Mannekin Pis

Price guide: Free

Corner of Rue de l’Étuve and Rue du Chêne, Brussels, 1000

Price guide: Free

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By Emma Thomson, your Brussels expert

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#10 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Brussels
Expert overall rating:4.5 out of 5
Value for money:
0
N/A
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Families with younger children, First-time travellers, Singles, Stag / hen parties, History, Sightseeing

Expert review of Mannekin Pis

Brussels’s infamous peeing-boy statue.

A short walk from the Grand Place, Brussels’s statue of a small boy peeing is a ‘must-see’. Locals love him because he perfectly encapsulates the city’s irreverent joie de vivre attitude. The identity of the little boy has become the stuff of legends: one story tells the tale of a hero boy who put out a firebomb by peeing on it; another relates the discovery of a lost nobleman’s son eventually found peeing at this spot. It’s been stolen on a number of occasions; the last time was in 1817 when an ex-convict stole the statue for its bronze. The thief was apprehended, but not before poor Manneken had been smashed into smithereens. The culprit didn’t get away lightly: he was publicly branded on the Grand’ Place and given a life sentence in a forced labour camp. A cast for the new Manneken Pis (the one that stands today) was forged from the broken pieces.

Expert tips: 
Time your visit to coincide with one of the formal changing-of-the-costume ceremonies, when a small parade marches from the Grand Place and dresses the little chap up in costumes donated by various dignitaries. The Elvis Presley outfit is fitted on 8 January, Christopher Colombus fitted 12 October and between 21–25 December he is dressed as Père Nöel.
Mannekin Pis has a girlfriend! A statue of the less-adored Jeanneke Pis can be found on Impasse de la Fidelité, off Rue de Bouchers.

More information on Mannekin Pis:

Price guide:
Free
Type:
Landmark / monument
Address:
Corner of Rue de l’Étuve and Rue du Chêne, Brussels, 1000
Months open:
All year round
Indoor/outdoor?:
Outdoor

Have you been to Mannekin Pis? Would you recommended it?