The Atomium, the Symbol of Brussels
1. History The 58 Brussels World Fair
The story behind the creation of Atomium started with the 1958 World Fair of Brussels or also known as the 58™ Expo. Designed exclusively for the fair to be an icon that signifies the resurgence of the Atomic age, as the world is experiencing a massive increase of scientific enthusiasm. The sculpture was initially only planned to last for the whole event, which is about 6 months. However, due to its popularity and uniqueness, the cityâ€™s authorities decided to keep it as a symbol of Brussels. Support columns were added to help the structure withstand the forces of nature such as gust of strong wind; and a major renovation was made during 2004 2007, which replaces the spheresâ€™ outer layer of aluminum with stainless steel. During the renovation, LED lighting was also added to illuminate the spheres, creating a truly remarkable view during the night.
2. The Structure Itself
The construction of the Atomium was considered as an architectural feat of that time, in 1958. Six out of the nine iron spheres were accessible to public, while the other three located in the upper arms are permanently closed due to safety reasons, as the structureâ€™s shape does not provide enough support to maintain a heavy load. The central tube contains an elevator that was the fastest in the world at that time, and the escalators inside the tube that connects each compound inside the iron spheres were the longest in Europe. The central upper sphere serves as the main lookout point that offers a 360-degrees unobstructed panoramic view to the whole municipalities of Brussels.
3. The Atomium as A Museum
Originally, the Atomium was made as the main pavilion for the 58â€™ Expo. After the Brusselsâ€™ authorities decide to keep it, it was turned into a museum with the spirit of science as its main theme. The museum itself boasts a permanent exhibition that describes the journey and history of the Atomium. Another permanent exhibition of this museum is the retelling of the 58â€™ Expo in a virtual medium. Aside from the two permanent exhibitions that were always open all year long, the Atomium also holds a temporary exhibition that changes throughout the year. The museum currently displays the surrealism art of Rene Magritte, the famed Belgian surrealist, combined with the scientific Atomium theme as a commemoration for the artistâ€™s death 50 years ago.
4. Education for Future Generation at Kids' Sphere
As an educational project to nurture the younger generation and increase their interest in science, the Atomium invites children to spend a night at the Atomium to learn more about the educational aspect behind the creation of the structure. Meals are included so parents donâ€™t have to worry and the kids will be sleeping inside a mini-sphere that could contain 3-4 kids. It will certainly be a fun and unforgettable experience for the kids to learn and play at the same time inside the iconic building.
6. Dine at the Restaurant In the Top Sphere
For those who loved dining in exotic and memorable places, the Belgium Taste restaurant perched atop the pinnacle of the Atomium provides you with the chance to do just that. Enjoy the savory Belgian cuisine combined with the breathtaking view of the surrounding areas. Most tourists considered this as the best spectacle in Atomium, so visitors definitely should take a look at it during their visit. However, as the restaurantâ€™s capacity tops at 80 persons, you might want to book a table before visiting.
How to Get Tickets?
Entry to the museum requires a ticket that can be purchased online. You can also purchase a package deal that allows you to visit both Atomium and other Belgium attractions, such as the Mini Europe, Oceade, and the ADAM-Brussels Design Museum at a discounted price.
How To Get Around?
Visitors could get around the complex either by foot, escalators, or elevators available inside the building. Each sphere is connected with an escalator, while the top sphere can be reached using an elevator. Due to the facilities provided, the Atomium is wheelchair-friendly and people with walking impairment should have no problem exploring the area. You can also use this app to guide your way and take you to other tourist attractions located nearby.
What Should I Wear?
No specific dress code is required to visit the Atomium. However, you should still dress accordingly to the weather and donâ€™t forget to wear comfortable foot wear during your travel.
Best Time to Visit
If you want to avoid the crowd, the best time to visit the Atomium is certainly during the off-season such as in winter, where there will be fewer tourist queueing for the main elevator to the top area. However, the weather might be too cold for some, so if you want you can visit during the month of April, May, or September where it was less crowded than the summer but temperature was still warm enough.
Will I Need a Guide?
The Atomium provides a guided tour to make your journey more complete as they will provide an in-depth explanation about the exhibitions inside. For those who love freebies or are a little bit tight on cash, you can download the CloudGuide-Atomium apps and enjoy a commentary to complement your tour for free.
How To Get There?
You can get to the Atomium by using the metro, getting on the Line 6 from the Central Station and getting off at the Heysel Station, just a 5-minute walk from Atomium. Alternatively, you can take trams number 7 and 19 to the Centennaire, a mere 200-meter distance from the Atomium.