Slovenia`s Idrija will hold the 17th World Lace Congress in 2016. Slovenian representatives were able to win over the International Bobbin and Needle Lace Organisation (OIDFA) with their candidacy and overcome the comeptiton, Hamburg, Germany. Idrija will organise the OIDFA Congress following Caen, France which will host the Congress in 2012 and Adelaide, Australia where it will be held in 2014.
The Idrija delegation sent its nomination papers to the headquarters of the OIDFA at the beginning of this year. The delegation was then able to influence the selection panel with an oral presentation in Caen, France to give 20 votes in support of Idrija whereas the competitor, Hamburg, Germany, received 18 votes.
According to organisers, the Congress is expected to host 800 accredited participants and journalists and more than 10,000 daily guests. Within the Congress’ framework, professional lectures and the gathering of the largest world organisation that represents bobbin and needle lace professionals and enthusiasts (OIDFA) will be held between the 24th and 26th of June, 2016. According to the president of the Slovenian Lace Makers Association, Afrodita Hebar Kljun, in addition to the events to be held in Idrija, professional excursions to lace-making centres such as Žiri, Železniki, Škofja Loka and Gorenja vas will be organised for the accredited participants.
As part of the Congress, many exhibitions and workshops will take place which will be open to the public. In addition, a Congress youth programme will be featured by presenting the best of children`s lacework. The week before the Congress, professional workshops will be held in Idrija. The event will provide an opportunity for the international popularisation of Slovenian lace-making, new market opportunities for lace makers and a broader promotion of the Slovenian tourist offer.
The numbers speak in favour of Slovenia deserving to organise this international event of lace making. In Slovenia, about 700 children aged 7 to 15 attend the lace school, and about 300 children attend optional lace-making classes at school. There are more than 2,500 adults registered who make lace in organised groups, meaning that every 600th Slovene is registered to make lace. This number is not including the numerous non-registered lace makers in Slovenia.
Since it is a huge organisational challenge to prepare such an international event, the Congress and other plenary events will be held in the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre while the workshops and other professional events, as well as excursions lasting several days, will take place in Slovenian lacemaking centres. A novelty that Slovenia will be the first in offering to participants will be the youth programme since Slovenia is one of rare lacemaking centres where so many children also make lace.
In 2011, the town of Idrija is collecting flattering titles one after the other. Namely, this February, it was awarded the title “Alpine Town of the Year 2011”, with which it joined the distinguished company of cities and towns in the Alps region whose everyday practices and development policies demonstrate their commitment to fulfiling the Alpine Convention. In June, Idrija became Slovenia`s fourth EDEN (European Destinations of Excellence) destination. At the same time, Idrija is preparing a new dossier for the entry of its mercury mine in the Unesco World Heritage List, after the joint Slovenian-Spanish-Mexican candidacy was rejected last year.