Hire a boat, collect your friends, and get yourself a glimpse of Amsterdam from its most enchanting point of view during the Amsterdam Light Festival.
This dazzling event is held annually, kicking off well before Christmas and continuing throughout the darkest days of winter into the New Year. It’s probably the biggest singular reason in any given year (outside of Kingsday in April and Pride in August) that Amsterdammers and Amsterdam’s visitors take to the water.
Each year the festival cooks up a collection of light sculptures which are undoubtedly beautiful, funny, awe-inspiring, provocative, crazy – or any combination of those – fresh from the minds of local artists and designers. So there’s an incentive to return year after year.
Every edition grows in scale, too. So not only does the light route sprawl along the canals and rivers, but it grows legs, dries off and lays a separate route of original installations for admiration by landlubbers alone.
In case it needs saying, the festival can only really be enjoyed after dark and while the festival itself is free to view, any kind of guided tour will require some degree of financing.
For an unbeatable tour experience on the water go with an independent skipper with an electric vessel. These silent-running boats leave you to chat unencumbered by the thrum of an engine or the smell of diesel. Meanwhile a knowledgeable captain will revel in the opportunity to fill you in on all manner of fascinating tidbits about about the city and the festival pieces.
If you’re touring the water exhibition of theAmsterdam Light Festival, you can view the artworks between 30th November – 21st January. Meanwhile the land exhibition starts on 5th December – 7th January.
We have a few other tips you might find useful, too, so click the link for our full article on how to make your winter canal cruise a success!