The Dender Region derives its name from the winding Dender River. Four marvellous cities are connected by the river: Dendermonde, Aalst, Ninove and Geraardsbergen (Flemish Ardennes). They have a lot to offer with regard to folklore, history and tradition.
The Bayard city of Dendermonde lies where the Dender River flows into the Scheldt River. For centuries the city made furore as a fortified town. It's known for its Bayard, the folklore of the Guild Giants, a rich jazz tradition and its headcheese. The medieval City Hall and the former Vleeshuis are eye-catchers on the Grote Markt.
Monuments and traditions that gained a place on the World Heritage List: the Sint-Alexius beguinage (one of the 13 Flemish beguinages on the World Heritage list), the City Hall with Belfry, and the Bayard tradition with the Bayard procession. The age-old steed parades through the streets with four children on its back once every 10 years.
Aalst is associated with satirical carnival processions and tasty open-faced pies. But the second city of East Flanders has even more to offer. It is the hometown of Pieter Daens and Louis-Paul Boon, whose life and work are explained in 't Gasthuys - Municipal Museum. The Grote Markt, with its many monuments, is much-loved by culture lovers. The 'Oud Schepenhuis' is the oldest alderman's house to have survived in the Low Countries. It's an imposing building with a belfry that dates from 1225!
Monuments and traditions that gained a place on the World Heritage List: the Belfry tower of the 'Oud Schepenhuis' and Aalst Carnival, otherwise known as 'Oilsjt Carnaval'. They all cover the same thing: a three-day, carnival-like popular festival.
With a rich textile past and cut in two by the Dender River, Ninove is a cosy provincial town that proudly bears the 'honorary title' of 'oldest, boldest and wisest' of all cities. The leaning tower of the church of Our Lady is an eye-catcher. The church was once part of the Norbertine Abbey complex; you can still see the foundations in de archaeological garden.