Turn on the Lights

Turn on the Lights Title

Acrobats, lights, fire, and funny characters surround those in Dam Square who are there to experience Turn on the Lights. It’s just another fun event that makes Amsterdam–even when it’s cold–definitely worth visiting.

Turn on the lights in Amsterdam

In the cold and with a bit of rain, we all waited patiently as the crowd finished gathering. Announcements were made that make you question your decision to be close to the action and shadows start to appear as the actors find their spot for the opening.

Turn on the lights Amsterdam

Each year is different. But it’s bound to be amazing and make your jaw drop. The show is in Dutch and it can be hard to figure out what’s going on at times, but it certainly keeps your attention.

Turn on the lights Amsterdam

No. More than that. It DEMANDS your attention! With characters in the crowd–some on stilts and one on wheels with fire underneath, it’s completely immersive.

Turn on the lights Amsterdam

Maybe I should explain what Turn on the Lights is all about. It’s surprisingly simple. De Bijenkorf (a high-end shopping store) is a staple in cities around the Netherlands, and as part of the community they contribute an amazing opening to the festive season.

Turn on the lights Amsterdam

Lasting around 40-45 minutes, a theatre group entertains from the crowd, inside a sphere, and in the air thanks to a crane! Then a well-known celebrity helps with the countdown and yells “Turn on the lights!”. At that point, de Bijenkorf turns on its holiday lights for the first time of the season! With over 600,000 lights, it’s quite the sight to see!

Turn on the lights amsterdam

I encourage you to see this show if you are in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven, or Maastricht when they hold the event. De Bijenkorf has a special place on their website to get all the information once available.

Turn on the lights in Amsterdam finale

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Now, go and have an AMAZING time! Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram (@awanderlustforlife) so we can see you memorable experiences.

Jessica Cutrufello wearing a green floral dress, glasses and pink lipstick

Hi! I’m Jessica, an American who made Amsterdam her home in 2014. I share European gems through food and memorable experiences. Want to know more? Head to my about page or check out my YouTube channel.

Travel with us - Tuscany October 2022