The Atomium – Inside And Out

The Atomium, one of Belgium’s most famous landmarks was something I really felt we should see while in Brussels. Standing at 335 feet tall and built in 1958 for the World Fair in Brussels, it is a bit like a glimpse of the future from 50 years ago.

08.07.41 - Atomium

We walked the short distance from Mini-Europe and carried on beyond the structure to get the best views of those nine spheres. Apparently it mimics the atomic shape of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times, Son thought it was like a giant K’nex creation.

08.07.43 - Atomium

Super crowded by the entrance, I felt relieved we had pre-purchased our tickets – until we got inside. We joined the end of a very long, very slow moving and very boring line – this was to go in the elevator to the top sphere. It was incredibly hot, incredibly dull and had I known about this queuing in advance I would definitely have given the inside of the Atomium a miss – admiring from afar outside would have done it for me. Forty five minutes later in sweltering heat and not the best of moods we entered the elevator to be whizzed right to the top. At least the glass roof was a distraction and quite impressive.

08.07.44 - Atomium

08.07.47 - Atomium

We emerged into the top of those spheres, a viewing area but which was also crammed full of people. Bad enough but worse for me was the weird sensation that the whole thing was ever so slightly swaying. Husband and Son thought that was “cool”, I thought it was freaky and nausea inducing. Reasonable views too but not the spectacular Brussels panorama they promote.

08.07.48 - Atomium

We took the lift back to the ground level and then used a mixture of steps and escalators to explore the remaining spheres. An exhibition on the World Fair of 1958 and the building of the Atomium was interesting, the rest was a bit lacking I thought.

08.07.52 - Atomium

08.07.54 - Atomium

Son enjoyed a slightly weird light and music show in the second sphere but my favourite part was the views from the windows of the other giant balls close up.

08.07.56 - Atomium

We didn’t really spend too long inside the structure, most of it actually in that first queue. Still, the ice-cream shop at the bottom was given a thumbs up all round.

08.07.57 - Atomium

08.07.59 - Atomium

An interesting experience, I have seen the outside of the Atomium on numerous past trips to Brussels and was always curious about exploring inside. Now I can say I thought it probably wasn’t worth the money. This quirky giant atom is, I think, best admired from (a little way) afar.

08.07.60 - Atomium

46 thoughts on “The Atomium – Inside And Out

  1. Thank you for solving the mystery of your previous post, Joy – I’d been wondering what this structure was all about and what it looked like inside. Pity it was a bit of a disappointment. Your blog is such a wonderful source of information about interesting places to visit – I always enjoy popping in here.

    • Thank you so much Reggie for your lovely comments!! It was a bit of a disappointment inside but I’m glad we checked it out – at least now we know!! The outside is definitely not disappointing though..

    • The crowds were so intense when we visited Tanja and that, combined with the heat just didn’t set us off very well. I think standing in a line for 45 minutes just to go up in the lift just really didn’t bode well….. Glad you enjoyed it though, we still loved the outside and were glad we visited.

  2. Good to know about the interior. Ironically, my most memorable museum experience ever was in Brussels in 1995 (!) which marked 50 years since the end of WWII. It was called:”en 1945 j’avais vingt ans” [in 1945, I was 20]

  3. Gateway Arch in St. Louis; Washington Monument in DC; Sears Tower in Chicago–all of these mile-long lines followed by ten-minute views deliver about the same amount of anticlimax, I find. I’ll take the view from a mountaintop any day… :0)

  4. I love all your pictures today – great angles! (The last one reminds me of something Miss G. would do!) the atomism looks like that 1950s Sputnik chandelier – seeing those everywhere again these days. You are spot on when you say it looks like the future from the past – such a funny concept but fascinating!

  5. When I went we got there after it had closed, unfortunately, so I didn’t get to go inside 😦 Thanks for posting these awesome photos! Almost makes me feel like I was there myself!

  6. Joy, I wasn’t aware of the Atomium, but you have enlightened me! I am with you, I cannot stand in long lines with sweltering heat! At least you have now seen it up close and personal!

  7. What a pity that the experience of the interior was so deflating given the intrigue and impact of the exterior. I will considered myself warned not to waste my time or money should I find myself in Brussels.

    • The outside is so impressive and such a wonderfully different building, we were expecting to be wowed by the inside too, it definitely did not do that!! If you are ever in Brussels check it out from the outside Laura, leave it at that would be my advice!!

    • I was only able to persuade mine Susan because we’d already bought our tickets – and that was a job too, we were on the verge of leaving anyway…. and then it didn’t live up to our expectations!!!

  8. Thanks for posting this Joy! I’ve always wondered what it looks like inside as I’ve only been on the outside to take pictures (Enroute to airport) and was awed by the structure. Was too early and it was not open for a visit inside… But seeing it here is as good 🙂

  9. You’re not the first person to be disappointed with the interior. I think the Atomium is definitely an interesting structure to see, it’s a bit weird but I kinda like it! The queues and the crows sound horrendous though. Think I’d give it a miss!

  10. I think it looks very impressive from the outside Joy! I’m sure I wouldn’t enjoy the queues and the stuffiness inside though – in fact I’m sure I’d feel quite claustrophobic! The ice-cream shop must have come as a welcome relief by the sounds of it! Hope you’ve had a good week and have a lovely weekend 🙂

    • It is spectacular Rosemary – from the outside!! Shame about the exhibitions, I think they are missing a trick here, something that attracts so many people and looks so good, yet so dull inside, it’s a real shame!! We have had sunshine all week and more promised for the weekend so everyone is smiling!! Hope your weekend is lovely too.

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