Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Next, to the Netherlands. Every winter the Amsterdam Light Festival sees installations scattered around the winding streets and canals in the heart of the city. Visitors can either take an evening boat tour or wrap up warm for a stroll around town. Saving energy and avoiding waste are central to this event: not only are 95% of the lights on display low-energy LEDs, the organizers also actively seek second ‘homes’ for the artworks once the festival is over.
Official website: https://www.amsterdamlightfestival.com/en/
Heading north, we’re off to Sweden for Lights in Alingsås, located near the lakes in the south of the country. The idea for this festival began in 1999 when a group of students gathered in the town to experiment with different lighting designs for public buildings. The following year, the municipality entered into agreements with the Professional Lighting Designers’ Association (PLDA) and the first edition took place. Held from September to November, the small town now welcomes leading light designers and over 85,000 visitors annually.
Official website: http://lightsinalingsas.se/en
From here we cross the Atlantic to check out Light City in Baltimore. Launched in spring 2016, it is the first large-scale, international light festival to be held in the United States. With planning for the second festival in April next year already underway, it seems it was a success. The first event focused around the city’s harbor and attracted over 400,000 visitors. Among the installations were hundreds of illuminated sculptures resembling a flotilla of paper boats. The brightest idea however was the array of snacks available: "lighted" cotton candy anyone?
Official website: http://lightcity.org/
Down to South America, we land in Colombia for Medellin’s Christmas lights. Known as El Alumbrado, it is one of the most expensive light displays in the world. Looking at the images, you can see why! In 2015 there were a reported 40,000 decorations made up of 900 kilometers of illuminated strings and 31 million LED lights. In 2012, National Geographic listed Medellin as one of the 10 best places in the world to see Christmas lights.