Fernand Huts & Jan De Nul on the opening of PiKANT

Fernand Huts

“Lace is us, Lace is you. The opening of the PiKANT Exhibition will be for you a historic day that you will always remember.”

PiKANT and Lace is in the cultural, social and economic-industrial story of Western Europe a symptom and turning point after 500 years. During 500 years, Lace was part of our splendor and we knew something about splendor. Lace was introduced by the Burgundians and continued by the Habsburgs. During five centuries we could be proud of our splendor and magnificence, of the glory of our past. This is us. And now we are at this exhibition. You will visit this exhibition. Do you know what will happen? You will meet yourself and the patterns of your own thoughts here. Sadly, this exhibition will be a closing note because we are now experiencing indeed a key moment: the World of Lace is shifting.

During 400 years, artisanal forms of Lace were dominating, then 200 years of industrially woven Lace followed. In the 19th and 20th Century, the Lace Industry was the pearl and showpiece of the textile industry but is now under great pressure and is being murdered by knit textile looking somehow like Lace. Western European Lace is being destroyed in economic-industrial terms and subsequently also in cultural terms.

Free Trade is a concept we all know, that we are experiencing every day and that we all defend. But Free Trade as operation domain and space in which geopolitical power can be built with the help of the naivety of all those who believe in the ideals of Free Trade, is a very dangerous story. Under the flag of Free Trade, 500 years of Lace are being wiped out by knit products with the looks of Lace. As Europe we are leaving Lace undefended and we are capitulating, and by doing so a niche of our Culture, of our Civilization, of our Glory, of our fantastic Past is being wiped out. As Europe we are losing in this way once more a piece of relevance in this strongly globalizing World.

As an entrepreneur, I am pleading for a Europe with more strength, but with less naivety and more insight. But the number of entrepreneurs thinking in this direction is not high. In our view, Europe is missing vision and is  overwhelmed by a geopolitical strategy which tactically makes use of industrial destruction strategies.

Europe is too much divided and is missing efficient decision-making bodies. Now just after the European Elections, I can say this. Europe does not know what it should do with Lace. Europe has no vision about Lace. After such a laborious and successful tradition of 500 years, Europe is allowing the complete destruction of Lace. But I am an entrepreneur and therefore I believe that these are not prophetic words. I hope to be wrong. This is the first time that I am publicly striving to be wrong. If I would be right, the prospects of our Western Culture and Civilization are truly bad.

Enjoy the historically piquant experience and our Cultural Heritage. The PiKANT exhibition shows you who we are and describes the great importance of the Lace history for our significance and identity and describes its history in front of your eyes. And let us dream of a Future for our Lace. Sometimes illusions can be realized. As decisive entrepreneur I know this: I always lived from dreams and illusions and then made these dreams a reality.