and Finland.

For no apparent reason, this little statue of a boy is made a famous tourist attraction in Brussels, Belgium. Almost everyone who visits Brussels will stop by at Mannekken Pis.

The term Mannekken Pis literally translates to "little boy peeing".  There is no official history as to if there was a small boy of historical importance, but there are many legends. The most popular one, according to our guide, goes as below

Sometime in 14th Century, city of Brussels was under attach by enemies, who laid a seize to the fort. Enemies were planning to blow off the fort entrance with explosives, but a little boy who stood on the fort wall and urinated on the explosive accidentally defused the trigger, thus saving the city.

There are few more legends, according to this wikipedia page but not impressive enough.

Apparently the statue has become pride of the city and its identity, just like how Copenhagen is associated with Little Mermaid. There have been several instances where statue was stolen and total chaos and unrest erupted in the city. Subsequently if the statue gets stolen Police would first replace it with a duplicate (to avoid public anger) and then set on to capture the thief.

The Mannekken Pis statue has over 1000 different style of clothing, often donated by people. Each day he can be seen in different costume.

You can occasionally see an old man moving around with a mobile version of Manneken Pis sprinkling water on tourists.

About two decades ago, Mannekken Pis has got a female counterpart- Jeanneke-Pis, located at the end of a small alley (Called Fidelity Alley) just a block away from where Mannekken Pis is located. Some say she is Mannekken's sister, others maintain she is his girlfriend. Upto you how you want to believe it as there no history for this. Some say that the statue of Jeanneke was set up by owner of a restaurant in the street, who was upset about poor number of customers visiting his restaurant, as it was in the end of a small alley where visibility and footfall was minimum. Having a tourist attraction close by will bring more people to the alley and hopefully some of them will visit his shop and give some business. After the Jeanneke Pis statue was installed in 1987, the alley did become popular and restaurant also got more customers. Owner has since sold his shop for decent profit.
Rumors are also floated that throwing money onto this statue will make you wishes come true. Jeanekken's statue is protected by iron grill to ensure that money stays inside and statue is prevented from theft and damage.
Not very fascinated by the statue or the 'legend' but that doesn't matter. Stop by this statue for a few minutes when in Brussels.

Other Brussels posts- Royal palace interiors * Hostel Louise review *


Andapo said...

Nice story behind the staue in brussels... when you see a statue a monument, it gets more interesting if you know the history behind it, is it not? ...

Indrani said...

Somehow we missed this in Brussels. We searched and searched but couldn't spot it.
Good to read its story again.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes Andapo.. exactly..


Arun Prasadh said...

lol funny story behind those statues.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

:) True.. just creative stuff..

Navin Mathew said...

HAHAHA You actually wrote an entire post on the 'little boy peeing'!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Navin- what to do :)