So while unrestricted travel seems like a far-fetched dream in the middle of the third wave, I have thought of revisiting some of my favorite, not so popular places about which I have not blogged earlier. In this post, I am mentally revisting ATOMIUM, the gorgeous symbol of Brussels in Belgium. I had visited the European city in the year 2019. And I had loved the street art there. Personally, I loved Atomium because it stands for science. It asserts its progressive nature. And, last but not the least, it also emphasizes on the goodness of science. The nine steel balls as part of a symmetrical solid steel structure look absolutely stunning from all angles.
Atoms, molecules, cells! Who is a chemistry lover? I was a big fan of the molecule theory. So when I learnt about Atomium in Brussels, I was pretty curious to know more about it. And when I saw the picture of it, I was mighty impressed. Though the name gives a hint, one can never be sure of what they will be seeing there. It is huge and alluring. Atomium is an iconic, state-of-the art structure that excites every modern art lover. It is a giant 165 billion times enlarged model representing an elementary iron crystal cell. The imposing metal structures had very state-of-the-art kind of look.
The best part is that one can even go and see what is inside these balls. Five of them are open for the public to visit as there is an on-site restaurant. I did not go inside because there was lot of waiting time and I had reached the venue around 4 p.m. The Atomium is open from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. I would suggest to be there around 11 a.m to make the best of it and the nearby attractions. The ticket cost includes an entire visit to the Atomium, including the permanent exhibition, the temporary exhibition and the panorama. I am hopeful that I will visit Brussels again in future and I am gonna go for lunch inside it.
Story of Atomium
Today, Atomium is one of the most loved iconic structure’s of Brussels. Interestingly it was not supposed to be there for long. When it was built, it was not meant to be a permanent structure, but the good news is that 2018 was marked as its 60th anniversary. The story goes that it was built as part of Expo 58. The aim was to send a message that nuclear power is to be used for the benefit of all and not for destruction.
It also represented one unit cell of pure iron. The 102 meters tall structure was built by André Waterkeyn. The balls are made in such a way that one can go inside them. There are nine of them. And there are escalators inside. From I learn from research is that the original structure was different from today. The whole idea recieved a great response in the exhibition. And later, it underwent a rework to have a concrete structure. The idea was very ambitious for those years and it had the fastest escalators too.
Now, these atomic spheres have undergone renovation from wear and tear, a couple of times. External lights and LEDs have been added in the exterior. Apart from the five spheres used for restaurant, one is dedicately used for children now. If you wish to know more about it, you must read about Atomium here.
How to reach Atomium in Brussels?
Atomium Brussels is not located in the maintown. It is nearly 30 minutes journey from Brussels Central Station. It is located is in an area north of the city centre called Heysel. I remember alighting at the last stop on line 6 of the metro. From Heysel Metro Station, it is just 500 meters away.
I was so used to walking to most of the tourist spots that is why I am calling it a little far away. But you must not miss going here. And do plan your day in advance. Just next to the Atomium, there is this open-air museum Mini-Europe! Also, Design Museum Brussels (150m from the Atomium) might interest the museum lovers. Mini Europe takes you on a beautiful round trip of whole of Europe and introduces you to mini versions of several attractions. One can plan all the three and you can buy a combined ticket as well. And please prefer online booking. (Anyways in the age of pandemic, this will be the only way to go.)
I had a good time there!!
Atomium is not a building or a monument, it is a magnificent piece of art. It is an engineers play and an artists dream. It will make you happy and joyful and even awestruck for some time. And I quite liked it for its impactful meesage of science. I visited it twice during my stay of two weeks in Brussels. I missed the night shows there but even the day visits were worth it. Revisiting Atomium with a friend was all the more fun because I acted like a local guide.