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Amsterdam Light Festival 2017 Route

In this sixth edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival, the city is yet again an open-air gallery for 36 intriguing light artworks. From the 30th of November, artists from all over the world showcase their light installations along the canals of the historic Amsterdam city center, coordinating with this year’s theme ‘existential.' The most well-known artists who have contributed to this year’s festival are the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei and the British artist Cecil Balmond. In this article, we aim to enlighten you on the artworks scattered across the city, so you get the context and meaning behind them. Welcome to the Amsterdam Light Festival Water Route.

Route info

  • Route name: Amsterdam Light Festival 2017 Water Route
  • Best by: boat
  • Start and end point: Leidseplein or Central Station
  • Duration boat tour: 75 minutes.
  • Boats leave every 45 minutes, between 17.00 – 23.00 hrs at night.
  • Dates: The water route is open from 30th of November 2017 to 21st of January 2018. The land route will open from 14th of December to 7th of January 2018.
  • Regular ticket: €19.50 - €25.00, depending on the type of boat. Get 'skip the line tickets' here.

Amsterdam Light Festival 2017 Water Route

In this Amsterdam Light Festival Water Route, you'll experience 21 artworks placed along the canals, above and submerged in water. Enjoy the various light installations in a warm and cozy environment by taking a boat tour, cruising along the different artworks by international artists from Indonesia, the Netherlands, Kosovo, Russia, Italy, Japan, Canada, Australia, and Belgium.

One of the highlights of this water route is the 6.5 km long light line called 'Thinline'. The red line guides you along the exact boating route of the festival and has been created by the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. The artist poses a provoking question to the audience about creating borders: Who is allowed to enter the city? Who determines this? How vulnerable is this border? Who can cross the borders? And who is denied entry?

Thinline - Photo by: Janus van den Eijnden

The Amsterdam Light Festival would not be complete without a true Amsterdam artwork. The Dutch artist and design duo, VOUW, have created a customized light map of Amsterdam for this spectacular festival. The artwork is like a web of the city map, spun over the canal, which appears upside-down to visitors as they cruise through it. The installation is called 'Stadstaren' (city staring in Dutch) and gives us an impression of the light footprint that the city sends into space.

Stadstaren - Photo by: VOUW

The beautiful artwork 'Infinita' by Cecil Balmond fires up a discussion on the essence of our existence, and whether this is perceptible or lies under the crux of the surface. The triangular artwork is calculated by the ‘golden ratio,’ the accurate calculation of the proportions in nature, but is broken into two pieces.

Infinita by Balmond Studio

One of the highest sculptures of the festival is the artwork 'Myth' by the American light artist Ben Zamora. With his 12 meter light installation, the artist aims to create a dialogue between the visitors and the surroundings, emphasizing the universal and social impact of the city. The most spiritual artwork of this exhibition is the installation ‘Eye to Eye’ by the Kosovan artist Driton Selmani, which shows the Nazar amulet protecting the city from the European darkness and the fear that has been present in the last years.

Myth by Ben Zamora

Two Dutch artists, Paul Vendel and Sandra de Wolf, created one of the most spectacular artworks called the 'Whole Hole.' The work is installed on a bridge, which is set up as a wormhole that pulls visitors into the vast unknown. According to the artists, they wanted to let visitors experience this artwork by traveling to a different place in space, or even a parallel universe, showing the vulnerability of our existence on the planet earth.

Whole Hole - Photo by: Janus van den Eijnden

Whole Hole - Photo by: Janus van den Eijnden

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