Utrecht’s Amazing Illumination Festival

My previous posts on Utrecht already revealed that I really fell hard for this gorgeous little Dutch city, but I saved the very best for last. Because among beautiful canals, delicious food and great museums there was one last thing that I loved even more than all of the above: The Trajectum Lumen Festival. These amazing outdoor installations are where the city’s beautiful sights and landmarks meet incredibly creative light design.

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland Illuminated Utrecht at night 

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Utrecht’s colorful lighting installations can be seen immediately after nightfall and all over the city. And the best thing about: It’s free, it’s absolutely unique to Utrecht and you can do the Trajectum Lumen tour in your style and pace. To create your own illumination festival tour, the designers inserted little bright orange arrows in the pavement that lead the way — and the free flyers explaining the different stations can be found in every hotel or café in Utrecht.

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland Light installations in the canals 

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland A lit up line where the Roman city wall used to be

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland An empty art deco house lit up from the inside 

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland

I loved Utrecht at daytime, but at night the city presented itself in a whole new light — literally! The inventors deliberately chose to (hight-)light sights and places that people would usually miss in Utrecht during the day. For example, even the locals didn’t see those vaults next to the canals until they were lit up by Trajectum Lumen’s colorful light displays.

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland Colors plays in the canal vaults 

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, The Netherlands

One of my favorite illuminations was a church that is considered a true hidden gem and that is even mostly unknown among the city’s locals. Though painted beautifully from the inside, it looks like just another house from the outside. But in the course of the Trajectum Lumen project a huge halo has been installed on top of the roof to show that this building is more than meets the eye.

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland

In a similar way, the history of today’s Museum Speelklok is remembered: In front of the former church building are two stained glass windows that obviously refer the typical Gothic church windows. The windows created the most beautiful play of colors on the Dutch cobblestones.

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland Stained glass window installation next to the Museum Speelklok 

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland

Trajectum Lumen was literally the highlight of my stay in Utrecht! I loved that this project made Utrecht appear so creative and so artistic. I loved that the art installations were so uniquely integrated into the city’s typical features. Overall, this amazing project made me love Utrecht even more!

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland Holland’s highest church tower illuminated for Trajectum Lumen

Trajectum Lumen, Utrecht, Holland

What do you think about this nighttime illumination project in Utrecht?

Note: I was a guest of the Utrecht Tourism Board, but all opinions and photos are my own.