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Amsterdam Light Festival – what to expect

Edited by: Rekha Rajan
Fact checked by: Jamshed V Rajan


The Dutch Capital hosts the Light Festival in winter every year. 

It mainly celebrates art, light, and creativity, featuring several light sculptures, installations, and projections that light up the streets, canals, and city buildings. 

The main aim of this festival is to inspire and engage tourists and residents by displaying the original and cutting-edge uses of light in an artistic expression.

From November to January, you can enjoy this festival featuring different light artworks, installations, and performances by international and national artists. 

Amsterdam’s historic center is home to artworks that can be viewed by bike, boat, or foot. 

Tourists can participate in guided tours, workshops, and other activities designed to attract and educate the public about light art.

Every year, the Amsterdam Light Festival attracts thousands of tourists. 

For art lovers, photographers, and any individual seeking an immersive and unique experience, it is an exceptional opportunity to see the beauty and culture of Amsterdam throughout the winter.

GVB Amsterdam is the best way to navigate the city quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. If you are in the city for over two days, we recommend buying GVB Public Transport Ticket.

Light on a bridge in Amsterdam during the light festival

Light Festival’s dates for 2023

Twenty magnificent art pieces will be displayed alongside the Amsterdam canals in the twelfth season. 

The exhibition will start on 30 November 2023 and end on 21 January 2024, which means it will continue for 53 days. 

Theme for the Light Festival

In 2023, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technology will be the theme for the Light Festival. 

With the help of light artworks, you will step into the world of digital technology and AI. 

Planning a holiday in Amsterdam? Read about the city’s weather, coffee shops, Foodhallen, taxis, parking, restaurants, Museumplein, and pancakes.

Timings of the Light Festival

Visitors can enjoy the light artworks at the Light Festival daily from 5 pm to 11 pm. 

Although, for New Year’s Eve, the light artwork will be stopped at 8 pm. 

You can enjoy the canal boat rides through the light festival installations from 4.30 pm to 10 pm. 

Route of Amsterdam Light Festival

Every year, the Amsterdam Light Festival’s route is different, although it usually follows the canals in the city’s heart. 

The event includes a range of light sculptures and fittings along the route that illuminate Amsterdam’s waterways and historic buildings. 

Visitors can either take a boat or walk along the path where the annual event is hosted – this helps in experiencing the light artwork from different angles. 

If you’re on foot, it will take around 90 minutes, while the boat takes 75 minutes. 

It is better to take the help of a map or route guide to enhance your experience further.

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Amsterdam Light Festival by walk

Depending on your pace, the Amsterdam Light Festival’s five-kilometer (3 miles) long walk takes 90 minutes to two hours. 

On your walking tour, you will view lit sculptures, artworks, and fittings by world-renowned artists.

Tourists admire and interact with each installation at their own pace – every light, sound, and motion enhances the experience.

A guided walking tour can provide more information about the artwork installations and local history.

Tour guides give maps and guidebooks to help you navigate the festival and see all the artwork.

Amsterdam Light Festival by Canal Cruise

Amsterdam Light Festival canal cruises are also popular with visitors.

Tour companies provide Amsterdam Light Festival cruises from late November to early January.

The voyage allows tourists to enjoy the light works from both land and sea. 

Visitors enjoy the event’s lively atmosphere while cruising Amsterdam’s canals and past notable monuments.

The 75-minute canal rides have a covered sitting area with blankets and hot refreshments.

The guide explains Amsterdam’s history and culture as visitors appreciate the light installations.

Amsterdam’s Light Festival cruise tickets sell out rapidly on weekends and holidays. So book your tickets in advance!

Is the Light Festival in Amsterdam worth it?

Art, light displays, and the unique experience make Amsterdam’s Light Festival worth it.

The festival gives visitors a different perspective on Amsterdam’s waterways and city.

The event also showcases work done by international artists and Amsterdam’s nightlife and culture. 

If you are planning a vacation to the Dutch capital, check out our itinerary recommendation for a 1-day2-day3-day, and 5-day visit to Amsterdam.

FAQs on Amsterdam Light Festival

Here are a few questions tourists planning to explore the Light Festival in the Dutch capital have – 

When does the Amsterdam Light Festival begin and end?

The Amsterdam Light Festival starts daily at 5 pm and ends at 11 pm.

The Amsterdam Light Festival is a must-see, but how should one go about seeing it?

Taking a canal cruise, strolling or bicycling the festival route, and seeing the many activities and exhibits are all excellent ways to participate in the Amsterdam Light Festival.

Where can I get information about buying tickets to the Amsterdam Light Festival?

While the Light Festival runs from December to January, tourists planning a visit can book their Amsterdam Light Festival tickets in advance. The tickets are available online.

Does Amsterdam Light Festival offer ticket discounts?

The Amsterdam Light Festival offers discounts – children under 12 years go in for free, and there are discounts for schools and organizations.

What is the Light Festival Cruise’s route around the waterways?

Cruises during the Amsterdam Light Festival often take in some of the festival’s most famous stops along the city’s famed canals, although the exact itinerary changes yearly.

Can I take photos while attending the Amsterdam Light Festival?

Photography at the Amsterdam Light Festival is permitted. However, some areas have restrictions on using tripods or other professional equipment.

Does Amsterdam Light Festival go on in the event of inclement weather?

The Light Festival continues all through. That’s why visitors to the Amsterdam Light Festival are encouraged to pack raincoats and sturdy shoes in case it rains during their visit.

Can you get something to eat or drink at the Amsterdam Light Festival?

Yes, you can get food and drinks at the Amsterdam Light Festival. Food trucks, cafes, and bars serve food and beverages.

How long is the Amsterdam Light Festival canal trip?

The Amsterdam Light Festival canal trip lasts from 75 to 90 minutes.

Are there any organized tours of the Amsterdam Light Festival available?

Walking, biking, and custom tours are all available during the Amsterdam Light Festival.

Do the light installations at the Amsterdam Light Festival change every year?

Each year, the Dutch Light Festival presents new and different light artworks.

Can kids enjoy Amsterdam’s Light Festival?

There are displays and events during the Light Festival that are suitable for younger attendees.

What are the age and mobility requirements for participating in the Light Festival canal cruise?

The canal tour during the Amsterdam Light Festival is accessible to people of all ages. However, individuals with limited mobility may have trouble.

What to wear to the Amsterdam Light Festival?

Attendees are encouraged to bring warm clothing for outdoor events.

Where can I park my car?

Parking is available on the street and in garages near the Amsterdam Light Festival route. Nonetheless, people attending the festival are urged to use public transportation or bicycles.

Where can I stay in Amsterdam during the Light Festival?

There are cheap and upscale places to stay along the route of the Amsterdam Light Festival.

What other attractions are there around the Amsterdam Light Festival?

Tourists in Amsterdam during the Light Festival may also visit the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank Home.

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The travel specialists at TheBetterVacation.com use only high-quality sources while researching & writing their articles. We make every attempt to keep our content current, reliable and trustworthy.

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