The Atomium, the triumph of science-inspired engineering, is honouring its 60th birthday; and it’s planning to celebrate. Along with Manneken Pis, the Atomium is an icon that characterises Brussels and highlights its endeavouring soul for the progression of new ideas. Created in April 1958 for the Belgian world fair – a fair characterised for gestures of grandeur and new, wondrous feats – this year’s celebrations aims to bring that same feeling of wonder with a host of events and special happenings that debut this week at the most popular tourist attraction of Europe’s Capital.
The Atomium was the first construction for post-war world exhibitions. The nine spheres illustrate an iron crystal that is magnified 165 times. Currently, visitors can enjoy the surreal access through the Atomium’s interconnecting tubes and spheres; it’s exhibitions (both permanent and temporary), the restaurant at 95m and the panorama that it and the top of the monument offer over Brussels. But this week seeks to exponentially add to this.
Named “A Love Story Since 1958” these new events will encompass a host of arts, cuisine, music, a Smurfs 60th birthday overlap, a firework show and much more.
An additional three exhibitions at the Atomium and the ADAM Brussels Design Museum, collectively titled Galaxy 58, will be running from 23rd of March until 2019.
People of 58
Exhibiting the ceremonious moment of the year this wonder opened, a large number of largely unseen photo and video footage will transport those who are older enough to remember into the nostalgic feeling of the grand unveiling and give those too young a great insight into the past, engrossing all in the feeling of progression, positivity and the spirit of excitement this monument gave for the future.
There will be an innovative visual world from the Brussels Design Museum present, which draws our attention to its key elements of forms, colours, textures, and on their design importance during the late 50s.
A comic book debut
A debut of an official comic book, Sourire 58 (Smile 58) will be exhibited at the event. Set in the World Fair as a geopolitical thriller and written and historically documented by Patrick Weber and illustrated by Baudouin Deville which recreates the ambience of 1958 Brussels. The comic will be available immediately upon arrival, and an outdoor exhibition will also be held between the Atomium and Palace 5, giving a behind-the-scenes look at its creation. The exhibition will be held from late March to September 2018.
In collaboration with the Museum of Costume and Lace in Brussels, this exhibit shows images of young and old visitors strolling around Expo 58 in their suavest garms, illustrating to us the dichotomy of old and new, and demonstrate a society that was on the cusp of a new era.
A Smurftastic year
Created the same year as the Atomium, the Smurfs surely mark equally for international recognition, and so, the Smurfs are joining in to jointly celebrating this 60th birthday party. They are simultaneously the subject of an exhibition in one of the Heysel Palaces.
Get a unique souvenir
There will be famous trinkets you can get to commemorate this moment in history. The famous MeisterSinger company is creating a watch in tribute to the 60th anniversary, with only 60 being produced to mark the occasion.
Taste the beer of yesterday, today!
Meanwhile, the original beer produced for the Expo 58, Flobecq brewery, will recreate the exceptional brew for the duration of the festivities, but with a modern twist of the beverage being entirely organic.
Although the dates are still unannounced, what is certain is you can expect five fabulous Friday night fireworks displays. This will also include a fireworks display on new years eve.
A non-profit Regal, in cooperation with Atomium, is organising Bric-a-Brac Fair 58 at the end of April. Including over 120 stands selling objects, mementoes and vintage pieces as a token of the past or as a real relic. There will also be an outside seating area with a 1958-style theme and activities for kids.
From April to December, the restaurant at the very top of the Atomium will be offering a special three-course lunch for €60, serving Belgian dishes, wine and even national produce; plus, anyone who books will get a free visit to the Atomium.
An abundance of music and vehicles
The festival Rock around the monument will be celebrating with a special programme of rockabilly, rhythm & blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Over two days there will be 12 international concerts, a vintage market and some of the most vibrant cars and motorbikes from the period will be on show. And better yet, everything is free, adding to that good time feeling.
The CouCou bar just outside the Atomium will organise special dance, music and circus arts events, including slack-rope walking, throughout the summer; there will be a “gentleman rides” motorbike riders event, with riders, encouraged to join in and wear “distinguished” outfits, which collecting funds for scientific research; The Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia will celebrate its 60th anniversary. With a special concert in the Prigogine Sphere with pieces dating from the era of Expo 58 up until the present; more cars again in October with 60 Years of the History of the Car, and in there will be another, although this time design-driven, flea market.
Diamond wedding celebrations
And lastly, The Atomium as a gesture to the people of Belgium want everyone to join in the celebrations. The Atomium has contacted all town halls in Belgium and invited couples who celebrate their 60th wedding anniversaries this year to enjoy a special week in April organised just for them. They will be able to visit the Atomium and the Adam totally free; it has already had more than 1,200 couples respond
Good to Know:
- Reserve and buy your tickets online here