Tag Archive | Volkskundemuseum

Let’s Go Shopping

Bruges is a city of contrasts. Medieval buildings and cobbled laneways sit alongside busy tourist attractions and lively markets. Cars and buses squeeze past horse-drawn carriages in the narrow streets. Shops are filled with traditional lacework and divinely decadent chocolates while a few steps away stalls sell Belgian frites and waffles. The blend of old and new is seamless.

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Walk through the door of the Volkskundemuseum in Baalstraat and suddenly you’ve travelled backwards in time for a unique shopping experience. Inside this row of 17th century almshouses is a collection of olden day shops; their stories told in life-sized dioramas.

The milliner’s shop has the latest fashionable hats, created to match a new dress purchased from the dressmaker, while for men the tailor can craft a new suit in just a few days.

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No outfit would be complete without a pair of bespoke shoes handmade by the local cobbler.

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At the grocer’s there’s a wide range of food on display while the confectionery store is a magnet for those with a sweet tooth.

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And if too many chocolates have been eaten, the apothecary can help with the necessary medicine.

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At the Black Cat Tavern one of Bruge’s famous beers might be stored in barrels just like this one.

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At the end of a busy shopping day refreshments might just be the best purchase of all!

Belgium Is Famous For…#1 Lace

When I told my friends we were going to holiday in Belgium the most frequent comments they made were: “Make sure you buy some lace/drink some beer/eat some chocolate.” I couldn’t ignore these instructions and needed no encouragement to indulge in all three.

Belgian lace is world renowned and has been made since the 15th century. In Bruges there are lace shops on every street, with window displays showcasing everything from simple bookmarks to elaborate tablecloths. The workmanship is beautiful.

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The Volkskundemuseum, or Folklore Museum, in Baalstraat, Bruges has an exquisite antique lace collection and some of the pieces are more than 200 years old.

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Climb the stairs to the exhibition room in the attic to see delicate collars, mantles and shawls displayed in glass cases at low light levels.

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It’s not even necessary to imagine how these garments were worn as there are also paintings showing the wealthy citizens of Bruges dressed in all their finery.

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The finest Belgian lace is still made by hand. Look carefully in the doorways as you walk through the streets of Bruges and you might just see the next beautiful piece being created.

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