🇧🇪 Aalter is a municipality located between Bruges and Ghent in the Belgian province of East Flanders. The municipality comprises the towns of Aalter, Bellem, Lotenhulle [nl], Poeke [nl], Knesselare and Ursel [nl]. It is bordered on the north by Maldegem, on the east by Zomergem and Nevele, on the south by Deinze, and on the west by the province of West Flanders. The mayor is Pieter De Crem. Effective 1 January 2019, the municipality of Knesselare was merged into Aalter.
Aalter is located on the border of the Meetjesland with the forest of Flanders. The area was inhabited since prehistory. Artefacts have been recovered from 3,000 to 2,000 BC. The village was first mentioned in 1974 as "Villa Haleftra". The etymology is unclear. The current name started to emerge around 1700. Aalter to home to several small heerlijkheden (landed estates) some of which had motte-and-bailey castles. Between 1613 and 1623, the Ghent-Bruges Canal [nl] was dug, and several fortifications were built by Spanish against the Dutch. In 1838, a railway station opened and Aalter started to developed into a town which nowadays has many commuters.
Aalter has a population of over 29,242 people. Aalter also forms part of the wider Ghent Arrondissement which has a population of over 553,961 people.