Built in 1958 for the Brussels World Fair, symbolising a crystal molecule of metal by the scale of its atoms, magnified 165 billion times. It was not intended to stay after the fair, but due to popularity it has become a permanent attraction in Brussels.
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 With the restauration the old lights outside, that were not in use anymore, have been replaced by new ones.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 : email@example.com
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.
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