Manneken Pis, the most famous inhabitant of Brussels, celebrates his th birthday. Although its origins are older, the bronze statue of the peeing boy as we know it today was made in With a mere 58 cm, Manneken Pis has grown from a fountain into the symbol of Brussels, known throughout the world. The little boy incarnates the carelessness of the inhabitants, but also their resistance.
The History Of Manneken Pis, Brussels, In 1 Minute
Manneken Pis - Wikipedia
The statue most probably started out as a public fountain, with the peeing boy as a homage to the tanners, as medieval tanners let children and street urchins pee on leather to make it more supple. Time passed and people forgot how the statue got there in the first place, so incredible legends started to explain its origins. The most popular story states how the little peeing boy saved the capital. In this tale, Brussels was surrounded by enemies.
The Legendary Stories of Manneken Pis
There are many fables that surround his origins; some are believable, while others are downright bizarre. It was not uncommon to let children urinate on leather since the ammonia in urine helps to make the leather more supple. Of course, there is no way of knowing whether Manneken Pis was truly an homage to the tanners. Another popular story states how the boy saved the city of Brussels.
It also embodies their sense of humour called zwanze in Brussels' dialect  and their independence of mind. The earliest mention of the existence of Manneken Pis can be found in an administrative text, dating from —, about the water lines supplying the fountains of Brussels. From the beginning, the fountain played an essential role in the distribution of drinking water.