Brussels Has Small Sights And Underground Trams

Brussels is a lovely city. It has beer, chocolate and lots to see. The first thing we saw (if you exclude the Atomium which we passed underneath of course) was Mini-Europe. This contains scale models of many famous sights in Europe, many of which I have seen (and usually photographed) the real one.

Brussels Tram MapIt also has trams. Some of those actually run underground, which was a real novelty for me. So here is the requisite list of tram journeys.


From Depart To Arrive Route
Heysel 16:10 De Wand 16:20 7
De Wand 16:21 Gare du Midi 16:27 3
Gare du Midi 17:20 Merode 17:53 81


From Depart To Arrive Route
Merode 17:47 Germoir 17:57 81


From Depart To Arrive Route
De Brouckère 11:05 Gare du Midi 11:12 4
De Brouckère 13:15 Port de Hal 13:25 4

Much to my surprise (some of) the trams are made by Bombadier.

Brussels – The Atomium

During our trip to Belgium we took time to visit the Atomium.

It was built in 1958 for the Expo 58, the Brussels World’s Fair. It is 102 metres tall and represents an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It was originally covered in aluminium but this was replaced with stainless steel when it was renovated and it shines beautifully in the sunlight.

Inside the space feels quite Tardis like (and I should know, I’ve been inside the real thing). This is partly due to the styling, all grey metal and railings, and also to the fact that the structure when viewed from outside seems so delicate that although it towers over you, it is hard to comprehend that there is space for rooms, staircases and escalators within.

A few statistics:

Total height 102 metres
Diameter of spheres 18 metres
Diameter of tubes 3.3 metres
Surface area of spheres 108m2 / 240m2
Length of tubes at edges 29 metres
Length of tubes on diagonals 23 metres
Diameter of pavilion at base 26 metres
Total weight in 1958 [on construction] 2,400 tonnes
Total weight in 2006 [after renovation] 2,500 tonnes