What the...? Actually, it's a three-dimensional model of an iron molecule. Each giant ball represents a single iron atom within that molecule. The connecting parts have escalators inside. The exhibits deal with science and technology.
Andre Waterkeyn designed this unique structure, which opened in 1958. The Atomium's best feature is the great view from the top. The entire city is visible.
This was one of the sights we saw from our Hop On Hop Off bus trip and although we could see it from a distance you had to be quick to get a good photo when close to it.
The Atomium was built for the 1958 World Fair, being 102 metres high and consists of nine spheres linked by columns. Each of the 9 spheres that make up the atom are 18 metres in diameter. Built by the Belgium metal industry as a model of an iron molecule, enalarged 165 billion times, it was originally intended to be demolished after the 1958 World Fair but remains today and is a city icon.
Attention... Atomium hase been re-opened in Spring 2006 and is now shining and glittering. With the restauration the old lights outside, that were not in use anymore, have been replaced by new ones. So it is worth to go looking at it when it is getting dark. The old shell of the Atomium has been sold and a new one has been attached. It looks brand new now!
Over the years, several exhibitions will take place here.
Tel: +32 (0) 2 475 47 77
Fax : +32 (0) 2 475 47 79
Tel: +32 (0) 2 475 47 77
Fax : +32 (0) 2 475 47 79
The exhibition is open every day.
1st April to 30th August from 9am til 8 pm (entry closed on 7pm).
1st September to 31st March from 10am til 6 pm (entry closed on 5.30 pm).
Guided tours of the exhibition are available in English, French, Dutch and German can be booked by phone, fax and by email to : firstname.lastname@example.org
Price : 50 Euros per group (maximum 20 people)
Entrance charges (combined with access to the Atomium)
Adult: 6 Euros
Child under 12: 3 Euros
Child under 1m20 height: free entry
Adult: 4.5 Euros
Child under 12: 2.5 Euros
Student: 2,5 Euros
Atomium and Heyzel in Brussels, nowadays
A tought of a man born in the 50ths. A lot of things changed in the meanwhile: Expo 58, a universal Exposition, still carrying the scarves of WWII that time, a revolution of modern technics (IBM computer intro- the run to the moon - the first taste of Coca Cola in western Europe!!!) - 10 years later, the sixties, student revolution in Paris.
Visit Brussels Expo : From April 18 till October 19, 2008:
Atomium and Pavilion of temporary Happiness: open daily from 10 AM till 7 PM and on Thursday till 10 PM.
Atomium and Heyzel in Brussels - exactly 5 decades ago
2008 will mark the 50th anniversary of Expo 58. In those days, this world fair showcased a united Belgium and many international pavillions, from Russia to the United States of America,
From Jordan to Thailand.
The Atomium, the most astonishing building in the world, built for the World Exhibition in 1958 celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The Atomium is the visiualization of microscopic molecular structures on a great enlarged scale. It is 102 m high and each of the 9 spheres have a diameter of 18 m. Picture taken from the Atomium website.
The Atomium was built for Expo 1958 and has recently been completely renovated. I visited the old Atomium in summer 2002 and the new one in winter 2007.
The atom which is shown is an iron atom and with a height of more than 100 metres it's quite a big one. I think what impresses me most about the Atomium is its size. Before I had seen it I never expected it to be that big!
You can go inside 4 spheres in the bottom half of the Atomium and you can take the elevator up to the top for a nice view over Brussels. In 2002 I did both and enjoyed the links between the stairs especially. Unfortunately they got rid of the original escalators during the rebuild, they were my favourite. There are still some grat staircases left though! In 2007 it was so crowded, we skipped the elevator. In 2002 the view wasn't too impressive,anyway, because of dirty windows. I didn't want to wait for an hour only to see dirty windows again ;)
In the lower spheres there are changing exhibitions, the normal ticket is 9 EUR.
A trip to the Atomium at night is also very nice. The new lights make it look like fantastic at night (and as you can't see the connecting parts the spheres look like they are flying around)
Please note that you need a photographers' permit for publishing Atomium pictures (same goes for pics of the Louvre pyramid and the Eiffel Tower's lightshow by the way). So unfortunately I can't publish any of my photos here.
She was starting to look her age but was nevertheless a Brussels landmark since the 1950s and in 2007, she is yet again glistening after renovations. Don't expect a visit to Atomium to make your day. There is nothing really exciting up there but if you have time when all else is seen, why not. It is also nice to take close-up photos of it as you can see from my first page. You can get up (in a very fast lift) to the top sphere where you (in nice weather) have a good view of the Brussels skyline in the distance, the airport and the nearby and lovely royal park at Laeken. You also see in to the Heyzel stadium. After that, you work your way down the spheres which have really narrow escalators and round windows so you feel as if you're on a Tintin space ship or something. There is also a bizarre exhibition on internationally unknown Belgian cartoons as well as a quite dramatic film on the making of the Atomium with people climbing around on the spheres in the snow!
If you have children it is excellent to combine it with a visit to nearby Mini-Europe. A model village with EU landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and a Greek village. Avoid eating at the adjacent Brupark though. There is so much better food just anywhere else in Brussels.
One of the exhibits from the 1958 world fair, it gives a spectacular view of the city of Brussels. It is 165 billion times the size of an actual molecule and definitely a place for those looking for great views as well as any chemistry buffs.
The Atomium was built in 1958 for the World Fair and is modelled on an iron molecule (enlarged 165 billion times!).
It is 102m high and is made of steel. It has 9 balls linked by columns - inside you can travel from one balll to another via escalators through the columns.
A high speed elevator whizzes you to the viewing tower at the very top.
When we were there there was a Tin Tin exobition inside (I do not know if this is a permanent exhibition).
Inside is all a bit tin foil and there was MOLECULE MAN or MR. ATOMIUM! I am not sure what he was but he was very silvery and was ready to meet and greet. I hope he is still thre and hasn't had the "chop" or been updated... It was all a bit un-modern, un-revamped, un-cool & tacky that it somehow managed to go full circle and become rather quirky and charming!
Spring/summer opens 9am - 7:30pm
Autumn/winter opens 10am - 5:30pm
Always see the structure in pictures and magazines and finally I had the chance to really be there.
It's situated near the mini europe in Brussels.
It's initially being built for the world expo in 1958 and just finished renovation in Feb 2006 and now they have a restaurant inside as well.
This monument dates from the Exhibition of 1958 and has become the Eiffel Tower of Brussels. The Atomium is the visual representation of the concept of an "atom", and symbolizes an elementary iron crystal with its 9 atoms, magnified 165 billion times. It was built to honour the metal and iron industry and the new belief in the atomic power.
The monument is coated with aluminium and is 102 meters high. Each sphere has a diameter of 18 meters. It has recently been restored and makes for very striking photos especially when the sky is blue.
We stopped here on our “hop-on, hop-off” city tour, and in retrospect should have limited ourselves to taking those photos, but instead we decided to go inside. For this we paid 9 EUR. The main point of going inside seemed to us to be to go to the top, so we queued for about 40 minutes (it was a busy Saturday afternoon and this seems to be a popular outing for local families as well as tourists) for the lift that takes visitors to the uppermost sphere. To be honest we wished we hadn’t bothered. The views were OK but not spectacular as the city is rather distant and it was hard to pick out any landmarks apart from the infamous Heysel Stadium which lies just at the foot of the Atomium. I think we spent about 10 minutes looking at the view, if that, and then waited a further 20 minutes in another queue to descend. There is a small restaurant in this sphere, so a visit to that might justify the ascent – otherwise I would say don’t bother.
The lower spheres can be visited by means of escalators and stairs, and I enjoyed this a bit more as you get a better sense of being inside this strange monument. There were several small temporary exhibitions in these, including a slightly surreal collection of Barbie dolls.
It's a building represents an atom but it's million or billion times bigger than a regular one. It's an impressive construction from outside but unfortunately we were not beable to visit the interior because it was closed.
The Atomium is probably the most famous sight of Brussels. Personally I didn't find it too impressive though. Maybe that's because I haven't been inside and only saw it from a distance during our guided bus tour of the city.
I also got that pic made when we had a short stop close to Atomium.
This is Brussel's verision of the Eiffel tower. It is a wonderful landmark from the outside but very rundown on the inside. I would suggest just skipping going inside.
Update 11/18/2006- I have been told by Belgium Vt members that the Atomium has been updated and now looks much nicer on the inside! thanks to Johanl for the update!