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A new outfit for Manneken Pis

The world-famous statue of Manneken Pis wore a special costume on September 14, 2023, to mark the institution's 75th anniversary. The outfit, created by Anouk Van Beurden and Lucien Tigrine, symbolized the various departments of the institute. By dressing up the statue, we aimed to bring together those involved in Belgian heritage and to advocate for the importance of preserving cultural heritage.

The official handover of the costume for Manneken Pis took place on September 14. At noon, a procession was organized from the Brussels City Hall to the statue. The costume subsequently became part of the collection of the Museum of the City of Brussels.

A strong connection to our heritage

For 75 years, the experts at KIK-IRPA have dedicated themselves daily to Belgian heritage, usually behind the scenes. And they are certainly not the only ones. So many people in Belgium are doing their best to take care of our heritage as best they can. This gift to Manneken Pis' wardrobe is a symbolic gesture that underlines the need to preserve our cultural and intangible heritage for future generations.

Of course, Manneken Pis himself has also benefitted from KIK-IRPA's services: in 2015, in partnership with VUB, an XRF analysis was carried out to determine the composition of the bronze, and a radiograph showed the techniques employed. Art historian Géraldine Patigny carried out an in-depth study of the work as part of her doctoral thesis at ULB (on sculptors Jérôme du Quesnoy the Elder and the Younger).

Manneken Pis, Heritage Expert

Dressed in KIK-IRPA colours, he wears a scientist's apron and a badge displaying a symbolic simplification of an atom (a mark of our Laboratories Department), brushes, a scalpel, precision binocular glasses, and a cotton swab (for our Conservation-Restoration Department), and he carries a camera (indicating our Documentation Department, its photographic inventories, and scientific imaging services). A KIK-IRPA identification badge is visible on his belt.

Anouk Van Beurden created the costume; multi-disciplinary artist Lucien Tigrine the accessories. Anouk, who has already worked in the Textile Studio, is a seamstress and specialist in fabric conservation. She didn’t have an easy task: the costume had to meet numerous unexpected technical requirements. As for Lucien, he specialized in 3D printing and was able to create a miniaturized replica of the precision binocular glasses. Thank you both for your wonderful work.

Revealing the costume

The proposal had been reviewed and approved by a committee consisting of members from the Friends of the Order of Manneken Pis and representatives from the City of Brussels. The official handing-over ceremony was organized for September 14th at 11 a.m. After a speech from Hilde De Clercq, Director of KIK-IRPA, the costume was given to the city authorities, who gave it to Manneken Pis' official dresser. A procession then moved to Manneken Pis at the corner of Rue de l'Étuve and Rue du Chêne in Brussels by 12 p.m. The new costume was on display until 6 p.m, after which it joined the collection of the Museum of the City of Brussels.

It was a magical moment to celebrate 75 years of science dedicated to Belgian heritage and to draw attention to the work of everyone in the heritage sector in general!

Thanks to the College of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Brussels and Alderwoman Delphine Houba, and the official dressers of Manneken Pis, Mr. Nicolas Edelman, and Gianni Cudicio.

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