Aalter, with an area of 8,192 hectares one of the largest municipalities in the province of East Flanders in Belgium. It lies in the so-called Meetjesland.


Archaeological finds from the last few decades show that the municipality of Aalter was already inhabited in prehistoric times. It was found on paleontological sites, a number of stone artifacts that can be dated to the years 3000-2000 BC. Archaeologists also found remains of a bronze ax, which was probably made ​​after examination 1200-1000 BC.

The name popped Aalter 974 in the donation of a portion of the estate Villa Halef (s) tra by Count Diederik of West Friesland at the St. Peter's Abbey (Gent) for the first time. This name is possibly derived from the Germanic halahdrja what juniper means. Villa Haleftra should have been on the market today, near the present church. The estate was surrounded by fields ( Campi ), acres ( agris ), meadows ( Prati ), pastures and forests. 840 and 1112 comes before the name Haltra.

Until 1800 there was the administrative organization of landlords who often extended over a number of parishes, including the most important, the Land van de Woestijne, which was a Count's domain around the Woestijnengut. This extended both Aalter and over Knesselare and had some enclaves in Bellem.

Aalter played an important role in the Ghent revolt against the Count. 1379 defeated the White Ceiling ( Witte Kaproenen ) on Aalter area of Bruges canal diggers.

The lifting of the Südleiekanals 1613-1623 in the current field of Durme was an extremely rich belang matter for the place. On the channel a number of forts were built to defend against the Dutch. There is also a ferry service was introduced which was not abolished until the end of June 2008. These were the only ones on the entire channel. 1187 was in Oostmolen a water mill, in which the residents had to leave Aalter grind their grain. Before the canal was dug in the riverbed of the Südleie and Durme, there were three bridges over the waters he: the Geetbrug that Woestijnebrug on the Südleie and Oostmolenbrug about the Hoge Kale. When the Südleiekanal was finally excavated, the bridges were replaced. From 1617 north and south sides were joined by a translator boat. The first bridge in Aalter dates from 1775.

The first railway connection in 1838 applied so that Aalter was now connected by railway with the larger cities. On August 12, 1838, the Aalter station was opened.

Main occupation was farming conditions, the house office (home industry) provided for additional income. The first true factory stood in today's borough of Bellem. From about 1800, the factory gave during its heyday 500 people work and income.

1918, the top part of the spire of St. Cornelius church was blown up by German troops, which simultaneously also wreaked some damage to the roof. The church had been 15 years earlier renovated and greatly enlarged. The damage was repaired between 1921 to 1923 by the neo-Gothic design by the architect Camille 1902 Goethals again. The oldest parts of the church ( now completely new) date back to the twelfth or thirteenth century.

Aalter was liberated in 1944 by soldiers of the first Polish Armored Division. In Ter Walle a monument to that division of General Maczek was built. 1962 an industrial area was created with a size of more than 125 ha, so that Aalter grew into a medium-sized town with about 19,000 inhabitants.

Coat of arms

Aalter used before the inclusion of the other parts of municipalities on 1 January 1977 a coat of arms with a red St. Andrew's cross on a silver basis. After the incorporation also heraldic elements of the boroughs were incorporated in the new shield. The current coat of arms shows on the one hand a silver anchor cross on a red background - the original coat of arms of the lords of the Woestine taken - and on the other a golden head of the shield with a black - and -tongued rotbewehrt continuous lions, like those from the seal of the Lords of Poeke.


Worth seeing are the late Gothic St. Cornelius Church and the Castle Nobelstede from the 16th century. Otherwise Aalter has a beautiful natural landscape.

Geography and Urban Structure

Aalter consists of the former municipalities Aalter Bellem, Lotenhulle and Poeke that form the new municipality of Aalter since the municipal reform of 1 January 1977. In addition to his actual community core Aalter always included also two other villages, Aalter Brug and Maria- Aalter. These were never independently and are therefore considered not as part of community, rather than directly attached parts.

The municipality is located in Flanders, halfway between Ghent and Bruges, in the middle of the triangle Eeklo - Deinze - Tielt and borders (see map above ): a Knesselare, b. Ursel ( Knesselare ), c. Zomergem, d Hansbeke ( Nevele ), Nevele e, f Poesele ( Nevele ), g Meigem ( Deinze ), h Vinkt ( Deinze ), i Kanegem ( Tielt ), j. Ruiselede, Beernem k, l Sint- Joris ( Beernem )

Aalter Brug -

The patch was created midway between Ghent and Bruges as a stopover option. Already in 1624 there was a market ship between Aalter and Ghent. This led to the establishment of hostels and the emergence of a residential village. In 1775 the first bridge was placed over the channel from which the name of the residential core derived. In 1938 a church was built, since 1950 Church of St. Godelievepfarrei. Rich finds here date back to prehistory. Among other things, they found a Iron Age ritual site and numerous traces of medieval habitation of the place. Here was also the so-called Woestijnegoed, residence of Mr van de Woestijne who were lords of Aalst and Knesselare during the ancien regime. The preserved buildings in Aalter Brug go back to a maximum of 1895.

Maria- Aalter

Maria- Aalter, also called Sint -Maria- Aalter, located on the border of West Flanders. Although it already existed some hooves in the Middle Ages, the area was abandoned during the 1578 Geusenaufstandes to a deserted village and. The present settlement core developed only with the beginning of the 19th century and culminated in the construction of the new church. In the population of Maria- Aalter was looked down upon until the second half of the twentieth century. Many residents earned their livelihood by seasonal work in France. From this region, there was also a veritable mass emigration to the United States.


The village center of Bellem lies south of the canal Ghent - Bruges. The village is known for its ancient farming grounds in the northern part of the territory. The area lies in the western foothills of the flat landscape of the Flemish Vallei.

Worth seeing is the Gram Mens House, birthplace of Flor Gram Mens ( 1899-1985 ). The original historical museum of Flemish dispute ( " Historisch Museum van de Vlaamse Strijd " ) has been integrated into the IJzerbedevaartmuseum 1995 in Diksmuide, because the spot was for too little interest. Today, the birth house, therefore, is still home to a biographical exhibition on Flor Gram Mens and his work.

The Church of Our Lady comes with its oldest parts dating from the 16th century. The church was built in the area, consisted of the 13th century, the parish of Bethlehem. The church was a long time only a single nave and a northern nave. Over time, a chapel aisle was added on the south side. In 1847 major changes were made when the ship fünfjochige southern grown and the north aisle was extended by a yoke. The previously secluded west tower was part of the church. 1872, the church was renovated and expanded. 1944, the Church of members of the German Wehrmacht was put on their retreat on fire. After the war it was restored and enlarged it again.

During the restoration work on the church, the chapel of Bellem was partially adapted to house the church life Bellems temporarily. Today, this chapel, which was profaned a long time ago, converted to a family home.

Even a historically important monument is the Bellemer dovecote. He is one of three typical and rare pigeon towers.


The name has a Frankish origin. Lo comes from Lauha what " small wooded area " means and hulle comes from hulja which means sandy ground or slope / Helling. To distinguish them from Lochristi, which originally was called Lo, ten Hulle was added to the name. Local will always spoken of Lue. Ten hulle or Ta Hulja ( on the hill) refers to the crest of the vegetation was left after the last ice age. The Romans built on a military road, where today is still always the " Heirstraat ". It is both a remnant of the way between Bruges and Oudenaarde.

Worth seeing is the Holy Cross Church of Lotenhulle.


Poeke is called 1139 as Poca. According to various sources referred Poeke too much like beek ( creek ), another source said Poca could from a Celtic word for "pleasant", be "beautiful " derived.

North of the center of the village runs the Poekebeek. The coat of arms of the formerly independent municipality shows a split shield with a golden - tongued rotbewehrten and looking to the right eagle on a blue background in the right field, standing for the family de Preud'homme d' Hailly de Nieuport, viscount of Nieuwpoort and gentlemen of Poeke. In the left field, the arms of the "here Pooc van " from the 14th century, a black lion with red reinforcement and Bezungung is on a gold basis. The coat of arms was granted by decree of the Dutch government on 3 December 1817.

Hendrik Van Doorne.

The former church of 1896.

The Castle of Poeke

Coat of arms of Poeke

Worth seeing in Poeke are:

  • The moated castle of Poeke and its associated domains, the Natuureducatief Centre ( NEC), the Poekepark and Hondenkennel.
  • The Arte sea mills were built in 1810 in the present Artemeersstraat on the border between Poeke and Kanegem as grain and oil mills.
  • The St. Lambert church was built in 1842 at the site of an earlier Gothic church. Above the main altar there is a well-known painting of St. Lambert P. Aerts completion of the year in 1662. From him also came the St. Hubertus painting above the altar of St. John the Baptist. The main altar itself contains as a frontal arduinen from the splendor of Count Jan III. of Poeke originating stone, he was the last descendant of the original Lords of Poeke. Beautiful grave monuments of descendants of Preudhomme d' Hailly family are located in the back of the church and on the outside of the choir walls. The organ from 1831 has been created by the Neveler organ builder Leo Lovaert ( 1802-1872 ).
  • Het caste Elke at the Knokstraat was established by Alfred and Isabelle Preudhomme in 1872, as the Familia sold the moated castle of Poeke to the Pycke de Peteghem family.
  • The former Rusthuis or Godshuis was built in 1894-1896. In part, it serves as a public library, partly it is subleased.

The well-known West-Flemish poet Guido Gezelle regularly came on a visit to Poeke. He then remained in the monastery, where he wrote poems. Also Poeke is described in a poem of the same name. For this he was honored with a street name. His faithful disciple minister Hendrik Van Doorne was born there as the son of a notary in 1841 and died there in 1914.


  • Source: NIS, www.meetjesland.be and community Aalter - Note: 1806-1991 = censuses; 1977, 2002 and 2007 = Population on 1 January
  • 1977: Incorporation of Bellem, Lotenhulle and Poeke


Aalter has connection to the A10 (E40 ) to the channel Ghent - Bruges and the railway line 50A (Ostend - Brussels). The IC Ostend - Antwerp holds in Aalter, as well as the RB Bruges - Ghent. At the height of Aalter include the N44 which links the A10 with the N49, on to the A10. 2007 to 2008 a tunnel was built under the N44 at Aalter.

Famous people

  • Pieter De Crem, politicians
  • Jan De Crem, politicians
  • Flor Gram Mens, politician and language activist
  • August Meiresonne, brewers and Mayor
  • Jef Tavernier, politicians
  • Wendy Van shrouds, singer
  • Gertjan De Mets (* 1987), football player at KV Kortrijk (since 2010/11 season )
  • Kenny Belaey, Triple world champion bike trial



Aalter maintains partnerships with the cities of Rotenburg ( Wümme) in Lower Saxony in Germany ( since 1974) and La Creuse in France (since 1979).