Have you ever been in an iron crystal? Have you ever seen the future with the eyes of the past? Have you ever sensed the unique atmosphere of modern times experienced in the past? If you want to gain these experiences, I strictly recommend you a trip to Brussels’ Atomium. This trip will take you to a place beyond your imagination.
Well, what is the Atomium? A statue? Yes, it is indeed because when you take a look at
Brussels’ iconic structure from some distance, you will see an iron crystal 165 times drawn to a larger scale. Is it a building? Yes, it is indeed because you can enter it in order to walk around its nine departments. Is it a museum? Yes, it is indeed because it displays exhibits related to natural sciences and technology. Maybe most importantly, the Atomium is proof showing us how the human foresaw the future in the second half of the 20th century. Each department offers us exquisite samples providing attractions for each of us.
Let’s have a closer look at its history and components. Constructed for the 1958 World Exhibition, the structure, which was initially planned to remain for the short period of only six months, became the symbol of modern Brussels due to the popularity it gained among its residents. Having a height of 102 meters and covering a diameter of 18 meters, the structure consists of nine globes that are connected through iron linkages. Designed by Andre Waterkey, the Atomium is made of steel and aluminum. After a restoration starting in 2006, it was reopened to the public in 2006.
An elevator carries visitors at a speed of 5 meters per second from the ground to the highest globe. Visitors use escalators to reach the other departments. While in one of the globes a restaurant invites visitors offering a spectacular view of the city of Brussels and Heysel Exhibition Park surrounding the Atomium, the other departments inform about the World Exhibition and scientific topics. The most fascinating aspect, however, is to learn how people in the 1950s thought about what the future would be like. Long-time before Chernobyl and Fukushima, or to be more precise, a long time before people could imagine these catastrophes, the Atomium symbolized the promises of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and thus it shows us an old-fashioned, somehow nostalgic view of an optimistically predicted future.
Apart from that, the Atomium, located in Belgium’s capital, is one of the most frequently photographed sights in the world, and it is popular with photographers who take photos of Brussels and Heysel Exhibition Park from the top floor. It is even possible to see Eiffel Tower in Paris with a telescope from there.
The Atomium is a sight, statue, building, museum – perceive it as whatever you want – worth visiting. Doubtless, it is a masterpiece of the art of engineering. As such, it has been and will remain an inspiration for all creative people engaged in any area of human ingenuity.