When coming across the Atomium online for the first time ever yesterday, I was shocked at its unique structure. It really got me thinking about the finances that were needed to create something so uncommon.
So then, how much did the Atomium cost to build? The Atomium was originally built in 1958 and the cost to build it back then is uncertain. However, the building took on a huge renovation in 2004-2006 costing €26 million. The cost was supplied mainly from the Belgian Government, but the city of Brussels and the Atomium association also took out their pockets to supply for the renovation.
A huge cost to say the least. But, were the finances that were supplied well-spent? Why did it cost so much? And why did they even bother? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the construction and renovation of the Atomium.
The Cost Of The Atomium
Originally built in 1958, the Atomium was constructed for a worldwide post-war exhibition. The Brussels world fair (Expo 58) was the very first of its kind, and therefore, attracted a huge 41 million visitors to Europe’s capital city.
The Atomium took around 18 months to build, therefore leading the model to be completely finished in 1957.
As mentioned before, no one is really certain about how much the Atomium cost to originally build. However, the total cost of the expo is estimated to be around €36 million.
The renovation of the Atomium started in around 2004 and ended in 2006. A further €26 million was spent on the building to replace the old aluminium sheets with brand new stainless steel sheets and to provide the attraction with a modern lighting system.
Why Did It Cost So Much To Build/Renovate?
The Atomium stands at a staggering 335 foot tall, with each sphere’s diameter being roughly 59 metres wide. As you can tell, this unique structure is huge!
Aluminium is a cheap and reliable building material, and this was still the case back in the 1950s when the landmark was built. This is the main reason why it wasn’t as expensive to build back then as what it was to renovate in 2004.
When renovations took place they replaced all nine spheres with a more modern and reliable Stainless steel casing.
So why did it actually cost so much to build the Atomium? Stainless steel is much more expensive than Aluminium and this is the main reason for a majority of the high renovation cost. However, additional money would have been needed for the workers, the lighting systems and the research.
How Long Did It Take To Build The Atomium?
The structure way back in 1957 took about 32 months to build. The first 18 months were dedicated to research and preparation. The remaining 14 months were spent erecting, building and finishing the various parts of the landmark.
I think even this amount of time is pretty impressive, considering the technology and equipment back then wasn’t half as advanced as what it is today.
The landmark would then go onto bringing around 600,000 people every single year. An impressive achievement to say the least!
Why Was It Built?
In Layman’s Terms, the Atomium was constructed to imitate the atom of an iron crystal but magnified 165 billion times.
The whole point was to celebrate the nuclear power that was used in the previous world war that occurred 20 years before the construction started. As mentioned before, it was created for the worlds first post-war expo.
Hopes were high for the people of Belgium, and Brussels especially, as the European capital was hosting the first huge celebratory event of its kind.
Many other countries participate in the expo, so as the hosts, they wanted to create something that was truly unique and amazing. To say they accomplished this would be an insult! I and many other people believe they went above and beyond with this landmark.
Despite the building being constructed 63 years ago, there is STILL nothing else like it in the world. That to me is extremely impressive.
It is a must-see for anyone visiting the capital of the country, therefore making it a huge success and a massive compliment to the city of Brussels. Not only do people see the extraordinary architecture, but more importantly they see the pride and accomplishment of their ancestors and the people of history.
World War 2 was obviously one of the worlds most tragic events to ever occur. For a country as heavily involved in the war as Belgium, having such a monument in their capital city, is heartwarming, to say the least.
Was Building The Atomium Worth The High Cost?
I wanted to find out for myself if the Atomium was actually worth the money that was spent on it. To do this, I did some basic research.
As mentioned, the Atomium cost €26 million to renovate in 2004-2006, and the original construction cost in 1957 is unknown.
The price to see the attraction at the expo 58 was €0.50 for an adult and €0.33 for a child. The expo attracted 41 million people, so let’s assume at least 38 million people paid to see the Atomium (which is very likely). This would mean that the Atomium would’ve earned a huge €15,200,000 (using an average of €0.40 for the ticket price).
This obviously is a lot of money for back then, however, it still doesn’t cover the 26 million renovation cost.
However, the ticket prices were raised after the event. Today, an adults ticket is €16 and a child’s ticket is €8.50. The attraction brings around 600,000 visitors per year.
So, if we took the 15-year gap from the renovation completion(2006) to today(2021), and used an average ticket price of around €13, then the Atomium would have earned a whopping €117 million.
In just 15 years!
This is only an estimate of course and by no means necessary am I a mathematician. But, it is clear to see that the construction of the Atomium was definitely worth the money, as we haven’t even calculated the profit accumulated from the gap of time between the expo(1958) to before the renovation(2004)!
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