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.
If you ever visit Brussels, you should pay a visit to Atomium; the centrepiece of the 1958 World Expo has become the Eiffel Tower of Brussels but some may consider, it is the white elephant of Brussels and initially it was supposed to be destroyed after the Expo.
The 102 meters high and 2,400 tons weight Atomium is a structure, which represents the concept of an "atom". It symbolizes an elementary iron molecule with its 9 atoms and magnified 150 billion times. It honored the metal and iron industry and the belief in the atomic power.
The Atomium stands on the outskirt of Brussels in the Heysel Park contrasting with the Gothic architecture in the town center. It has nine spheres representing the nine Belgian provinces, made of steel (earlier it was made of aluminum) connected by tubes along the twelve edges of the cube.
You can take a lift, once the fastest in the world, to the top for a view of the city. To the other spheres including restaurants and shops you can take slanting elevators. There is also an exhibition of the Atomium in comics from 1958 to the present, and a film on the building's construction.
Next to it locates the Mini-Europe park, which has miniatures of the famous monuments of EU at a scale of 1:25. Hungary is represented by the maquette of Széchenyi Bath building!!
Entrance fee € 7, however, free entrance for all people born during the period of the Expo 58 (from April 17 till October 19, 1958) on the day of their birthday.
Open daily from 10am till 7pm
The Atomium was designed for the International Exhibition of Brussels, that was held in 1958. It was supposed to be demolished after this, but proved too popular.
It is part sculpture and part architecture, and is based on the molecule of an atom, magnified millions of times.
There are 9 spheres joined by tubes, made from steel and covered in shiny aluminium.
It is now a top attraction in Brussels, used for temporary exhibitions and there is a great view from the top!
I wasn't too sure I was going to ad this thing.
It certainly is sort of the symbol for belgium
and the least you can say is that it is a
weird monument , building whatever...
The Atomium is located a little bit
outside the city center but easy to reach.
Take the underground , line 1A , Heysel.
Het atomium is the molecule iron but
165 000 000 000 times larger.
It is constructed in steel and Aluminium after
a design of 'André Waterkeyn'
for the world expo in 1958.
Ok , it might just be Belgiums most famous
monument. It is also really bad maintained.
At least Belgium should try to keep up
When I was a kid I was always told that the
9 globes where a symbol for the nine
provinces in Belgium. Nowadays Belgium
has become a federale state and province
Brabant got split up in a Flemish and a
Here you can find
a nice site also in English about this building
and the events that take place there.
Often there are temporary exhibits or...
What the Eiffel tower is for Paris, that is the Atomium for Brussels.
It is the Brussels Landmark.
Build at the edge of the City of Brussels on the Heysel area. It was build as a big monument for the World Expo of 1958.
The height of this monument is more then 100 meters, and you have a splendid view from the upper ball.
Atomium : the biggest monument of Brussels.
It is one of the remains of the World Expo of 1958. It is designed by the engineer A. Waterkeyn.
It symbolise an iron molecule, 165 billion times enlarged.
Many years ago, when I was a little schoolboy, we visited the Atomium on a school journey. I can not remember a lot of this visit, the only thing I can remember is the splendid view over the city from the highest ball.
BBB : Big Balls of Brussels.
The big Atomium monument has nine big balls. Each Ball has a diameter of 18 meters.
Inside there is a museum (of medicine), and on the top level there is a restaurant.
The price to visit :
- adults : 6 euro
- children (up to 12 year) : 3 euro
- children smaller then 1.20 m : free
A few times a year I go to the theatre in Mechelen. And on one of those nights, I was driving home, I have to pass Brussels to go home, I decided to stop at the Heysel area to make some night shots.
Especially the Atomium is lightened very beautifully.
During my nightly shooting session, I decided to make some close-ups from the Atomium and the balls separately.
With a digital camera it is really easy to experiment and to try different angles.
You can make as many pictures as you have storage room on your memory card(s).
More close-ups in my Atomium by night Travelogue
The Atomium is a structure made for the World Expo of 1958, that Brussels hosted. It's the model of an iron crystal cell unit, and it was designed by André Waterkeyn. Like many other landmarks, it wasn't intended to be there after the World Expo but it became one of Brussel's landmarks.
Of the 9 spheres, 5 can be visited - including the top one where there's a nice view of Brussels. Or you can try and do some composition pictures, like holding one of the spheres or like some Spanish guys that we encountered, who were trying to use one of the spheres as football and hit it with the head hehe.
Close to the Atomium, the park Mini-Europe can be visited but it was closed when we were there.
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.
This Structure, lurking in the woods at the edge of Brussels has become one of the major symbols of the city. Rather like the Eiffel tower in Paris it was build for a world fair, but became so popular it remained as part of the landscape. It always seems a pity to me that the Skylon from the festival of Britain was never saved in this way, although I think the London Eye will remain a regular feature of the London Skyline.
Anyway, to return to the structure in question, the giant steel and aluminum balls are in need of renovation (which is planned) as the once sparkling balls have now lost their lustre and look distinctly grubby.
Once you have paid your 6 Euros, the lift whisks you to the top, where you can view the surrounding countryside. After that the lift returns to the middle section from where you visit a number of the balls via walkways and escalators. The exhibitions are somewhat on the ‘worthy’ side about atomic structure and the building of the Atomium. I did, however, enjoy the short silent film about the building of the Atomium, noting the chronic lack of safety harnesses. If you like black and white picture of men with big spanners – then this is your ball. Riveting.
To end here’s a joke :
Q: Why were Frogs used to bulid the Atomium ?
A: Because they spend all day going “Rivet, Rivet”.
At the Brussels International Airport there is a corner for Atomium. The miniature Atomium is located on the second floor and with it you could read some papers during the period when it was coming into being. There are also few photos available during its construction and the evens of famous people visiting it
The weekend that I visited the temporary exposition on the link between the adventures of Kuifje and Peru, in the museum of art and history, there was a big scouting reunion in the Parque du Cinquantenaire.
It was a colourful sight; there was a big scene with life music.
In the background you can see the big hall of another museum, Autoworld. Here you can see a unique collection of oldtimers, and also a big collection of American cars, like Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, . . .
Of course you can also see the famous Belgian Minerva cars.
Referred to as one of the most amazing buildings in the world, the Atomium in Brussels is definitely one of the must see attractions of the Belgian Capital, situated on the outskirts of Brussels towards the north of the city.
Symbolising a crystallised molecule of iron by the scale of its atoms, magnified 150 thousand million times.