Gates of Light

60 light-reflective buildings illuminated by the headlamps of passing cars.

Gates of Light

Gates of Light

GATES OF LIGHT is a permanent installation that illuminates 60 buildings through retro reflection using the headlamps of passing cars. As you drive through, the historical floodgates light up and create a futuristic light landscape without using electricity.

Winner of Global Future Design Awards 2020, The International Architecture Transportation Award 2019, Europe 40 Under 40 Awards, and A 'Design Awards Platinum 2018.

The futuristic entrance of the Afsluitdijk is GATES OF LIGHT which returns 60 monumental floodgates of 1932 to their former glory. Every day more than 20.000 cars pass by the GATES OF LIGHT. The structures, initially designed by Dirk Roosenburg, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’ grandfather, have been fully renovated and augmented with a retro-reflective layer. In the dark, the architecture of these structures is illuminated by the headlamps of passing cars, reflecting the light through small prisms. Without cars on the road, the structures do not illuminate. Using light this way requires zero energy and does not contribute to light pollution.

GATES OF LIGHT is part of the design innovation programme ICOON AFSLUITDIJK, commissioned by the Dutch Government.This work enhances the innovative character of the legendary 32-kilometre Dutch dike whilst highlighting its key functions: water protection, heritage, energy and mobility as an exemplary model of a smart landscape for today and tomorrow.

The Afsluitdijk is the 32-kilometre long dike that protects the Netherlands against water and flooding. Built mostly by hand and realised in 1932, it is an engineering highlight of the Netherlands and a unique global site. After 85 years, the Afsluitdijk was in need of a thorough renovation. Therefore the Dutch state, and local municipalities and provinces joined forces to lead an ambitious programme to protect the future of the dike. The three designs developed by Daan Roosegaarde and his team of designers and engineers entitled GATES OF LIGHT, WINDVOGEL and GLOWING NATURE form a model of a green landscape.

ICOON AFSLUITDIJK is the 32 kilometer layer of light and interaction which enhances the Afsluitdijk.
ICOON AFSLUITDIJK is the 32 kilometer layer of light and interaction which enhances the Afsluitdijk.

Specifications:

Permanent 60 renovated floodgates with reflective layers of micro prisms and concrete on both sides of the Afsluitdijk. Experience GATES OF LIGHT every night from your own car. Location 53° 0′ NB, 5° 10′ OL, Afsluitdijk the Netherlands. The documentary 32 KM follows Daan Roosegaarde and his team in the making of this project.

Made in collaboration with Daan Roosegaarde and Studio Roosegaarde, The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Rijkswaterstaat, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, De Nieuwe Afsluitdijk, Province of Friesland, and Province of North Holland. Development Partners: KitePower, Wageningen University & Research (WUR), TTB, Eurocarbon, Versalume.

Clients:

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and De Nieuwe Afsluitdijk.

Awards:

Winner of Global Future Design Awards 2020, The International Architecture Transportation Award 2019, Europe 40 Under 40 Awards, and A 'Design Awards Platinum 2018.

Selected Exhibitions

  • PERMANENTGATES OF LIGHT, Afsluitdijk, NL

Downloads

Factsheet

Press Release

Interview Salone del Mobile Milano
Interview Salone del Mobile Milano
Interview with Daan Roosegaarde: the activist of innovation and technology.
Naturalis exhibition
Naturalis exhibition
Honoured to be part of the 200 year Naturalis exhibition, opened by our King. The wing of the morpho butterfly always remains vibrant reflective and is our inspiration for GATES OF LIGHT.