The 'Demermanneke' (small Demer Man) had to clean the dikes of the Dmer river. But soon, he got a bad name for the kids.... parents threatened 'If you are not nice, the 'Demermanneke' will come.
When during the 13th century, the city Hasselt wanted a large canal around the city walls, there was not enough water. The Helbeek did not provide enough water. hence, they forces a detour on the river Demer, giving more than enough water and allowing additional industry (distilleries...)
The statue was a present from the 'Order of the Demermanneke', made by Pol Martens.