Climbers clean-up Brussel's Atomium

Dangling from ropes as they straddle giant silver spheres that reflect the city below, a team of cleaners began the annual clean-up of Brussels’ iconic Atomium.

Getting ready to celebrate its 60th birthday next year, the celebrated structure consists of nine polished steel globes, each 18 metres in diameter connected by tubular passageways, and represents a crystal of iron. But it has also come to be the symbol of the Belgian and European Union capital.

The climbers’ team leader, Olivier Delecosse, said he was proud to clean the 100-metre high exhibition space, which was built for the World’s Fair of 1958.

Delecosse and his four colleagues will spend the next two weeks on the job.

The team polish from the top to the underside of each sphere in turn.

The process usually takes place in summer as the cleaning product cannot be used in the rain. However, the crew are optimistic for a good dry run in often damp Brussels.