Giant string lite curtain straining across a christmas market in the city of Essen, Germany.
#Public Spaces    22/10/2018

Essen Light Festival: A Prelude to Essen’s Weeks of Light

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We all know that filling a city with festive light turns a public space into a visitor magnet and few know this better than the City of Essen, which will be hosting the “Essen Light Festival” again this year from October 26th to November 4th.

Essen has been harnessing the power of festive lighting since the 1950s, turning the early nights into a time of celebration by filling the city with thousands of lights. Each year, the city transforms into a magical light-filled place, with light installations based on a central theme featuring international and local artists on 2km circuit in central Essen.

As in previous years, MK Illumination will be contributing to the pre-Christmas lighting extravaganza, although you’ll have to wait until the opening of the event to find out precisely what we’ve installed this year.

Creating pre-Christmas “buzz”

The Essen Light Festival is an annual event that kicks off a week or so before the official seasonal lighting known as Essen’s “Light Weeks” is turned on. This free event attracts thousands of visitors from the region as well as from other regions in Germany and internationally, giving the city an extra boost over the usually quiet period between the end of summer and the start of the festive celebrations before the Christmas season.

The city center is filled with people from the launch of the festival, which has exploded into live with a dramatic fireworks display since 2010.

The result is an event that delights visitors and local businesses alike: visitors can enjoy a 2-hour, 2km walk to see 18 light installations, and local businesses benefit as visitors pop in for drinks, food and gifts over the week.

The event is also one that puts Essen on the “map” for anyone who loves festive lighting: by starting their lighting several weeks earlier than most cities, the city has turned itself into a destination for lovers of festive atmosphere and illuminated lights.

A sustainable celebration

The city marketing team of Essen, Essen Marketing GmbH, ensures that all lighting displays used low-energy LEDs and organizes the Essen Light Festival in partnership with a local energy company to ensure that the electricity for this much-loved event is 100% generated from renewable energy sources (source: Ruhr Tourism).

This means that Essen’s Light Festival is an attraction that is both sustainable in terms of energy and sustainable in terms of commercial and tourism goals: not an easy task!

Extending the tourism season

When the Essen Light Festival comes to an end, the lights of the annual “Essener Lichtwochen” or “Essen Light Weeks” begins, lighting up the city and filling it with festive cheer throughout the winter months and ending on 6th January.

The result? Even more reasons to visit Essen than you might have thought!

Where & When



Essen, Germany


October 26th to November 4th


Daily from 18.00-22.00h


Free of charge


Light festivals as place-makers and visitor magnets

Could your city or public space benefit from the place-making effect of festive lighting in the form of a light park or light festival? If you’re nodding your head, get in touch: we know all about how to use light to attract visitors and we’d be happy to talk.

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