As soon as dusk sets in each first Wednesday of August, the villagers of Bergen rush out into their gardens to light the candle displays they have often been working on for days: Lichtjesavond is finally upon us!
It’s a tradition that goes back to 1926, when Bergen’s tourist board asked locals to decorate their gardens and driveways with lanterns, tea lights and candles to create an enchanting spectacle for visitors to saunter past and
admire. It’s a tradition that’s stuck: Each year, Bergen’s Night of Lights continues to attract and entertain thousands of people, with the event sprawling beyond the centre into the surrounding streets and lanes and the Bergenese themselves sitting in their front gardens, in among their own illuminated creations, enjoying drinks and snacks – not rarely a barbecue – with family and friends.
Houses, shops, bars, restaurants and more take part, and light and colour are always the theme. Each display is unique and it’s not uncommon to spot a little competitive rivalry going on between neighbours! Be sure to check out Middenpad and Merelhof, the fire brigade is usually out somewhere with an exhibit that involves water and light, the Ruin Church is a must-see, there’s music and theatrics here and there, art expositions… In short, you’re going to have a wonderful evening out on Lichtjesavond!
Photography: Mirko Carton (?)