Education project Edition 12

Follow the education project of Amsterdam Light Festival Edition 12 here! This year, artist Yasser Ballemans invited students to connect, make eye contact and think about what the Next Connection will be. Curious to see how a light artwork with the contribution of more than 1000 primary school students comes to live? Then keep an eye out on this project page.


The lights of Edition 12 are off and we can look back at a successful festival edition and education project. Watch the video below for an overview of 12 years education and the project of Edition 12. To all our partners and everyone who has contributed to the project: thank you!


The moment has arrived; all 1500 students can each bring a parent/caregiver on a cruise past the artworks - and of course their 'own' artwork, too! Along the way, the children tell all about the artworks, the festival theme and the education project.


Via the button below you can find a legend on which you can see which plates are where in the artwork.



Edition 12 has begun! From 30 November 2023 tot until 21 January 2024, the artwork Next Connection by Yasser Ballemans can be admired, together with 23 other light artworks. With whom are you going to visit the festival?


To participate in the festival as an artist, it is good to know what it takes to create and artwork and what other artists have done with the theme. During workshop 3, the students learned all about it. They created a creative mindmap of all information about the festival. Moreover, they considered all the aspects a jury takes into account for making an artwork. For instance, it is important that the work can last in the cold and rain for two months.


In workshop 2 we looked at our city, Amsterdam. At the historic connections in the city and its bridges and quay sides. A lot of work is currently being done to restore and monitor the bridges and quays. Who is doing this? And what needs to be done?

Together with the quiz master students questioned a real water worker (engineer), who came into the classrom as a mystery guest, wearing and orange safety vest. With a profession test, the professoin of the mystery guest was uncovered. Moreover, the students discovered their own talents and interests.

The second workshop ended with a challenge. With newspapers and tape the students had to build a bridge. The engineer tested the bridge for durability and creativity.


At the end of November, the artworks are build on the canals and quay sides. To ensure the contributions of 1500 students are presented in the artwork, we began the first workshop right after the fall holidays.

First, we asked 'who knows Amsterdam Light Festival and who has everbeen?'. We explain that the festival has a different theme each year, this year it is 'LOADING...' The city of Amsterdam too is loading for a new technological era. All houses are equipped with fibreglass cables, to enable communicaton at the speed of light. This type of communication is done via light signals. The message is decoded by computers to ON or OFF. Something similar to binary or morse code. In the classroom, the children get to decipher a message with the morse alphabet. It says: KIJK IK ZIE JE (Look, I see you).

However, artist Yasser Ballemans questions whether we can really see one another when we are connected so quickly, with the speed of light. 1500 students therefore looked each other in the eye and drew their irises on a coloured plate with bright markers. All these plates were collected and added to the artwork.

At the end of the workshop we asked: 'Op wie of wat richt jij je oog?' (on whom or what do you focus?). With other words; whom or what do you want to receive more attention? The result were many touching replies. You can listen to a few of them below (in Dutch).


As the festival is coming closer, Yasser is working hard on testing the artwork with prototypes. Testing is very crucial, as the artwork needs to withstand wind, rain, and snow for 53 days. Can you imagine what the entire work, containing all individual contributions of the children will look like?

We see neon lines, connecting the plexi glass plates which have drawings of irises on them.


To get to a successful workshop program, a lot of research and testing needs to be done beforehand. By hosting several tryout workshops, we check if the teaching material is informative and, of course, fun enough. Below you can see some snapshots of the try outs.


The education project is meant for groups 6 to 8 of primary schools in Amsterdam. Below you can see an overview of the participating schools per city district.


The first step in creating an artwork is judging the ideas and concepts that the artists have sent in. The children's jury (kinderjury in Dutch) is part of this process, which takes place months before the festival begins. The children's jury members have chosen the design of artist Yasser Ballemans as their favourite.


With our education project, primary school students from all over Amsterdam get acquainted with (light)art and with the city they live in. In a series of workshops at school, they learn about the festival, the theme and the project theme of that year. In the meantime, they make a physical contribution to a light artwork that will be part of the festival route.

The project is part of a four-year collaboration between the festival and the City of Amsterdam. With this artwork and the workshop programme we connect the festival theme to the history of the city, the foundation of the canals and the restoration of bridges and quays.

Project partners: