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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.