The Atomium was built for the Expo 1958. The engineer André Waterkeyn had designed the structure as a symbol of the atomic age and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The nine spheres represent the atomic structure of the chemical element iron. The 102 m high building was designed by the architects Andre and Jean Polak. The balls have a diameter of 18 m and the connecting rods are 3.30 m wide. In the top ball is the viewing platform, which can be reached by elevator. In other spheres there are restaurants and exhibition areas that can be reached via the connecting pipes. During the renovation in 2006, the aluminum cladding was replaced by stainless steel. The Atomium is the most famous attraction of Brussels.
How to get there
The Atomium is in a park in the north of Brussels. Take the metro to Heysel Station. From there it is around 500 m to the Atomium. Nearby is the Brussels Expo, the Heysel Stadium, Mini-Europe and the Planetarium. For opening times and admission prices, check the link.
The 60 cm tall Petit Julien was commissioned by the city magistrate in 1619 and created by the sculptor Jerôme Duquesnoy. The pissing boy represents the disrespect of the Brussels. He has been kidnapped many times but kept coming back. In the city museum you can visit the approximately 600 robes that were tailor-made for the little man. A "Manneken Pis" has been documented in Brussels as a fountain figure since 1450. Petit Julien pees on everything he finds stupid, on Nazis, terrorists and other a * holes. The funny fountain figure is a symbol of the Brussels way of life. The Manneken Pis is the symbol of Brussels and the most popular Instagram motif of the city. G
The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the heart of Brussels. The medieval square was destroyed by the French in 1695 when Brussels was bombed. Only the town hall tower from 1449 remained. Most of the houses were destroyed and burned out. When rebuilding the guild houses, attention was paid to uniform facades in baroque style. This makes the Grand Place very harmonious. The buildings on the square also include the Maison du Roi, the former seat of the Spanish monarchs. The Musée de la Ville with the clothes of Manneken Pis is located here today. Another stately building is La Maison des Ducs de Brabant by Guillaume de Bruyn with gold decorations on the wide facade. The late Gothic town hall with its 96 m high tower and the magnificent guild houses make the Grand Place one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. G
A Romanesque church stood here until the beginning of the 13th century, which was demolished for the new cathedral. Construction started in 1226. The new church was built in the Gothic style by the end of the 15th century. The two towers of the Brussels Cathedral are each 69 m high. The church was consecrated to Archangel Michael and Saint Gudula. Gudula of Brussels is the national saint of Belgium and the patron saint of Brussels. Gudula was included in Hamme, a small town between Antwerp and Ghent. That means she lived in a small cell to devote herself entirely to her belief. This extreme form of asceticism was not unusual in the Middle Ages. When she died in 714, her bones were brought to Brussels as a relic. G
Belgium declared independence from the United Netherlands on October 4, 1830. The Belgian Revolution received military support from France. For the 50th anniversary of Belgium, the Jubilee Park (Parc du Cinquantenaire) was created in 1880. A park with exhibition halls was built on the former military training area. The 45 m high triumphal arch followed in 1905 with a quadriga and a waving Belgian flag. The semicircular arcades in the middle become a monumental gate, on which the Belgian provinces are depicted as female sculptures. The Arcades du Cinquantenaire have since become a symbol of Belgium and one of the sights of Brussels. G
The royal palace was built in several phases on the ruins of the old ducal castle, which burned down in 1731. The Dutch King Wilhelm I ordered the construction of a large palace, which was completed in 1829. Ironically, Belgium declared independence from the Netherlands in 1830 and the Royal Palace in Brussels became the residence of Leoplod I, King of Belgium. The Belgian king now lives in the Château Royal in the Laeken district of Brussels. When he is in the Royal Palace (Palais Royal / Koninklijk Paleis), the Belgian flag flies on the roof. The Parc de Bruxelles / Warandepark is located in front of the Royal Palace. G
Charles Alexander of Lorraine had the medieval church demolished, which previously stood there. For reasons of urban planning, he wanted to build a new church. The construction of the court church of Saint-Jacques sur Coudenberg began in 1776. The classicist building was designed by the architects Jean-Benoît-Vincent Bareé and Gilles-Barnabé Guimard. The Saint-Jacques sur Coudenberg church was completed in 1786. The bell tower was only added in 1849 and has significantly changed the classicist character of the building.
Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was crowned in this Catholic church in 1831, making him Leopold I king of Belgium. G
When the small chapel of the crossbowmen was depicted as the miraculous Madonna of Antwerp in 1348, the church developed into a pilgrimage site. Generous donations ensured that construction of Notre Dame du Sablon / Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ten Zavel began on this sandy site around 1400. The "Frauenkirche im Sand" was completed in the early 16th century. The grave chapel of the Thurn and Taxis family is located in the late Gothic church.
The Brussels Antiques Market takes place on the square in front of the church on Saturday and Sunday (9 am-3pm). G
The Palais de Justice (Palace of Justice) was completed in 1883 and was the largest monumental building of its time. The building was designed by architect Joseph Poelaert in an eclectic style. The Palace of Justice stands on a slope above the medieval city. The gallows of Brussels used to stand here. The square in front of the building is named after the architect who died in 1879, before the building was completed. The former residents of the district were hostile to Poelaert, because many houses were demolished for the construction of the Palais de Justice. The Palace of Justice is a huge building complex with 8 courtyards. In the middle, is the 104 m high dome with a golden crown, towering over the entire structure. The dome is on the axis of Rue de la Régence and therefore clearly visible from the Place Royal.
The more than 200 m long Galeries Royales Saint Hubert is very close to the Grand Square. The structure was the first covered shopping arcade in Europe, it was completed in 1847. It served as a model for the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan and many other covered shopping streets worldwide. Uniform facades with a glass roof above, ensure rainproof shopping pleasure in an elegant ambience. This elegance attracted wealthy customers. Today famous brands such as the confectioneries Neuhaus and Godiva can be found in the Galeries Royales Saint Hubert. When it rains in Brussels, you can come here and relax in one of the the café of the arcade.
Brussels is the capital of the European Union. The EU Commission is the government of Europe. The "European Commission" resides in the Berlaymont building in Brussels' European Quarter. There are many European institutions in the area. The building was opened in 1969 and bears the name of a former women's monastery. It is the main building of the European Union.
The Bourse de Commerce was built in 1873 by architect Léon Suys in the neoclassical style. The architect used many decorations that would be more likely to be found on baroque buildings. The sculptor Auguste Rodin created the numerous sculptures on the facade. The former Bourse or Beurs no longer serves as a trading hall. The magnificent building is used for exhibitions and concerts. It is also being considered to set up a museum in the beautiful rooms.
Concerts, events and demonstrations are often held on the square in front of the Brussels stock exchange building.
For the 75th anniversary of the independence of Belgium, King Leopold II decided to build a Sacred Heart Church. The Basilique National de Sacre Coeur was designed by the architect Pierre Langerock. Construction started in 1905. Because of the two world wars there were long interruptions in the construction phase. Therefore, the National Basilica could only be completed in 1970. The huge Art Deco church stands on the Koekelberg and is a visible landmark of Brussels. The church itself is 93 m high and has a viewing platform at 53 m.
On July 21 On the Belgian national holiday, a service is held here with the royal family.
How to get there
With tram line 19 to the station: Bossaert-Basilique G
Welcome to Brussels
Brussels is the capital of Belgium with about 1.1 million inhabitants. Brussels is also known as the capital of the European Union and the seat of the NATO. The city center is located in a basin, here is the old town with the famous "Grand Place" and the Royal Castle. The most famous sights are the "Manneken Pis" and the "Atomium".
The people in Brussels speak French and Flemish (Dutch). The Walloons speak French, the Flemish Dutch. In Brussels, the majority speaks French (about 80%).
Brussels is a city of foodies, as in France, great emphasis is placed on good food. In the "Petite Rue des Bouchers", one restaurant joins the next. However, the street is very touristy, if you really want to eat well, you should get a current restaurant guide.
Restaurants with 2 Michelin stars:
Le Chalet de la Forêt
Comme Chez Soi
Belgium is famous for French fries, waffles and chocolate. For these goodies there are small shops everywhere. Chocolatiers present their sweet creations in a very exclusive ambience. Belgian chocolate is world renowned because it uses the best ingredients and often drags the chocolate, which makes it softer. Among the most famous brands are Neuhaus, Godiva and Galler.
You can get the best French Fries in town at