Atomium was built in 1958, during the Cold War, to symbolize the atomic age, victorious achievements of socialism, and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It was designed by André Waterkeyn and exhibited at Expo 58, the Brussels World's Fair. The structure replicates a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times, with nine 18m diameter stainless steel spheres connected with tubes, 102 m in height and weighing 2,400 tons. The tubes have corridors and escalators for easy access to the spheres, and in the middle of the structure there is a high-speed elevator to the restaurant and observation platform at the top of the construction.
Although meant to last only for a few days at the exhibition, Atomium still stands, symbolizing the modernity of the country and endless faith in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The 102 meter tall viewing platform offers a beautiful panoramic view of Brussels, with its palaces, cathedrals, narrow streets of the old town and modern architecture. You can also have a good view of the nearby Mini Europe park. One of the spheres is for rent and sleepovers, where you have a chance to enjoy the panoramic view of the city at night. Another sphere has a cafe, and the rest of the spheres have various exhibitions inside them – one telling about Expo 1958, another one dedicated to the current nuclear research, an exposition recreating life in the 50s, temporary exhibits, and kids' area.
In 2003 Atomium was renovated, the tubes and the spheres got coated with stainless steel, making the construction look even more attractive – shiny in the sun and illuminated by neon lights at night.