Manneken Pis

The little boy Manneken Pis is found not only in Brussels, but also in Bogense on North Funen, where he is standing in the nice shade of the trees. The figure is a replica of the famous Belgian landmark sculpture Manneken Pis. The little figure was donated to Bogense in gratitude of the citizens' friendliness towards a little orphan boy.

In the middle of the 1850s, the ferry from Klakring (at Juelsminde in Jutland) docked at the Bogense Harbor. When everyone had left the ferry, there was an infant lying on one of the benches, and no one would claim him or admit he was theirs. Luckily for the child, there was a kind butcher in Bogense, who decided to take the boy home to stay with him and his family. The boy, named Villum Føns, grew up in Bogense, left the small town to make a career in trade and later became a consul. He donated the copy of Manneken Pis to the town in 1934 in gratitude to the town where he grew up.

Or at least that's the story... the reality of the orphan myth is that the boy was born in Copenhagen in 1869 as the son af the unwed maid Charlotte Emilie Levin and the servant Wilhelm Christiansen Fønss. It was a great shame to have a child out of wedlock, and so the boy was sent to Bogense to be raised by his grandparents, the butcher Mayer Levinsohn and his wife. The boy grew up to be very successful and rich, and he donated a fountain with a golden apple, a sundial and the Manneken Pis figure - as well as 500 hectoliters of coal to the poor citizens. The rich consul's daughter Baroness Rosenkrantz was the one to inaugurate the little statue in 1934, but Willum Fønss and his wife made it to Bogense later that year as the honorary citizens of the town. He died the next year.

Some people in town were not pleased about the naked boy, and he became quite notorious throughout Denmark - some of them even put a sack over the statue. But eventually he won the hearts of the people.

 

 

Today, he is still very popular, and just like Manneken Pis in Brussels, he is dressed up on special occasions such as Halloween, Christmas and for the Cyclo-Cross World Championships. The little park where he stands is also used for special events sucha s Rose baptisms at the Rose Festival.

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