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Time Required : 30 mins to 1 hour

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Manneken Pis, Brussels Overview

A part of Brussel’s history since 1619, the Manneken Pis is one of the first attractions tourists hear about and see in the capital city. Staying true to its name, which translates to ‘peeing little man’, this landmark is essentially a fountain situated about five minutes from the Grand Place square. Named as Manneken Pis after the bronze statue of a little naked boy urinating into the fountain’s basin, this attraction has essentially become the mascot of the city.

Earliest memories of Manneken Pis go back to the 15th century when it was designed to be a part of the water supply system in Brussels. The statue majorly contributed to the distribution of drinking water in Brussels as the water poured into a basin of stone. Later in 1619, the statue was changed to a bronze version based on the designs of sculptor Hieronimus Duquesnoy. With a height of 61 cm, the statue also had faced and survived damages during the bombardment of 1695 and has also been an object of theft many times.

Antoine Licas a fugitive in 1817 stole the statue and later it was found into 11 broken pieces. He was then punished by tying to stocks at the Grand Place with the statue being restored under the supervision of Gilles-Lambert Godecharle. Successive theft attempts occurred in 1955, 1957 and 1963 and 1965; on some occasions it was either stolen by some students' of Antwerp student association or found in Charleroi Canal. Today Manneken Pis stands on display corner of Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat and Rue de l'Étuve/Stoofstraat.

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Traditions Around Manneken Pis

A Costumed Mannenken Pis, Traditions Around Manneken Pis
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A significant part of the traditions revolving around Manneken Pis is the celebratory dressing up of the statue each week. Be it a festival or an event, the locals make it a priority to put costumes on the bronze statue. Manneken Pis is believed to have a wardrobe with more than 900 costumes making this a major reason for attracting visitors. The most common and popular costumes include a Mickey Mouse, Fireman, Santa Claus, Chinese Dragon, Dracula among many others.

A Costumed Mannenken Pis, Traditions Around Manneken Pis
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The changing of the costume is a bright and colourful ceremony accompanied by music played by a brass band. It is a major event filled with locals and tourists who come to witness the new costume. Dressed for 130 days in a year, strict rules are followed to avoid any religious clothing or promotional costumes.

At the City museum situated on the Grand Place, you can view a whole range of costumes with additions to the collection every year. A non-profit organization named The Friends of Manneken-Pis have been taking care of the entire wardrobe since 1954. They are also responsible for reviewing every costume design submitted from around the world every year.

In 2017 a new museum known as Gaderobe Manneken-Pis opened its door permanently displaying 133 costumes out of the 965 existing collection. This museum is divided into seven sections of folklore, trade, charity, celebrities, sports, designers and geography.

Other Statues near to Manneken Pis

Joined to the Peeing statues in the area to Manneken-Pis was the peeing girl called Jeanneke Pis in the year 1987. Located on a corner opposite to Grand Place it was designed as a symbol of gender equality, an idea by Denis Adrien Debouvrie. Jeanneke is squatted at a calm place surrounded by red fence and a penny dropped in her fountain is believed to bring good karma.

Further in 1998 its family extended to a peeing dog called as Zinneke placed on a sidewalk of Rue De Chartreux. Relieving himself in the public area the dog’s statue doesn’t have a fountain and is free of any fences. Sometimes the statue might go unnoticed as it’s without any water flow and if you manage to find him make sure to click pictures with the adorable pet figurine.

Shopping near Manneken Pis

1. Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert 

Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert, Shopping near Manneken Pis
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An enclosed shopping arcade with tall glass ceilings, Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert or the Saint-Hubert Royal Galleries is a shopping and gourmet paradise. Explore the finest eateries, clothing brands, art galleries and theatres at this massive area of twin facades and a narrow courtyard.

2. Brussels Vintage Market 

Brussels Vintage Market, Shopping near Manneken Pis
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The Brussels Vintage Market is a monthly market that occurs on the first Sunday of each month. A blend of vintage items including clothing, jewellery, furniture, souvenirs, decorative objects and many more are available here. You can bargain at reasonable rates for both vintage and second-hand items while enjoying the retro music here.

3. Woluwe Shopping Centre

Woluwe Shopping Centre, Shopping near Manneken Pis
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At Woluwe Shopping Centre tourists can experience shopping, entertainment and dining at the some of the best restaurants of the capital. Located nearly 1km from Manneken-Pis the shopping centre is a popular tourist hub.

4. Marché aux Puces de Bruxelles 

Marché aux Puces de Bruxelles, Shopping near Manneken Pis
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A well-known flea market dating back to 1873, Marché aux Puces de Bruxelles is best known for second-hand dealers, ragpickers and scrap dealers. Here one can buy old furniture, artefacts, antiques and anything that has an old charm to it. Open all days and extra hours on the weekends, this market is more has a vibrant atmosphere that most markets do not.

How To Reach Manneken Pis

The nearest bus stops are Plattesteen and Parlement Bruxellois while the nearest station is Gare de Bruxellas - Central

From Plattesteen: Bus N12

From Parlement Bruxellois:  Bus 48, 95, N04, N05, N09, N10, N11 and N12

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