2018 is not an ordinary year for Brussels. It’s the 60th birthdays of three major figures: the Atomium, the Smurfs and the Square. It’s a chance for visit.brussels to celebrate the development of the capital’s tourism offer.
These events signalled the beginning of tourism in Brussels. The Centre d’Information de Bruxelles, a precursor to the Brussels Tourist Office, was created for the occasion and would provide information to tourists about this city that already hosted NATO and the European Common Market. Congresses were organised in Brussels and culture grew. As Brussels’ tourism office and congress office, visit.brussels has a duty to celebrate these birthdays at the IMEX Fair in Frankfurt and remind us of the origin of these three iconic symbols.
The Smurfs are turning 60 it all began in 1958. These little blue characters, imagined by Peyo, first appeared in the Johan and Peewit series by the same author, and immediately stole the hearts of readers, who cried out for more Smurf adventures. Several events are planned for this year of Smurf celebrations: the new, Smurfs-themed plane in Brussels Airlines’ series celebrating Belgian icons took off on its maiden voyage; a monumental new comic book mural will be unveiled on19 June; and there will also be a Smurfypresence at the Belgian National Day festivities on 21 July, the 20 km of Brussels, and theMemorial Van Damme Diamond League athletics event. The highlight of this year’s events is theSmurfExperience.
The building was conceived and built to be the flagship building and emblem of Expo 58. It was created by engineer André Waterkeyn (1917-2005). The insides of the spheres were designed by architects André and Jean Polak. The Atomium ’s story is, above all, one of the people of Belgium’ love for this extraordinary building that is symbolic of a state of mind that humorously combines aesthetic audacity and technical know-how.
To celebrate its 60thbirthday, the Atomium is offering various activities, exhibitions, events and products to confirm its place as the symbol of Brussels and Belgium. Throughout this year of celebrations, tickets to the Atomium will include access to the ADAM – Brussels DesignMuseum, allowing visitors to explore the exhibitions and relive this unique page of Belgium’s history. For the occasion, this most Belgian of monuments will be organising three new exhibitions at the Atomium itself and at the ADAM – Brussels Design Museum for Galaxy 58.
Brussels’ Congress Centre was built for Expo 58, which revealed the need for venues capable of hosting international conferences in the capital of Europe. The existence of Brussels’ Congress Centre was apparently considered by Paul-Henri Spaak, Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer to be another reason to keep Brussels as the headquarters of the European institutions.
It is a genuine piece of contemporary art, with bright and open spaces. An audacious 13-metre cube of glass, an architectural wonder, allows natural light to enter right into the building ’s lower levels and creates an inspiring environment that encourages meetings and exchange. For 60 years, Brussels’ Congress Centre has offered an exceptional tool worthy of the capital of Europe. Since it opened, it has welcomed 17,568 events and more than 10,000,000 visitors. Square’s ambition is to continue to help showcase Brussels as the attractive destination it is, and to contribute to its economic development. It aims to integrate dynamic and ambitious management to widen the international renown of the capital of Europe.