A few years ago, Amsterdam Light Festival started as a small boat parade: the Christmas Canal Parade. The idea of a light parade was taken to a bigger plan and grew in only a few years to a very popular, cultural festival of light. In some cases, the light festival literally sets the spotlights on the history of Amsterdam by illuminating historic buildings in the city (centre). Nowadays the festival consists of a boat tour and a walking route along light art and light installations, and special exhibitions and installations in various museums, galleries and other venues.

Christmas Canal Parade, Illuminade, Water Colors and more light!

The Christmas Canal Parade (NL) is still taking place on the Saturday before Christmas, but is not officially a part of the light festival. The boat parade is a wonderful stream of beautifully decorated and illuminated boats, choirs that sing Christmas Carols and other surprising spectacle. One of the other consistent elements and one of the main attractions of the festival is Illuminade – a (walking) route along various pieces of light art at various locations. Along the Illuminade route, light artists exhibit their light art installations outdoors and indoors. Amongst the artists are both established names as well as yet unknown talent and (young) artists. Third consistent element is the boat tour Water Colors, taking you along the various light art, light installations and illuminated historic building along the canals and the river Amstel. Tickets can be booked at the various canal cruise boat companies.

Each year there are new participants, new installations, surprising events, exhibitions and more, to brighten up the dark days of December and January and celebrate light and the importance of light in our lives.

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An impression of the Amsterdam Light Festival (2014) by Dutchified

Check this video of our vlog partner Dutchified to get a wonderful impression of what to expect at Amsterdam Light Festival. Even though every year there are, of course, new light art pieces.

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Sustainable innovations presented through art

We honestly don’t know how to rate this event. This is a quote from their website: “The festival is also extremely aware of sustainability. Light design is high-tech, interactive and SMART. The lighting industry is undergoing a radical LED revolution, in which countless innovations and dramatic energy savings will be realized in the years to come. Dutch companies are leading in this revolution. Amsterdam Light Festival makes these changes visible.” But there is a lot of light going on here…


Amsterdam Light Festival

Address: Throughout Amsterdam
WebsiteAmsterdam Light Festival

Type: Culture ArtSeason: Winter