Amsterdam Light Festival


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We really enjoyed the Amsterdam Light Festival last year, and were looking forward to viewing it again. The theme for this year was disruption, where the artists “use light in a unique way to be disruptive and give us new impulses”. The route of the festival was quite different from last year, and only two displays were not visible from the water, so we were able to take in most of the show on a single pass through the canals.

Below are highlights from January 16, 2020 at the Amsterdam Light Festival. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

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Tender
Bundled up in our Mustang 2175 suits on a tender tour of the Amsterdam Light Festival.
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Skyline
Amsterdam skyline just east of the train station.
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Bimhuis
The striking music hall Bimhuis.
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Mediamatic ETEN
The brightly lit Mediamatic ETEN restaurant, part of the Mediamatic nature, biology and art center.
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AD. Empty Domination
The two large billboards or light boxes in AD. Empty Domination with the advertisements missing are a response to the bombardment of messages we receive daily.
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Sea Palace
The multi-story pagoda-styled Sea Palace Chinese restaurant.
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Big Bang
“According to the artists of the collective Uxu Studio, there’s nothing that symbolises disruption—and destruction, war, and aggression—more than a bomb. Their blue-lit bomb Big Bang hangs somewhat threateningly in the air like it is just about to hit the water (or maybe even a passing boat)”.
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The Cracks
The Cracks projects onto the 16th-century Montelbaan tower symbolizing destructive forces in society.
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Neighbourhood
In Neighbourhood, illuminated laundry highlights the isolation of people who live in cities, often not knowing their neighbours.
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Neighbourhood Detail
Closer view to the third of the three illuminated laundry lines that make up the Neighbourhood display.
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Rembrandt House Museum
The small leaning building on the left is Rembrandt House Museum, where the artist lived for 20 years.
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No Tubes, But Homes
“No Tubes, But Homes” is one of five “City Stories” in the Amsterdam Light Display that mark significant disruptive events in the city’s history. The title refers to the rallying cry of the 1975 protests against the destruction of good houses to build the underground metro line.
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Atlantis
The Atlantis display symbolizes the destruction that can occur from rising sea levels.
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Amstel River
Looking east along Amstel River, the namesake for Amsterdam and the Amstel brewery.
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National Opera & Ballet
The Stopera building complex, completed in 1986, houses the Dutch National Opera & Ballet and Amsterdam City Hall.
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Walter Suskindbrug
The bridge was names for Walter Suskind who helped save many of Amsterdam’s Jewish residents from deportation during World War II.
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Nothing Holding Us
Nothing Holding Us, by Seattle-based Ben Zamoro, depicts an explosion frozen in time.
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Skinny Bridge
Around 1,800 light bulbs illuminate the Skinny Bridge, but using mixed-up shapes from the original bridge, disrupting its appearance.
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Traffic
A constant stream of boats of all sizes are steadily passing through the Light Display.
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Feel Like the Kardashians
In Feel Like the Kardashians, artist Laila Azra has lined either side of an Amstelsluizen channel with silhouettes representing paparazzi and fans. “Camera bulbs” flash as boats pass, mimicking the disruption of private life felt by celebrities that in the case of the Kardashians is used to their advantage.
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Floathome
Some wonderful floathomes line the Amsterdam canals.
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Shadow On a Beautiful Canal
Shadow On a Beautiful Canal is another of the five “City Stories” in the Amsterdam Light Display. The leaf pattern around the Hermitage Museum of Amsterdam has a bright and cheery appearance. But on the stone quay directly beneath displays the names of twelve Jewish residents who were taken from houses on the opposite side of the canal and killed in Nazi concentration camps.
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Order/Disorder
The nine luminous circles Order/Disorder rotate continuously switching from an ordered pattern to a disordered intersection.
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Butterfly Effect
The seven large blue-lit butterflies in Butterfly Effect rise and fall as passing boats disturb the water, mimicking in a small way the Butterfly Effect proposed by American scientist and meteorologist Edward Lorenz.
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Icebreaker
In Icebreaker Amsterdam native Wilhelmusvlug shows cracks in the ice to remind us how global warming is making it less likely that the city’s residents will partake in a favourite pastime: winter skating on the frozen canals.
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Hiding in the Wolf’s Lair
An ancient Latin phrase, ‘homo homini lupus’ (man is wolf to man), referring to fears of “different people”, is represented in Hiding in the Wolf’s Lair, with a group of people visible in the upper window hiding from predatory wolves. The work also evokes history: during World War II Jews and members of the resistance movement hid in that attic.
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Wolf
Close view to one of the wolves in Hiding in the Wolf’s Lair.
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De Nachtloerrrders
Some of the twenty pairs of constantly changing eyes in De Nachtloerrrders, at the back the Amsterdam Zoo.
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Between the Lines
The yellow lines outlining the crane in Between the Lines light up alternately, creating new patterns and disrupting the crane’s shape, making it a work of art.
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Surface Tension
One of several “submerged” vehicles and road signs in Surface Tension remind us how common a sight this is becoming world-wide with increased flooding due to climate change.
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Remind Euljiro Freedom
The Korean lights in Remind Euljiro Freedom are a warning about urban development and its impact on communities. One of the oldest neighbourhoods in Seoul, Korea, Euljiro houses 50,000 craftsmen in over 10,000 shops and is in danger of disappearing due to gentrification.
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The Ice is Melting at the Poules
The Ice is Melting at the Poules, visualizes against the exterior of the Maritime Museum aspects of climate change, including increasing temperatures and the rise of CO2 levels. The artwork’s name is taken from the Danish foreign minister’s mispronunciation of the word “poles” at the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
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Amsterdam
A replica of the 18th-century Dutch East India Company ship Amsterdam. The ship sailed from Texel in 1749 on its maiden voyage, but was wrecked two weeks later in an English Channel storm.
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From Shameless Pride to Historic Consciousness
Another of the five “City Stories“, From Shameless Pride to Historic Consciousness refers to the old port district of the Golden Age where slavery played a major role.
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All the Light You See
In All the Light You See, the full text of “All the light you see is from the past” is partially unlit to state “All you see is past”, is a reference to how old a distance star is when we can see it and the fact that we too will one day be a thing of the past.
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Nobody
Nobody depicts man as will-less puppet against the prow of the NEMO Science Museum.
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Projector
The projector and marionette used to create the constantly change Nobody image on the NEMO Science Museum.
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Dirona
Returning to Dirona at City Marina IJDok after we finished touring the Amsterdam Light Festival. The displays were creative and beautiful—we really enjoyed it.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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