Amsterdam children build the ‘bridge of a thousand dreams’

AMSTERDAM – More than a thousand children from 45 Amsterdam school classes are participating in a light art project in the Amsterdam Light Festival this year: Bridge over 1,000 dreams. The project is part of a new four-year partnership between the festival and the municipality of Amsterdam.

The school children work in three workshops to make a light work of art. From the theme of the festival Imagine beyond students learn about the history of the canals and the importance of preserving bridges and quay walls. This historical heritage, which has supported the city for centuries, forms the photogenic backdrop for light art every year. This year, a thousand students participate in the artwork Bridge over 1,000 dreams by the artist duo Studio Toer. The illuminated bridge is part of the official route of the Amsterdam Light Festival Edition 11 and can be visited from 1 December 2022 to 22 January 2023.

Educational project

The four-year educational project is based on the municipality’s approach to bridges and quay walls and works towards the festive celebration of the 750th anniversary of the city of Amsterdam. Every year, more than a thousand children from the upper years of primary school in different Amsterdam schools build a new piece of light art. In this artwork we make the connection between the festival theme and the history of the canals and the restoration of bridges and quay walls.

The educational project aims to stimulate citizenship. Based on a topic that plays out in their own town, we increase the involvement of children in their own living environment. In addition, it provides opportunities to discover and develop the creative and technical skills needed to make (light) art and opportunities to interest children in civil engineering. The city – municipality and construction companies – have a major shortage of technically skilled people. The collaboration with the Amsterdam Light Festival is one of the ways to do something about this.

The Amsterdam Light Festival facilitates this through various workshops with artists and experts in the classroom. This year, it is, among other things, bridge experts from contractors who are collaborating with the municipality to restore bridges in the city. A visit with the class and parents/guardians to the light artwork and the festival concludes the educational project.

Bridge over 1,000 dreams

The first project in the series of four is Bridge over 1,000 dreams. Together with the artist duo Studio Toer, the students are asked to think about their wishes and dreams for themselves and their city. What do those dreams look like? It is different for everyone. The light artwork consists of 1,000 bamboo sticks, which have been painted by the students. What lights up are the markings and drawings of the children’s dreams and fantasies. Together they form a bridge of light.

Imagine beyond

The Amsterdam Light Festival is one of the leading light art festivals in the world. This popular winter event connects and enriches residents and visitors with light art against the backdrop of photogenic Amsterdam. Bridge over 1,000 dreams is part of the route for the 11th edition, which will take place from 1 December 2022 to 22 January 2023. With this year’s theme Imagine beyond: let yourself be carried away to the world of fantasy by the twenty specially selected works by national and international artists

Amsterdam has always been a city of imagination. Just look at the beautiful buildings on the canals, quays and bridges, and how the city is bustling and flourishing like never before. But there is a problem lurking under the pavement. Bridges lose their strength and piers crack or even collapse. To restore this historical heritage and protect it from decay requires not only expertise and organizational strength, but also the imagination on which the city is built. To devise new solutions and make the city more resilient for future generations. Therefore, we will especially involve the young generation, our future users and bridge builders in this challenge, and this year we will put the ‘bridge’ and the preservation of the city at the forefront.

Partner in



Bridge over 1,000 dreamsis Amsterdam municipality.

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