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Manneken Pis around the world

Manneken Pis around the world

What if we told you that Manneken Pis doesn’t just pee on the corner of Rue de l’Etuve and Rue du Chêne in Brussels? What if we told you that his fame goes far beyond these borders? This little star is replicated, copied, enlarged, and shrinked pretty much everywhere in the world. When a 17 kg bronze statue standing 55 cm tall fascinates and inspires the world over, this is what it looks like.

With one hand on his hip and the other directing his infinite pee, Manneken Pis is always posing for the incessant flux of tourists who come to admire him! Oh yes, he is quite photogenic. And he represents the free spirit of Brusseleirs. Now that, that is something to be proud of!

BrusselsLife.be takes you on a world tour in search of all reproductions of the Little Peeing Man…

Belgium: the war of ketje’s origins

Guess what - the Brussels Manneken Pis is not the only peeing statue in the country. And some think that he isn’t even the oldest!

[Manneken-Pis in Grammont]

One of the most well-known replicas of the ketje (Bruxellois for a Brussels child) is found in Flanders. Legend tells us that the city of Grammont received a copy of the statue in 1745. Apparently English soldiers were trying to steal the Brussels Manneken Pis but were stopped by the city of Grammont. So they were given this statue in thanks! The Grammantois do not believe this version of the story. They think that their version is much older than the Brussels one. 

[Le Titje in Enghien]

The war of the origins of Manneken Pis does not stop there. According to a legend from Enghien, the Grammont Manneken Pis did not belong to the city initially. Up until the 16th century, the statue was located in the brewing district of Enghien. The story goes that the Grammontois stole the idea. Today, the people of Enghien are consoled by this statue, referred to as the Titje. 

 

Manneken Pis as a gift

When we find twins of this child elsewhere in the world, sometimes it was because the city of Brussels or by the Order of Friends of Manneken Pis gave him as a gift. 

Manneken Pis as a gift

In 1923, a Brussels native built a Manneken Pis replica in his garden in Coxyde. He named it “le nouveau bourgeois de Coxyde” or “the new bourgeois from Coxyde”. When the property owners changed, the little boy was replaced by a statue of the Virgin Mary. In 2008, the Order of the Friends of Manneken Pis gave a new copy of the statue to the city of Coxyde to put in the same spot.

Another reproduction we couldn’t leave out is found in the city of Colmar in Alsace. For the 4th anniversary of Colmar’s liberation in 1922, the city of Brussels and the mayor Adolphe Max presented this statue to the mayor of Colmar. It was erected in memory of the suffering that these two populations endured during German occupation.

In the depths of Denmark on the island of Fyn, a little Manneken Pis pees in Bogense. History tells us that in the 19th century, a baby was found on a ferry. The parents were nowhere to be found, so the child was adopted and raised by the city’s butcher. This boy would grow up to be the Consul Willum Fonns. To thank the city that raised him, he offered a replica of the Brussels statue. And just like in Belgium, this Manneken Pis is a local star that gets dressed up on special occasions. 

Have you ever heard of the city of Broxeele near Dunkerque? A little Manneken cousin is there as well. In 1980, the city of Brussels gave a replica to Broxeele for their millenary and in honor of the common etymology of the two cities. Unfortunately, the bronze reproduction was stolen several years later. But they didn’t expect that the Order of the Friends of Manneken Pis would give them a new version in 2011. This time, it is made of resin.

 

Manneken Pis : a star in Asia

Manneken Pis is truly a star in Asia. From Japan to Vietnam to Cambodia, the small statue has made himself known in the most hidden places on the continent. The reason for this fascination is still a mystery. 

Manneken Pis : a star in Asia

In Japan, the ketje idea was taken up in numerous places. In Tokyo, for example, one of the greatest versions is located in the Hamamatsucho train station between platform 3 and 4. All of his 46 cm slips on a new outfit every month. 

In 1962, the alpine botanical gardens near Mount Rokko in the Kobe region of Japan became the home of this Manneken Pis. From time to time, the statue puts wears some tradition garb.

 

Manneken Pis of Moriya, Japan must have eaten his vegetables as a kid. This statue stands taller than the original.

In the Odawara train station in Japan. 

Manneken Pis looks over the city of Hachinohe in Japan.

Kurume, west Japan.

In Taiwan, you will find this green version in Chiayi Park.

 

Manneken Pis in the depths of nature

Let’s continue our tour around the world by taking a pit stop in the countryside. Here’s where you’ll find some more peeing kids doing their utmost to exhibit their little winkle! Are you ready? You’re going to have to climb!

[Shoben Kozo in the Iya valley in Japan]

In the Iya valley in Japan, this statue took to the heights. Shoben Kozo, a regional symbol and the local Manneken Pis, is taking a risk by relieving himself over a 200 meter cliff. 

[At the top of the Col de la Schlucht]

Next, off to Vosges in France. Here the “Petit Julien” pees at 1139 meters of altitude.

 

Manneken Pis in amusement parks

European amusement parks love to feature Manneken Pis. Attention, the Dutch have saved us a not so attractive surprise…

Manneken Pis in amusement parks

Nor far from Madrid, you will find an exact copy of the Brussels statue, backdrop and gate included. At Parque Europa, a kind of Spanish Mini Europe, our little national hero stands imposingly just a stone’s throw from the Atomium, the Eiffel Tower, and even The Little Mermaid of Copenhagen.

It sure is cheesy, but the amusement park in Duinrell, Netherlands has this version. He pivots on his own and gives onlookers a nice spray.

Not far from the Gauloise galleries in Parc Astérix in France, a tiny Manneken Pis pees into a tiny fountain.  What is he doing there? It’s a reference to the comic book Astérix chex les Belges. 

 

Manneken Pis: a commerical star

In Finland, our Manneken is the star of an advertisement for an antifreeze product. We learned that below freezing temperatures pose no problem for this peeing statue in the city of Naruska… which is not the case in Brussels! The Finns have found a solution so that their Manneken can empty his bladder no matter how cold it is! Thank you Lasol!

 

Miscellaneous Manneken Pis 

Yes, there’s more! We even found replicas of the Brussels fountain in Brazil, Spain, Braine-l’Alleud, Poitiers…

Miscellaneous Manneken Pis

In Braine-l’Alleud, “El Gamin qui Piche” is a monument at the foot of the Estrée viaduct. It dates back to 1928.

In 1908, the Manequinho was sculpted in Rio de Janeiro. Inspired by his Brusseleir cousin of course.

At the main police station in Poitiers.

Two Belgian bars in Washington D.C., the B Too and the Belgacafé, pay homage to this little guy by serving alcohol directly from the “Little Whizzer”… 

Somewhere in Ayamonte in Spain. 

 

We have something to admit. So this statue we have been talking about, the one at the corner of Rue de l’Etuve and Rue du Chêne is also a replica… Gasp! The original is not the one that gets blinded by tourist selfies every day of the year. The true Manneken Pis resides in the Museum of the City of Brussels and no where else in the world! 

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