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Aalst is one of the popular tourist attractions in Europe that is blessed with unique and marvelous surroundings. It is a municipality on the Dender River, 19 miles to the northwest direction from Brussels. It is located in the Flemish province of East Flanders and in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. The municipality comprises the city of Aalst itself and the villages of Baardegem, Erembodegem, Gijzegem, Herdersem, Hofstade, Meldert, Moorsel, and Nieuwerkerken.
Aalst blends a prosperous past and thriving present. In its discovered history, the first historical records on Aalst date from the 9th century, when it was described as the villa Alost. During the middle ages, the town and port grew at this strategic point, where the road from Bruges to Cologne traversed the Dender. In the 11th century, Aalst was shifted from the pagus of Brabant to the County of Flanders. Its frontier position on the border of the Holy Roman Empire allowed it, however, to keep a certain degree of independence.
According to several manuscripts, it can be affirmed that the development of the town hall began in the middle of the 12th century. The city was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1360. The town was soon restructured and a new belfry in gothic style was erected in the 15th century. This was a time of great prosperity for the city, subjugated by the powerful weavers' guild. It is also at that time that Dirk Martens, a local citizen, became the Southern Netherlands’ first printer, publishing books by various authors including Christopher Columbus.
The city of Aalst is also admired for its carnival celebrations that take place every year in February. A prince carnaval is elected, who is allowed to rule the city for three days. A big parade crosses the city on Sunday, with about 70 groups of costumed volunteers and parade cars.

Presently, Aalst experiences a sharp social, economic and population growth derivative of the strategic position of the locality and the high level of well-being and quality of life that is enjoyed with respect to other places of Europe. This fact has consolidated along with other adjacent municipalities, as a great alternative for residence.

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