Light can invoke many emotions based on color, brightness, shape, size, placement and many other elements. Think of the difference between strobe lights, Christmas lights, red lights, steady lights and flickering lights. The Amsterdam Light Festival happens throughout the winter and has dozens of international artists that come together and place a variety of light-related pieces of art around the center of Amsterdam.
There are at least two distinctive parts to the Light Festival. One being the Illuminade that takes you on a walking tour and one that is a Water Colors tour that looks best while making your way down the canals in a boat. We are part of an international expat and local meetup group from Meetup.com and went on a walking tour on the first night of the Illuminade to see the amazing features. Amsterdam is so easy to get around by foot anyway and it took us through neighborhoods we had not been to yet.
Some installations were larger than life. You see it from far away but it looks so much more amazing close up. The time and thought that goes into each piece is obvious and it is so easy to appreciate the effort. These are pieces of art and some require a little contemplation to get the most of the scene.
The “On The Wings of Freedom” installation was beautiful up close, but took your breath away when you saw it from farther back. This is one that probably looks great from the water. But the way it changed colors at random, you never knew what to expect.
A few stops just pulled you in. Some were simply mesmerizing. The “Alley of Light” looked almost invisible from the road, but like little lightning bugs, you knew it was there and just wanted a closer look. The lights seemed to be there by magic, but up close you could see how it was put together, and still, as you walked through, it was like a forest of light surrounding you. This was my favorite installation by far!
From the thought-provoking pieces, to the ones that took you to another world, to the pretty ones, to the upcycled ones, this is an amazing festival that all should see. If you have the opportunity to visit Amsterdam in December or early January, take it! You won’t be disappointed. We had no idea what to expect, and I’m not a huge art person, but I won’t forget this festival and I look forward to the next one!
Remember, this is just one of seven things from the list of 7 things to do around Europe in Winter. There is so much to experience in Europe even when it is so cold! So, don’t miss out on amazing experiences like German Christmas Markets. Don’t let winter scare you into thinking you have to stay home or travel somewhere warm. Get out there and experience things like beautiful lights that warm your soul.
Have you been to a festival like this? Or maybe you’ve been to this one! What do you think? Is it worth the walk?