Atomium in Brussels is an iconic 105-meter high structure. It cannot be called a building or a tower or a pyramid. It is between a sculpture and a science model, and it dodges any classification. Modeled on a unit crystal of Iron that has been magnified 15 billion times, it is shaped from nine steel spheres connected to each other by large steel tubes and resting on support pylons. These tubes have access stairs, escalators, and a high-speed elevator which allow connection between the spheres.
Atomium in Brussels:
Is it a Tower, Building, Pyramid or Sculpture?
The 1965 World Expo. Atomium was designed by architects André and Jean Polak and engineer André Waterkeyn and built for the World Expo in 1958. It symbolized the dawn of the Atomic Age, the optimistic spirit of the times and postwar progress. People saw a golden future for humankind in advancing science.
Permanent Structure. It was intended as a temporary structure but its popularity with the public led it to become permanent. Over years it got dilapidated but it was renovated in 2004. Originally made of Aluminum, it is now made of Stainless Steel. It has also been fitted with thousands of LED lights which glow stunningly at night.
Photographic Tip. It’s not hard to find the Atomium, as it can be seen from across the city, towering above the north-western corner of the magnificent Ossegempark. Approach it from the opposite end of the park in order to appreciate the full splendor of its sculptural silhouette against the lush vegetation. The promenade that leads to the Atomium is a great vantage point, from which to get some snaps of this architectural wonder.
The Spheres. Out of nine spheres, three are not open to the public, one is reserved for special events, and another is dedicated as ‘children’s sphere’ and is only open for students in groups. Visitors can access the other four spheres by stairs, escalators and the high-speed elevator.
Yes, there are Elevators and Escalators Here. You enter the atrium where you can buy tickets to the exhibits and take the stairs or escalators go to spheres above. If you want to go to the top you can take the elevator from here.
Inside Exhibits. The base sphere has the permanent exhibit: ‘Atomium: From Symbol to Icon’ which is displayed on 2 floors (levels 1 & 2). It tells the history of this structure of more than 50 years old and how it became, with time, the icon of Brussels.
Two spheres (Levels 4 & 5) provide space for temporary exhibitions with different themes like art, design, architecture, and society.
A Sphere for Kids. One sphere is reserved for children (Level 6) and only school groups can visit it. There are many attractive exhibits and models for kids to learn and enjoy. Another sphere is reserved for special events.
The top sphere (level 7) is the Panorama. You can only go there from the ground level by the high-speed elevator. It is the observation deck with a 360-degree view. You can see for miles across the countryside and look down the sprawling city of Brussels. You can get well oriented by directions to various cities of Europe and beyond. Photographs from the Expo 1958 era are also displayed, all around the deck, so you can compare them with what you see today.
Restaurant in the Sky. In the same sphere, one level above (Level 8) there is a restaurant. While enjoying the panoramic view, you can also enjoy fine dining. Normally restaurants at tourist attractions are not worth bragging about, but here you can enjoy a multi-course gourmet lunch or dinner.
How to Get to the Atomium
The Atomium is situated in the northern suburbs of the city and can be easily visited by metro or car. If you are coming by metro get down at Heysel Metro Station, which is just close by. Those arriving by car can use one of the many car parks in the vicinity.
Opening Times. Tourists throng the Atomium in the summer. During the holiday seasons, it is best to arrive early to avoid the crowd and long lines. Atomium is open all the year round from 10 am to 6 pm.
Attraction Nearby. Next, to The Atomium, you will find Bruparck (Mini-Europe) where you can enjoy miniature models of famous buildings and structures of Europe. About 80 cities and 350 buildings of Europe are displayed at a scale of 1:25 in Bruparck.
Where to Stay – Hostel in Brussels
Sleep Well Youth Hostel is in the best location in downtown Brussels. It’s 14 minutes walk to the train station. The Grand Place and a host of other other attractions are within walking distance. The hostel is clean and security is superb! Breakfast is included in the price. You can book via HostelWorld and B