The Mannaken Pis
Wall Fountain and Folklore

Just one block away from the Grand Palace is the Mannaken Pis Wall Fountain. The name Mannaken Pis Wall Fountain has the literal meaning of “little men piss” in the English Language. Since 1143 when it was initially constructed, the wall fountain has become a prominent landmark.

The fountain portrays a small sculpture of a little boy taking a piss. He is seen standing and beaming well above the fountain’s bowl he is peeing into.

The Mannaken Pis Wall Fountain is manufactured entirely of copper-base alloy. Frequently, visitors are astonished to see the fountain’s tiny size. It is also interesting to note how easy it is to overlook the fountain.

As bizarre as it may seem, urinating statues are a common theme in wall fountains all over the european countries. Similar sculptures can be found in Gerarldsbergen and Hesselt.

There are several stories and abundant folklore surrounding the Mannaken Pis Wall Fountain. The most renowned one occurred in the late 1320s. During this time period, the city was under intense attack by foreigners. The troops were powerful and successfully held their place for several weeks. The attackers planned to detonate explosives in the town walls. However, they were not knowledgeable that a small child named Juliann was observing them. As the enemies ran after setting off up the explosives, little Juliann pissed on the fuses to stop them from blowing up. The city heralded him as a hero and made the decision to memorialize him in the Mannaken Pis Wall Fountain. Since then, Juliannske has remained a key part of the cities folklore.

The original Mannaken Pis Wall Fountain of 1398 was later on upgraded in 1629 with a similar copper-base alloy carving that was borrowed from the design of Frank Doquesnoy. The fountain has been used to dispense alcohol in place of of water. Frequently, the wall fountain is clothed and at present, its clothing is a colorful costume. In the meanwhile, there is a art gallery just down the road from the Mannaken Pis Wall Fountain which showcases more than 400 of these outfits as well as associated memorabilia.

The Mannaken Pis Wall Fountain is considered to be the cities oldest and most popular citizen. Tourists should take a quick peek of the wall fountain before exiting the city. The wall fountain has been recreated in miniature form on items such as postcards, corkscrews, keepsake statues and even bookmarks. Without a doubt, the Mannaken Pis Wall Fountain and its sister fountain, the Jeanne Pis, are memorable attractions on any city tour and should not be missed!