Atomium, a Brussels icon

Atomium Brussels, Belgium

I’ve been to the capital of Europe countless times. I even lived there for a few months after uni, while I was contemplating what to do with the rest of my life – amongst friends persuading me to join them in diplomatic/bureaucratic service. Idly contemplating, I should hasten to add, involving many a late night and lots of Belgian, eh… cheer.

Going through the blog just now, I discovered I have written absolutely nothing about Brussels – or indeed Belgium. Naught! Rien! Niets! Not even the merest reference to the greatest cartoon character of all time, TinTin.

Well, for shame. This requires immediate amendment. And what better place to begin than with Brussels’ most noticable landmark. No, I’m not speaking of a certain little boy micturating (and yes, that is a word), but something much cooler.

I refer to Atomium, a structure as iconic to Brussels as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The Eiffel Tower was erected for the 1889 World’s Fair, Atomium was constructed for the same event in 1958.

Atomium was created by engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak. It consists of nine interconnected spheres, each representing an iron crystal augmented 165 billion times.

CNN has listed Atomium among Europe’s most bizarre buildings. It’s in good company – with the likes of Gaudi’s Casa Mila, and the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Like the Eiffel Tower, Atomium wasn’t meant to survive beyond the World’s Fair, but 55 years later, it is still standing, like a shining totem to science. I like it!

Atomium practicals:

  • The metro from the city centre to Heysel takes about 15 minutes, then walk 5 minutes. Atomium is right across from the miniature village Mini-Europe. (Not that you can miss it.)
  • Open every day 1000 – 1800
  • Entrance fee: €11 adults/€8 students-seniors-children 12+/€6 children 6 – 11. Free for children under 6 and people with disabilities
  • Combined tickets for Atomium and nearby Mini-Europe are available.
  • There’s a panoramic restaurant in the upper sphere. Bar à Pois is at the foot of the building, offering snacks on the terrace.

Have you seen Atomium? Thoughts?

Linking up with Wanderlust Wednesday this week.

14 Responses to “Atomium, a Brussels icon”

  1. Jeff Titelius 7 August 2013 1415 #

    As a HUGE World’s Fair fan, I absolutely love the Atomium! I have long wanted to explore this historic piece of architecture and its tunnels, restaurant and exhibits! Great post my friend!
    Jeff Titelius recently posted..All aboard the Flåm Railway in Norway

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 August 2013 1046 #

      Thank you :)

  2. Muza-chan 8 August 2013 0813 #

    Beautiful ;)
    Muza-chan recently posted..Popular Japanese food, Kitsune Udon and a bit of culinary history

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 August 2013 1047 #

      It is beautiful in its own way, isn’t it…

  3. Gabriel 8 August 2013 1639 #

    My gf told me about Tin Tin funny you would mention that. Looking forward to hearing some more stories from this part of the world though =)/
    Gabriel recently posted..Wallpaper Wednesday – August 7th – I Need a Dollar

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 August 2013 1047 #

      TinTin is perhaps not as famous outside of Europe?

  4. Mary @ Green Global Travel 10 August 2013 0121 #

    Such an unusual structure! I can’t believe that it is not more well known. I am curious to see the interior – and the view there from!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..PHOTO GALLERY: Patagonia Flora – The Flowers of Torres Del Paine

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 16 August 2013 0924 #

      I think the French might be better at marketing than the Belgians.

  5. Very cool building! I don’t recall seeing Atomium when I visited Brussels several years ago, but then again, I was on one of those whirlwind 6-countries-in-10 days tours of Europe (never again)! I will definitely have to check this out when I make my way back to Brussels! Thanks for linking up for Wanderlust Wednesdays – I tweeted your post. I hope that you’ll continue to link up.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 16 August 2013 0926 #

      It’s a little on the outskirts of town, so probably not top priority when time is extremely short.

  6. Mette 11 August 2013 1758 #

    I loved the Atomium even though it seemed quite a distance outside the centre of town (- I suspect we forced our poor children to walk all the way)
    Mette recently posted..Italian ham and melon

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 September 2013 1246 #

      End of the metro line, so a ways out of town, But an interesting area with lots to see and do for kids.

  7. Eye & Pen 3 September 2013 0937 #

    I was able to go visit the Atomium a couple months ago… pretty interesting :)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch
      Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 September 2013 1247 #

      It is interesting, isn’t it…

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