Atomium – the iron landmark of Brussels

atomium iron symbol of brussels belgiumThe iron symbol of once glorious steel making industry of Benelux is known today as one of the most distinct landmarks in Europe. Atomium has represented Belgian capital Brussels for half a century now. The monument was built for Expo ’58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair and represented the might of the Iron and Steel industry of Benelux. Designed by André Waterkeyn, Atomium is 102-metres (335 ft) tall. Nine steel spheres are connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.

Tubes of the Atomium connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre enclose escalators connecting the spheres which contain exhibition halls, restaurants and other public spaces. The top sphere gives a splendid panoramic view of Brussels. Each sphere of the Atomium is 18 metres in diameter. While three spheres remained closed to the visitors throughout last year, others are easily reachable with escalator. The vertical pillar of the Atomium contains a lift which was considered very fast (5 meters per second speed)  and advanced at the time of Atomium’s building.

Atomium is now of the the most recognized landmarks of European capitals along with London’s Big Ben, the Mermaid statue of Copenhagen and the Eifel Tower of Paris. It has a lot in common with the latter peer of Paris — both have been made to represent the might of the iron industry of the European countries. What’s left of the industry today? Iron symbols and monuments like the Eifel Tower of Paris and Atomium of Brussels.