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The Atomium of Brussels is an iconic monument, drawing awe-struck visitors from near and far. The unique structure, consisting of nine connected spheres, stands as a remarkable feat of engineering and design. Discover all of this architectural marvel’s features with this comprehensive guide with practical tips on how to visit with kids!
What is the Atomium?
The Atomium is an iconic structure located in the north of Brussels, designed by engineer André Waterkeyn for the 1958 World’s Fair. It was supposed to last only six months, but its popularity made the authorities postpone its demolition year after year. This incredible monument consists of nine stainless steel spheres connected by tubes to form a model of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Standing at 102 meters tall, it is a truly impressive sight to behold
History and Architecture of the Atomium
The Atomium was designed to represent the atomic age and is a symbol of scientific advancement and progress. The nine spheres are connected by twenty tubes which form structures that resemble both a crystal lattice as well as an atom. It was built out of 9,312 stainless steel panels and is supported by three concrete cores arranged in a tripod shape. Although it initially served as the entrance for the 1958 World’s Fair, after its restoration in 2006 it was opened up to the public for its architectural beauty and educational exhibits inside
You can appreciate Atomium from outside and enjoy the geometry of the iconic building, if you do not want to enter – and that’s perfectly fine too. You will find details below on what you see when you enter, so you can make your own decision on whether it’s worth entering
Experiencing the Atomium
You can experience the iconic Atomium of Brussels up close and in person. Once inside you can explore the many exhibits and photo galleries which showcase what life was like during the World’s Fair and the time period afterwards. Inside, visitors will also find an interactive educational space focused on science, technology, art, history, and culture. At the top is a grand observation deck where visitors may get a bird’s eye view of Brussels
You get to the top with an elevator. This elevator was the fastest one in Europe in 1958
The panoramic view from the top is great. At 102 metres height, the view from the first sphere is stunning! There are also panels under each window to help you identify what you see
Here you can see the European quarter with the tall buildings at the horizon line
Then you move around spheres with stairs – great opportunity to notice the architecture and pretend you are playing in a sci-fi movie
Atomium is now a museum. There is the permanent exhibition that reflects its history and Expo 58 with some historical photos and videos
There is also a restaurant at the top with panoramic view, where you can have café gourmand (ie coffee and three different small sweets), breakfast, lunch or dinner
This is a very popular restaurant! Make sure to reserve in advance, if you want to visit it
There is also a temporary exhibition ID#2021. A multimedia univers of light and sound – I couldn’t stop taking photos! Both kids were also mesmerized
There is also a kids‘ sphere (unfortunately closed, that would have been perfect when visiting the Atomium with kids)
Visitors’ Tips for Enjoying the Atomium
When visiting the Atomium, you can make your experience even more memorable by being mindful of a few key tips. First, it’s important to plan ahead and book tickets in advance (especially when visiting with kids to avoid the long queues). Next, make sure to bring a good camera – there are some stunning photo opportunities from the observation deck! In addition, allow yourself plenty of time to explore all of the galleries and exhibits. Finally, don’t forget to grab souvenirs from the gift shop like postcards or mugs featuring that iconic image
Atomium with Kids: Tips for Families
The following tips will help you when visiting the Atomium with kids. First, strollers are not allowed. You will have to leave the stroller at the ticket office. Bring a carrier instead in case the little one gets tired. Next, there are several steps to climb up and down, 80 to climb up and 167 to climb down to be exact. Finally, this is relatively kids friendly, since there is plenty of space for kids to walk around and a lot to explore. Furthermore, some of the exhibits are interactive
*There are 80 steps to climb up and 167 steps to get down
*Open every day 10.00-18.00
*The tickets have no specific entrance time! They are valid for the date you buy them between 10.00 and 17.30
*Atomium is included in the Brussels Card, so you can visit it for free. You can buy it here
Adult EUR 16
Child (taller than 115cm up to 17 years old) EUR 8,50
Child (shorter than 115cm) free entrance
*You can buy tickets online here
*There are also combined tickets for Atomium and Mini Europe (this is only available on site)
*It is possible to buy tickets at the entrance, but we do not recommend that. The queue for those without an online ticket can be longer
*This is a very popular site, so the queue can be quite long. Be sure to buy a ticket in advance
*There is also a café right at the entrance of the Atomium
*Strollers are not allowed
*Dogs are not allowed
How to reach Atomium
Reaching Atomium by car from Grand Place, Brussels, is easy and it should take about 20 minutes
By Public Transport
Reaching Atomium by public transport would take around 35-40 minutes
Go to De Brouckère and take metro 5 towards Erasme for 4 stops. Get off at Beekkant and change to metro 6 towards Roi Baudouin until Heizel
Atomium is about 15 minutes drive from Grand Place, Brussels
Pl. de l’Atomium 1, 1020 Bruxelles
Kids friendly cafes/restaurants near Atomium
Châlet du Laerbeek is a brasserie with a small playground for little kids right next to it. There is also a much bigger and more adventurous playground nearby (you cannot supervise your kids from the brasserie at the big playground, only at the little playground)
Gare Maritime used to be Europe’s largest railway station for goods at Tour et Taxis. The building has been transformed with 12 wooden pavilions into ‘a city where it never rains’. with a food market. There is a lot of space for kids to run and play – and every Sunday there is a jumping castle…
There is a park next to the Atomium, Parc d’Osseghem Laeken
There is also a nice summer bar in the park nearby
Also Mini-Europe is right next to the Atomium – and you can see it from the panorame sphere! Mini-Europe is a great option when visiting Atomium with kids, as it is highly interactive and fun
Designed in 1873 for King Leopold II by Alphonse Balat, the glass palace is open to the public once a year in spring for three weeks
This can be combined with the Royal Greenhouses. They are open once a year for three weeks in spring
One of the largest botanical gardens in the world with a barefoot path for kids, a pullable platform on the lake next to the castle (our favorite spot!), a greenhouse complex, some treasure hunts for kids and a café to relax by the lake… And all this less than 25 minutes away from Brussels!
All about railway development at an old train station – fun place for kids that love trains too!
All places mentioned above are also gathered on the map!
Indoor and outdoor activities, kids friendly cafés/ restaurants, hotels and more all under separate layers
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