A tiny bronze guy continuously urinating in the heart of Brussels into a fountain basin regularly makes to into the premium rankings of Europe’s most overrated attractions. However, Manneken Pis simply got his place in the heart of tourists. Even more, he is becoming big in marketing: with continuously changing costumes, he is saying thanks to essential workers or celebrities – or promoting a country, region or group of people. The list of Manneken Pis clothing feels endless. Some of them can be viewed in the GardeRobe Mannekin Pis museum.
GardeRobe Manneken Pis – Location & Admission
Mannekin Pis is located in the heart of Brussels. The tiny statue is just a few minutes away from the picturesque and famous Grand-Place (or Giant Square). The museum is located at the same street, Rue de Chene. In this pedestrian area, the public transport is not too dense, but bus 48 brings you to the stop Manneken-Pis nearby. The next metro station is Centrale (routes 1 and 5)
The museum is opening from Tuesday to Sunday, between 10:00 and 17:00. The walk-in rate for the museum is 5 EUR. You can also buy a combined ticket with the Brussels City Museum, which is (allegedly) having the original Mannekin Pis statue as well, which is 10 EUR. On every first Sunday of a month, you can visit the museum for free. During your visit, you can use the museum’s audio guide or a printed brochure for free. If you want to take the leaflet home with you, you have to pay a small fee of 1 EUR.
Mannekin Pis – The Statue
The current form of a Mannekin Pin has been set up around 1618 or 1619, created by the sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy the Elder. However, there are earlier mentions as well. It is a so-called puer-mingens statue picturing a boy urinating or simulating to do so. However, the statue in place today is nothing but a rather modern copy – several versions of the 55cm tall pisser have been stolen in the past. Typically, there are quite a lot of people around the famous founding located in the corner of a street. At certain occasions, by the way, there is no water running through little Mister Manneken Pis, but beer – which is then given for free to people around.
GardeRobe Manneken Pis – The Visit
The museum is actually not that large and features a two-sided display of costumes in the middle of the room and some additional showcases on the walls. As the costumes as such are also not that large you still get quite a nice overview of all the cultural and national liinks represented by former Mannekin Pis costumes. Unfortunately, the glass has been reflecting quite heavily during my visit, which reduces the picture quality significantly.
A very nice feature of the museum are interactive screens, which give you a much deeper overview of all the costumes produced. You can also browse by country represented or by topics in there and receive quite some nice additional information. I loved the range of topics represented. My favorite was likely the Obelix-shaped costume, but I also liked that one costume memorized the anniversary of the German Reunion or wearing a Latvian ice hockey jersey. There are even some costumes related to my home town Cologne, like the Ehrengarde carnivals corps one. This also illustrates the vast range of costumes which have been created for the tiny guy.
GardeRobe Manneken Pis – Services
The souvenir shop just has a few items. One thing I liked is that there are stations which allow you to dress a Mannekin Pis statue on your own – especially kids felt to enjoy it…
GardeRobe Manneken Pis – My View
First of all, visiting GardeRobe Manneken Pis is definitely a better way to spend time than to fight for a good spot to see the tiny guy doing his job. The museum is small, but it is entertaining and also educating. The rather old costumes have been the highlight of my visit, but I also liked to see the wide range of topics which is represented by the different styles. Especially in combination with the City Museum, it is a nice hang-out in the Belgian capital, which will not take you longer than 20 to 30 minutes.
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