Home >> Encyclopedia-britannica-volume-01-a-anno >> Almendralejo to Altwasser >> Alost



ALOST (Flem. Aalst), Belgium, province of East Flanders, on the left bank of the Dender ; the ancient capital of "Imperial Flanders." Pop. (1930) 38,429. In the feudal period when Flanders was a fief of the king of France, there was a small strip extending from Alost to the isles of Zeeland, called Imperial Flanders, the count of which was the vassal of the Holy Roman emperor. The hotel de ville has a fine 5th century belfry, dam aged by fire in 1879. In the church of St. Martin, dating from 1498 but unfinished, is a fine Rubens, "St. Roch," said to have been painted in eight days. At Alost, Thierry Maartens (c. 1474) set up one of the first printing presses in Europe. The town is famous to-day for its hop gardens and linen-bleaching industry.