Amsterdam Light Festival 2013-2014

6th December, 2013 – 19th January, 2014.
Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Hot on the heels of the very successful GLOW festival in Eindhoven, the Dutch have the privilege of enjoying yet another festival of light.

Now in its second year, the Amsterdam Light Festival is a winter light festival for all ages. For 50 days, the historical centre of Amsterdam will present a unique décor for this international light and water festival.

Corresponding to the theme, ‘Building with Light’, 30 light sculptures and projections by international artists have been selected for this second edition. You can view the light festival in 2 ways.  The boat tour, Water Colours, will exhibit artworks along the Amsterdam canals and the Amstel River, while the walking route, Illuminade, which begins on 12th December and ends on 5th January, will take place in the centre of the city.

Our House

Tom Dekyvere, a Belgian artist,  explores the ideas behind co-creation, couch surfing and exchange websites, which all illustrate togetherness and collaboration. The connections people make can be displayed as a web. Dekyvere mirrors this idea and uses hundreds of meters of light-emitting rope to form a house: Our House. The house functions as a cocoon of our current society.

This piece can be found at Diaconie, near the hermitage Museum, on Weesperstraat.

In addition, Austrian artist Teresa Mar will project a large artwork on the facade of the Hermitage Amsterdam, loosely inspired by the museum’s current exhibition, Gauguin, Bonnard and Denis: A Russian Taste for French Art. This work is a joint project of the Hermitage Amsterdam and Amsterdam Light Festival.

The boat route is a special boat route through the canals of Amsterdam which allows you to enjoy light art, projections and installations by (international) artists from the water – a unique experience! Artworks will feature the magic of light against the backdrop of a dark sky and the moving reflections from the water, such as Temporal Tower by artist Todd van Hulzen. Amsterdam has changed throughout the centuries and several historical buildings have disappeared. Todd Van Hulzen and Studio Louter remind us of this with the Temporal Tower, a reimagining of the Haringpakkerstoren (Herring Packers’ Tower). The tower, which was torn down at the beginning of the 19th century, has been rebuilt in its original size in approximately the same location. With this work, Van Hulzen hopes to question the function of landmarks: What are the effects when you take these away? Do you need landmarks to make a great city?

You can find this artwork at Haringpakkersbrug/Prins Hendrikkade which is close to Central Station.

For more information about the route and all the artists, go to the website.


Many of the city’s museums are partners of Amsterdam Light Festival.

The tunnel of the Rijksmuseum is the setting for The Light Battle, an interactive battle between opposing groups of bicycles by VENIVEDIMULTIPLEX. With an arch of light between them, participants must peddle to push the respective colors away from each other.

Stedelijk Museum
Light art is often considered a new art form, but is that true? American minimalist artist Dan Flavin (1933-1996), for example, started working with light in 1963. His work is exhibited as part of the Stedelijk Museum’s permanent collection. During the festival, inspiring presentations will be held about light art as a new art discipline.

Amsterdam’s photography museum, Foam, will present a retrospective of the work of American photographer and filmmaker William Klein (1928). He created several abstract works using light that have not previously been exhibited in the Netherlands.

Jewish Cultural Quarter
During the festival, letters of will be projected on the façade of the Hollandsche Schouwburg. Vaarwel / Last Words is a project of artists Machteld Aardse and Femke Kempkes. These letters, written by Jews who were forcibly detained in the Hollandsche Schouwburg in the period 1942 to 1943, present the often-inconceivable wartime experiences in the public space.


Several events and concerts will also be organized during the festival.

Grachtenfestival – 5 December to16 January
The Grachtenfestival Winterspecial will take place from 5 December 2013 to 16 January 2014. Six young talented musicians have been given the opportunity to compose their ideal musical performance. The festival covers music from baroque to modern classical music. Each concert will be accompanied with unique lighting arranged by De Theatermachine.

Light My Ride – January 9
On 9 January 2014, the second edition of Light My Ride will take place. With more than 500 participants on decorated bicycles, rollerblades or skateboards, the tour will be sure to light up the city’s streets. The event is accompanied by DJs and a BMX-riders show.

Amsterdamse Hotelnacht – January 18 & 19
Take a vacation, in your own city? The annual Amsterdam Hotel Night will be held on 18 and 19 January in more than 50 hotels across the city. These hotels offer rooms for appealing prices and will host special events ranging from high teas and spa treatments. Sleep in one of the many hotels along the Illuminade walking route, and you may look out on one of the festival’s light artworks.

By Julie Allen


09 Dec