The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Manneken Pis puts on his 1,000th costume

Manneken Pis's 1,000th costume
23:18 13/05/2018

Manneken Pis' extensive wardrobe has reached a milestone - with the little man donning his 1,000th costume at the weekend.

The outfit, unveiled on Saturday, was created by Brussels fashion designer Jean-Paul Lespagnard and is a tribute to the Atomium, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

"It has the colour of the Atomium's silver spheres," said Nicolas Edelman, Manneken Pis's official dresser. "And it's presented with an illuminated arch which represents the fireworks and party that there was for Expo 58."

Atomium exhibition director Arnaud Bozzini said: "It is an honour for us to offer this costume to Manneken Pis, a monument which is also part of our collective memory and which also symbolises Belgian surrealism."

The tradition of dressing the Manneken Pis started in the 17th century but the oldest surviving costume today is the one given by Louis XV in 1747.

Since then there has been a steady stream of offered costumes. He wears approximately 130 per year, all according to an official calendar.

Not anyone can offer the Manneken a costume. An official request must be made to the city which is then evaluated by a special committee.

Due to his size and proportions, as well as the need to accommodate the water pipe in his back, all costumes are complicated custom sewing jobs.

About 100 of the little man's different outfits are on display at the Garde-Robe du Manneken Pis, up the hill from the fountain on Rue du Chêne.

Photo: Antony Gevaert/Belga