Jeanneke Pis

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Jeanneke Pis
Brussels - Jeanneke Pis.jpg
ArtistDenis-Adrien Debouvrie
Year
  • 1985 (1985): creation
  • 1987 (1987): erection
TypeBronze
Dimensions50 cm (20 in)
LocationCity of Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
Coordinates50°50′54.5″N 4°21′14.5″E / 50.848472°N 4.354028°E / 50.848472; 4.354028Coordinates: 50°50′54.5″N 4°21′14.5″E / 50.848472°N 4.354028°E / 50.848472; 4.354028

Jeanneke Pis (Dutch: [ˌʒɑnəkə ˈpɪs]; Dutch for 'Little Pissing Joan') is a modern fountain sculpture in central Brussels, Belgium. It was commissioned by Denis-Adrien Debouvrie in 1985 and erected in 1987 as a counterpoint to the city's famous Manneken Pis.[1][2][3] The 50-centimetre (20 in) bronze statue depicts a little girl with short pigtails, squatting and urinating on a blue-grey limestone base.

Jeanneke Pis is located north of the Grand-Place/Grote Markt (Brussels' main square), on the eastern side of the Impasse de la Fidélité/Getrouwheidsgang, a narrow cul-de-sac some 30 metres (100 ft) long leading northwards off the restaurant-packed Rue des Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat. The sculpture is now protected from vandalism by iron bars.

Jeanneke Pis

History[edit]

Conception[edit]

Debouvrie got the idea of Jeanneke Pis in 1985 as a way to restore then-waning interest in the small alley in Brussels called the Impasse de la Fidélité/Getrouwheidsgang ("Fidelity Alley"), where he owned many restaurants. He also saw it as a metaphorical way of "restoring equality between men and women" by creating a feminine counterpart to the city's illustrious sculpture Manneken Pis.[4] The idea for the statue is said to have come to him while he was having breakfast one day, and he sketched it out on the tablecloth. Upon completing the sketch, Debouvrie is purported to have said, "Now we have gender equality."[2] The appearance of the girl is said to have been inspired by how Debouvrie's younger sister Jenny looked when she was a child.[4]

Inauguration[edit]

Many inauguration ceremonies were held for the statue's reveal in June of 1987, two in particular being of note. At the first ceremony, the guests of honour were the mayor of the City of Brussels and The Order of the Friends of Manneken Pis, the non-profit organisation that manages the costumes that Manneken Pis wears. The second ceremony saw the appearance of the Italian politician and former porn star Ilona Staller, also known as "Cicciolina", as a way of symbolising the naturalism that the statue represents.[4]

Eventually, the statue was put behind iron bars to protect it from vandals, as people had been touching the area surrounding the statue and ruining it. This is also to prevent it from being stolen, as its predecessor Manneken Pis had been multiple times in the past.

Jeanneke Pis is protected from vandalism by iron bars.

Legacy[edit]

Coin tossing and charity[edit]

From the time the statue was erected, passers-by began tossing coins into its basin. Taking note of this, the non-profit organisation ASBL Horizon-Espoir was formed in 1987, with the aim of collecting coins from the statue's basin and donate them to organisations looking to find a treatment for AIDS. Since then, the money has also been donated to organisations like the National Fund for Scientific Research and UNICEF.[4]

The frequent coin tossing also gave birth to a legend: in addition to coin-tossers possibly having a wish of theirs come true—a tradition associated with other fountains the world over—lovers who toss in a coin will be promised fidelity in their love life.[4] A plaque was put up next to the statue describing this:

The old plaque that was next to the statue, describing the legend of fidelity coming to the love lives of those who throw a coin in its basin

This fountain was built in honor of loyalty.

A very old custom has it that your wish will be granted if you throw a coin into the bowl of the fountain. The coins thrown by passers-by in the fountain of Jeanneke Pis bear witness to tenderness, virtue and admiration for the loved one with the wish to remain faithful to one another.

In December of 2021, the plaque was replaced with a new one, written from the perspective of the statue itself:

Cheerful, pensive, cheeky and cynical...I'm the most mischievous little girl in Brussels!

Do you love someone? Then throw in a coin and legend has it that I will protect you.

Every year, your donations are used for medical research and to help the needy in Belgium.[5]

Impasse de la Fidélité[edit]

By 2003, Jeanneke Pis had brought so much attention to the Impasse de la Fidélité that it led to the creation of the Delirium Café, which has since become known worldwide for its extensive beer menu. Several other establishments have also been set up in the alley, thus helping to realise Debouvrie's vision of making it a site in Brussels worth visiting.[4]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "King of Belgian restaurants murdered". Expatica.com. 11 September 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Jeanneke-Pis official website – Site officiel Jeanneke-Pis". Jeannekepisofficial.com. Retrieved 17 June 2014. Archived September 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Brussels Attractions & Curiosites : Grand Place, Manneken Pis, Cathedral, Saint-Hubert Galleries, Atomium, Toone, main streets, Brussels monuments". Ilotsacre.be. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Biographie - Jeanneke-Pis". JeannekePis.be. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Jeanneke-Pis". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 24 January 2022.

External links[edit]