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MoMu has a hugely important collection of lace, partially due to the fact that one of the curators on staff is an international expert in the stuff. “When we get the chance to purchase an important piece of lace then we will try to get it,” Mertens says, pulling out the box pictured above. “This is one is something people don’t recognize: It’s lace which was put in silk stockings so that just on top of your foot there was this decoration in lace, and then you could see the skin through so it was rather playful. It’s very expensive. This is 19th century, this lace. But we also have 17th century lace because of my colleague, who has been collecting for the last 30 years.”