Wintertime in Amsterdam could be dark and gloomy but the Amsterdam Light Festival brightens up the long nights of winter in the Dutch capital. This year is the festival’s eleventh edition, during which visitors are invited to Imagine Beyond.

Amsterdam Light Festival history

Ever since 2012, the winters in Amsterdam have been lit up by the bright lights of the Amsterdam Light Festival as well as the yearly Christmas decorations. The festival is dedicated to light art, which are installed on and above the Amsterdam canals. Over the past decade, the various themes of the festival have allowed artists to create artwork which brought contemporary issues to light, surprised, told stories and transformed the urban surroundings of the artwork.

This year’s theme is Imagine Beyond, with which the festival will take you on a journey to the world of imagination. The complete route of the festival will consist of over 20 light artworks.

Our imagination allows us to envision the day of tomorrow however we like, we can dream beyond the here and now. Join LOVERS Canal Cruises on a boat tour past the various light art, look through the windows and let your fantasy run wild. This year the light show includes brand new light art, chosen specifically for this event.

Amsterdam Light Festival canal cruise

There are two ways to enjoy the Amsterdam Light Festival. You can walk the route on foot, or you can take a canal cruise. As the artwork is both on, above and on the edges of the canals, a canal cruise is the best way to see and enjoy the light art. The canal cruises come with an audio guide in English and Dutch, which will tell you all about the different artworks and the artists.

Together with LOVERS Canal Cruises, Tours & Tickets offers three types of Amsterdam Light Festival cruises that will let you appreciate the festival at its best. The most famous and popular Amsterdam Light Festival cruise has two departure points to choose between, each on a different side of Amsterdam Central Station. 

If you want to take the best pictures? Then you can join the Semi-open boat cruise. The boat doesn't have any windows, so you are exposed to the colder weather but your view of the light art is perfect! And for those who want to enjoy a meal before they cruise through the canal and wonder at the light art, there is the Cruise with Satay Dinner.

Christmas lights and light art

Like most western cities, Amsterdam’s streets are decorated with Christmas lights during the holiday season and a big Christmas tree takes pride of place on Dam Square. With the addition of the light artworks on the canals, Amsterdam is a shining light in the darkness of the cold winter months.

During an Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise around Christmas time, you can see the amazing light art of the festival as well as the Christmas decorations of those who live in the canal houses. The Dutch are known for their lack of curtains, which allows you to look straight into their living rooms. During the holiday season this is especially fun, so why not celebrate Christmas with an Amsterdam Light Festival canal cruise?