- European Recipes
- Travel Tales
A visit to Brussels must include stopping by to see the famous Manneken Pis, (little pee man in Flemish) this little bronze statue has many stories behind it. One story is about a father (a sculptor) who lost his son in the city and the villagers helped find the boy. The statue was a gift to the town from the father; and this was how his son was found, naked apparently. Another tale is about a boy who was a spy during a siege; apparently he urinated on a bomb that stopped the city from blowing up. Which tale would you like to believe?
We have no idea who the boy was, but we do know he tinkles in style.
The Manneken Pis stories have touched the people’s hearts, and brought the statue to life as he has become a big part of the city when they celebrate different festivities. He has a wardrobe of international costumes, and even a Santa suit for Christmas.
The wardrobe of clothes actually started around 1918 and by 1940 it had received around 30 costumes from different countries. By the 1980’s there were 400 and today there are 800 international costumes, gifts from embassies, tourist offices, artists, even famous sports heroes all wanting to honor the pee man.
He wears these costumes during different celebrations where brass bands will play around him and sometimes he is hooked up to different flavors of Belgian beer, which is poured from his fountain tip and given out to the public.
One of the local traditions that really stands above the rest takes place each year during the Saint Verhaegen celebrations in which beer flows from the recently graduated Manneken Pis. Students in full university regalia form a procession through the music-filled streets while filling their cups with Belgian beer and celebrating. It's a party and everyone's invited!