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This article is the best to get all the information you need for your holiday in Amsterdam during the festival. Here you will find details and suggestions to have a city break and an extraordinary experience. Come see the Amsterdam Light Festival and let yourself be guided by their greatness!

What is Amsterdam Light Festival?

Amsterdam Light Festival is a popular wintertime event in the city of Amsterdam attracting worldwide tourists and locals alike. The festival originated from the “Christmas Canal Parade” which had its first edition in 2009 and in 2012 this festival had its first edition. While the dark hours begin at 4 p.m., because the winter days are shorter, The Amsterdam Light Festival is trying to bring more light into the cold and dark season. This year will feature more than 40 light installations created by international artists including special events, performances, and workshops. The light installations, sculptures, and projections are installed most of the time along the canals of the city, in the old town.  You can choose to enjoy these art pieces by taking a nice walking route or choose to take a boat ride in the canals, so you can enjoy the view properly. These are called The Water Colours. It’s a unique experience to enjoy the light reflections on the water surface, that will leave you with lasting impressions. Considering that the city center is not that big, you have the opportunity to enjoy the entire Festival of Lights within 1-2 hours of walking, while enjoying your favorite hot drink. Don’t forget to bring your camera and warm clothing!

Amsterdam lights festival

Amsterdam Light Festival 2023-2024 start dates

The Amsterdam Light Festival 2023 edition, starts on Thursday, 30 November 2023, and lasts until Sunday, 21 January 2024. The festival is 53 days. Because the winter event is so popular, you should book your cruises in advance, especially if the weather during that period is not favorable.

Historical Perspective: A tradition of lights

Since the 1920s, light art gained a prominent stage in the public space of major European cities, also as Amsterdam. The first Dutch “light event” took place in October 1929 when they celebrated Edison Light Week. A variety of buildings were decorated with light bulbs, attracting large groups of curious visitors. During the event, an illuminated Fokker plane circled above the city while illuminated boats toured the canals. The desire to make the city attractive again through light has led various Amsterdam entrepreneurs to develop new initiatives and ideas.

An overview of past festivals

message on Amsterdam lights festival

Each edition of the festival has a theme, based, of course, on the lights. Whether it was a general theme or one to convey a message, it never ceased to amaze the world. For example in the second edition, the theme was “Building with Light”, the third one had as theme “A Bright City”, but in the 4th edition the main theme was “Friendship” and how friendship is short-lived or everlasting, and how you can find what you need in the right moment, from everyone and everything. All the editions will make you learn something new and how you can enjoy little things in life.

The 2023-2024 Edition: What’s New?

The Amsterdam Light Festival this year will take you into de world of digital technology and artificial intelligence. In this twelfth edition, you have 20 wondrous works of art that can be viewed on the Amsterdam light festival route,  along the Amsterdam canals. You’ll have 53 days to admire the art as you knew, combined with the new artificial intelligence. Contemporary lightning art is no longer a simple on and off, but a more complex design and creativity that adds value to today’s art, being an innovation, not only to the city but to the unique lightning art.

Edition 12: Loading…

In this edition, the main theme of the artists was to combine the usefulness of artificial intelligence (AI), in our everyday lives, with the general theme of the festival: lights. With the use of AI techniques and tools, artists and creators can develop new forms of expression and expand the limits of art as we know it today.

Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technology

Let’s talk about how to combine art and technology to create unique lighting art, and first of all, we need innovation. Innovation is an important factor in the development of the art of lighting, and it is also the key to achieving the combination of art and technology. New technologies emerging from modern technology: programmable LED technology, projection technology, and sensor technology. The emergence of these technologies provides artists with a conducive environment to create new ways to express their ideas and opinions in a more flexible way. In addition, the emergence of new materials brings even more possibilities to express light art, such as new transparent materials, programmable materials, reflective materials, and so on. Applying these materials makes light art more spectacular, diverse, and interactive.

Making the most out of the Amsterdam Light Festival

If you’re visiting the city during the Festival of Lights, you’ll want to make the most of everything the city has to offer. The festival will delight you from the moment it gets dark outside, and as long as it’s light outside, you can visit the main tourist attractions of the city and try traditional food and specialties that are only made in winter. The city will envelop you with its charm and flavor.

people holding fireworks at lights festival


Best viewing points

The best way to see the festival’s arts is from water. The art installations can be viewed from canal tour boats, on foot, or by bicycle. Most people prefer to see the arts from the water and almost all canal boat companies offer tours. You can choose between private tours or regular ones. If it’s raining it will be a little hard to see the lights through the windows.

Best times to visit Amsterdam during the festival

The Amsterdam Light Festival it’s a must-see this year in the city of Amsterdam, it will light up your city break. This light show is worth visiting at the opening of the festival, but also if you go before or even during the holidays. It will slowly introduce you to that cozy atmosphere. You can visit the city, on the holidays or New Year’s Day to add a flavor to your winter holiday.

Enjoy your holiday in Amsterdam with a sexy escort!

Boat Tours: The best way to experience Amsterdam Light Festival

You can enjoy the Amsterdam Light Festival boat tour by sitting aboard a special boat with open decks, as you sail along the canals admiring dozens of illuminated works of art. Even though the boat is open, it’s also comfortable, and every passenger gets a warm blanket and a drink to keep them safe. If you still want to enjoy this festival through a boat tour, you should buy your tickets a little before to make sure you get seats. All the canal cruises depart from Damrak Pier 5and it’s a 2-5 minute walk distance from the main entrance of the Central Station. Because the Festival of Lights starts at 17:00 and lasts until 23:00, you need to know the boat tours program, so the first tour is at 17:00 and the last is at 21:00. You can have private boat tours if you like to enjoy the festivals with your group of people. Don’t hesitate and take tickets to the Amsterdam Light Festival cruise, you won’t regret it.

admiring lights festival from a boat cruise

Where to dine

If you want to dine near the Festival of Lights, maybe just want to have something to eat until the festival starts, or just have a cozy place where you can enjoy your meal and watch the show, we recommend trying this restaurant: Gloria Restaurant that has Italian, Spanish and Argentinean specifics. If you want to eat great pasta or tapas, this is the right place for you. If you want to try a specific Dutch cuisine, we recommend Eetcafe de Magere Brug. You can also discover the magic of the festival with a dinner cruise roundtrip package with food through Amsterdam’s canals.

Recommended restaurants and cafes with great views

Your perfect dinner with a great view of the festival is a dinner cruise, where you can bring friends, family, or colleagues to this year’s edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival. You and your guests can enjoy a beer or wine tasting of various buffet options while viewing the world of light. Sailing through the canals of Amsterdam with your family or friends is already by itself a unique experience choosing to do that in the middle of the light festival becomes even more special. During the Amsterdam Light Festival are several options in terms of boating and dining, you just have to find the perfect cruise that fits you. Get your Amsterdam Light Festival dinner cruise that it’s perfect for you. In terms of restaurants with great views from the city, Blue Amsterdam is the restaurant that has one of the most beautiful views, great food, and a nice atmosphere. You can choose to enjoy the city view in a cozy place.

Nothing beats a dinner accompanied by a great date!

Seasonal and traditional dishes

Visiting Amsterdam and have no clue what to try from their traditional dishes? We can definitely help you with some ideas, you should definitely try their local specialties. You can try kroket, some sausage-like crispy meat that you will find at fast-food restaurants and is the most popular fast-food dish. They usually fill the kroket with lamb or beef. Snert is a dutch seasonal delicious soup that you’ll often find called erwtensoep or Hollandse erwtensoep. It’s a thick pea soup with vegetables and smoked sausage, served with rye bread and smoked bacon. Oliebollen are so special that you can only get them for a few months, in the winter. Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve, they are deep-fried dough balls dusted with powdered sugar, and studded with raisins and currants. You have to look for the oliebollenkramen in the menus. They appear around mid-October and disappear for another year. For dessert, you need to try Bossche bol, glazed profiteroles filled with cream, that can lead you to eclairs, but the shape of them is a little bit different. Is covered completely in brittle milk or dark chocolate. And for the grand finale, Holland’s national pastry comes into its own in the winter months: Dutch apple pie or appeltaart. It’s a pie that has layers of sliced apples tightly packed under a layer of pastry.

Enjoying the Amsterdam Light Festival in a great company!

Do you want to enjoy the festival of lights, and visit the city alongside great company? Amsterdam is a beautiful city with a special flavor, and the Festival of Lights makes it even more attractive. Because the city offers a wide variety of great things in all areas, if you’re in a situation where you need some nice company to enjoy, our city can do great things with it. Just imagine how it will be with great company if even alone the city will give you an extraordinary feeling. For your ideal company, we can help you!

How an escort city tour can elevate the Amsterdam Light Festival

Are you looking for a female companion in Amsterdam to show you the Festival Light or give you a good time? One thing is certain, with your city tour escort you will not be bored. Have a good time out at the Amsterdam Light Festival and have an undiluted experience with these great escorts. For a nice time with one of our escorts, you can send or fix an appointment, and she will be available to serve you better than anyone else.

For an unique, personalized tour of the festival, book with PleasureAmsterdamEscort.com!

Practical Information for Visitors

As you know, you can enjoy the lights from 5 pm, but depending on the day, the lights will go off at 10 pm or 11 pm. On 31 December, the installations will be off. If you choose to see the festival from the water, you can choose glass-topped or open-top boats, but for that, you will have to dress warmly, especially in December and January. If you like photography, you should try an open boat because the windows in a regular tour can make photographing and admiring them a little difficult.


lights amsterdam canal cruise


Tickets and Timings

The Amsterdam Lights Festival is in open air and free for everyone. It’s a great and spectacular show that you will be disappointed if you miss it. You can see the show of lights from 5 pm until 11 pm, every night for 53 days. The best way to enjoy the festival is on a canal cruise, a guided walking tour, or a bike tour. If you want to go on a canal cruise, you should buy your Amsterdam light festival tickets sometime before, because during this period, you can expect them to be sold out. Especially if the weather is terrible, you can expect that everyone will want to go for a walk in the covered boats.

You can book tickets for Amsterdam Light Festival – Canal Cruise here!

Official Amsterdam Light Festival map

From the first edition, the Festival of Lights has realized over 200 artworks, and a part of the arts are created especially for Amsterdam, becoming part of a permanent collection that travels around the world. The lights are installed along the canals of Amsterdam, in the old town. You will find them only for the duration of the festival, from 30 November until 21 January. The festival attracts every year a lot of tourists impressed by the works of art presented, and you can’t miss the festival this year. It will be marvelous. Check the Amsterdam Light Festival map on the link below.

For the official map print or download, click here!

Accommodation Suggestions – Best hotels during Amsterdam Light Festival

Amsterdam Light Festival will be among the canals in the old town, so the best hotel very close to the festival is Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam which is approximately 300 meters from the festival. citizenM Amstel Amsterdam is about 500 meters from the festival and one night it’s about 170 euros. Eden Hotel and NH Amsterdam Caransa are about 400 meters from the festival and the price for one night is about 140 euros if you reserve your accommodation at least one month in advance. If for one reason or another, you came to the city alone and want to enjoy this whole trip and festival with someone, then you can always call on some of our escorts. You can have the ideal Amsterdam escort lady with you spend quality time have a fantastic moment through Amsterdam City and expect nothing but a tremendous moment.

Enjoy your nighttime in Amsterdam together with a hot escort!

Transportation Tips

The Amsterdam Light Festival is an annual event that attracts a lot of visitors to the city, so with the city being so crowded, here are some of our transportation tips that can help you choose the best option for optimal use of the public transport possibilities, so you can have even more time to enjoy the city during your visit. Because Amsterdam has a very wide range of public transport, you can find buses, trains, metros, trams, and ferries everywhere in the city center. You have to decide if you like to travel by train, tram, bus or metro.

The metro-like vehicles take you anywhere in Amsterdam’s city center and the large windows also give you a good view of the beauty of the city. Taxis in Amsterdam can be generally quite expensive but can be very useful to take on occasion – such as getting to the airport for early flights, taking your luggage to and from the train station, or during the night when public transport services can be more limited. Even if is allowed, taxis in Amsterdam are not normally hailed on the street. This is because stopping is forbidden on some roads in the city center.

You can either call a taxi company to come and pick you up or you can go directly to one of the many official taxi ranks around the city center. Amsterdam public transport tickets will certainly be cheaper than taking a taxi. Various public transport companies operate in Amsterdam. It can be quite difficult to buy the right ticket, so you can easily choose the Amsterdam travel cards With these cards you can travel for free on all public transport types included in your travel card during the period of your choice. Different travel cards help you to travel easily and cheaply, depending on your needs and likes. For example, there are over 40 bus routes in and around Amsterdam. Depending on the route, buses can run every 15 minutes to one hour.

When you buy your travel card, you can choose a validity period like 24 hours, 48 hours, or 72 hours. Of course, another great way to choose to navigate the city is by bike, Cycle past the open-air light exhibition like a true Amsterdammer. You can park your bike throughout the city, but there are also safeguarded parking garages available.


Light Festival Amsterdam is the event that beautifies your city break in Amsterdam during the winter. It is the festival that can help you see art with different eyes, realize that technology and artificial intelligence can bring many improvements in people’s lives, and learn something new and a different way of seeing things.