During the cold, dark and gloomy winter months in Europe, Amsterdam brings light and cheer to the hearts of locals and tourists with its annual Light Festival. Not that Amsterdam needs a light festival to get any prettier – but it certainly does brighten up those long winter nights.

What is it?

Light artists create LED light installation artworks which are instead of being in a museum, they can be spotted all over Amsterdam city, but mostly along the Herengracht (Patricians’ Canal)! It runs from 5pm-11pm, so don’t expect to see the lights during the day!

The Light Festival runs from December to almost the end of January each year so there is plenty of time to check out the installations!

There are guided walks along the light trail called thte Illuminade and well, it wouldn’t be Amsterdam if it didn’t also run boat tours (called Water Colours) of the light trail along the canals, right? As the event has finished for this winter – check out the official Youtube video showing the illuminations!

Also, a shout out to Google, as this year google maps showed where each illumination’s location was if you looked at the map of Amsterdam – so whilst you can go and get an official map from the promoters, you can also find out where the lights are just by using your Google Maps app on your smart phone! Very cool.

Let There Be Light

We recently spent a Friday evening riding the full grachten gordel (Canal Belt) and areas near the Amstel that had the ‘Water Colours’ light installations. As we live in Amsterdam, we don’t always take the time to just appreciate the city as we are busy with working and catching up with friends. With having an event like this in Amsterdam it is a great way to get back to appreciating the beautiful architecture!

Worth the trip?

So you probably want to know if the light festival is worth travelling to Amsterdam for. Well, I’d say no. I wouldn’t venture to Amsterdam just for this. However, if you are planning a trip to Amsterdam in the winter months – it is certainly a must do for your Amsterdam itinerary!

Here are some photographs of the light installations to whet your appetite for next year – enjoy!

Have you been to the Light Festival? Tell me about what other city-wide installations you’ve seen! I’d love to hear!

And if you enjoyed this post I’d love for you to leave a comment or sign up to receive email updates. Thanks for reading!

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