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 • 2017-18
The Amsterdam Light Festival 2017-18 takes place from November 30, 2017 to January 21, 2018. The theme this year is “Existential”.
This year we are excited that there is a piece along the water route created by Chinese artist and activist Ai WeiWei. It’s a fascinating concept about borders and is the longest art piece ever shown at the festival.
The Amsterdam Light Festival takes place on both water and land. This year for the first time there will be exhibits at the Marineterrein from December 14 2017 until January 7 2018.
The Amsterdam Light Festival Boat Route
You can see the Light Festival sculptures from the canalside but 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. Here are a few Light Festival canal tours we’ve found.
We did a Water Colors boat tour last year and really enjoyed seeing the lights on the water. Here is another open top boat tour. Be sure to bundle up with your scarf, hat and gloves as it gets chilly on the canals especially if you sit outside – which I like to do. Some of our favorite works this year include:
thinline – Ai Weiwei: the longest artwork ever shown in the ALF, this piece by the Chinese activist and artist refers to boundaries and borders and makes you think about world politics and personal freedom.
Light Wave – Lauren Ewing: a beautiful and powerful commentary on climate change and sea levels rising.
Eye to Eye – Driton Selmani: so much to love about this simple artwork, but the mist coming off it is super fun.
Whole Hole – Vendel & De Wolf: probably everyone’s favorite this year, the flickering tunnel of light that takes you from the Amstel back to the canals.
Lifeline – Claes Meijer: this simple artwork reacts to the sounds underwater and is a commentary on noise pollution of our seas. Love this one! Stomp on the floor of your boat.
The Life of a Slime Mold – Nicole Banowetz: such a cool idea, and I love that she brought it in her suitcases on the plane
- City Gazing – FOLD: anything in the form of a map is always a favorite of mine, and especially if it is a map of Amsterdam. I’d like this for my bedroom ceiling, thanks.
It was once drifting – Claudia Reh: a colorful projection of children’s artworks on the walls of the Hermitage
Check the Amsterdam Light Festival website for more information about the artworks.
Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Boat Cruises
While it is fun to walk or cycle around to see the art installations, it’s a great idea to take a canal cruise to get a completely different perspective as well. Check out the Water Colors Cruise or Blue Boat cruise, both on on heated, covered boats. Photographers might prefer an open boat, which will be chillier but allow better photo opportunities.
My favorite types of canal boats are the historic wooden salon boats. You can book a cruise on one of them for the Amsterdam Light Festival for a more intimate and romantic experience of seeing the lights.
The Amsterdam Light Festival Walking Route
This year the walking route will take place at the Marineterrein Amsterdam beginning December 14th and running through January 7th. Wander the area on your own discovering the various light installations. There will also be performances and artist talks. If you would like more information about the artworks there are guided tours available.
The Marineterrein exposition is accessible from 17:00-22:00 every evening except New Years Eve. Entry is free!
We hope this helps you plan your viewings of the Amsterdam Light Festival.
The Amsterdam Light Festival runs from November 30th through January 21st. 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.
You might also like these posts:
- Top 10 museums in Amsterdam
- 13 Amsterdam secrets
- 25 top coffee spots in Amsterdam
- Cozy cafes with fireplaces
- Vegan & vegetarian restaurants in Amsterdam
- Nine Streets Neighborhood Guide
- 18 coolest libraries in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam street art
- Things to do on a rainy day in Amsterdam