The structure depicting atoms was supposed to symbolize scientific progress at the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958. The Atomium was designed by André Waterkeyn, the director of a federation of metallurgical companies. It was never intended to be a permanent part of the Brussels landscape, but like the Eiffel tower for the French, once the fair was over the Belgians wanted to keep the giant. Later on, it was voted Europe's most bizarre building by CNN in 2013. The Atomium is a 102-metre (335-foot) giant steel structure, formed by nine spheres. The Atomium is an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.
The spheres were originally made of aluminium, but in 2004–2007 the aluminium was replaced with stainless steel. Of the nine spheres, six are open to the public, and each has two floors. The central tube boasts the fastest elevator of its time. It takes 22 people to the top in 23 seconds. The escalators installed in the oblique tubes are some of the longest in Europe, up to 35 m in length.
The Atomium is located in the Northern part of the city of Brussels, near the Heysel / Heizel metro station and is next to Mini-Europe, a theme park with replicas of Europe's most famous monuments. It is open year round with opening hours from 10 am to 6 pm, except for holidays when it will close earlier.