Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Brussels - Little Men Pee "Manneken Pis"

Date of visit: 10th October 2015

Manneken Pis is a Dutch words. It is a landmark of a small bronze sculpture, 61 cm height located in Brussels, depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain's basin. It was designed by Hieronymus Duquesnoy the Elder being placed where it is now since 1619. The famous statue is located at the junction of Rue de l'Etuve/Stoofstraat and Rue du Chene/Eikstraat. To find it, one takes the left lane next to the Brussels Town Hall from the famous Grand Place and walks a few hundred metres southwest via Rue Charles Buls/Karel Bulsstraat. I did not seriously wish to visit this little man but since we were passing by while searching for a place to have lunch, we found him. Hence, we stopped and snapped photos like the rest of the tourist.

What fascinated me most was the passionate face and loud clear voice of the local tourist guide (his photo at the end corner of the little men below, a guy with a cap) explaining the history of mannekin pis to all who crowds around him. Besides, snapping moments where happiness are reflected on the tourist faces being able to see the little man in person and their excitement to record a photo with them are priceless. It was like witnessing a blessing face from God to all His devout, no matter what faith they had inside, true happiness are in the eyes of the beholder, just like beauties are. 

The little men and his spoke person

He won a huge attention from his crowds
History wise, the 61 cm tall bronze was made in 1619 by Brussels sculptor Hieronimus Duquesnoy the Elder, father of the more famous Francois Duquesnoy. The figure has been repeatedly stolen, hence it was not the original statue that we’ve seen today. The current statue was erected in1965. The original restored version is kept at the Maison du Roi or Broodhuis on the Grand Place. 

There are several legends behind this statue (5 stories shared in this entry), but the most famous is the one about Duke Godfrey III of Leuven. In 1142, the troops of this 2 year old lord were battling against the troops of the Berthouts, the lords of Grimbergen. The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung the basket in a tree to encourage them. From there, the boy urinated on the troops of the Berthouts, who eventually lost the battle. Another legend states that in the 14th century, Brussels was under siege by a foreign power. The city had held its ground for some time, so the attackers conceived of a plan to place explosive charges at the city walls. A little boy named Julianske happened to be spying on them as they were preparing. He urinated on the burning fuse and thus saved the city.

The 3rd story (told often to tourists) tells about a wealthy merchant who, during a visit to the city with his family, had his beloved young son went missing. The merchant hastily formed a search party that scoured all corners of the city until the boy was found happily urinating in a small garden. The merchant, as a gift of gratitude to the locals who helped out during the search, had the fountain built. The 4th was that a small boy went missing from his mother when shopping in the centre of the city. The woman, panic-stricken by the loss of her child, called upon everyone she came across, including the mayor of the city. A city-wide search began and when at last the child was found, he was urinating on the corner of a small street. The story was passed down over time and the statue erected as a tribute to the well-known legend. The last story legend tells about the young boy who was awoken by a fire and was able to put out the fire with his urine, in the end this helped stop the king's castle from burning down.

I saw this lovely lady with her mother. Her mother was struggling to take the best shot of her and the Manneken Pis, hence, I thought that I could read both her and her mother's mind to achieve a perfect photo. Still, my shot were photobombed by a tourist from China. I hope this beautiful lady may find her photo here. Please by all mean, share it as you please.

The statue is dressed in costume several times each week, according to a published schedule which is posted on the railings around the fountain. His wardrobe consists of several hundred different costumes, many of which may be viewed in a permanent exhibition inside the City Museum, located in the Grand Place, immediately opposite the Town Hall. The costumes are managed by the non-profit association The Friends of Manneken-Pis, who review hundreds of designs submitted each year, and select a small number to be produced and used. This little men is really no jokes, his statue is built in Tokushima, Japan, which was a present from the Belgian embassy. For the record, Tokushima is a twin city of Brussels.

The souvenirs shop in Brussels mostly sells Menneken Pis statues in their shop. I'm sharing few examples that I snapped while strolling at the Grand Place so that you have some ideas what to brought back as souvenirs. I did not buy any, not even a Manneken Pis fridge magnet.

Rather, I have a priceless photo with him (bigger than mine) and yes, I did teased "it" as evidenced in below photo ...

Remarks: The legend stories of Manneken Pis is obtained from Wikipedia.

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