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Twinkle, Twinkle, Copenhagen

Copenhagen is illuminating the city towers, facades, squares, metro stations and water front with its annual light festival until the end of February.

Copenhagen Light Festival 2019 is the second edition of light designs, consisting of over 40 light installations, special light events and permanent art works from Danish and international artists, running from 1-24 February 2019. As the sun always shows up late at 8am, while the light is taken by the darkness in the winter  by the afternoon around 5pm, people embrace the lighting festival as a head start of Spring and Summer, making  February the perfect month for it. I’ve compiled a list of tricks and tips that will help ensure you’re getting the ultimate pleasure of hunting these glooming works of light in this 2019 Copenhagen Light Festival.

Where to find them?

Most lighting installations cluster in the city centre, but the specific locations of some installations are  hidden in cornersand some are hidden in plain sight. The official website of CPH Light Festival provides all needed information, and also the 2019 festival map. This year map categorises the glooming designs by using colour: light works are pink, special light events are purple and permanent light decorations are green and blue, pinning down the locations with the name of the works and further explanations. Either choose the arts by preference or your nearby location; it is at your fingertips.

When to enjoy them?

Most  of the light installations will be lit from  6pm until 10pm, however some will continue till dawn. Moreover, some artworks will be closed due to rain and heavy snow, so please keep your weather forecast updated before going.

How to enjoy them?

There are plenty of guide partners offering the ways to experience the city and harbour by night. Taking a tour on foot, kayak or bicycle depends on your favourite way of appreciating art, and the official website also offers the direct links to book. You can take a 45-minute canal light tour from STROMMA in English and Danish along the light route by the water to learn more about the artists and their artworks at 125 DK per person.

But remember the map I mentioned earlier? I also used it with my Google Maps, starting from my current location to see the nearest artworks where I could enjoy them on my own. After having dinner at Vestrebro, I walked along the Tivoli garden, crossing the road to take a look at STROM20, walking straight to the end of the alley at BLOX to visit the Pyramid Construction. During my tour, the tower of  Christianborg Palace was beaming from afar alongside the green laser light of the Laser Beam from Tivoli. I ended my journey to meet the Light Garden by Han E Madden at Havnegade 21, where it is incidentally located across the neon literary You Are Still Here of Anita Jørgensen before taking the nearest metro back to my hotel. Killing two birds with one stone, I guess!

The highlights?

During the festival, there are special light events, parties and workshops around the city. Some events have a fee and the tickets should be purchased in advance, but some are free of charge. The special events will not be lit every day, so preparation is key. Here are some that you might want to check in:
The Ice is Melting at the Pøules by Martin Ersted at  North Atlantic House reflects the 150 years of the rising global temperature, performing on  2, 9, 16 and 23 February from 5pm to 10pm. The entry fee is exempted but  the best way to view this marvellous lighting experience is from Copenhagen harbour, as well as the Royal Playhouse.

Every Tuesday, STORMMA20 will host the lantern workshop from 3pm to 5pm.
The Ghost Ship by Christiam Lemmez was one of the most talked-about events of the opening ceremony of the festival, and will sail from BLOX through Frederiksholms Kanal again on the last day of the festival at 8pm.
You cannot talk about CPH Light Festival without talking about Winter in Tivoli at Tivoli amusement park. Some rides and areas are closed in winter but throughout the festival, Tivoli garden will lighten up the Copenhagen winter with its 15 light installations, leaded by  Jesper Kongshaug.The Northern light has a significant relationship with people in Nordic countries, however it rarely graces over Denmark, but the Northern light is illuminating over the Tivoli sky at Winter in Tilovi this year.

The whole light experiences beat the winter blues and took my breath away.

I cannot be more sorry for having just a day to lay over in Copenhagen, which is ranked as one of the top cities to visitin 2019 by Lonely Planet. The festival will continue until the end of this week (on Sunday 24 February), yet some permanent installations on the buildings may last till early next month. To get some insight of the lighting experiences, you may look at the official instagram account @cphlightfestor #cphlightfest, which is trending now.

Text and Photos by Apitchada Sompama