Visited Kantcentrum Lace Museum in Bruges, Belgium

Bespoke designer Lana Gerimovich travelled to Bruges, Belgium to visit the lace museum called Kantcentrum. If you are into fashion, and history, first thing comes up in your mind might be its famous, beautiful lace. Where this lace museum is located at was considered to be a working class neighborhoods filled with lacemakers and lace schools back in the 19th and early 20th century called St. Anne. At that time, there are many lace makers on the streets to create beautiful laces with their meticulous techniques from the very young age children. Simply it is because this is the source of income for a lot of ladies in Bruges due to its growing lace industry as well as the great eyesight of children for tidy work like this due to lack of child labor regulations at that time. There was a design interest of elaborate decoration for the wealthy class rather than simplicity. Each lace project was done by hand and it was very expensive.

Once you enter the museum, you will see a massive amounts of information enriched with history and culture. This museum consists of interesting four parts: museum shops filled with supplies for lacemakers and lace souvenirs for visitors, short film by museum staff, exhibition of various laces, and hands-on workshops by experienced, certified lacemakers.

Kantcentrum Lace Museum in Bruges Belgium
Kantcentrum Lacemaking History Museum in Bruges Belgium

Welcome to Kantcentrum!

Entrance of Kantcentrum Lace Museum with mannequins wearing modern lace fashion

Greeted by a modern lace fashion

Bobbin lace making supplies at Kantcentrum lace museum

Millions of supplies!

We enjoyed so much about every tiny information plaque since each was written in various foreign languages such as Russian and Japanese! Along with lace making equipment, it says that the culture of handmade lace became a part of life in Bruges for five centuries.

Information plaque of lace making history in Bruges Belgium
Lacemaking tool bobbin lace at Kantcentrum museum in Bruges Belgium

Once you enter this dim room, this triangular shaped screen showed us a short film by museum staff.

Kantcentrum Museum Japanese staff short film

Japanese museum staff

Kantcentrum Museum mass manufacturing lace staff short film

Mass manufacturing of lace in nowadays

After the short film, we entered the very informative exhibition of many kinds of laces. “Toveressewerk” or “Point de Fee”   – this is called “work of fairy” which you can tell from its complex structure of Binche lace made out of very fine threads.

Toveressewerk Point de Fee Work of Fairy lace at Kantcentrum

In 1889, Baron Liedts left the lace collection of his late wife, Baroness Augusta Liedts to the city of Bruges. This is the shawl in black chantilly lace from the mid 19th century.

Lace shawl in black chantilly lace from the mid 19th century at Kantcentrum

We also saw this beautiful, long lace in the exhibition case which was actually no light unless you turned on in order to preserve the original color of this historical 17 century’s lace. During the lent, this religious lace cover was used in order to part the altar in church. Only the edge of it is made with bobbin lace, and other part is made of older laces such as fillet lace, net lace, and more.

Exhibition pf religious 17th century lace made of fillet lace net lace bobbin lace at Kantcentrum
Religious 17 century lace cover for the altar during the lent in church at Kantcentrum

This is the lace handkerchief edging in valenciennes with round mesh, which is typical for Bruges.

lace handkerchief edging in valenciennes particular lace in Bruges at Kantcentrum

This lace is called Mechlin, another nickname is the queen of laces due to its complexity and enormous cost. This was meant as an official gift among royalty. Maria Theresa of Austria, who later became Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, wore a dress which the neckline was edged with Mechlin lace.

Mechlin the queen of laces official royal gift at Kantcentrum

This Mechlin lace is from mid 18th century

This is a fusion of religious art and modern fashion. In 2001, famous fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester designed a gown for the statue of the Virgin Mary in Saint Andrew’s church in Antwerp.

lace gown for the statue of the Virgin Mary in Saint Andrew’s church in Antwerp designed by Ann Demeulemeester

Application on machine net and lille and paris bobbin lace

This beautiful lace collar is made of Point d’Angleterrer, English point, which is actually made in Brussels. During the 17 century, English parliament banned importing foreign laces in order to protect English lace manufacturers. However, English lacemakers could not make a quality lace like the ones made in Brussels. Thus, they smuggled laces and named them Point d’Angleterrer, English point.

Lace collar made of Point d’Angleterrer English point at Kantcentrum

Then, we walked into the workshop upstairs. There were several grandmothers who were making handmade laces with such a fast speed!! They pinned the pattern, then just go along with bobbins with the speed of light! One of them communicated us in common language which is our hands! She showed us by hand that she learned lace making when she was nine years old at the lace school, which was a norm at that time.

Bobbin lace workshop by lacemaker at Kantcentrum Museum Bruges Belgium
Historical Bobbin lace workshop by certified lace maker at Kantcentrum Museum Bruges Belgium
Bobbin lace workshop creating the long lace shawl at Kantcentrum Museum
Cultural skill of Bruges bobbin lace workshop at Kantcentrum

We are so grateful to see those grandmothers are proud of their precious skill of lace making, and keep their tradition still now here in Bruges. Kantcentrum museum also offer workshops where a teacher teaches several students this bobbin lace technique.

As a bespoke designer, Lana Gerimovich was inspired by its quality craftsmanship and historical “art of work” that still thrive today in Bruges, Belgium.

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Hi Lana,

    My name is Sabrina and I work for Visit Bruges. Part of my job is to manage our social media channels.

    I just came across your lovely short video of lace making on https://www.instagram.com/p/BP8iPgghJDS/?tagged=visitbruges and then proceeded to your website to read your blog post about your Kantcentrum visit. It’s very well written, thank you for taking the time!

    We’d love to share your blog post on our social media next week and it would be nice to add your short video as a teaser. Would you mind sending me your video so I can prepare a post for Facebook and Twitter? We’ll make sure to tag you of course.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    With kind wishes from Bruges,

    Sabrina Ide
    Visit Bruges

  2. Hello Sabrina,

    Certainly, we would love to share our short video, and our blog post as well!
    It was such a pleasure as a fashion designer to indulge myself in history of Bruges and traditional lace making!
    We will be sending an email with the video shortly via email.

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