Souvenirs, lace, postcards, Antwerp
Lace has been a Belgian trademark every since the Renaissance when lace-making was made a compulsory skill for girls in convents and beguinages throughout Flanders. A unique souvenir or gift, lace is light to carry and easy to pack. This particular store is conveniently situated in the square facing Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kathedraal (Cathedral of Our Lady).
Address: Handschoenmarkt 12
Phone: 03 232 91 64
What to buy:
Belgian lace is known around the world as being the most original and precise lace available. In the 16th and 17th century, when the Flemish region of Belgium had a flourishing economy based on the manufacturing of this lace, almost all young women knew this craft.
From tablecloths to other small souvenirs such as book signs or napkins, a lot of stores all over the town sell authentic handmade Belgian lace.
What to pay: The prices vary according to the degree of difficulty, that’s why the most beautiful tablecloths might be a little more expensive (EUR 1,000-2,000).
But there are also small objects perfect for gifts (EUR 5 – 20).
Around the 17th/18th century 1 out of 2 people living in Antwerp worked in the lace production. When the harbour opened again in the 19th century, the underpaid lace producers started to work for the harbour.
The lace industry was in the hands of a few families. Plantin Moretus was one of them.
When the lace industry collapsed, the production shifted to Bruges.
What to buy: Most affordable lace is made mechanical.
Handmade lace is very expensive as it demands hours of work and quite some skill!
You can visit the lace museum at the Carolus Boromeus church(Hendrik Conscience plein) on Wednesday and Thuesday afternoon and get some expert explanation of the women who are still making handlace and who are doing restoration or giving courses.
What to pay: Real lace is very expensive but if you an settle with machine made... there are really nice designs
Directions: Just in front of the Groenplaats and the Rubens statue
An aladdins cave of gifts for family, friends and most of all for yourself.
What to buy: Candles, oils, soaps, coffee, tea, chocolate, china, jewelery, herbs, spices...
What to pay: Reasonably priced.
Directions: Inside the Grand Shopping Bazzare
Part of the chain of shops specialising in bath, beauty and household products with the "flavour of provence"
What to buy: Soaps, candles, oils...
Address: Wiegstraat 36
Directions: Continue along from Oliviers and turn left (almost doubles back).