Amsterdam Light Festival – a public display of light art

Amsterdam Light Festival – a public display of light art

Amsterdam is known for its romantic lights at night, but starting 1st December – 22 January, 2017, the city will light up officially. The city centre is magically transformed for an international light and water festival, the Amsterdam Light Festival.

This year’s theme is ‘Building with Light’ and many of the 30 light sculptures on display are the works of international artists. The flagship installation for many will be  the Fly’s Eye Dome by the famous American artist R. Buckminster Fuller. The largest of his three prototypes of Fly’s Eye Dome, was broken down two years before his death in 1983, having been on show in Los Angeles. Now this 50-feet reconstruction is once more on show, having been revived by the Buckminster Fuller Institute. This work on its own is well worth a visit to the Amsterdam Light Festival, and there are plenty more very worthwhile works on display.

There is a healthy variety in the participating artists, so you will see both young and very established artists from the Netherlands and abroad in the public space. Historical buildings will be lit up by installations or art works, streets will be transformed by light shows, as will parks.

Some artists focus on the here and now, others on Amsterdam’s rich historic past and reimagine disappeared historical buildings. A good example is the Temporal Tower by Todd Van Hulzen and Studio Louter who have temporarily re-established the Haringpakkerstoren (Herring Packers’ Tower), which was destroyed 200 years ago. “Do you need landmarks to make a great city?”, the artist asks his public.

Again other art installations require visitor participation so it’s lovely to take the kids along too. Many of the works are located very near the apartments we at Amsterdam Apartments rent out, so chances are you will get to see them whether you plan to or not. This is a list of the works and their locations:

Fly’s Eye Dome – Buckminster Fuller – Centraal Station;
Temporal Tower – Todd van Hulzen/Studio Louter – Haringpakkersbrug/Prins Hendrikkade;
Astera – T.I.L.T. Oosterdoksbrug (Double Tree by Hilton);
Kalmen – Harm Bremer – Oosterdok:
myhouseyourhouse – Femke Kempkes en Machteld Aardse – Nieuwe Herengracht;
Canonicalization of the seductive mind – Shieh Chih Huang – Wertheim Park;
Shadow Play – Paul Baartmans – Hortus Botanicus;
Reflections – Teresa Mar – Hermitage Amsterdam;
Big Tree – Jacques Rival – Amstel;
Ode aan Lois Kapr – Jan Tervoort – Amstel Hotel;
Drawn in light – Ralf Westerhof – Amstel/Stopera;
Flying Dutchman – Philipp Artus – Sofitel Legend The Grand/Oudezijds Voorburgwal;
Misty Lanterns – Studio Toer – Oudezijds Voorburgwal;
Light circle – Tamar Frank – Oudezijds Voorburgwal;
Pas Encore Mon Histoire – Vincent Olinet – Oudezijdskolk

You can take special boat tours along all the art works cruising the canals as well as the Amstel river. Just ask for the Water Colors tours and someone will put you in the right direction. In case you don’t fancy a boat tour, you can also walk the route – it has been aptly called Illuminade and leads you along all the most important art works in the centre of the city.  The festival runs from 1st December 2016 until 22nd January 2017.