The Lace Center in Brugges, Belgium preserves the one of the oldest hand worked crafts in the world, the art of lace making. Bruges in fact is famous for their lace and has been since the early 1700's. In fact lace making and teaching others how to make lace was started in 1717 by the Sisters Apostle. They moved into a small monastery in the Ganzestraat and after some renovation, they opened the first real Bruges lace school. It caught on like wildfire and expanded rapidly. In 1783 Jozef II abolished thirteen monasteries in Bruges, but the Sisters Apostle were still able to continue their lace education. And because they were doing so well, in 1788 the Sisters acquired the unoccupied buildings of the Sisters Theresian in the Ezelstraat.
There is a rather enchanting tale about how lace came to be in Bruges. It revolves around a lovelorn young lady who wanted to her marry her beloved sculptor, but could not as she had to spin to support her family. One day she fell asleep under a tree and silvery threads fell from the trees into a pattern of flowers on her apron. She rushed home and made the design on her spinning wheel. A wealthy merchant bought it. Word of her work spread far and wide and she became famous, and married her sculptor. The Lace Center is worth a visit for two reasons – to view the delicate hand made lace and to see the demonstrations held there each afternoon.
Address: Balstraat 16, Bruges B-8000, Belgium
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