Brussels City’s Manneken-Pis donned a health worker’s outfit on Saturday in honour of the staff of the public hospitals of the Iris Network.
The Order of Friends of Manneken-Pis led dozens of people in a procession from Brussels City Hall to the site of the iconic statue. Once the outfit was unveiled, they sang the ‘Ketje de Bruxelles’ (Brussels Kid) song.
The Manneken-Pis will wear the outfit, made up of a medical gown, lab coat, surgical mask, visor and small shoes, until 6:00 PM. The outfit represents the medical profession in all its diversity, from nurses and cleaning staff to nursing assistants and doctors, and from administrative staff to technicians.
The Iris Network comprises the CHU (University Hospital) Saint Pierre, CHU Brugmann, Institut Jules Bordet, Hôpital des Enfants and the Iris South Hospitals.
“Manneken-Pis, a major symbol for Brussels residents, did not have any costume honouring the staff of public hospitals in its wardrobe,” alderwoman Delphine Hoube, in charge of Culture, Tourism and Major Events at City Hall, explained.
“The dedication shown daily by the hospital staff of the City of Brussels, particularly in the context of the coronavirus, needed to be underlined.”
“Through this gesture, I therefore wish to thank all these frontline workers, whose action has been essential in the management of this crisis,” she stressed.
A number of representatives of the city’s medical staff were present at the ceremony, including Etienne Wéry, CEO of the Iris Network.
“The self-sacrifice of the hospital staff in the face of Covid is no longer making media headlines as in Spring,” Wéry said. “So I’m all the more grateful to the City of Brussels for recalling those tough moments and thanking, in its way, the 10,000 workers of all professions in the Brussels public hospitals, who demonstrated so much courage and professionalism in the height of the crisis.”
This is Manneken-Pis’ 1048th costume. It was crafted by Brussels designers Ester Manas and Balthazar Delepierre, who developed an inclusive, eco-friendly fashion by creating single-size clothing that can be adapted to all types of shape and reduces the amount of cloth wasted.