Atomium, Brussels, BelgiumParis has the Eiffel Tower, Rome the Colosseum. In London it’s Big Ben, and outside of Beijing it’s the Great Wall.

Brussels has – er, well – either (take your pick) a tiny statue of a urinating boy or a large model of an atom built 165 billion times its natural size.

While I have been to Brussels numerous times and have frequently passed by that industrious, little boy (Mannekin), this spring was my first visit to the towering Atomium, located on the outskirts of the city.

It was my son who insisted we visit. I was content to merely glimpse this symbol of Brussels  in the distance as I admired the cityscape.

Atomium, Brussels, BelgiumOn this visit, however, I had promosed my son a  visit to Oceanade, Brussels’ small water slide park, which just happens to be a few hundred meters from the Atomium. And so, it was a done deal.

The Atomium was built in 1958 for the World Fair.  I enjoyed seeing the background and the very stylish hostess uniforms of the time, worn by the young women who acted as guides and provided information about the structure to the numerous visitors that year.

It would have been very cutting edge in the 1950s, judging by the exuberant reports of the times.

Atomium, Brussels, BelgiumNine spheres measure 18 meters across and you pass from one to another by stairways or escalators.

While we were there, there was an interesting display bringing in the artwork of Belgian artist Magritte. This was fun to see since we had been to the Magritte Museum the day before, and my son had fun pointing out the works.

I am not sure my earlier visits to Brussels were incomplete without having seen this towering symbol of the city, but we still had a good time exploring this giant atom.

Enjoy your time in the Atomium on your next visit to Brussels.

Atomium, Brussels, Belgium

 

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