The beautiful Atomium is considered the symbol of Belgium and more specifically Brussels. It is a unique monument that was built on the occasion of the 1958 World Exhibition. The Atomium is one of the most popular attractions in Brussels. The steel monument – with 9 spheres, each 18 meters in diameter – is located in the Heysel Park in Brussels and was designed by engineer André Waterkeyn. The Atomium can of course be visited. Five of the nine spheres are open to the public and provide a unique experience of this top attraction in Brussels. The Atomium is one of the most popular sights in Brussels. / Source: 821292, Pixabay
What is the Atomium?
Many large cities have one grand monument that is linked to the city. For example, in Paris there is the Eiffel Tower, in Sydney the Opera House, in London the Tower Bridge and in Barcelona the buildings of Gaudi. Brussels is immediately associated with the Atomium by foreign tourists. The Atomium was originally built as a temporary monument, but now the Atomium is one of the most visited attractions or sights in Belgium. In January 2013, the Atomium was declared the most bizarre building in Europe. The Atomium is not just there to admire from the outside. You can also visit it inside. A visit to the upper sphere allows you to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the city of Brussels.
The Atomium was built on the occasion of the 1959 World Exhibition (Expo 58). It has a cubic spatially centered structure. The Atomium has the shape of an enlarged atom. The spheres were made of aluminum, a material that was on the rise in the 1950s. Experts assume that aluminum was chosen because aluminum was more resistant to corrosion than steel. The monument was intended to remain in place for six months. At the end of Expo 58 it was decided to leave the Atomium standing because of its popularity and fame.
The construction of the Atomium
The Atomium is 102,705 meters high. The base can be regarded as a hexagon with a diameter of 94 meters. The Atomium consists of nine spheres, each with a diameter of 18 meters. These spheres consist of 48 triangular plates of 1 mm thick. A sphere has an area of 1082 m2 and a level has an area of 240m2 (two levels per sphere). You can go to the top sphere with the elevator. This sphere houses a restaurant and offers a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Using the escalators and regular stairs you can visit the four other spheres of the Atomium:
- Basic globe: this globe provides a permanent overview of the 1958 World’s Fair (Expo 58);
- Exhibition sphere: sphere where temporary exhibitions take place;
- Central sphere: a snack bar is located in this sphere;
- Children’s sphere: this sphere is only accessible to school groups, who can also spend the night there.
The different spheres connect with each other with escalators and regular stairs. The three outer high spheres are closed to the public for safety reasons.
Visiting Atomium: location, opening hours and prices
The exact address of the Atomium is Atomiumsquare at 1020 Brussels. The Atomium is located in the northern part of Brussels in the Heyzel Park, a 5-minute walk from the Heizel/Heysel metro station (line 6). The Atomium can be reached in various ways.
The Atomium is open every day of the year from 10am to 6pm. The box office closes at 5:30 PM. On December 24 and 31, opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cash register then closes at 3:15 PM. On Christmas and January 1, the Atomium is open from 12 noon to 6 p.m., with the box office closing at 5:30 p.m. You can find the entrance fees on the official website of the Atomium.
- For groups of 20 people or more, it is recommended to book in advance.
- Part of the 5 “public” spheres is accessible to people with reduced mobility.
- The Atomium offers a guide or audio guide to make the visit an unforgettable experience.
- Souvenirs and gifts can be purchased at the Atomium boutique.
- The Atomium also offers the possibility of events, work meetings, press conferences, and so on.
- Of course, in addition to the Atomium, there are many other monuments to visit in Brussels. Examples include the Brussels City Hall, the Grand Place, Manneken Pis, the Basilica of Koekelberg, the Royal Palace, and so on.