Join Me this April at the Bookbinders’ Fair in Belgium!

More than 20 years ago Karli Frigge a renowned Dutch bookbinder and paper marbler started a new fair for bookbinders in Belgium. There is a long tradition of bookbinding and papermaking in this part of Europe. There also is a tradition of bookbinding fairs in the Netherlands. However, this new event started as a tiny thing in a back room of a cafe in Antwerp.

Years later and after changing several venues and finding a new home in the town of Sint Niclaas next to Antwerp, this fair is a vibrant gathering of bookbinders and book lovers from The Netherlands, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Germany and even Russia and the USA. More than 700 visitors come here and are welcomed by about 60 participants.

This year the 22nd Bookbinders’ Fair is scheduled for the 15th of April.

At the first event, Karli was joined by were some pioneering Dutch colleagues who were already used to be present at the Dutch Fairs. Henk de Groot (Inden witten Hasewint) with his parchments and fish leather, Arie Butterman (miller of the last working Dutch Paper-Windmill, De Schoolmeester), Robert Damen (proprietor a big stationery and decorated papers shop in The Hague), Harmatan Leathers from the United Kingdom, all of them are participants from the very beginning and until the present day.

In 1998 Ida Schrijver joined Karli in the organization of the Fairs and became the general manager of the even in 2001. A similar fair was launched in Cologne (Germany) in 2000.

I wanted to visit the fair since the moment I found out about it several years ago. However, it was always just the wrong time of the year, because April is a hectic month for me. However, now, when I have moved to the Netherlands, things are entirely different. I have even decided not only to visit, but to join as a participant, and was kindly welcomed by Ida to join the crowd.

So, if you are in the area, I suppose it is worth visiting and checking all the wares, workshops and demonstrations. What’s even better, it would be a chance for me to meet with some of the readers of iBookBinding. Or at least I hope so.

As my woodworking workshop is still in transit from Moscow, all of my wooden equipment will not be sold at the Fair. However, I plan to bring with me lots of different 3d-printed tools and jigs for bookbinding. Including corner-cutting thingies, rounding forms, and some other stuff.

Hope to meet you in Sint Niklaas this April!