Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise 2023-2024

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AmsterdamAmsterdam Light Festival Cruises

Amsterdam Light Festival Cruise | The Wonderland of Illumination

Embark on a mesmerizing journey through Amsterdam's enchanting canals with the Amsterdam Light Festival Cruise. Witness the city's iconic landmarks illuminated by spectacular light installations, creating a magical experience that seamlessly blends art, culture, and picturesque waterways.

What is the Amsterdam Light Festival?

Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

The Amsterdam Light Festival offers a unique chance to witness a stunning fusion of art and technology. Renowned artists come together to create mesmerizing light installations, showcased along the historic canals. The festival creates a warm and festive atmosphere during the chilly winter months, making it an ideal time to experience the city's hospitality and culinary delights.

This annual art festival has been taking place at the heart of Amsterdam since 2012. From several hundred submissions, only around 20 of them are displayed along the canals. Any passer-by walking along the canals or floating away on a cruise can watch the displays light up from 5pm to 11pm. On New Year's Eve, the light artworks are switched off at 8pm.

The Amsterdam Light Festival is a private initiative that happens to be a grand celebration organized by the collaboration of the board and management, including the municipality, cultural organizations, and commercial organizations. The selection board for the Light Festival consists of representatives from different organizations in the city.

Why take the Amsterdam Light Festival canal cruise?

  • Scenic beauty: Booking a canal cruise is the most picturesque way to experience the city's iconic light festival. It offers a unique vantage point to look at the installations and other historical landmarks along the waters.
  • Audio guide: Most canal cruises include an audio guide that shares anecdotes and stories about the city's landmarks. You can listen to them while floating along the waters.
  • Cultural immersion: Immerse yourself in the heart of Amsterdam's culture by booking a canal cruise. Sail along the city's historic canals and pass by landmarks, museums, and local neighborhoods.
  • Evening ambiance: The Amsterdam Light Festival begins at 5pm and continues until 11pm. Consider booking an evening cruise to look at the art installations. You can also experience the illuminated city, making for a memorable experience.
  • Weather-proof: Booking an Amsterdam canal cruise ensures you can enjoy the art installations from a warm space. You can also rush back inside in case it rains.
  • Family-friendly: A canal cruise is suitable for all ages, making it an ideal family activity that everyone can participate in.

Explore the Amsterdam Light Festival

Throughout history, rituals have aided people in coping with various types of transformations, such as moving from one season to another, from one stage of life to another. Light has always been a significant element in many rituals, symbolizing energy, joy, and vitality. Fireworks are used to welcome a new year, candles to remember the arrival of a savior, and midsummer fires to celebrate the solstice. Light adds an element of mysticism and sanctity to a ritual that no other element can. Moreover, rituals bring people together and create a sense of unity among them. That's why the 13th edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival which coincides with 750 years of Amsterdam includes light, art, and the collective spirit, encouraging us to celebrate these rituals and traditions.

Amsterdam Canals
Art installations
360-degree view
Luxurious cruise ride
Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

Amsterdam Canals form concentric belts around the city, stretching over 100 miles with 90 islands and 1500 bridges. The Amsterdam Light Festival offers a chance to float along these historic canals and witness exemplary art installations. Over 1550 historical buildings were built on these canals, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

The Amsterdam Light Festival is an initiative to showcase innovative art pieces. It contributes to the city's vibrant cultural scene, inviting residents and tourists to explore the Amsterdam art scene in a new light. Currently, in its edition #13, the festival is urging artists to explore the impact of rituals and traditions in our daily lives.

Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

Experience the Amsterdam Light Festival from a unique vantage point - sailing through its iconic canals. You can enjoy sweeping 360-degree views of the art installations from one of these cruise boats. You can also look at Amsterdam's oldest historical landmarks while cruising along its canals, most of which are close to the waters.

Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

The Amsterdam Light Festival canal cruise provides a luxurious way to enjoy the spectacular installations. The 75-minute ride comes with free Wi-Fi onboard, an audio guide in Dutch and English, and headphones to make your experience more informative and memorable. You can also snack on refreshments while watching the artwork and historic buildings pass by.

What to see at the Amsterdam Light Festival?

Every year in the winter season of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Light Festival is organized with installations of artworks that are created especially for the festival. Along with all that, special projects and artworks made in collaboration with artists, partners, and stakeholders are installed, including special education projects in which primary students and Breitner Academy take part, where the students co-create the festival artworks. 

The artworks are installed in public spaces all over Amsterdam near the canals, making them easily accessible.

Permanent light art collection

As the festival spreads from the Sloterplas to the city district South, several light art installations displayed on the different editions of the Amsterdam Light Festival also find their place in the permanent collection. It includes works of artists like Tijdmakers and collaborators like Uilenstede University Campus.

International light art collection

The light art displayed at the Amsterdam Light Festival is too good to be stored away once the festival is over. So to ensure that they receive their due recognition, most of the light artworks become part of an internationally traveling collection, managed by the Light Art Collection, illuminating cities, and exhibitions worldwide.

Nieuw-West project

It is the current project of the Amsterdam Light Festival, in which the area of Amsterdam Nieuw West will see a major change as it gets redesigned as the Municipality of Amsterdam coordinates with several real estate parties. It will also find an installation of permanent light art, with several other artworks finding their place in public spaces in the near future.

178 Bottles, 1 Message

Made by Tijdmakers, Saskia Hoogendoorn, and Lieuwe Martijn Wijnands, the artwork of ‘178 Bottles, 1 Message’ which was displayed in edition #3 has found its place in the permanent palace in Amsterdam West on the Amsterdam Sloterdijk Square. Consisting of 178 bottles, its LED lighting represents the different nationalities residing in the city.

The Light Kite

Another one of the creative works by Tijdmakers, which was displayed in edition #4 of the Amsterdam Light Festival now enjoys its permanent space at the Sloterplas. It is a throwback to the days of our past when we had ample time for ourselves to fly kites without worries. The artwork is symbolic of friendship and the freedom of people’s lives.


Commissioned by DUWO and displayed in edition #3, it has found its permanent space at the Uilenstede Amstelveen University campus. The artwork seems to remind people about the traditional campfire where people used to come together to tell stories as fire seems to emerge from the tree trunks, making the benches its meeting place.

Plan your visit to the Amsterdam Light Festival

Canal Cruise timings
Getting there
Accessibility & inclusions
Visitor tips
Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

Edition #13 Amsterdam Light Festival dates

  • Daily from 28th November 2024 to 19th January 2025
Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets
Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

From Amsterdam Central Station:

Find On Maps

  • Bus: 305, 314, 347, 397, 41
  • Train: IC, ICD, SPR
  • Metro: 52, 54
  • Light Rail: 12, 14, 17, 2, 4

From Amsterdam Tower:

Find On Maps

  • Bus: 301, 36, 37, 38, 394
  • Metro: 52
  • Ferry: F3
Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets


Wheelchair facilities, audio guides, and other facilities depend on the kind of cruise ticket you choose. For walking tours, you need to keep in mind that the walking route runs through the city center, including uneven pavements and bridges, which might be a cause of concern for those with mobility issues. 


  • Heated blankets
  • Live guide & audio guide
  • Food & drinks
  • Free WiFi onboard

For more details, check your tickets before purchasing.

  • Wear comfortable shoes: If you plan to take a walking tour to view the art installations, make sure to wear comfortable, closed shoes, as it is a 6.5 km walk along the canals.
  • Carry your ID: If you plan to board a canal cruise to watch the light festival, please carry an ID card.
  • Choose the cruise for accessibility: If you have mobility issues or are in a wheelchair or stroller, it is advisable to take the Amsterdam Light Festival canal cruise to enjoy the festivity, as the walking tour route includes uneven pavements and bridges. 
  • Keep a few hours on hand: Even with visitor slots, there can be a waiting time in the Canal Cruises as the Amsterdam Light Festival is a yearly thing that attracts crowds from all over the world.
  • Duration: Amsterdam Light Festival Cruises depart every 30 minutes, and they are scheduled to align with the festival timings. Cruises take around 75 minutes, depending on the type of boat you choose.
  • Walking time: The walk is approximately 6.5 kilometers long and can be experienced at any moment during the light festival hours.
  • Map: Keep the Festival of Lights route map handy to make the most of your visit.

What happens to the artworks after the Amsterdam Light Festival?

Light Art Collection is a subsidiary of Amsterdam Light Festival, which has been responsible for creating light art installations for the festival since 2012. It is an internationally traveling collection with an active team looking for opportunities and possibilities for exhibition to provide the artists and their artworks their due recognition and opportunities. After each Amsterdam Light Festival edition, a major part of the artworks are added to the Light Art Collection every year.

Amsterdam Light Festival earlier projects

Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #10

Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

Little Match Girl

This project is done in collaboration with organizations like Company New Heroes, Studio Aldo Brinkhoff, and Juf op Straat. It is based on a famous fairy tale of a girl who sells matchsticks but dies of cold and hunger as no one notices her. It is an educational project that is being done to create awareness about child poverty via the modernized fairy tale.

Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

Light Lab Technasium

Created by Caland Lyceum, Damstede Lyceum, Ir. Lely Lyceum, IJburg College, and Kaj Munk College, students of five different technasium schools learn about light art, sketch, and develop a garland, corresponding to the theme ‘Celebrate Light’ together with Eibert Draisma, who happens to be an artist, designer, and inventor.

Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

Minutes In Blue

Minutes In Blue is a light art that draws inspiration from the interplay of natural light and artificial light. Quite like the seven previous editions where the talented students of the Breitner Academy got a spot to promote their knowledge in light, for this edition Kyra, Naomi, and Kira draw inspiration from the interplay of natural light and artificial light.

Amsterdam Light Festival Edition #11

Amsterdam Light Festival Tickets

Bridge of 1000 Dreams

Sticking true to this year's theme of Imagine Beyond, the Bridge Of 1000 Dreams is part of a four-year collaboration between the festival and the Municipality of Amsterdam, created by the artist of Edition 11 - Studio Toer with 1200 school students of the city.

Through the educational project and the workshop programs, the children get to learn more about the history of the city, the origin of the Amsterdam canals, and the restoration projects involving the bridges and quays while being connected with the festive theme.

The 'Bridge of 1000 Dreams' Artwork is a luminous bridge created with bamboo sticks. The bamboo sticks are painted by the 1200 school students, where they share their dreams and fantasies. Their markings and drawings light up when neon lights are shone on them, thus illuminating the entire structure, making it a beautiful, unique artwork - the bridge of light.

Frequently asked questions about the Amsterdam Light Festival

What is the Amsterdam Light Festival?

The Amsterdam Light Festival is an annual festival that has been taking place in the center of Amsterdam since 2012. During the festive season of December and January, artists from all over the world gather to create beautiful elaborate art displays, decorating the whole city and beautifying the city’s iconic canals. 

Where is the Amsterdam Light Festival being held this year?

Amsterdam Light Festival is a public event where the light installations are placed in public spaces in the heart of the city, along the city's historic canals. You can book a canal cruise to watch these installations.

What is the edition of this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival?

This year, Amsterdam is celebrating its edition #13 of the Amsterdam Light Festival. This year, the artists are displaying installations that focus on highlighting the rituals and traditions in our daily lives.

When is the Amsterdam Light Festival?

The #13th edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival will be held from 28th November 2024 to 19th January 2025. The art installations will be illuminated from 5pm to 11pm every day along the renowned canals of Amsterdam.

What are the opening hours of the Amsterdam Light Festival?

The timings of edition #13 of the Amsterdam Light Festival are from 5pm to 11pm, every day, and on New Year's Eve until 8pm.

Who organizes the Amsterdam Light Festival?

Amsterdam Light Festival is a private initiative organized by the joint collaboration of the municipality, cultural organizations, and commercial organizations to provide a platform for artists to showcase their innovative pieces.

How can I enjoy the Amsterdam Light Festival?

Tourists and visitors can enjoy the light festival in several ways. You can either choose a walking tour or book an Amsterdam canal cruise. It is a long walk, around 6.5 km. If you have limited mobility or toddlers, and infants with you, it is best to book a canal cruise. Not only are you in a warm space, protected from the rain, but you can also enjoy free Wi-Fi, multilingual audio guides, and refreshments on a canal cruise.

Does the Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise tickets include access to the light festival?

Yes, Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise tickets include access to the light festival as they are designed around the festival to ensure you get the best experience of the festival with amazing views.

Does any of the Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise tickets include drinks?

Yes, there are Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise tickets which include drinks. Make sure to check your ticket information before purchasing.

How long does the Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise last?

The duration of the Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise depends on the ticket you are purchasing, as it usually lasts 75 minutes.