On June 12, the Day of National Independence of Russia, there will be a significant event – the famous Belgian fountain statue “Manneken-Pis” will be dressed in a stylized version of the Russian Guardsman costume. Alexander Tokovinin, the Russian Ambassador to Belgium, will take part in the ceremony.

At 10:30, during the solemn ceremony in Brussels, the attire will be presented to the Belgian authorities by the Russian Embassy. Subsequently, the costume will become part of the permanent exhibition of the Brussels Museum, where all the garments donated to the city are kept in a special hall.

“Manneken Pis” is one of the main sights of the city. The tradition of its dressing appeared more than 300 years ago, and the first mention of the costume change dates back to 1698 and is associated with the governor of the Spanish Netherlands, Maximilian Emmanuel. In total the statue has tried on more than 1,000 outfits, gifted by presidents, prime ministers of states, as well as representatives of various nations and organizations. This includes several Russian costumes. Russia first donated a historic outfit for The Peeing Boy statue in 1958. 1975 and 1993 were also landmark years, and in 2003 the initiative to dress the figure in a Russian space suit was taken by European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne in connection with a joint Russian-Belgian mission to the ISS. Every year some European countries change the statue on their national holidays.  

The changing of the fountain statue in Brussels takes place in cooperation with the Russian Centre of Science and Culture with the support of the Embassy of Russia and the international cultural project the “Russian Seasons”.
            The “Manneken-Pis” dressing ceremony will also be discussed at the press conference held at the UEFA Euro 2021 city press centre (St. Petersburg). It starts at 15:00 Moscow time.  

Featured speakers:

  • Alexander Tokovinin, the Russian Ambassador to Belgium;
  • Serge Delvaine, President of the association “Impulse for Europe”, Vice-President of the “Reform Movement” party in the Liège;
  • Alexei Lebedev, Director of International Cultural Project “Russian Seasons”;
  • Vera Bunina, Director of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Brussels.

For foreign and Russian fans of Russian culture, the online service Stay Home with Russian Seasons was launched to provide access to Russian cultural content and for the continuation of the project despite the restrictive measures. The project is a free media library for video materials for the participants of Russian Seasons. In a special section of the site, there are presented the events of the leading cultural institutions and Russian creative teams. All broadcasts are accompanied by English and French translation.

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