Berlin to power up Festival of Lights under shadow of energy crisis

1 min read
Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa

Despite Europe’s energy crisis, Berlin wants to illuminate key buildings again this year for the Festival of Lights in October, albeit with power-saving measures.

Even as Europe’s electricity prices are skyrocketing amid undermined gas supplies from Russia, Berlin is set to go ahead and illuminate landmark buildings and locations in bright colours for tourists in October. 

The traditional Berlin Festival of Lights, taking place from October 7 to 16, has been significantly pared back this year in light of the ongoing energy crisis, however. 

Organizers say they have set up 70 “works of light art” at 35 locations – almost half the usual amount – like the Brandenburg Gate, the TV Tower and Potsdamer Platz from 7 pm to 11 pm. 

But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis in Europe has left its mark on the festival, and organizers have strived to use much less electricity, among other things with the help of LED lights. 

The number of locations has also been reduced by almost half this year, and in previous years, some 60 places in Berlin were lit up. Organizers say the festival’s electricity requirements are thereby being cut by 75% overall. 

Despite calls for consumers and industry to reduce power consumption in the face of a looming winter energy emergency, Berlin decided against cancelling the annual festival.

The festival, which is a private event organized independently of the city, is taking place in a scaled-down version, according to Berlin’s Senate, arguing that the Festival of Lights is an event relevant to tourism that contributes to the city’s appeal in the colder months.

Berlin recently started to turn the lights off at central tourist attractions, amid fears that power shortages are about to become the order of the day due to a potential cut-off of Russian gas. 

The measure affects some 150 of the capital’s main landmarks, including the Victory Column, the main cathedral and the Berlin State Opera. © dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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