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Atomium


  - 3 opinions

Atomium - nice weird monument

Published by Stefano Pirini — 4 years ago

It's a very nice monument and one of the symbol of Brussels. It is not in the centre but you can arrive there easily. I was there during my interail. You can go inside the monument and see Brussels from the top.

There is a thematic park close to it but I didn't go there. Inside everything is different and unusual. I suggest to everyone to go.

His form is inspired by an atom and it takes his name from it. The guide told me that it was built for the Expo (but I don't remember the year, sorry). It's high more than one hundred metres and his balls are of 18 metres of diameter.

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The iron crystal

Published by Ana G — 2 years ago

When I was visiting Brussels the city itself did not impress me all that much. Not after seeing Prague, Budapest and Vienna a few weeks before. What I saw were many blocks and all that iron used to build the city with not really that impressive old architecture. But waffels, of course, I liked. And the Atomium. It was a monument I wanted to visit from the moment I saw it in my geography textbook. Representing an iron model it looked really impressive, to me that much more as I was planning to study chemirtry or pharmacy. The world of atoms and molecules that composes things around us with atoms being connected with Van der Walls forces has a monument in Brussels that shows the importance of chemistry to the people. That was one of the first things I wanted to see outside Slovenia.

The iron crystal

The Atomium. Source: https://irs2.4sqi.net/img/general/600x600/43125222_QjbaHxrjhOyaMbfdoDW6ceftGo10g4WQg3THt400v54.jpg

The iron model is located a bit out of the city center but can be easily reached by metro. Stepping out of the station just follow the crowds or, if you arrive a bit early like I did, turn right where you will soon see a large parking lot. And before you realize, a view of the Atomium will open up on your right.

The Atomium was built for World's fair in 1958 taking place in Brussels. Nine spheres are connected in a shape formed by iron crystal: central cubic shape (eight peripheral atoms connected in cube with one central atom in the middle). It was renovated a few years ago. Inside you will find a set of tapes showing you the planned tour direction. Firstly, you will use the elevator into one of the spheres. Being inside I got the feeling of being in a totally different place like in a space ship as there was so many steel around me. The posters around only partially filled the space and the alienated feeling was still very present.

You will find permanent exhibition showing the process of building and information about the steel sculpture with pictures and words at the beginning of the tour. Later you will get to the temporary exhibition using sculpture's bonds with escalators or ordinary steps. At the time of my visit there was one about the way specific animals see the world, for instance: bees see it in a very distorted way and fish have rounded world view. You could also see your image in a way those animals would.

The iron crystal

Temporary exhibition. Source: http://www.bmiaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Capturae.jpg

Besides exhibitions, the elevated position of the speres gives you a nice view of the surroundings. Being a bit further from the center, you will not be able to get a really perfect view of the main square. What you will see is the parking lot, the greeneries and mini Europe next to the water park. It is a smart location, giving you the option to see the world's greatest monuments besides one in real-size. I did not go there because I have already been in another mini-mundus.

The iron crystal

View of mini Europe and water park. Source: http://journeysbyjill.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/atomium-views-mini-europe-3.jpg

Surroundings

As you will figure out when visiting, there is more to it than just Atomium at that part of Brussels. You can take a whole morning/afternoon and make a trip around the surrounding park as well. It is being taken care of very nicely with symetrical flowers and mowed grass. I took a round tour before seeing the steel crystal as I arrived before the opening hours. Just behind it you can see a fountain and by continuing your round trip you will be able to see other sculptures from the World's fair. For instance, you can see Japanese tower and Chinese pavilion. There is also a greenhouse and a smaller part with planted trees. And a smaller model of the Eiffel Tower.

The iron crystal

Chinese pavilion. Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/0_Tour_japonaise_-_Kiosque_du_pavillon_chinois.JPG

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Atomium

Translated by Lottie Davies — one year ago

Original text by Maika Cano Martínez

The Atomium is located in the Belgian capital, Brussels, and has become one of the most representative symbols of the city. Although it's located in the outskirts of Brussels and not right in the centre, it is still very easy to make your way there.

This monument was constructed for the 1958 World's Fair, which was actually held in Brussels, and was only designed to last six months and not destined to survive much long after the Expo. However, like with the Eiffel Tower back in its day, it became a major element of the city's landscape and a tourism icon, and it was finally decided that it would remain in Brussels on a permanent basis.

As its name suggests, it has an atomic shape, and what it really represents is a how an expanded iron crystal would look. It is made out of aluminium and steel, so it's for this reason that it is a silvery colour, and measures around 100 metres in height. The structure is made up of 9 spheres in total, joined together by some bars.

Atomium

You can climb up the spheres, although it does depend on which ones are open to the public at the time of your visit. The ones that are never open to the public are the ones that don't have an underfloor support, as they are not completely supported. If you want to travel up in the lift, you have to go to the highest sphere, as it is the only one that has a straight, vertical structure; for the others, you have to climb the stairs to get up to them.

I liked the Atomium - I have seen much better things, yes, and it's not the best attraction in Brussels, no, but I liked it all the same. In my honest opinion, the best thing that the Belgian capital has to offer is the Grand Place. It's somewhat different to the rest of the things that you can see in Brussels, but I think that it honestly gives the city a more modern touch. Besides, I had been told that it was very small, so, in the end, its size surprised me for the better (expectations can be good sometimes). We took lots of photos, both in groups and individually, and, of course, we took one that looked like we were carrying the balls - a very typical photo to take in the Atomium.

There is a panoramic restaurant at the top of the Atomium, which is only accessible via the sphere that you can reach in the lift.

In the areas surrounding the Atomium, there are other attractions that you can visit: Mini-Europe, a miniature park full of models that makes it seem like you are visiting a tiny version of the continent; Océade, a waterpark; and, temporary exhibitions, amongst other things.

The Atomium's opening hours are from 10am to 6pm, and it costs 8€ for students and OAPs, and 11€ for standard adult admission. There are also combo tickets that grant you admission to both this attraction and Mini-Europe at a greatly reduced price.

I personally didn't go up the Atomium because I visited the monument as part of a big group of Erasmus students who didn't want to do so, but I ended up leaving with a feeling of desire, as it seemed really interesting to me to go inside an attraction of this kind. In fact, I was going to pay to visit it alone, but in these kind of situations, you cannot really do your own thing in a group of this size. In the end, we decided to go to Mini-Europe. Mind you, the cost of admission for both the Atomium and Mini-Europe seem quite expensive to me, and paying to visit them both is just unnecessary. Anyway, I will go back there one day and go up to the highest sphere, as I love Belgium as a place to visit, especially thanks to its gastronomy.

To get to the Atomium, the easiest way is to take line 6 of the metro and alight at the stop, "Heysel", which will drop you off next to the Mini-Europe.

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