When it comes to pee, there are so many things to know about Brussels. The big amount of beers we consume causes certainly an important functioning of the bladder. But for the rest, our peeing attitude is quite similar as all of you! Except for one of us…
You may have heard about him. He is our oldest, most loved and respected citizen. He is even our symbol. Manneken Pis! It literally means : little man peeing. He is peeing now for more than 500 years! Continuously! Well almost. A few scums have tried to stop him, but it didn’t end well for them. We don’t know exactly how old he is, but we know that he was already supplying the neighborhood with fresh water since 1451, at least. That year, the city inventoried a list of public fountains. Before even America was discovered. Can you imagine? There. Peeing fresh water..
But our little boy is not the only one! At 5 minutes walking distance you can find his female version, Jeanneke Pis. She is from 1987! Much younger.. To complete the trio, the city has also ordered in 1999, the statue of a peeing little dog, Zinneke Pis.
Originally, the Zinneke’s were the small rivers flowing into the main river of Brussels: the Zinne. The –ke is the diminutive suffix in the local dialect (like Zinne-ke, Manne-ken, Scum-ke). Zinneke is also the name given to the bastard dogs, living in the 16th century along the rivers. Back then, Brussels was invaded by rats and the dogs were used as predators. But Zinneke is also the name we give ourselves. We are all Zinneke!
Well! No misunderstanding! It's completely forbidden to pee in the streets of Brussels. You need to use public toilets. And this is a mission on its own! Public toilets are very rare in Brussels and almost impossible to find. You may reconsider your consumption of beer.. Soon or late, most probably you will have to enter a restaurant or a bar and ask to use their bathrooms. Don’t be surprised if you will have to pay for it (0,50€ in average).
Peeing in Brussels is not a civil right. Sometimes, it can be even unreasonable. When you pay 10€ to enter a party, spend 40€ in drinks, 2€ for the cloakroom; you don’t expect to pay 1€ for every s-i-n-g-l-e visit to the restroom! But before your private moment of relaxation, you will meet the old lady at the entrance. She is the Guardian of the Knight's Watch, she is called Madame Pipi, Madam Pee (yes yes, you can call her Madamme-ke). Madame Pipi's are generally not very talkative, but they appreciate a smile!
In the city centre. In the neighborhood of Saint-Catherine, formerly the port of Brussels, men can pee (and for free!) on a very special place: the Church of Saint-Catherine! As amazing as it may sound, in Brussels we pee on churches. Incredible, isn’t it? Well! Again. No misunderstanding! Don’t come and pee on every church you see here. But don’t be surprised if you see someone else doing it!
If you want to have a unique pee experience, you may want to go to the Belga Queen. It may be Brussels’ most beautiful and finest restaurant. The building is dated of the early 18th century and the architecture inside is simply astonishing! However, the main attraction of that restaurant are its bathrooms.. In the Begla Queen, the front doors of the bathrooms are windows. Thus, transparent. It's convenient if you want to know whether the loo is free or not. But when it’s your turn and you have to.. Awkward, right? If you really feel bad with it, you can simply lock the door, the glasses will totally become opaque. Mon Dieu!