So, a few days before our little trip to see the China Lights in Rhenen we took a trip up to Amsterdam to see the much more heavily publicised Festival of Light in Amsterdam. There was a choice of a walking route (which you can see in the picture map above), or to book a place on a canal ferry and be taken on a ferry tour through the route.

We ended up taking the walking route... no reason, but I would highly recommend the ferry option for anyone who ends up doing this next year. With kids and a slightly older parent, we didn't manage to complete the circuit before tiredness and hunger overcame some of our group members! So, this is a bit of an incomplete set of photos from the evening! (However, if you want my TL;DR verdict... go see the China Lights in Rhenen. Publicity and surface advertising doesn't equal quality....

From the start... it was pretty underwhelming! This is supposed to be lips and there is some text blurb that goes along with the display. Something about the individual lights and perspectives and such things like that... I'm a musician, and I really detest these sort of "Artistique" creations... In general, if you are needing to explain in depth about your work to your audience... perhaps there is something wrong!

Moving onwards (and roughly half a kilometre down the road in chilly conditions), we found the next installation. This was supposed to be a "transmission". The lights move up and down the display, which is... interesting, but not particularly satisfying. Also, it started to highlight the deficiencies of the walking route... the displays are integrated into the cityscape, and so it becomes difficult to view them without walking into traffic! Definitely, already by this time, the heated canal ferry tours were starting to look like a good idea!

This next display was starting to look up. There was a good perspective from the bridge, and the moving patterns in the Mondriaan colours was a huge step up from the underwhelming earlier displays.

As you can see, most of the installations had a certain perspective in mind. Which made for some tricky overcrowding at the vantage points, and some difficulty with the existing car/bike/pedestrian traffic!

This next piece was one of the highlights for me. However, by this time we had lost one party member to sleep and two others were starting to lose health points to hunger. The rest of us were starting to slowly bleed heat away to the cold.... Meanwhile, we were looking at the booked out ferries... with more than a small degree of jealousy!

Oddly enough, this was our oldest daughter's favourite! Dandelion seeds that were suspended over the canal. From the nearby bridges, we had a great view of them!

I honestly have no idea what this display was all about... some of us thought it was like blood vessels? I thought it was more like brain synapses and neurons? With the blue symbolising the electrical currents in our brains? Honestly, it could have been anything really!

This display was actually quite interesting to watch, however, it would have been something that would require motion in the photos. There was a clock timer, and after a certain time, there would be a projection of some sort of apartment scene high up on the wall. It was quite nice to stand around and watch the different little story vignettes play out!

A re-imagining of Van Gogh's "Starry Night"! After all we are in the land of Van Gogh!

It's a giant lamp... after this, we gave up! Cold and Tired....

Anyway, these were the best of the displays that we saw... there was one particularly terrible one... which I won't recount out of fear of embarrassing or offending the artist if they ever come across this post in the darkest corners of the Google search terms...

I was pretty unimpressed by this Light Festival and I don't think I would do it again... we were lucky that our poor experience here didn't put us off going to the China Lights in Rhenen!


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