Winter is nearly upon us all - or at least those who reside in the northern hemisphere - and as the cold settles in, its icy grip grows more evident as the daylight hours become shorter and shorter. Residents and travelers who find themselves in Holland's fair capital of Amsterdam this winter, will have a new resource to combat seasonal effective disorder with expert efficiency: the Amsterdam Light Festival - the third-annual city-wide art festival.
Running from November 27th to January 18th, spread throughout the sprawling canal system that designates the city's historic district, the Amsterdam Light Festival features myriad activities, from art installations, and seasonal tours to live performances and culinary samplings - illuminating the winter darkness as it slowly creeps into the daytime, and long into the evening.
Light-thematic elements are prevalent throughout the festival, with a number of large artistic pieces designed to radiate the energy of the city, expressed through colorful LED displays and interactive art installations requiring public participation.
Ever been to FAO Schwarz, and danced on the keys of the massive floor-mat piano? Then you'll love this: One of the most popular outdoor art exhibits is the visually-striking, wave-inspired "Lightbridge," made from thousands of tiny lights that change color, reacting to pedestrian movement, as well as the movement of boats that pass underfoot.
A massive sphere of lights encircle a narrow foot-bridge, changing colors based on the "mood" of the city, gauged by an aggregation of social media posts and the sum of the emotional tone they embody.
A variety of themed boats pass through the light-orb lined canals, including - what is probably the most visually engaging - a giant glowing ship designed to appear as a folded origami structure.
Despite the festival really coming alive during the evening and into the night, there are plenty of daytime events to keep visitors busy, from light-themed museum and gallery exhibits to holiday-specific cuisine. The two best methods for exploring the Amsterdam Light Festival: on foot, or via river cruise. A number of guided offerings are available, in varying degrees of luxury depending on price. Most canal cruise operators are already offering nighttime tours, providing visitors the opportunity to see all of the festival's innovative art installations in one evening.
The sheer scale of artistic innovation at the Amsterdam Light Festival is already quite impressive, especially when you consider that the festival is widely considered to be in its infancy, entering only its third consecutive season. If this year's presentation is any indication of future festivals, it's safe to say that the Amsterdam Light Festival will become a staple destination for winter travelers from around the world.
Eager to jump onboard this year's festivities, escaping the dreary skies above to explore an illuminated Amsterdam? Well good news for you, getting there has never been easier. With Auto Europe's many affordable airfare offerings, hotel accommodations, and lowest-price car rentals, your winter vacation in Amsterdam can be organized in only a few clicks.