Legends from our own lunchtimes

Friday, September 30, 2022

Taking the Manniken Pis
Thursday 15th September - Brussels


Brussels is one of those worldly cities which everyone has heard of but no-one knows seems to know much about.  Oh for sure it is the administrative capital of Europe, and it’s got some quaint old bits and some pretty ones too, but for reasons that are not easily understood, tourists seem to flock to view the “Manniken Pis”, a tiny little bronze statue of a little boy having a wee into a fountain just off the main city square.

As we consider “tourist flocking” to be beneath our station, we had apprised ourselves of neither its history nor exact location so it was with some chagrin that we accidentally stumbled upon it and it’s crowd of admirers.  Perhaps had we known more, the fact that it was clad entirely in a cartoon lion suit would not have been so surprising, but as it was we thought some practical joke was playing out.

We even started looking for the cameras when what we thought was a caricature man in a jacket clearly marked “Official Dresser” began fussing and cleaning around the statue.  As we stood transfixed, he lovingly undressed, bathed and re-dressed the little fellow in a Puerto Rican Boy Scout uniform while a group of dignitaries from that country stood by waiting for an official photo session.

Had we undertaken even the tiniest pre-visit research, we would have known that the Manneken spends a good deal of its time dressed in a manner appropriate to world events or seasons, and there is actually a museum nearby displaying all of the outfits he’s ever worn.

We can’t help but think however, that had we done that, much of the joy of the discovery that we experienced would have been lost.  We are therefore unlikely to change our admittedly hap-hazard methodology for at least the foreseeable future.


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