Amsterdam Light Festival

December 20, 2019

If you’re thinking of taking a winter getaway to Amsterdam, you’re in for a treat. Hop on one of our ferries to Holland and visit the annual Amsterdam Light Festival which is in full swing and is set to illuminate the city until 19 January. This year’s theme is Disrupt and through 30 artworks, artists will use light to shake up your vision of Amsterdam and disrupt the status quo. Read on the find out what else you can expect.

The Sleepwalk

Ever wondered what happens when the zoo closes its doors and the animals start to go to sleep? During the Light Festival, Artis Zoo is opening its doors after hours for a special Sleepwalk where you will walk through the zoo in the pitch blackness, with the help of a special app. You will discover why flamingos sleep on one leg, why mushrooms glow in the dark and how bats hunt in total darkness. As human beings we rely so much on our sight but this experience lets you learn from nature and sharpen your senses, experiencing the popular attraction with the lights out.

Atlantis by Utskottet

See some of the world’s towering buildings in this illuminated skyline in the centre of one of Amsterdam’s canals, making you think of the impact which rising sea levels and global flooding can have on our planet.


Butterfly Effect by Masamichi Shimada

See seven giant butterflies undulate with the movement of the water as their wings glow blue against the dark night. The peaceful scene is punctuated by the sense of how something as delicate as a butterfly can possess such power.


Night Time Canal Cruise

Take in the multiple light installations via the city’s winding waterways on an evening canal cruise, which sails beneath, around and through various artworks across the city.

End Over End by Lucy McDonnell

Remember that Slinky you had as a kid? End Over End by Lucy McDonnell sees a gigantic Slinky ‘walk’ from the old porter’s house at the entrance of ARTIS zoo as though placed there by a huge hand. You will feel like you’ve stepped into the world of Alice in Wonderland or Gulliver’s Travels as you marvel at the giant Slinky placed in your path.


Neighborhood by Sergey Kim

The illuminated laundry which hangs on washing lines include a traditional Jewish dress, a Moroccan djellaba and wide Turkish trousers. They represent the cultural and ethnic mix of residents in the city and hang between the Dutch houseboats which are typical of Amsterdam.

Surface Tension by Tom Biddulph & Barbara Ryan

The impact of rising sea levels is seen in this light installation which has transformed parts of Amsterdam’s canals into a drowned city street, with trees, electricity poles and rooftops sticking above the surface of the water while cars float on the top. It’s a sobering artwork which hints at the potential future of the city and the planet as a result of climate change.


The Amsterdam Light Festival runs until 19 January 2020 and you can get there easily on a ferry to Holland with DFDS.

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