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The city hall itself is nowadays the oldest of the Benelux.
Renovation works on the complete structure started in 1886. Several parts were reconstructed rather with improvisation, since historical architectural data was lacking.
The building has been used again from 1981 up until today by the city council, after they had left the building in 1801.
The rear façade of the city hall is early gothic, while the windows of the lower floors are Romanesque.
Again the city hall was severely damaged by fire in 1879 after an accident with firework.
In 1978 renovation works started again. This time the interior of the building was reconstructed: wooden beams were changed for steel and concrete, new stairs were placed, etc….
The city hall itself was constructed in 1225 to provide the seven aldermen of the County of Aalst the necessary facilities in order to fulfill their duties.
Construction works of the belfry tower finally resumed in 1460 after they had been halted in 1409.
On October 13, 1943 the building was declared a monument. At that moment the building was primarily used as an archive and museum.
Today two rooms of the basement are accessible to the public and they’re mainly used for exhibitions.
Up until 1650 there was an altar in the city hall.
On the frontal façade of the belfry tower are two knight looking statues. They both represent the Counts of Flanders and the Counts of Aalst.
The current carillon has 52 bells and is the sixth one since 1461 when the very first one was installed.
De name “Belfort van Aalst” refers to the Old City Hall with belfry tower.
In 1380, when the city was destroyed by men from Gent under Count Louis of Male, the city hall was heavily damaged by fire. Reconstruction of the western façade started in 1407.
Under those statues is written in Latin “Nec Spe, nec Metu” (Not by hope, not by fear).
A remembrance to Philip II (later King of Spain), who made this aphorism to his motto and who was inaugurated to Count of Flanders in 1555.
During the Middle Ages, the basement served mainly as a prison and a torture room.
In the 18th century the cellars were used for textile production and later on they were leased as a warehouse.
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