Manneken Pis represents nowadays, together with the Ommegang procession and the Meyboom plantation, one of the major attractions of the Brussels folklore.

A few centuries ago, it acted as of one of the many fountains supplying the city with drinking water. A text going back to 1388 coming from the Sainte-Gudula archives announces that a stone statue called "Small Julian" (Julianekensborre) supplied with water from Coudenberg can be founded at the angle of the streets "rue de l'Etuve" and "rue du Chêne". The name of Manneken-Pis (or Menneken Pist) appears for the first time in a text of 1451-1452 preserved in the archives of the city of Brussels.

The current bronze statue is 61 cm high and was carried out at the request of the communal municipal officials of Brussels by the sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy the old in 1619. Put in a shelter during the bombardment of the city by the armies of Louis XIV in August 1695, it is surmounted thereafter with a Latin psalm: "In petra exaltavit me and nunc exaltavi caput meum super inimicos meos" (I was raised in stone and now I raise my head above my enemies). The blue stone niche in rococo style was added in 1770. Previously, the statuette rested on a six feet high column realized by the stone cutter Daniel Raessens.

It is on May 1, 1698, little after the bombardment, that  Maximilien-Emanuel, the Prince-Elector of Bavaria, general governor of the Spanish Netherlands, offers him its first costume in "Bavarian blue" colour. Since then he received new costumes regularly, and its wardrobe counts at the present time more than 800 of them. They are exposed to the Museum of the City of Brussels, located in the "King's House", on the Grand Place, where an interactive terminal makes it possible to discover its entire collection of costumes.

Manneken-Pis had to suffer during the last centuries many acts of vandalism. In 1745, he was stolen for the first time by English soldiers. Two years later, a French grenadier seizes him to the great despair of the population. As compensation, the king of France Louis XV offered him a costume of Marquis. In 1817, Antoine Lycas will be branded publicly to have strongly damaged the statuette. After that, the original was shelter in the Maison du Roi (King's House) and it is a copy of 1965 which is currently exposed. Wise precaution considering the little statue had to suffer during the XXth century theft attempts, mutilations and abductions by students.

Originally a simple fountain of public utility, Manneken-Pis is considered today a figure of legend, universally known. He became the representative par excellence of Brussels sense of humour - the "zwanze" - and the symbol of the spirit of protest and unconcern which characterizes the people living in this town, but also of the opposition to the multiple foreign occupations and to fanaticism. Nowadays he regularly shares the joys and the sorrows of the city. 

In the artistic life of Brussels, Manneken-Pis is since a long time an ideal subject of inspiration. It was on several occasions the central figure of the revues of the theatre "Les Folies Bergères" now disappeared. Its praises were sung by the famous French singer Maurice Chevalier in 1949. 

Knight of Saint-Louis, Honorary Sergeant of various regiments, the oldest citizen of Brussels received from the hands of the President of the Promotion and Tourist Office of Brussels the envied title of "First Ambassador of the folk and cultural heritage of Brussels". 

 The members of the Order of the Friends of Manneken-Pis help him to fulfil this prestigious function. This association, which origins go back to 1954, look after the good welcome of the many tourists which crowd each day in front of the most famous statue of Brussels. The Order takes part in the multiple demonstrations organized to the profit of the cultural expansion of Brussels, both in Belgium and abroad (Lille, Maastricht, Zandvoort, Metz, Ter Appel, Lisieux, Le Pays d'Auge...).

Brussels map  plan de Bruxelles stadsplan Brussel
mapa de Bruselas Stadtplan Brüssel mappa di Bruxelles
Bryssel karta     mapa de Bruxelas     mapa Brukseli     harta Bruxelles
Hotels Brussels
Restaurants Brussels