Light art on the Karlsruhe Palace

The Schlosslichtspiele were founded by Peter Weibel, the artistic-scientific director of the Centre for Art and Media (ZKM), as part of the Globale Digitale to celebrate the 300th birthday of the city of Karlsruhe in 2015. In that year the city hosted a festival summer entitled KA300. 

The city of Karlsruhe – known for its radiating layout – is also known as the fan-shaped city. According to Weibel, the palace, which forms the centre of this floor plan, was the obvious choice as the central starting point for reflections on urban architecture. The video mappings refer to the façade of the palace, which houses the Badisches Landesmuseum, and the history of the city.

Particular attention is paid to the interaction between visitors and the light shows that the Lichtspiele embody – by means of games or movements, visitors become part of the choreography conceived by the artists. 

On the strength of the positive feedback to the Schlosslichtspiele 2015, Karlsruhe City Council decided to continue the format under the artistic direction of ZKM Karlsruhe in cooperation with KME Karlsruhe Marketing and Event GmbH.


“Taking life in hand”

A year of apathy, fear, distance, and pondering lies behind us. As an escape button from our own four walls, there was the virtual space in which we migrated more or less involuntarily. It provided each of us with a digital form of existence. Now life is within reach again. We can take life in our own hands again and reach for opportunities and horizons of analogue life. The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Karlsruhe celebrate both forms of existence: The virtual spaces in the real Schlosspark.



In Karlsruhe, media art in its various forms is part of life: work and leisure structures, as well as public and institutional spaces offer citizens and guests the opportunity to submerse themselves into various inventive options for action, in the role of visitors and participants and beyond, to contribute to city life as collaborators.

As a booming IT location, Karlsruhe has an excellent and broad-based university and research landscape. This network and a historical cultural infrastructure of exceptional diversity for a city of its size combine with a flourishing cultural and creative economy.

Culture and creativity are important economic factors that generate sales, employment and income, shape future factors such as digitisation, and secure innovation. They open up future prospects for innovative and creative people who are trained at local universities. Culture and creativity bring people together and promote social cohesion. They shape structural change and have a positive impact on urban development. They make the city more attractive, improve its image, and attract national attention – in other words, they make the city a better place to live.

Joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network gives Karlsruhe and the city's interest groups the opportunity to make new contacts, provide new impetus, and establish new connections to organisations and artists in UNESCO Creative Cities on all continents. Inclusion in the network will give the city renewed momentum and promote the dynamic development of creative innovations. Creativity is seen as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

The internal networking and integration of the different scenes facilitates the formation of an urban identity and make a more differentiated external profile possible. Membership strengthens international networking, cooperation and exchange at the international level between cultural institutions, artists, and specialists in digital culture and creative industries.

The city of Karlsruhe and its creative actors aim to get involved in the UNESCO Creative Cities network in a variety of ways and would like to take their innovations and expertise from the mutual relationship between media art and the areas of cultural and creative industries, IT, science and research, as well as democracy and fundamental rights to the member cities and contribute to the global context.


on the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELEN Karlsruhe 2021

Dr Frank Mentrup

Executive Mayor of the City of Karlsruhe

"After a year in virtual space, the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE will be returning to the façade of our unique Schloss Karlsruhe. With the slogan: 'Taking life into our hands', the light shows will demonstrate that we are again seizing the opportunities provided in analogue (as opposed to digital) life. We can once again experience fascinating media arts at the Schloss. If we accept these special conditions, we can all be part in the six dazzling weeks of the UNESCO City of Media Arts.”


Director of ZKM Karlsruhe and curator of the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE

"The new 2021 works pick up where 2020 left off. The questions of change are answered by a new relationship between the future and the past, in both the micro and macro realms. The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE presented a double maelstrom, a maelstrom of sound driving the maelstrom of images. The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE shows therefore become a visual song of togetherness and unity. In 2021 we will not allow the physical distancing forced on us by the Covid-19 pandemic to become social distancing. We have to take life into our hands together again, and seek new ways of living".

Oliver Lüsch

Chair of the Executive Board, BBBank Karlsruhe

"Creativity is a valuable stimulus for the sustainability and development of society. That's why we are very happy to support SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE with the Newcomer Award. We hope all the visitors enjoy the magical evening shows."

martin wacker

Managing Director of Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH

"With the Light Festival, not only our famous Schloss, but also the city will shine more brightly. The decentralised venues are therefore an essential factor in limiting infections, while also ensuring that visitors can enjoy everything the restauranteurs, service providers and retailers have to offer. Not forgetting a big thank you to the partners and sponsors who are contributing to the Light Festival with, among others, some fabulous illuminations of their buildings.”



The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Karlsruhe is a festival of light that showcases projection mapping. Projection Mapping is a form of media art whereby individual video projections are designed to projected onto a specific feature or building. International artists create 3D video mapping projects for the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE to be projected on to the façade of the Schloss Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe Palace) every evening and for a period of several weeks. The event as a whole will create one of the largest audiovisual digital artworks in Europe.
The first SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Karlsruhe Light Festival took place in 2015 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the city, and thrilled spectators. It has been held every summer since then. Around 1.7 million visitors have already visited the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE at Schloss Karlsruhe, and the images of the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE are beamed around the world.

The 2021 SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Karlsruhe festival will be held from 18th August to 3rd October.

Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH is the organiser of the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE and responsible for its execution. This festival is curated by the artistic-scientific director of ZKM | Centre for Art and Media, Prof. Peter Weibel. ZKM was founded in 1989 as a "digital construction company" with the mission to carry the classical arts forward into the digital age. Worldwide, it is a unique cultural institution that combines research and production, exhibitions and performances, collections and archives, mediation and events. The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE is financed by the city of Karlsruhe, by partners and sponsors, as well as by revenues from the catering on the palace square.

No: the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE cannot take place in its usual form this year either. Various changes and measures have been implemented to ensure the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE can take place in a real space. The aim is still to deploy optimum measures to protect spectators against infection to essentially return to normal as soon as possible. Some measures may be (have to be) modified to respond to the situation in a flexible manner.

The show programme at Schloss Karlsruhe is shorter (approx. 30-45 minutes) and is repeated several times. There are (for the time being) no catering services, seating or sanitary facilities available on the Schlossplatz.  

The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Light Festival is not an event in the classical sense, but an art installation in the public space and part of a larger urban production with decentralised venues and stations. The Schloss is therefore not the focus of the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE. Spectators can visit the decentralised stations on foot or by bicycle.

Two shows will be presented every evening the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE. The light shows will be repeated several times after the first display. The aim is to minimise the time spent in a crowd in front of the Schloss. An announcement will be made at the end of the show requesting all visitors to vacate the Schlossplatz. Please refer to the show schedule on our website to find the precise times of each show.

SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Karlsruhe 2021 start times:

18th-29th August 2021 from 9.00 pm
30th August-12th September 2021 from 8.30 pm
13th September-19th September 2021 from 8.00 pm
20th September-3rd October 2021 from 7.30 pm
Shows end no later than at 11.30 pm

Basically, we recommend every visitor to get tested in advance, but there is no obligation to take a test. We also recommend wearing a face mask (mouth and nose protection).

Firstly, announcements will be made (in German and English) requesting spectators to maintain a safe distance and to be considerate of others and notices will be incorporated into the light show on the façade. We will therefore closely monitor the situation at the Schloss Karlsruhe and intervene if necessary. Further announcements will be made if certain areas become too crowded. If these are ineffective, the show may be interrupted or even cancelled.

More informations about the Light Festival you can find under the heading "Light Festival". There you can also find a map with the stations of the Light Festivals.

Information about the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE is available online on the website, on Facebook (@schlosslichtspielekarlsruhe) and on Instagram (@schlosslichtspielekarlsruhe).

This festival of media art is curated by the artistic and scientific director of the ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien (Center for Art and Media), Prof. Peter Weibel. The ZKM was founded in 1989 as a digital “Bauhaus” to continue the classical arts into the digital age. The ZKM is a globally unique cultural institution, the aim of which is to combine research and production, exhibitions and performances, collections and archives, outreach and events.

The organiser of the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE Light Festival is Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH, which is also responsible for the implementation of the events.

The SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE is funded by the City of Karlsruhe, partners, sponsors and from revenue generated by the food and hospitality outlets on the Schlossplatz.


Impressions of Schlosslichtspiele KARLSRUHE 2021


Impressions of Light Festival Karlsruhe 2021


Impressions of Schlosslichtspiele KARLSRUHE 2019



Impressions of Schlosslichtspiele KARLSRUHE

the Organizers

Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH and ZKM


Your central contact when it comes to big events in Karlsruhe.

Events are a first-class communication tool. Emotionalization and the so-called “sense of unity” play a huge role in this and are used to create lasting bonds, business platforms, and a positive perception of the location.

ZKM | Center for Art and Media KARLSRUHE

The ZKM | Center for Art and Media is a cultural institution that is unique worldwide, because it is a place that expands the original purposes of a museum. It is a place of all media and genres, of room-based arts, such as paintings, photography, and sculptures, as well as of time-based arts such as film, video, media art, music, dance, theater, and performance. The ZKM was founded in 1989 as a museum with the mission to perpetuate classic arts with the digital age. That is why it is sometimes also called the “electronic or digital Bauhaus” – an expression that is ascribed to Heinrich Klotz. Furthermore, the ZKM is also home to institutes and laboratories, in which people do scientific research, develop, and produce. Besides making sure that the original main idea of a museum, namely that works of art do not disappear, the ZKM has also taken over the task of creating the conditions for the creation of works of art – by guest artists and also by its employees. That is why it is called center and not museum.


questions or suggestions?

If you have any questions or suggestions for the “SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE”, you can get in touch with our “SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE” TEAM from the Karlsruhe Marketing und Event GmbH by Mail.
We will try to get back to you as soon as possible.