The Atomium is a giant steel monument in Heysel Park, Brussels, Belgium,
consisting of 9 spheres that represent the body-centered cubic structure
of an iron crystal magnified 150 billion times.
Designed by the architect André Waterkeyn and built for the 1958
World's Fair, the 103-meter-high edifice was originally meant to stand for
only 6 months. It may be the world's largest cube.
Each of its spheres have a diameter of 18 meters and are connected by escalators.
Three of the upper spheres have no vertical support, and do for safety reasons
are not open to the public. However, the top sphere offers a panoramic view
of Brussels through its windows, and the lower spheres contain various exhibitions.
Did you know?
- The Atomium weighs 2,177 tonnes – roughly the same as 115 million
- It takes five people three days to clean each sphere (surface area
1,000 m2). The whole process costs $150,000 year.
- From the top sphere, 92 meters above the ground, it's possible to
see all the way to Antwerp. There's also a restaurant, Restaurant de
L'Atomium is this sphere that seats 250 people.
- Also inside the sphere's is an exhibition about the 1958 World's Fair
and a kids' hotel where elementary school children can spend the night
in specially designed bubble tents.
- The Atomium can be rented for parties: about $1,000 for a 30-head
dinner, or $16,000 per night for the whole place (800 capacity.
- Opening hours: 10am to 6pm; annual visitors: 600,000.