Netwerk is a Centre for Contemporary Art which promotes contemporary art and is one of the most active art institutions in East Flanders. The Center offers a comprehensive art programme with exhibitions, lectures, debates, creative workshops, screenings and concerts. Annually, Netwerk produces several dozen artistic events and presents the work of Belgian and foreign artists. It maintains relationships and conducts exchanges with numerous European art institutions.
The center is located in the spacious, renovated industrial building (an old tobacco factory) with a flexible infrastructure: an ideal environment for artists to experiment and perfect for visitors to experience and contemplate art.
Offices: Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 18:00; closed on holidays
Exhibitions: Tuesday – Sunday, 14:00 – 18:00; closed on holidays
Facilities: Documentation Center, Café, WiFi Internet
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
The station and the whole neighbourhood was designed in 1852.
The architect , J.P. Cluysenaer found inspiration in Amsterdam for the colonnade , the borse.
The corner tower , the crenellations and the central turret reminds of a midieval castle...
Anyway - a remarcable building.
Ofcourse in front of the station there is a 'fritkot'. One of those tipical Belgian snack-huts. Cheap and a must at least ones you are in Belgium.
Anyway , Aalst is easy to reach by train...
Train station Aalst , and search how to reach aalst on the link I've posted under this text.
South of the city is vast naturepark called Ossebroeken. It is the place for a relaxing walk or a bit of running in the woods. We were there on a sunday afternoon when nearly every inhabitant of Aalst is jogging here. So maybe for a relaxing stroll you should choose another time.
It is not always the most beautiful building in cities but the railroad station of Aalst must be seen.
It lloks like a castle from the middleages.
Architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer designed the station in 1852. It was finished and officially opened by Leopold II (later King Leopold II) in july 1856.
The name of the castle was first mentioned in 1582 but it was then called farm Ter Linden. In 1677 it was owned by Priest Philippus ’t Kindt and got the nickname "the damned castle". Not only because the castle was located in the neighbourhood of the gallows, but the priest hide father Quesnel, a proclaimed heretic who just escaped the prison of the archbisdom.
In 1775 parts of the castle as it is today were built, the main building was modernised in 1913. In 1968 the castle was sold to the city of Aalst. The city uses the building as offices and the 2 acre park surrounding the castle is open to the public.
The castle is located in the Schaarbeek area along the old road to Gent.
Like many belgian cities Aalst also has a beguinage. But it doesn't look very authentic anymore. It was founded in 1261, by a whealthy citizen of Aalst.
After the first worlde war the number beguinges dropped until there were none left after the second world war. The small white houses they used to live in are since then replaced by social housing. Only the convent, church and a small chapel are remaining.
The St. Katherinachurch was built in 1787 and replaced the old beguinage church. The building style is monumental and cool, not like you would expect from a church on a beguinage.
The little chapel in honor of St. Antonius of Padua, is in neobaraque style and was built over the grave of beguine Johanna Dedemaecker. Johanna was a beguine who lived in the beguinage of Aalst. She died in 1631 of the plague. Not much later miracles started to happen on her grave. Don't know what kind of miracles, but we were there and nothing happened....
Cityhall is also located at the Grote Markt. The building is not very striking though. It is an old villa, originating from the 17th century it was rebuilt to its present form in the 18th century.
In the inner courtyard they used to have stage performances. Aroound this courtyard the old horsestables are now used as offices.
Do go through the open gate and see the innercourtyard and the striking facade that is behind it.
Behind the St Martens church along the banks of the old Dender, the area where Aalst was founded, the buildings of the old hospital are now used as a city museum.
The old buildings are great to see. There is an old chapel and ofcourse the monastery with the hospital itself.
The buildings are restored between 1959 and 1965 and the city decided to use it as a citymuseum. The museum houses old archeological objects from the area, paintings and several collections about famous people from Aalst like Priest Daens and L.P. Boon.
The city museum is open from
tuesday to friday: 10 - 12 and 13 - 17 h
saturday and sunday: 14 - 18 h
From the Grote Markt walk through the Kerkstraat and within minutes you have reached another important building in Aalst: the St Martinus Church.
This large church was built in the 15th century after Gent attacked Aalst and burnt most of it.
Although it is a large church, it was never finished the way it was supposed to be. Since 1480 it was renovated and added on to untill it looked like it is today. In 2007 there were major renovations ongoing, mainly on the sandstone sculptures on the outside.
It is a must to go inside and see the artworks that are there. Not only to see the glasstained windows, the woodwork, also on the pulpit, but also the paintings from famous painters like P.P.Rubens.
Next to the Belfort there is another eyecatching building on the Grote Markt. It is called the Borse van Amsterdam and houses a restauarant. It was built between 1630 and 1634 and is made out of bricks and sandstone. The name refers to a stop along the trade route between Rijsel and Amsterdam.
The restaurant was fully booked so we didn't eat here, but we had a light lunch on the terrace. Food was good and the sun shining in made the day.