Friday, 11 October 2013

Taking the piss: Brussels style

The art/act of "taking a leak" seems to occupy much of the streetscape of Belgium and Europe's capital, Brussels.

There's the iconic, but also surprisingly small, Manneken Pis (translated as Little Man Pee).  The 1619 bronze statue also regularly changes costumes (housed in their own separate museum), though he was au naturale on the day I encountered him.

Not too far away, down a small alley and attracting only a fraction of the attention, is Jeanneke Pis - a newer, girl version (because you can never have enough fountains of children peeing?).

This one feels slightly more graphic and less "charming" compared to her brother.  Though perhaps it was an important step towards gender equality in urination representation?

And proving everyone and everything can get in on the act, another statue in the Grand Place area, Zinneke Pis, commemorates another regular urinator.

While this statue of a dog lifting its leg is "dry", the act is the same.

As if three monuments to wee weren't enough, a number of the colourful comic strip murals that adorn the sides of city buildings also pay homage to Manneken Pis, confirming its status as a national symbol.

Surely you would struggle to find another city in the world that has devoted so much attention to this basic bodily function?

Meanwhile, while boys, girls, dogs and others can seemingly relieve themselves where they like in Brussels, it will cost you or I 50 Euro cents for the same privilege.

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