The City of Amsterdam, with its museums, history and culture is a special enough place to visit any time of the year, but add a touch of Mulled Wine, Christmas glow and a sprinkling of unique light installations and it becomes something really magical indeed.
The Amsterdam Light Festival is now in its fifth year and the annual event seems to grow bigger and better every time. In 2015/16 some 850,000 people attended and this year even more are expected to see it between Nov 30th and it’s final day on Jan 21st.
There are two themes to this this years event, the walking tour in the historic Weesper and Plantage neighbourhood is entitled ‘Biomimicry: Think like nature’ and there are 23 pieces along the 2.3km route, entwined within the streets, trees, buildings and fauna. Grab a map and just follow the crowd, but bring a big coat and hat as it can get chilly here at this time of year. If you do need a break along the way, warm Dutch hospitality permeates from the many cosy bars and cafes along the way.
The other theme is entitled ‘Water Colors (A view on Amsterdam)’ and features spectacular works from National and International artists alongside the famous canal banks. There are many delightful pieces; a huge LBGT rainbow, glowing bicycles (actually taken from the canal) and installations covering entire buildings.
Obviously this being a light festival, the pieces look work much after dark and there are many guided tours both walking and on the canals until late at night offering information on all the pieces and artists involved. Often the concepts behind the hugely diverse pieces are just as illuminating!
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Amsterdam Light Festival is sponsored by founding partner Canal Company.
Last summer the LionelGallery launched a successful Banksy exhibition in Amsterdam. Now they’re picking it up again at a new location, the Moco Museum (just between the The Rijksmuseum & The Van Gogh Museum) Until 31st Jan. His work is side by side with some from another post modern artist, Andy Warhol and it’s nice to see Banksy’s ‘Value Tomato’ soup sit next to a Warhol Campbells Tomato soup tin. I love his stuff, but still find it a bit odd seeing Banksy’s work in Galleries. The exhibition has plenty for fans of both artists and here’s a tip… Save money on the entrance fee by informing the staff you are in fact Banksy, it’s worth a try anyway!
Open 10am -6pm
Honthorststraat 20/Museumplein1071DE AmsterdamNederland
For more info on https://www.mocomuseum.com/
Where to stay
CitizenM have Hotels in 5 main cities (including London and New York) – in Amsterdam they have two; one at the airport and this one in the south about 15minutes away from the centre by tram (or 10mins by the adjacent station). Like Qbic and Motel One, CitizenM is one of those cool hotel chains that have a fresh and modern vibe about them, but still offer real value for money. The decor is eclectic, artistic and chic, the staff are young and friendly and more often than not the bar is open 24hrs a day.
The bed in my room is HUGE, enough for at least 3 people (well this is Amsterdam) and there’s also a cool iPad info-tainment system thingy where you can set the multi-coloured mood lighting and scenes, room temperature and choose from a wide range of free movies to watch on the big TV if you don’t fancy going out.
Bedroom space is at a premium, but what you have is innovatively laid out with the shower cubicle and toilet resembling two star trek type holodeck spheres.
Apart from the opaque glass and white curtain there isn’t a lot of privacy, so don’t stay here on a first weekend away with your new significant other if you are on the shy side.
But if that doesn’t bother you, you’ll have a great time. Book in advance on their website and sign up to their newsletter for good deals.
Pr. Irenestraat 30, 1077 WX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 811 7090
For more info on CitizenM Amsterdam visit www.citizenm.com
KLM Fly to Amsterdam from 16 UK airports.
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