Atomium (Brussels - Belgium)

There are some symbolic icons to Brussels and the most famous one, after Manneken pis has to be the Atomium. This was built in 1958 and was designed by engineers André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak. Standing monumental (yeah, its visible from the Basilica's balcony panorama) at 120m height this actually symbolizes the iron crystal's actual shape with 9 atoms which has been magnified 165 billion times. Next time you hold an iron bar in your hand, or just a nail or a bolt or a hammer or a grill, its difficult to get this image or the weird feeling that what you're holding is actually several billions of that structure put together, out of the mind!!!
It comprises of 9 spheres (to depict the 9 atoms). This is the best way to understand perspective. Though all the spheres are exactly the same size, it never feel so. The tubes that connect the spheres have 3.30m diameter and 23-26m length. These tubes serve as the transport (by escalators or stairs) between the spheres. So they've been built to comfortably hold human height. Apart from the escalators, there are 80 steps that goes up & 167 that goes down (yeah, going up & coming down is one 2 different routes).

Originally it was plated with aluminium and during the renovation in 2006, it was replaced with stainless steel. There are (almost) vertical supports in the lower 3 spheres which was not a part of the original design plan. However to keep it safe and to prevent it from toppling over in heavy winds, these support systems were added. Since the upper 3 spheres do not have any such support (which would kill the original design, if it was done), its used only for technical access. 

One of the lower 3 spheres, can be hired for events (how about getting married there?!!). The walking tour takes you through the other 2 lower spheres and the lower & middle vertical spheres, thru the 2 levels in each of them. 
One of the lower spheres is strictly for kids!!! It was way too cute and I just cursed myself for being an adult!!! It was filled with colorful spherical installations which are actually beds!! There's a height spec chart outside and unless you fall below the specified height you can't go in. I still wonder, what if an adult is shorter that that height can go in. It wasn't too less, it was about 5 ft (to accommodate teens) and I've met so many adults who are 5ft!!!
The spheres tell a lot about their history, construction, the usage of the structure in popular art etc. 2 of the sections also have an amazing light & sound effect that's almost disco like!! The escalators have a lighting system that's similar to Ripley's black hole effect. Its just magical! When you go to one of those lighting effect section of the spheres, and if it seems slow & dull - wait, just wait! The beats would increase and the lighting would get more crazy and make the place a dance floor!
After exploring the 4 spheres and coming down, there's one long queue to access the elevator to reach the topmost sphere and its totally worth it! There's a restaurant atop it all. I didn't eat there, so I have nothing to say about it. 
There's a free (€2 is refundable deposit) locker in the basement where backpacks, baby strollers etc can be kept. Just like IAmsterdam, here was the lettering beWELCOME!!! And on the other side was the installation called Rockgrowth by Arik Levy. 

In red, it gives adds the necessary pop of color in the grey & silver environment. On every end, there's a mirror which makes the whole installation, way too interesting. 

To Get There:
Nearest metro/tram station: Heysel/Heizel
Timings: 10AM to 6PM (last entry 5:30pm)
Entry ticket: €12
It can be purchased online on their website

P.S: I was invited by Atomium to experience it for review purposeshowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

P.S: The photographs of Atomium were clicked by me but the structure/architecture/image of Atomium are copyrighted to Atomium till the year 2075 CE and these are being used in this blog and related social media with prior permission.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

16 comments:

  1. There are blog posts that after reading we still have questions in mind and this one is sound unfamiliar cause I have only heard about it, but you have given all the information that I need to know. This is very interesting and really well written and on the technical side, it is very well elucidated.

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  2. I would want to get into those lower spheres. They look cute. I am sure that I would fit because I am petite. They should renovate it more so that it will last for a long time. I like that you mentioned about the lockers. I have visited other tourist destinations and I wished they have lockers. I carry a lot of things such as bottle of water, extra shirt and so on, it would be nice to leave them in a safe place while I enjoy my tour.

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  3. The restaurant at the top must have booming business because it will be really cool to boast about dining there with friends. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience to explore the Atomium.

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  4. The atonium would be a really nice place to visit. Aside from be awed by the structure, you also get to learn a lot of things here.

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  5. This must be a once in a lifetime experience to enjoy dining with family and friends at such a gorgeous place.

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  6. The place look spectacular! I want to get inside it, too, and climb at the top of the Atomium. Wonderful view from up there! -Claire Algarme

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  7. What an interesting place to see from the inside. I would not have considered going inside the Atomium but now, I will.

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  8. So jealous that you get to visit all these amazing places in Europe! Love seeing you have fun with the figures! :D

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  9. I have seen this image many times many places. Good to read in detail about it in your blog.

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  10. OMG!!! Love this place so much! Was planning a trip to Europe soon! This will sure be in my list :) Thanks for sharing

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  11. Wow, I'm surprised by your wide interest! Do you think it's worth the 11 pounds? It isn't exactly very expensive, but it ain't cheap for big families...

    Plus is there really people getting married there? Hahaha

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  12. This place looks so lovely. I want to go there and take pictures! You are so luck dear!

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  13. I'd wish to go there one day.. This atomium is really unique place to visit..

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  14. So whats the significance of this atom structure omto brussels?

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  15. The atomium is a lot bigger than i thought at 120m. There's a lot more to the atomium than meets the eye, it's hard to see they are all the same size. I didn't imagine it was possible to go inside them too, €12 is good value for the view from the top most sphere.

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  16. Atominium is the Eiffel tower of Bruxells. Interesting insights.

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