One of Belgium’s most famous icons is Manneken Pis – a small statue of a boy peeing into a fountain. The inspiration is rumored to be that in the 12th century, the son of a duke was caught urinating during the midst of battle and the statue was erected in honor of Belgium’s military courage. Another theory is that Belgium was on fire during battle and this little boy put out the fire by urinating, thus saving the country.
Whatever the history, you cannot help but spot images of Manneken Pis all over Brussels. He has been immortalized in chocolate, holding wafles, peeing into beer, expelling lemonade, etc., etc.. He is everywhere. To see the real statues, all you need to do is follow the crowd. A huge gathering always surrounds the small figurine tucked into the corner of a street.
What’s even odder (to me), is that they dress the statue daily. He has more than 500 outfits donated by visiting heads of state. The outfits are on display in the Musee de la Ville, but I enjoyed just making a trek to Manneken Pis the past few days to see what the fashionable 17th century statue was wearing.
Imagine my surprise when I learned that there is also a female equivalent of the statue. Erected in 1985, the lesser-known girl is named Jeanneke Pis. But unlike Manneken, she is tucked into a dead-end alley near the popular Delirium Cafe, and she sits up behind bars where it’s harder to get a good view. But I managed to capture her image. Here she is, in all her glory: