The Uniforms of Manneken Pis in Brussels

Manneken Pis
Mannekin Pis in Montreal Canadiens sweater

I was recently in Belgium for a week to study the paintings of the Flemmish masters drink beer and catch up with my brother and while we were in Brussels we saw what is pictured to the right.

Now the story behind this is about as complicated and/or simple as you want to make it out to be. I will try and hold myself to the latter.

On a street corner in central Brussels is a fountain with a small statue called Manneken Pis. (I'm sure you can derive from the name what he is up to, if you can't see video below.) The statue has become something of a symbol for the city and is often dressed up in small costumes to pay homage to someone famous (Elvis, Nelson Mandella....), in folk dress for different country's national holidays (it was Indonesia and Norway last week), and even in sports uniforms when team's win championships. The last of those one would expect to only be relative to the country of Belgium (it often is), however it does extend to other teams in Europe (FC Barcelona the other day) and even to North America and beyond.

Now, this is not done by fans of these teams, this is done by the city of Brussels and these are not flimsy children's shirts bought at the store either. All of the costumes are meticulously recreated to be as accurate as possible - the amount of work that is put into some of them is truly amazing. In total Manneken Pis has had over 700 of these costumes, and about 100 of them are on display in the Brussels City Museum - which is where the picture comes from (even though it clearly states that you can't take pictures there...). The rest you can view via an interactive display that lets you pick the country from which the costume comes from.

That particular Canadiens jersey was worn by Manneken Pis in 1958, it was given to the city by the Canadian prime minister. The small label beneath him reads "Canada - hockey on ice". A larger picture showing the detail can be seen here. He also donned a Toronto Blue Jays uniform during the 1980's (sadly no pictures, but they had a shot at the museum). Here he is wearing a Latvian hockey uniform after they won in 2006. This is RSC Anderlecht. Here's one from Euro 2000. Dressed for Real Sporting de Gijon's 100th anniversary...complete with cider.

For more info about the history of the actual statue see the page here. For examples of more of the costumes he has worn see here. My personal favorite...frogman or Dracula.Wikipedia definition here. Absolutely abysmal official website found here - ugly Flash warning. For a beer, there is a good bar just around the corner from the fountain called the Poechenellekelder.

That is Delirium Tremens apparently.

Posted by KP
Link to this Post    Tags: Belgium Montreal Canadiens Toronto Blue Jays Beer

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