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What can the craftsmanship of yore tell us about our modern world? How are contemporary craftsmen inspired by traditional crafts and techniques? And, how is this craftsmanship transformed by new technologies?

All these questions are central to the 'Branded by Bokrijk’ project. Using skills from the past, we are throwing an entirely new light on current and future of craftsmanship.

Together with a group of enthusiastic professionals, we have been engaged for many years in developing understanding and discovering and rediscovering the history of handicrafts. BKRK is taking this process a step further, as we make all this knowledge and expertise relevant to the 21st century. Our aim is to demonstrate and deepen the contemporary relevance of authentic craftsmanship.

Why the name ‘Branded by Bokrijk’? Originally, branding meant placing a brand somewhere as proof of ownership, authenticity or quality. In addition, it also has the figurative meaning of placing a claim on something. Branding is a testimony to the pride of the artisan. Moreover, Bokrijk is a strong 'brand' in in itself.

Architect Bart Lens has been appointed curator of BKRK, and his vision on the direction that should be taken is completely in line with Bokrijk’s. "Bokrijk is very important for the Flemish heritage. Numerous contemporary designs, whether in terms of architecture, furniture design or ceramics, are based on ancient handicrafts and techniques that are commonplace in Bokrijk,” according to Bart Lens. "The future of Bokrijk lies in getting visitors to understand the links between the modern world and the past, rather than a mere nostalgic look back to how things used to be. It’s all about writing history, rather than showing it." Bart Lens has been exploiting his rich professional experience while working on this project as advisor and creative sounding board.

A curator will also be appointed for each craftsmanship category, and each one will use his or her own personal style to shape and elaborate the area concerned. In this way, handicraft-specific knowledge and skills will be placed in a contemporary light.

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