Relationship between Europe and linen

Linen is a plant of the Flaxaceae family, and although production began in the Asia Minor region, it is currently actively produced mainly in northern France, Russia, Belgium, and Eastern European countries. In this article, I will introduce what kind of history linen has taken in Europe and how it has been used.

How linen has been used in Europe

How is linen used in Europe, which has a long history of linen production and use? I would like to unravel the essence of linen from history, such as how to use it to bring out the characteristics of linen. Here, we will introduce how to use linen in Europe.

Old-fashioned linen usage in Europe

Linen has a long history in Europe, dating back to ancient times. The two most familiar linen products from ancient times are "bed linen" and "home linen".

Bed linen: Linen for bedding such as pillow cases and bed sheets

Table linen: Tablecloths, place mats, coasters, napkins, etc.

Linen is a durable fiber that can be used for 10 years if used carefully, and it is highly prestigious. In Europe, it has been said that bed linen and table linen have been used as a wedding tool for a long time by putting initials in linen products. He took good care of the linen, which is a wedding tool, and sometimes handed it over to his own child.

Also, due to its good quality, tradition and history, it is used in tableware for weddings and royal banquets in the royal family. Linen is called "noble fiber" and is a purveyor to the royal family. In addition, linen has long been used as a material to be worn on the skin due to its softness and toughness. It is often used as underwear especially for prestigious women, and the "lin" part of the word lingerie "lingerie", which refers to underwear, is derived from linen. Finally, there seems to be a way to enjoy linen art. The art to decorate the room is not drawn on paper, but enjoyed as art based on linen cloth. By using used linen, you can enjoy the unique texture that cannot be put out on paper, and you can enjoy the unique texture of cloth.

History of linen in Europe

It is said that it has been 10,000 years since we humans first used "linen". Linen sprouted on the Tigris-Euphrates River from around 8000 BC and is now said to be the oldest fiber. Linen is a fiber that has been cultivated and valued for a long time.

It was also revealed in 2009 that an international team at the Georgian National Museum and Harvard University discovered a 30,000-year-old flax dyed yarn in deep black and green in a Georgian cave. That is why linen has been cultivated for a long time and used as fiber. In ancient Egypt, it was said that "linen is a fabric woven by moonlight" and was also used in rituals of God. In Greece and Rome, pure white linen was considered valuable and used. It is a fiber that appears a lot in the Bible, and it is thought that the linen culture spread from the Caucasus region of origin to Europe via Egypt, Greece, and Rome. And, as an indispensable material today, we are still proud of that tradition.

Reference: History of linen in the world From ancient times to modern times

Explaining the types of linen in Europe

So far, we have explained how to use linen in Europe, but from now on, we will introduce the culture and characteristics of four famous linens in Europe. They range from familiar to high-end, but we may be able to help you find the linen that suits your skin and lifestyle. Please refer to it.

Regarding Irish linen fabric

Irish linen making began around the time of the religious revolution. Old Believers in Flanders, linen engineers who had been chased by Protestants during the period of active religious reform, moved to Ireland. This led to the later production of fine linen in Ireland. The Flanders region has long been a thriving linen production region, and the technology for producing linen products in the region has been transferred to Ireland.

Irish linen became world-famous during the American Civil War. When we exported linen instead of cotton to the United States, where domestic production of clothing became impossible, it became popular because of its high quality. Since then, Irish linen has become famous for its high quality linen.

Regarding French linen fabric

The raw material for linen produced in France, flax, is also highly evaluated for its high quality.

Apparel makers also sell products with the name "French linen", which shows that French linen itself is a brand.

However, in reality, the spinning and weaving processes have almost disappeared in France, and the production of raw materials for agriculture has been protected by the French government and is still being protected.

French linen is said to be a typical type of linen fabric that is suitable for clothes. The linen has a hard impression, but French linen is smooth and has a high quality even if it is not mixed. It's more comfortable to touch than other linen fabrics, so you may find products that specialize in French linen. It may be because of the large amount of production, but products using French linen material are often seen mainly in clothing, and I feel that they are relatively easy to obtain.

Belgian linen fabric

Linen produced in Belgium, which has been popular for making linen since ancient times. This is also highly evaluated for its high quality, and its characteristic is its texture. Geographically, it is connected to the farmland that produces flax in France, and the quality is similar to that of France. However, in Belgium today, there are still factories that take out fibers by scuffing and textile factories, but there are no spinning factories, and they are spun in other countries such as Eastern Europe.

In Belgium, the home of linen, it is said that wrinkles on clothes are the same as wrinkles in life. The characteristic of Belgian linen is that it becomes familiar with your skin as you use it.

In addition, since it is a linen fabric that is soft to the touch, it is often used for baby clothes these days because it is good for baby skin. You don't have to be nervous about sensitive skin. The fabric is cool in the summer and has excellent heat retention in the winter, so it is loved by all generations.

Regarding Lithuanian linen fabric

The three Baltic states of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are well known as linen producing areas, and especially in Japan, many Lithuanian products are distributed. Linen has played a very important role in Lithuanian culture. Linen from the Baltic States is complete in Japan, from agriculture to fiber extraction processing, spinning and weaving.

Compared to cloth woven from French linen, it has a slightly rustic feel and tends to be grayish in color, probably due to soil and climatic conditions. Some fans dare to love its simplicity compared to the luxurious French products.

Reference: How to choose embroidery and fabric to enjoy with linen


In Europe, linen has been a part of our daily lives for a long time, and linen production is carried out with characteristics in each region. It is no exaggeration to say that linen culture is the style of enjoying linen, from clothing, food and housing to art. Is formed. Linen is still often regarded as one of the fibers in Japan, but the beauty of linen and the texture when it is used have an indescribable added value. When choosing or using linen products in Japan from the history and culture of Europe, which is also the birthplace, why not pay attention to its beauty and the texture that deepens with each use.

Reference: Difference between linen and hemp

References "I like linen" by Mayumi Maeda, published by Bunka Publishing Bureau

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