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A Dutch city’s lights were switched off to reveal a starry sky as a heritage

With more than eighty percent of the world’s population living under a light-polluted sky, the beauty of the universe is often beyond our reach. This thought inspired a joint initiative between Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde and UNESCO Netherlands to bring the night sky back to the people: the art project is called “Seeing stars”.

As the first site of the project, the Dutch town of Franeker was able to become light pollution-free for a while: with the involvement of the residents, the local municipality and businesses in the city, all non-essential household lights, billboards and street lights were turned off at the same time to reconnect everyone with the stars and the universe. “I realized that every night, there is an amazing light performance hidden up high in our sky. What if we switch off all the lights in a city, so we can enjoy the stars together?”—said one of the project’s founders, contemporary artist Daan Roosegaarde. Everybody should have the right to see the stars through an unpolluted night sky. Looking at the stars makes you feel connected to each other, we are all part of the immense cosmos.”—added Kathleen Ferrier, Chairperson of the Netherlands Commission for UNESCO.

With the Seeing stars initiative, UNESCO aims to recognize stargazing as a form of universal heritage: after Franeker, the next places to turn off the lights include Leiden, Sydney, Venice, Stockholm and Reykjavík. We hope the project will also debut in Budapest!

Source: Designboom

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