Ticket to Adventures

Travel blog from around the world, near and far.

Highlights of Lux Helsinki Light Festival 2017


Lux Helsinki light festival and freezing cold weather conditions are here again! Every year they seem to arrive hand in hand. With arctic temperatures down to -20 degrees below zero and harsh wind I braved the cold and headed out to explore Lux Helsinki on Thursday, the first night of the five-day festival (5–9 Jan 2017).luxhelsinki_topeliaLast year I was impressed by Lux Helsinki art installations more than ever and it felt like an exciting and colourful winter wonderland in the darkness. So this year my expectations were naturally high.luxhelsinkiThis year Lux Helsinki light festival encircles Helsinki Cathedral in a new route illuminating the most iconic buildings around Helsinki Market Square and historic places in the idyllic quarters of Kruununhaka. Let’s take a look at the highlights of this year’s Lux Helsinki light art festival!luxhelsinkiAs Helsinki Cathedral is my absolute favourite landmark of Helsinki, I got very excited to see that all four sides of the cathedral were illuminated each side having its own motif, style and colours. This is where I started my Lux Helsinki tour. I absolutely loved the great views over Helsinki Cathedral with different colours and patterns from Senate Square but I also climbed up the stairs to the upper level of the cathedral to take a closer look at the changing colours and patterns. Isn’t this beautuful?luxhelsinki_helsinkicathedralluxhelsinki_helsinkicathedralluxhelsinki_helsinkicathedralOn the eastern side of the cathedral waterfalls cascaded out of the windows of the Chapel of Helsinki Cathedral.luxhelsinkiOne of the bell towers of Helsinki Cathedral had received a gorgeous light art installation in red and yellow.luxhelsinkiAt Senate Square two interactive light installations invited people to play with light. The Light Pipes installation comprised copper pipes and valves that people were able to use to adjust the brightness of the lamps. luxhelsinkiThe People Power installation in turn came to life with red, green, blue and white lights when someone stepped on the scale. If I recall this was the same installation as what they had at Linnanmäki Carnival of Light and Colour last autumn.luxhelsinkiFrom Senate Square I headed to the historic Tori Quarters across the street where I found a piece of light art, The Singing Building, with a mouth being projected onto the facade of a building. With red lips (and ugly yellow teeth ugh!) the mouth performed a crazy rap song. Quite a quirky but creative piece of art.luxhelsinkiIt was so cold outdoors that it was unbearable to take photos without gloves. Even though I was wearing my warmest winter jacket, 3 layers of trousers and socks, the warmest ever winter shoes and a pair of leather mittens my fingers and toes were frozen and I could not move or feel them any longer so at this point I decided to take a break at the coffee shop of Helsinki City Museum to warm up.luxhelsinki_cityhallAfter enjoying a cup of hot tea at the cafe I felt warm enough to continue my walk to Helsinki Market Square at the waterfront. Here the most impressive buildings such as Helsinki City Hall, Embassy of Sweden, Supreme Court and the Presidential Palace facing the sea were all beautifully illuminated with different colours. luxhelsinkiluxhelsinkiI personally think that it was a great idea to light up the historic buildings by the water as this is the most photographed silhouette of Helsinki. I am sure it looks absolutely gorgeous from the sea.luxhelsinkiluxhelsinkiOne of my favourite Lux Helsinki art installations was the Cube, an illusion in which analogue and digital, nature and technology, as well as old and new coexist side by side. This piece of light art was projected onto the facade of Stora Enso head office, originally designed by the legendary Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.luxhelsinki_storaensoluxhelsinki_storaensoluxhelsinki_storaensoBehind Helsinki Cathedral on street Kirkkokatu an animation based on patterns by Marimekko, a Finnish design company, reflecting wild Finnish nature and forest with animals was projected onto the facade of the Bank of Finland. It was literally cool to meet wild animals and nature in the historic heart of Helsinki.luxhelsinki_bankoffinlandluxhelsinki_bankoffinlandluxhelsinki_bankoffinlandMy best Lux Helsinki experience this year was the Flowers of Life in the idyllic inner courtyard of the University of Helsinki’s Topelia building. I was not even aware that such a gorgeous inner courtyard exists in the heart of the city. Here a group of mystical installations with a magical glow of light, colour and pattern floated quietly in the air with the wind.luxhelsinki_topelialuxhelsinki_topelialuxhelsinki_topelialuxhelsinki_topeliaLuckily this year the Lux Helsinki route was very compact. With cold weather like this I would have not been able to wander any further nor take any more photos so having seen all installations I was more than happy to head back home.luxhelsinki_topeliaHow did I like the Lux Helsinki light festival this year? Did it exceed my expectations? The short route in the most historic parts of Helsinki was definitely a plus, however I was a kind of disappointed. Hopefully next year we get to see something as spectacular as the creative and colourful winter wonderland of Lux Helsinki 2016. Hopes up!luxhelsinki_helsinkicasino

Did you like this blog post? Read more about Helsinki:

Helsinki Street Art

Top 5 Inspiring Museums to Visit in Helsinki

Finland: Frosty Fairytales in White Winter Wonderland

Myth of the Midnight Sun in Finland

In Photos: Autumnal Colour Explosion in Helsinki


Author: Piia | Ticket to Adventures

Captivating travel stories from around the world, near and far, by an experienced traveller and adventurer.

16 thoughts on “Highlights of Lux Helsinki Light Festival 2017

  1. Like you, I too liked last year’s LUX better. But I liked the fact that this time the installations were closer together. Last year I missed some because it was too cold to walk for ages outside 😛


    • Yes a short route is a good idea as the temperatures are always so freezing cold this time of the year. I wish the festival was a bit longer than just 5 days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I read on their pages that they tried a ten day festival once but it lost the festival feel to it. Plus it was too expensive 😨


      • Oh really, a 10 day festival would be great. But yeah it must be a budget issue as well, I am sure it is not cheap to keep the installations running for weeks, takes lots of money and energy, so a shorter festival is definitely more sustainable and ecological.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the introduction! Interesting to see pics from there! It was too cold for me to go there, yesterday hubby went but said the snow interfered a bit with seeing the lights properly… he was a bit disappointed, too. Last year was nice. Anyway, I wish they’d leave those lights on for a bit longer than just 5 days! Sure, the most extravagant and power-craving installations might be too expensive to leave up, but couldn’t we just light up Helsinki in a nice way for the whole long, dark winter with led lights?! Wish we had more color and lights here throughout the long winter months (I’m Finnish by the way so I can complain a bit!). Oh well. That’s life I guess! 🙂 Have a happy Sunday!


  3. Thanks! This is so great to see. Thanks for braving the cold so I can view this from my warm house!


  4. Thank you for braving the cold to take such wonderful photos of the Lux Festival of Lights. I enjoyed seeing all the familiar landmarks looking enchanting and the one’s at the waterfront with their mirror reflections too. I especially liked the Marimekko projections on the Bank of Finland building.


    • Thank you Marion. I was happy that the photos turned out pretty good, it was so difficult to take photos with fingers all numb from the cold. So weird how quickly the temperatures change, yesterday it was freezing cold with -20C and today it is back to 0C. How is the weather over there in England? Any snow?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Piia, We haven’t had any snow since late November but it has been bitterly cold. It’s just above freezing today but feels much worse with the wind chill and dreary skies. I’ve had a quiet day, a little grocery shopping in our small town this morning followed by a hot chocolate and bacon sandwich in a cafe before returning home. Since then I’ve been trying to restore the house back to normal by removing all the decorations and taking the tree outdoors. Gladly not too many pine needles to sweep up. Now I’m relaxing in front of our open fire and not planning on going out again! Best Wishes, Marion.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely. We have a much smaller version here in Canberra and I went last year. Loved it. Helsinki looks gorgeous.


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