Heysel Park

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The Heysel Exhibition Park is the place in the north of the centre of Brussels, Belgium, where the Brussels International Exposition (1935) and the Expo '58 took place.

The Atomium, built for the World's Fair of 1958, is the most impressive monument in the Heysel Park. The Centenary Palace (Dutch: Eeuwfeestpaleis, French: Palais du Centenaire) is one of the remaining buildings of the World's Fair of 1935. Currently it's still being used for trade fairs.

This landmark building was constructed in October 2004 and was originally planned to last only six months but has been undergoing renovation recently. The building represents an iron crystal molecule, with each sphere symbolising individual atoms. The structure is also said to represent Belgium's nine provinces, and was designed to bring harmony between the French and Flemish-speaking areas of the country.

The Heysel Park is also the location of the Heysel Stadium, built in 1930. After the Heysel Stadium disaster of 1985, which claimed the lives of 39 spectators at the European Cup final, it was rebuilt and renamed the King Baudouin Stadium.

Other interesting places on the Heysel are a large movie theatre (Kinepolis), a park which hosts miniature models of famous European buildings (Mini-Europe), a subtropical water park (Océade) and a planetarium.

Potential location for European Commission offices

The Heysel Project is a potential European Union (EU) "quarter" development in the Heysel. The area surrounding the Atomium might become a location for some of the European Commission's buildings, according to a draft project developed by the city of Brussels. The city of Brussels had decided to allocate this area to "infrastructures dedicated to the international vocation of Brussels" and planned to erect a convention centre of "international dimensions" with a capacity of 3,500 seats and an "important commercial centre." In January 2009, the Commission spokeswoman Valerie Rampi confirmed that the EU executive was considering several proposals for a new location, with some 100,000 square metres of office space. The draft of 15 September 2008 is entitled "Application file for the Heysel plain to host a new European quarter". Nine proposals were received by 15 September, the Heysel project being one of them. The college of commissioners is expected to take a decision on the proposals in the first half of 2009. According to the draft project, the Heysel area lies on a direct subway line connecting it to the European quarter and is to host a new branch of the European school, where EU officials educate their children in their native tongues. The existing parking facilities, the biggest in Belgium, were also presented as a plus, as well as the planned new residential area and the proximity of parks and leisure facilities. The European quarter would continue to remain the centre of the commission's activities, but the body was also looking for "additional poles outside" this central area, in order to exert a downward pressure on real estate prices, ccording to Siim Kallas, EU commissioner for administrative affairs.

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