The Amsterdam Light Festival adds bright beauty to the city during the darkest months of the year. View the spectacular light sculptures created by artists in public spaces either on foot, by bicycle or by canal boat.
AMSTERDAM LIGHT FESTIVAL ••• FRIENDSHIP
The Walking Route
The official walking route called Illuminade is on the east side of the center and takes you past and even through some of the creative light artworks of the festival.
To see the official map of the walking route and get more information, visit the Amsterdam Light Festival website.
The walking route passes through the Weesperzijde and Plantage neighborhoods, with 24 different sculptures in the area. My favorites along the walking route include A Tale of Two Cities by Vendel & de Wolf, Friendala by Macarena Meza and Daniela Orellana, and the interactive Winged Migration by Judith Hofland & Tessel Schmidt.
Eating and Drinking Along the Walking Route
The walking route centers around the Plantagebuurt and the Amstel. Some of our suggestions for places in the area to pause for a bite to eat or something to drink include:
- For a lovely place to have dinner, visit Cafe Restaurant de Plantage. You can also just stop in for a beverage and a sophisticated snack.
- If you’d prefer a quick meal, or even to eat while you stroll, grab a hot healthy soup at Soup en Zo.
- A big burrito from the Salsa Shop will warm you up after walking in the cold.
- Before walking the route go for a drink and snack at Hoftuin near the Hermitage.
- We love the historic feel of Cafe de Sluyswacht. Pause here for a beer and bitterballen or a hot chocolate.
- You can always stop into the “Festivalhart” locations along the route for a cup of glühwein and a bite to eat. (Hoftuin is the “festivalhart” location for the wandelroute)
The Amsterdam Light Festival Boat Route
Some of the amazing artworks look best from the water. If you or your friends are lucky enough to have a canal boat, bundle up and head out once it gets dark. Otherwise you can book a cruise with one of the participating boat companies. You’ll find a list on the Amsterdam Light Festival website.
We did a Water Colors boat tour and really enjoyed seeing the lights on the water. Be sure to bundle up with your scarf, hat and gloves as it gets chilly on the canals. Some of our favorite works this year include:
- Northern Light by Aleksandra Stratimirovic
- A Tale of Two Cities by Vendel & De Wolf
- Light Wave by Anita Doornhein
- Holon Light by Michiel Martens & Jetske Visser
- Paths Crossing by Ralf Westerhof
- Run Beyond by Angelo Bonello
- Polygonum by Them Sculptures
For a unique experience you can also book a culinary cruise through the canals and enjoy wine, craft beer and delicious bites while gazing at the art. Contact Amsterdam Delicious food tours or Amsterdam Boats to arrange a custom tour and tasting.
The Amsterdam Light Festival runs from November 28th through January 17th. Don’t miss it!
THINGS TO DO IN AMSTERDAM IN WINTER TIME
Wintertime is a terrific season to be in Amsterdam. Be sure to check out the holiday lights around town. Go ice skating at a local square. Take a break at a cafe with a friendly fireplace and our favorite cozy bars. Check our agenda too for information about what is on in town!
Curious about Amsterdam weather in wintertime? Amsterdam is wonderful all year round but some months are rainier and colder than others. No matter what the weather there are always lots of things to do in Amsterdam.