Original artworks by Ai Weiwei and Cecil Balmond take pride of place in the Dutch capital this winter (it’s a great place to visit anytime of the year), as part of the launch for this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival. Amsterdam’s city centre will be illuminated by 36 light installations, designed exclusively for the festival, which is now in its sixth year.

Visitors will be able to experience the works – all based on the theme “existential” – with a walk, cycle or boat ride along the festival’s two sites: One on land, and one on the water of its picturesque canals. The water exposition, which will run until January 21, 2018, consists of 21 artworks. These include Weiwei’s installation thinline – a 6.5km-long line running through the city, representing a border. Cecil Balmond’s installation, infinita, will take the form of a geometric shape, resembling a cracked pyramid floating in the water, designed to provoke reflection on the essence of our existence, and whatever lies beneath the surface.

The land exposition, open until January 7, 2018, will take place in Marineterrein Amsterdam, a historic naval dock on Kattenburg Island, a short walk from Centraal Station. Among the 15 works on display will be a piece by artist AlexP, consisting of 576 LED lights hanging from a circular frame, while an installation by artist Reanna Niceforo and photographer Phil Sutherland will create an interactive photo booth that puts visitors in the spotlight and explores the effects of light and projection.

A boat tour of the works will run through the Oosterdok, across the Nieuwe Herengracht, Amstel and via the Herengracht back to Centraal Station.

Go to amsterdamlightfestival.com.

Guardian News & Media Ltd, 2017