The Atomium, Brussels – Visiting Belgium’s Largest Molecule

By some random fluke, once upon a time, I somehow managed to attain an A grade at Chemistry A-level so you would think that this would have left me at least partially interested in the structure of a molecule wouldn’t you? As it turns out, I’m not. Not one atomic bit.Atomium Brussels lit up night view

The Atomium Brussels

Landmarks, monuments and interesting structures though, do grab my attention and after a morning spent exploring Brussels’ bustling markets, it was this curiosity that ledΒ me to the Northern part of the city to a giant molecular structure, which is easily the most eccentric city monument I have ever seen.molecule monument structure Brussels

I’ll admit to feeling a pang of sadness that Pumpkin wasn’t there to see it with me. As a lovable but highly geeky science boff, he’d have loved to have seen this again for the first time since his childhood, having undergone major renovation works approximately 10 years ago.

First built in the 1950s as part of the World Fair programme, this comprises nine enormous reflective spheres all connected by a series of staircases and escalators, its name a melange of the ‘atom’ and ‘aluminium’ from which it is derived.World Fair Expo 58 Brussels Atomium monumentWe arrived at around 3.30pm, which as it turned out couldn’t have been any more of a lucky coincidence as it meant that we reached the viewing deck at the top of the highest sphere just in time for dusk.

The interiors of the spheres are high and spacious, serving as a gallery and exhibition space to give you an insight into the history of it but it is the viewing platform for which the queues amass. Expect to wait in the region of 45 minutes – 1 hour to take the lift up to this.

Aesthetically, some of the escalators are simple, silver minimalist. Others are colourful, electric and illuminating with jolts of light flashing either side of you on one particular descent.blue red lights escalator Atomium Brussels tourist attraction It felt rather like a cross between pummeling slowly into a nightclub and being on the set of a sci-fi film.

If you are wondering whether or not to invest time and money into seeing the interior, do it! We would have been so regretful to have missed it, as it reveals a fascinating story of architecture, innovation and history. It was also rather magical to enter in daylight and leave in the dark, offering a glimpse into the twinkling globes at night, radiant like Christmas baubles suspended from the skies.

After a jampacked but fun-filled weekend, this was our final stop before rushing back to the Park Inn Hotel to grab our bags and commence our journey back to London. Armed with a ball-point pen and notepad and inspired from the quirky architecture we had just witnessed, it was on that very journey where I started penning my Brussels adventures.Atomium Brussels night time photos

Practical tips for Visiting the Atomium

  • Adult tickets are priced at 11 Euros for one adult ticket for entry to the Atomium (at time of publication of this post.)
  • There are cafe and restaurant facilities or you can treat yourself to a lavish dining experience at the panoramic restaurant with views across the city.
  • A gift and chocolate shop are available on site and judging from what I could see, this was a Godsend for many parents, whose little ones were bereft in the long queues.
  • Last admission is at 5.30pm.

24 thoughts on “The Atomium, Brussels – Visiting Belgium’s Largest Molecule

  1. An A in Chemistry?! I’m very impressed! A-level Chemistry was the worse grade in the history of my education! Still reckon I’d have fun exploring this place though!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 4, 2015 — 7:19 pm

      Ha! Thanks Arianwen! I sometimes wonder whether they must have marked someone else’s chemistry exam paper!! That’s why I never imagined I’d find a molecular monument so fascinating! Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

  2. Hahah! An odd attraction, but interesting nevertheless .. Great views though!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 4, 2015 — 7:22 pm

      Odd is certainly the right word Upasna! It was quite interesting seeing it in different lights though and getting a feel for the internal structure. Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

  3. I had no idea you could actually go inside – that’s so cool! Never been to Brussels but I’m kind of fancying a little trip there now πŸ™‚ x

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 4, 2015 — 6:38 pm

      Yep to be honest, I’d never even heard of it till this trip! It was quite cool seeing the inside of it! I really enjoyed Brussels & it’s very easy with the Eurostar to go for a weekend break! Thanks for reading Emily πŸ™‚

  4. wow that is seriously unqiue. Ive always skipped Brussels but I’d love to go in there! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 4, 2015 — 6:40 pm

      Thanks Andrew! It’s quite quirky as far as monuments go isn’t it? I always hear so much about how pretty Bruges and Ghent are so I wasn’t sure what I’d make of Brussels but actually really liked it as a city πŸ™‚

  5. Time for a big confession: I’m from Belgium and I studied in Brussels for 5 years, but…I’ve never visited the inside of the Atomium, and yes, I’m a bit ashamed to admit this! πŸ™‚ Not that I don’t want to: I would love to visit this monument (and have dinner in the restaurant!) but somehow there always something that else gets in between me and the Atomium. πŸ™‚ After reading your post I’ve put the visit back on top on my list of things to visit in my own country!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 4, 2015 — 6:43 pm

      Nothing to be ashamed of Nina – I’m exactly the same here in London – I’ve lived here so long & studied here but never been inside st Paul’s cathedral or Westminster Abbey!! Sometimes I think we all get like that with our home cities πŸ™‚ But if you do get a chance, I did find it interesting seeing the inside structure. Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

  6. How incredibly quirky! I’ve not heard of this before and the views look really good. Congrats on your A in chemistry – clever girl!! πŸ™‚

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 4, 2015 — 7:17 pm

      Haha, thanks Suzanne – you’re too kind but like I said, it was either a total fluke or someone marked the wrong paper πŸ˜€ The monument was so strange but fascinating! I especially liked it all lit up at night!

  7. That’s pretty awesome!! I never new it was so cool…
    And wow, it really takes long to take the elevator, but I imagine that it is worth it! πŸ˜€

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 4, 2015 — 7:26 pm

      Haha the queue was certainly long Allane but I’m still glad we managed to go to the top and see the view from there. It’s quite a strange but interesting attraction! Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

      1. hahaha yess I must say I was impressed about the queue… something like waiting to go up the Eiffel Tower πŸ˜€
        But I am glad it was all worth it πŸ˜‰

  8. Oh I went there but didn’t go inside, wish I had but we were too tight for time

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 5, 2015 — 3:48 pm

      The views were most pretty from the outside I felt Suze, it’s just that it was quite interesting to see the interior structurally and get more of a feel for the history behind the place but even we only just managed to squeeze it in and were dashing madly to the Eurostar train station after leaving the Atomium!

  9. It really does look like the set of a sci-fi film from the photos! I have to say I have no interest in science or chemistry either, but I can imagine the views were amazing!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 5, 2015 — 3:49 pm

      Thanks Catherine – yep, it certainly felt like being on a film set! The views were great,especially at night when the spheres looked so magical all lit up πŸ™‚

  10. This place looks super cool and somewhere that I would love to visit. I just love how it looks at night. However, that was a very long wait to take the elevator.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 21, 2015 — 9:36 pm

      It was so weird and quirky Constance & I also loved how magical it was at night but yes, I was really starting to get a little bored standing in line for so long!

  11. Your photos make me wish we had seen it in the night lit up. You’re right tho, its something we weren’t going to do but I’m so glad we did in the end.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 28, 2015 — 12:22 am

      The fact that we saw it by night Jenny ended up being a lucky coincidence more than anything rise as the queue to get up there was so long that it became dark :mrgreen: silver lining hey?! It’s a fun ^ quirky monument to visit I think!

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