Manneken Pis In Brussels: The Little Peeing Man Statue (PHOTOS)

He’s a little guy peeing into a fountain.

His name in English means “Little man piss.”
He’s 2-feet-tall.
He’s one of Brussels’ biggest landmarks.
No one even knows why.

It’s funny to visit Brussels, Belgium. The gastronomy is on another level. Visitors enjoy heavily topped waffles, chocolates, french fries and beer. People speak French — but then you see signs in Dutch and really all you’re looking for is a Smurf museum.

But this isn’t a post about Brussels.
It’s about something bigger (figuratively).

Let me paint the scene — During your visit to Brussels, you wander away from Grand-Place when you spot a big herd of people over yonder with their iPhones out. Naturally, you move towards the action.

You reach the crowd. It’s not clear what everyone was looking at. Could it have been a fresh batch of waffles on a stick? Could it have been a dancing panda? You are unsure at this point.

You follow someone’s eyeline to a fountain just behind you. Nothing looks very special about this fountain. It’s no Trevi. It’s no Bellagio. Why are these people so focused on this one corner of th…..oh.

A tiny statue of a boy holding his willy.

One legend spells that Mannken Pis (‘le Petit Julien’ in French) dates back to 14th century Brussels, perhaps while under attack by a foreign country. These attackers planned to light explosives along the city walls. A little boy named Juliaanske was spying on them, conveniently had to pee and was able to put out the fuse with his urine, saving the city.

Makes sense.

Since the 15th century, all sorts of people have kidnapped the little statue. Around 1619, Jerôme Duquesnoy sculpted the bronze version. Since then, he has been frequently dressed into one of his many outfits. At one time, the statue was even used to dispense liquor.

My point: It’s funny that everyone has to get a glimpse of this tiny little statue holding his willy. Especially when no one knows why he’s really there or what purpose he serves.
But you know what? I think that’s the allure. 

Manneken Pis. Just a little guy, just takin a pee.

(Originally posted Sept. 10, 2012,

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