About Netwerk Aalst

Netwerk Aalst is an open house, an international centre for contemporary art and an independent cinema located in Aalst, Belgium.

Mission

Netwerk Aalst commissions work by national and international artists within a programme of exhibitions, performances, workshops and talks. Netwerk Aalst screens the best of arthouse films. The here-and-now of Aalst shapes the engagements Netwerk Aalst develops with artists and audiences.

NNN Kunsthal vision

As a commissioning body based in the former industrial heartland of Flanders, between Brussels and Ghent, Netwerk Aalst has two main ambitions:

  • to activate the multiple entanglements it entertains with its own locality; to imagine the potential for (alternative) complicities between audiences, artists and cultural institutions that this locality may allow for, and to continually re-invent its own shape and remit in response to these demands;
  • to respond to the changing status, forms and formats of artistic production today; to understand its needs, actors and conditions, and develop new forms of genuinely responsive, reciprocal and integral institutional support for artistic creation.

Instead of working in and for a pre-conceived sense of the “local” situation as a given, Netwerk Aalst sets out to actively think through its own condition in Aalst on two inter-connected levels: as a hyper-specific cluster of needs and desires, and simultaneously as a node entangled in much broader constellations of our time.

Developing an episodic programme rhythm organised around artist commissions and the speculative motifs they put forward, Netwerk Aalst wants to work out how art- and institution-making can animate new shared engagements within a complex public sphere.

NNN Fabriek vision

Netwerk Fabriek goes back to the roots of Netwerk Aalst as an open house where everyone was welcome; activists, artists and art lovers, residents of Aalst and beyond, but also 'ordinary' café-goers and those looking for a cup of coffee or a workplace.

Are you looking for a location for your lecture, game night or workshop? Then Netwerk Fabriek will be happy to help you out! Ask your question via mail. We handle each request individually.

*Netwerk Aalst endorses that everyone is equal, and expects the same from the organisations we work with.

Netwerk Aalst is...

Pieternel Vermoortel – Artistic director
Steven Op de Beeck – Managing director
Hans Bocxstael – Netwerk Film
Piet Mertens – Curator
Charlotte Geeraert – Public programme
Sara Van den Eynde– Press and communication
Jeniffer Vansteyvoort – Production and daily coordination
Veerle Coppens – Finances, HR and venue hire

In addition, Netwerk Aalst can count on a number of enthusiastic individuals to make its operations possible. On a freelance basis they are responsible for a wide range of tasks from invigilating, exhibition support, production to participate in performances.

The board

Sigrid Callebert, Bart Dierick, Francis Mertens, Monica Monté, Guido Saey, Sanne Van Bellingen, Arnoud Van Der Straeten, Hilde Vanfleteren and Freek Van Neck.

general assembly

Joost Callebaut, Sigrid Callebert, Hilde De Brandt, Bart Dierick, Rik Hemmerijckx, Nicolas Keppens, Marc Lambert, Jan Leconte, Francis Mertens, Monica Monté, Guido Saey, Marielle Tagop, Sanne Van Bellingen, Arnoud Van Der Straeten, Hilde Vanfleteren and Freek Van Neck.

Netwerk Aalst endorses the principles of Juist is Juist. Juist is Juist (what’s right is right) defines clear and fair principles and practices for collaborating in the arts sector. Netwerk Aalst contributed to the elaboration.

Venue hire

Please send all questions about venue hire to Veerle. Every request will be treated individually.

Our history & building

Netwerk Aalst’s roots can be traced back to the Netwerk independent socio-cultural centre, founded in 1981 by a group of people who, in the 70s, were closely involved with the CSV (Centrum voor Samenlevingsvernieuwing, ‘Centre for Societal Renewal’). Then housed in a former warehouse in Aalst’s city centre, Netwerk programmed theatre, dance, literature, punk music, jazz and fine art. Until the opening of De Werf cultural centre in 1989, Netwerk was the only cultural centre in the region offering a full programme.

Towards the late 80s, Netwerk reinvented itself as a place to cultivate young artistic talent. The centre developed a strong reputation as a concert venue in particular. Activities were further expanded in the 90s with the arrival of the Netwerk Galerij, for which a number of adjacent houses were renovated to create intimate exhibition spaces.

In 2001 the Flemish Community recognised the Netwerk Galerij as a centre for fine art and Netwerk as a fully-fledged (performing) arts centre. This official recognition brought with it the opportunity to professionalise Netwerk’s activities and seek out a new location. Ultimately the decision was made to purchase the former Passemeterie Van Brulle, a vacant textile factory on the right bank of the Dender. Eugeen Liebaut oversaw the first renovation of the building.

With the advent of the new Arts Decree, the board of management decided to merge the Netwerk Galerij and Kunstencentrum Netwerk to create a unified centre with a focus on fine art. The new location and reorganisation resulted in a significant increase in the scale of Netwerk’s activities. In 2005 Netwerk / centre for contemporary art was recognised as a fine arts ‘kunsthal’.

In 2017 Netwerk initiated a transition that would result in a new programme structure, an internal organisation with a stronger focus on what was needed in the field of fine art and a renewed focus on Aalst itself. Netwerk, from then on known as Netwerk Aalst, supplemented its activities as a kunsthal with the addition of a complete film house operation and a programme for third parties. Netwerk Aalst began to manifest itself as an open house in the city.

Partnership