Thursday, January 15, 2015

Amsterdam Light Festival 2014-2015

While the family was on winter break we did one super fun activity which was visit The Amsterdam Light Festival. The light festival has been going on since mid-December and will end around the 18th of January. 

These light installations were done by various artists using various materials and each has their own story behind it, we found it quite fascinating.

178 Bottles, 1 Message
Saskia Hoogendoorn and Lieuwe Martijn Wijnands

This one had a great message, with all the turmoil in the world today I think the message behind this fixture is a good one.

Amsterdam has present 178 different nationalities according to our tour guide. This figure uses 178 different bottles, it apparently was inspired by former city councillor, Floor Wibaut, who said, "There's only one land: earth. There is only one nation: humankind. There's only one faith: love."

This installation changed colors and apparently if you had an app you could use it to make your home country's flag appear on the heart.

Light Bridge
This is one I saw for weeks before it was turned on and even before I actually knew about the light festival! 

This one is a nod to Amsterdam's bridges. There is the big river, Amstel, which you are looking at in the below photo, plus various canals around the city, so Amsterdam has a lot of bridges, the Light Bridge gives us a beautiful variation of a bridge to look at. This supposedly would react to movement from the water and street but everyone I talked to that saw it never felt it had any reactions other than it's normal color change.
Love the reflection on the water.

The Gatekeepers
Irma de Vries
This was one statue of The Gate Keepers. It was located in front of the Hermitage Amsterdam, which currently has a showcase of paintings of Gatekeepers from the 17th and 18th Centuries.

Art Students
Private Sponsorship

This one was added late and I didn't think to take a picture of the artists. But, it is sort of a history of the city represented by streetlights, which of course, needed to be the famous "red lights". There are old fashioned lights to the lights we see today. This wasn't originally part of the tour, but the art students wanted so badly to have the installation on the tour the worked to get private sponsorship, it is the only sponsored installation.

Re(bi)cycle Dome
Vasili Popov

This was constructed using 300 bicycle rims from unused bicycles. In order to make it light up you had to pump an old water pump!

I feel like this is actually a great representation of Amsterdam, with the city having about double the number of bikes as it has residents, biking is where it is at in Amsterdam!

Sneaky Serpents
Tropism; Robin Noorda, Menno Schrap, Paul Godschalk, Margot van de Stolpe

This was a really unique installation. The red serpents reacted to noise so if you yelled they would shoot off and be gone!


These were made out of plastic tubes, they honestly reminded me of the stuff you would connect to your dryer for venting it. It was a really neat piece.

Waste Lights
Waste World
Urban Waste Collective

This would have been a great exhibit-if it worked. The globe is made of cans, and has thousands of LED lights in it. Then, to power the lights they used old batteries that were recycled to power the globe.

Batteries that, no matter how many they were just didn't seem to power the globe :(
Gonzalo Bascuñan and Perrine Vichet

These changed colors and the changing colors represented the four seasons. It was beautiful!

This hologram on this tree was really unique. I wish I had thought to get a video, but it turned into a dancing lady-tree, then ended like this before starting over. According to our tour guide apparently the woman who owned this building and tree back in WWII was quite famous and she managed to save this tree having it be the only tree on the block that was not cut down to provide warmth for the homes on the block.

This one is a little creepy, but was probably my favorite display. This had been a hospital for the Jewish people and "helping" them with family planning during WWII. Basically, it had served as an abortion clinic where many Jewish women or women in mixed marriages (non-Jewish and Jewish) were many times forced to have abortions. 

These hands represent the poor children who never made it out of there.

Sad, but a time in the world's history that must be remember so such a horrible incident is NOT repeated.

As you can tell the hands are "moving" and more appear and disappear as the tape running moves on in it's loop.

I was absolutely fascinated by this display and had to be dragged away from it. I really want to learn more about this hospital.

On the Wings of Freedom
Aether and Hemera

This was another interactive display. Apparently if you had a smartphone you could change the color and pattern of the lights. This was really supposed to represent the change associated with city life and the inspiration that can come from your everyday activities in a fast-paced environment.

Object O
Paul van Laak and Arnout Meijer Studio

This is supposed to represent the sun and moon, warmth and cold.
I love how the birds in the background start off as blue....

Then turn to pink....

...and I think this is my most favorite picture I took the entire walk. She was getting so artsy with her photos.


Campfires are long seen as a historical place to gather 'round and tell stories and connect with others, this artist is calling for that again, calling it Campfire 2.0, meet up at this place, put down the phone and talk to others. The book goes on to say you could see the city as one large campfire if you just look around and talk to and connect with others.

I will say as time has gone on for me in the Netherlands, I do agree with that...more and more people just strike up conversations with me on a daily basis and even though I do not know much Dutch it does give me a chance to practice and once I get to the point I cannot speak Dutch anymore I say so and usually they know English so we can continue. I think disconnecting every now and then and connecting with the world around you is extremely important!

...then after she got artsy she got a little bit idiotic. haha! Photo bombing us, printing now so we have the silliness immortalized!

The next few will make ya feel a bit funny...

Alley of Light
Serge Schoemaker Architects and DigiLuce

This was comprised of about 2,000 LED lights!

There was a small walkway for you to put yourself in the center of such a display:

All LED's...I LOVED this display!

De Theatermachine-Floriaan Ganzevoort

This was an interactive exhibit allowing you to change where the word "NOW" was projected-a school, a church, and city hall). If you continued to press these buttons the word now grew bigger and bigger and would eventually explode.

The idea behind this was to represent visitors choosing what they want and get them thinking about what they stand for...which, after world events these last few weeks is a fitting meaning. 

So, that ends the walking tour we paid for. However, there were several more displays all over the city. This one was my favorite, it is right outside of Centraal Station, The House of Cards.

House of Cards
OGE Creative Group

Made up of 125 light boxes representing playing cards. According to our guide book the House of Cards has several levels. On one side it looks like a modern church, and the other a classical structure of building blocks.

I found the house of cards to be pretty amazing. I think overall this was my favorite piece of artwork. Of course I just love card houses, I was always trying to build them as a kid...never was successful...I even used to get my Dad, the architect in on the action...surprisingly his knowledge only went so far in building a house of cards. Apparently it is nothing like building in real life. haha

Well, that concludes my love of the Amsterdam Light Festival 2014-2015...can't wait for next year! 

Does your city have a light festival? What is it like?


  1. This looks so pretty...I love the pics!

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