Skip to Content

Atomium in Brussels – Information for Visitors

Atomium in Brussels – Information for Visitors

Photo: o palsson/Flickr - CC BY 2.0

The Atomium is a landmark building that represents a single unit of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. If you’re interested in the peculiar and mysterious, this funky building-turned-museum is well worth a visit. 

It is located on the Heysel Plateau in northern Brussels and can easily be reached by metro. Here’s a complete guide for visitors with information about opening hours, entrance fees, history and interesting facts about Atomium. 

Ticket Info

Ticket Type Adult (18 – 64 years) Child (<17 years)
General admission €16 €8.50
Combined ticket – Atomium + Mini Europe €29 €18.40
Combined ticket – Atomium + Planetarium €17 €7.90

Tickets can be purchased from the ticket office found at the base of the Atomium or online in advance. Those who arrive with a ticket already (including e-tickets) can go directly to the queue in line at the entrance.

General Admission tickets include:

  • Entrance to the Atomium spheres
  • The permanent exhibition
  • The temporary exhibition
  • The panorama

Combined Ticket – Mini Europe includes:

  • Entrance to the Atomium including the permanent exhibition, temporary exhibition, and the panorama
  • Entrance to the ADAM Brussels Design Museum
  • Entrance to Mini Europe (located 150 meters from the Atomium)

Combined Ticket – Planetarium includes:

  • Entrance to the Atomium including the permanent exhibition, temporary exhibition, and the panorama
  • Entrance to the ADAM Brussels Design Museum
  • Entrance to the Planetarium (located 150 meters from the Atomium)

Opening Hours

The Atomium is open daily from 10 am – 6 pm.

atomium escalator

Photo: Harald Hoyer from Schwerin, Germany / CC BY-SA

History & more information

The Atomium was originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels Expo and was supposed to be a temporary monument. However, the mesmerizing structure, designed by engineer Andre Waterkeyn and architects Andre and Jean Polak, drew so many tourists that the local government voted to keep it.

Since then it has become one of the most renowned attractions in Brussels. In 2006, the building underwent a large renovation project which was long overdue as very little maintenance had been carried out since 1958.

The Atomium was designed to represent the faith in scientific progress and is made of nine stainless steel clad spheres, each connected by 20 tubes. Six of the nine spheres are open to the public while the remaining are off-limits due to health and safety reasons.  

The design process took 18 months to finalize and then a further 18 months for the construction to be completed. One of the original designs for the structure was an upside-down version of the Eiffel Tower but thankfully the atomic age of the 1950s veered the project in a different direction.

Inside the building, you’ll find a permanent exhibition on the 1958 World’s Fair along with a temporary exhibition that rotates every year and a museum. There’s also a restaurant in the top sphere that boasts panoramic views over the city!  

Atomium Sphere

Photo: Trougnouf (Benoit Brummer) / CC BY-SA

Points of Interest

Tubes

Take a walk through the surrealistic tubes that link the spheres together!

Panorama

Enjoy panoramic views over Brussels and the surrounding land from the sphere windows.

Permanent Exhibition

The museum’s permanent exhibition covers the history of the building and visitors can learn more about the design and construction of the Atomium.

Temporary Exhibition

The temporary exhibition rotates annually and can cover any topic from science and culture to history.

Restaurant

The restaurant sits in the tallest sphere and serves classic Belgian cuisine.

Gift Shop

Stop by the gift shop on the way out for a boutique gift or a replica of the Atomium!

How to get there

The Atomium sits just north of central Brussels close to d’Osseghem Laeken park. From the town center, it’s just a 20-minute drive, a 30-minute tram ride and 25-minutes on the metro. From the Heysel/ Heizel metro station (take line 6) the Atomium is just a 5-minute walk away.

Address:

Eeuwfeestlaan / Boulevard de Centenaire

B-1020 Brussel (Laken)

Metro stop: Heysel

Best time to visit

Try to arrange your visit to the Atomium outside of school holidays and preferably mid-week to avoid large crowds. The optimum time to visit is between 12 and 2pm, and again later in the day between 4pm – 6pm.  

Facts about Atomium

  1. The Atomium is an iconic building in Brussels originally constructed for Expo ’58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair.
  2. It was supposed to be a temporary monument but its success made it the symbol of European capital.
  3. The twelve tubes are 3 meters in diameter and enclose escalators, stairs, and the vertical tube in the center has an elevator.
  4. Six of the nine spheres are open to the public. Each sphere has two main floors and a reserved lower floor for service.
  5. The elevator to the top of the sphere takes only 23 seconds.
  6. The total height of the Atomium is 102 meters and the total mass is 2,400 tons. The structure is supported by three bipods and coated with aluminum.
  7. Because the Atomium became famous and successful, it became a prominent part of the Brussels landscape. Though it was designed to only last up to six months, its demolition has been postponed year after year due to its role in tourism and economy. The city’s government finally dismissed all plans of
  8. destroying it.
  9. In 2013, CNN named it Europe’s most bizarre building.
  10. The Atomium is, at once, an object, a place, a space, a Utopia and the only symbol of its kind in the world, which eludes any kind of classification.

FAQ’s (Things to know before you go)

Can you buy tickets to the Atomium in advance?

Tickets to enter the Atomium can be bought online, which is faster than waiting in line to buy your ticket at the venue.

Is the Atomium wheelchair friendly?

Yes, and people with disabilities can even enter the site for free.

Can you go inside the Atomium?

Yes, six out of the nine spheres are open to the public.

Why was the Atomium built?

The Atomium was constructed for the first post-war universal world exhibition (EXPO 58) in 1958.

What will I learn on my visit?

Visitors can enjoy panoramic views over Brussels and the surrounding landscape, take a surrealistic walk through the steel tubes and spheres and learn about the history of the building at one of the museum’s exhibitions.

Should I pre-book the restaurant?

It’s recommended that visitors pre-book the Atomium Restaurant to avoid disappointment. This 2-floor dining space sits in the Atomium’s highest sphere and is a popular restaurant (serving Belgian cuisine) in the city.  


Do you have more questions before visiting Atomium in Brussels? Leave a comment below!

Dresden Frauenkirche
Frauenkirche in Dresden - Information for Visitors
← Read Last Post
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi - Information for Visitors
Read Next Post →