If you ever visit Brussels, do not be lazy to go to the 81st tram and get off at the station "Heysel". Here, you will see the majestic statue, a monument to limitless possibilities of peaceful nuclear energy, after a series of similar European structures.This is the symbol of Brussels, the Atomium, a huge, polished model of an iron molecule increased by 165 billion times.
The history of the monument
This monument is remembered mostly by the older generation. Initially, the monument, as well as many other monuments built during the "Cold War" had international importance. It was designed by architect Andre Vaterkeyn for the opening of the International Exhibition in 1958. The Atomium had to show the victory of socialism accomplishments over the capitalism accomplishments. Nowadays, hardly anyone is indifferent to this grand structure. Just imagine nine huge areas connected by metallic transitions. The entire monument is 102 feet high.
The monument function
In addition to the cultural values, the Atomium has still an educational purpose. An exposition telling about the peaceful exploration of nuclear energy is located within the monument. Besides this, the Atomium is also a gripping ride. First of all, it is an excellent viewing platform, which can be reached by one of the fastest elevators in Europe. In just 20 seconds you'll find yourself at an altitude of 102 meters, and enjoy a panoramic view of Brussels. Secondly, you can spend a night in the Atomium or visit a local cafe.
And, of course, do not forget about the educational function of the monument. In addition to the exhibits on nuclear research, visitors can see the exhibition promoting the lifestyle of the ‘50s, as well as praising the original Belgian design. A small shop is situated at the bottom of the monument. You can find here all the trappings of the main symbol of Belgium. The Atomium was completely renovated in 2003. The aluminum coating was replaced with stainless steel for more shine. The old sheets were sold as souvenirs for curious tourists.
You should visit this unique monument. Despite the fact that during the lifetime of the Atomium a lot has changed in the world, the "cold war" passed, the Soviet Union collapsed, the monument still symbolizes the idea of the future: an endless faith in the optimistic course of the world history and exceptional benefits of the nuclear energy.