The Atomium In Brussels, Belgium (10 Photos)

In this blog, we’ll take a look at one of the most unique structures in Brussels.  I’ve always enjoyed researching the subjects of my photos, since there is seldom any time while you are traveling to perform a deeper dive.

In 1958, over 100 years after the first World’s Fair in London, and decades prior to the formation of the European Union,  a World’s Fair was held in Brussels, the capital of Belgium.  The fair was held on the Heysel Plateau in northern Brussels.

Below is a partial newsreel from that era:

Depicted partially constructed at the end of the newsreel, the most famous product of the 1958 World’s Fair, is the Atomium.  As you will see, the Atomium is a unique structure. Remarkably it was not initially built to last.  It was built to be used for the World’s Fair only, with an expected lifetime of six months.  After falling into disrepair, it was almost demolished in the 1990s, before being declared a historical building and restored in 2001.  In the updated construction of the spheres, stainless steel was used instead of the original aluminum, adding 100 tons to the total weight. [src] 

1: The Atomium was designed by the Belgian engineer, André Waterkeyn. [src] It consists of a total of nine spheres, connected by twenty tubes. Until very recently, it was actually illegal to take photos of it, due to some obscure Belgian copyright law. [src] Prior to the ruling, you could have been sued for the simple act of taking a selfie. Some photographic depictions of the structure were simply blacked out to avoid the legal trouble.

2: The Atomium was built to represent the iron atoms assembled into a the body-centred cubic unit cell of an iron crystal structure, magnified 165 billion times. [src] I understand about 50% of that statement.

A stainless steel sculpture, called RockGrowth sits beneath the Atomium. The sculpture was created by Paris designer Arik Levy, and unveiled in 2014. [src] It provides a nice color contrast to the Atomium.

4-5: The Atomium offers awesome views of the nearby area. The nearby Brupark and Mini-Europe are clearly visible from the viewpoint in the first photo. The Brussels Expo is visible in the background of the second. You can also get a better sense for how each sphere is constructed using triangular-shaped stainless steel plates.

6: The tunnels leading to the various balls have a futuristic look that was ahead of its time. Some of them have stairs as pictured. The central tube has an elevator, while others have escalators.

7: Brupark is an entertainment complex adjacent to the Atomium that contains many restaurants and attractions, including Mini-Europe. You can see the over 100m tall Atomium on the horizon from many locations throughout the area.

8-9: Deeper into Brupark is the Mini-Europe theme park, which features 1:25 scale buildings from throughout Europe. The miniatures are very detailed, and it’s very fun to explore, especially if you’ve been to some of the places depicted.

10: The nearby Brussels Expo buildings were originally part of the Brussels International Exposition of 1935, and were later reused for the World’s Fair of 1958. They are still used to this day to host a wide variety of events and shows.

Thanks for dropping by! I hope that you enjoyed my travel photos and commentary, and will return for more travel content in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *