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Published: October 5th 2013
Atomium was built for the World Fair in 1958 and consists of 9 steel balls connected with steel rods to each other
From atoms in a lattice to JCVD
In the previous two blog entries I have written about the places I visited in Normandy in France this summer. After I left France I went to Brussels in Belgium for a day. The Belgium part of the trip was not really intended in the first place but came up because flying home from Brussels was much cheaper than from Paris.
I spent the day walking around Brussels making stops at various tourist sights along the way. I didn’t spend much time at each place. Actually I sort of just walked to one place, took a photo and then walked to the next. It is not my favourite way to travel. I prefer to spend a bit more time and not just rush through things. But I only had a few hours in Brussels and I wanted to make the most out of it. In this blog entry I have posted photos of some of what I saw this day.
I can start by mentioning Atomium
. Atomium was built for the World Fair in 1958 and consists of 9 steel balls connected with steel rods to
The balls symbolise atoms and they are placed in the same pattern that iron atoms are in an iron crystal
each other. The balls symbolise atoms and they are placed in what is known as a lattice, that is a pattern that atoms might form on an atomic level. The lattice structure displayed at Atomium is known as body centred cubic in case you wanted to know by the way and is the same structure you can find in pure iron.
Atomium is in a part of Brussels called Heysel. Football fans will recognise that name and associate it with the Heysel Stadium disaster
in 1985 when 39 people were killed in a riot on the stand before the European Cup final between Liverpool FC and Juventus FC.
The stadium is today known under another name, King Baudoin stadium, and each year the track and field competition Memorial van Damme is held there. The name van Damme refers to Ivo van Damme, who was a Belgian middle-distance runner in the 1970-ies, not the actor Jean-Claude van Damme
Jean-Claude van Damme was born in Brussels. His nickname is by the way “Muscles from Brussels”, a play with words referring both to his muscular physique and his birthplace. To the best of my knowledge there is no
Jean-Claude van Damme, aka “Muscles from Brussels”, was born in Brussels. Near Westland Shopping Center in Brussels there is a statue of him.
sports event named after Jean-Claude van Damme but in Brussels there is a statue of him. It stands near Westland Shopping Center in western Brussels. If you wish to see a typical van Damme flick you can probably see pretty much any film he ever starred in. But if you would like to see a good film I can recommend JCVD
. It's quite unlike his other movies and is really good.
The centre of Brussels is the Grand Place
, a square surrounded by the town hall and several other 17th century buildings. The historical importance of square has been recognized by UNESCO who has put it on its world heritage list.
Near the Grand Place is a statue known as Manneken Pis
, arguably the most famous of all tourist sites in Brussels. The statue shows a small boy who is urinating.
Manneken Pis has a lesser known “sister” statue, Jeanneke Pis
, showing a small girl who is urinating.
Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium but, being the home of the EU parliament, can also be said to be the capital of EU. As a tourist site, the parliament building
Fountain in a park in central Brussels
was not very interesting though.
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