Brussels celebrates 400 years of Manneken Pis


The earliest mention of Brussels' Manneken Pis, as we know it today, was on 13 August 1619. The capital city will be celebrating this anniversary until 15 May 2020, with a comprehensive and varied festive programme around the history of its bronze fountain figure.

Sculptor Jeroom Duquesnoy was commissioned by the Brussels municipal authorities on 13 August 1619 to make a bronze replica of the 15th-century urchin, which had been destroyed and broken down into rubble. This involved a new pillar, water basin and statue. A good enough reason to put Manneken Pis in the spotlight for the next few weeks and months.

During the annual end-of-year event Winterpret ('Winter Fun'), anyone can take part in a Manneken Pis-themed treasure hunt using a geolocation app. Who knows? You might go home with a nice prize. But before that, of course, you will want to know all about the ketje - Brussels slang for a street urchin - and his extensive costume collection in the Museum at the Broodhuis and in a pop-up display case in his Wardrobe. There will even be an addition to the latter in 2020, with a new design from a Brussels primary school. Alongside this, a scientific paper will be published on the statue and a commemorative €2.50 coin will be minted showing 400 years of Manneken Pis - 120,000 of them will be produced. They will be legal tender, but will not be put into circulation. Coin collectors and fans of Manneken Pis should hurry along to:

Read our earlier articles on Manneken Pis at our Focus website. We hope there will be many more centuries to come for our national icon!