Looking for lace in Antwerp

In December 2021, we had booked a trip to Antwerp to go and see the much-advertised P.LACE.S – Looking through Antwerp Lace exhibition. Unfortunately, we had to cancel at the last minute, as another wave of COVID had reached The Netherlands and Belgium. I bought the exhibition catalogue, and followed Elena Kanagyi-Loux on social media (see her videos from Antwerp here, here, here, and here).

So this spring we naively planned a trip to Europe in May around the Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum. We didn’t manage to get tickets- didn’t even get close! But we had an enjoyable trip to Leiden and Antwerp, with stops in Rotterdam and Brussels.

In Antwerp, we went to see some of the places where the P.LACE.S exhibition happened: the Snijders & Rockox House, the Charles Borromeo Church, the Plantin Moretus Museum and the MoMu-Fashion Museum Antwerp. There was no lace to be seen anywhere. As in a previous visit in 2016, I was told that the lace collection in the Borromeus Church was open by appointment only on Wednesdays.

So my only excitement was reserved for the lace shop found opposite the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal, Antwerps Kantwinkeltje, at Handschoenmarkt 12, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium. I had come across the shop on a previous trip to Antwerp, and I wanted to go back ever since.

There’s a lot of machine made stuff in the shop window – a lot of tourists are buying souvenirs and don’t care much. But there are some really beautiful pieces inside. I bought a little Duchesse lace doily – it was €37.50 and the lady said she made it herself. There must have been more than 10 h of work to produce such a piece – if it was truly handmade, she was selling it for nothing!

May 19 2023 05:15 pm | Limerick

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