Project type: Heritage

Applications used: Video projection, flood lighting and accent lighting

Location: Valkenburg aan de Geul, The Netherlands

Lighting design: Norbert Wasserfurth / Studio DL and Ziut

System design: NetherLED and MediaService Maastricht

Installer: Bouwens Elektrotechniek

Rising above the modern city of Valkenburg aan de Geul in the Netherlands are the old ruins of Castle Valkenburg which date back as far as the 11th and 12th Centuries. This dominant landmark can be seen for miles in the surrounding countryside and it reveals its history when approached by the curious visitor. Now, through the illumination concept “A City as a Host” by Studio DL, the face of the ruins have taken on a new life: the fortress’ unique identity is emphasised with a dramatic lighting and projection display.

Restaged each night, the carefully arranged Pulsar LED fixtures create a dynamic interplay between light, colour, and shadow, and when combined with the special projections, the ruins create a stunning backdrop to the various city-wide events throughout the year and underline the qualities of Valkenburg for residents and visitors alike.

The project used a variety of IP66 ChromaRange fixtures each with a custom LED configuration of White-Amber-Blue. Comprised of 8 ChromaFlood 400s, 5 ChromaFlood 200s, 9 ChromaInGround 50s, and 5 ChromaStrip X3s, they were connected to a combination of 5 ChromaZone 12-200IPs for full and smooth control of all the LED lighting levels and a DataSplitter DS5 for DMX distribution.

The different fixtures manufactured with the same custom LED population were meticulously checked and calibrated in order to provide complete colour consistency across the range of products delivered – a key factor for the designer as it allowed them to mix and match Floods, InGrounds, and Linear Strips of different lengths in the lighting design because they all would have exactly the same colour output. In addition to the colour consistency, the Pulsar fixtures were described as “reliable, powerful, and all having a heavy-duty look and feel” in addition to being a “top quality European made product.”

The design effects include built in programs and range from static and slowly cross-fading colours to faster chases, pulses, and dynamic lighting scenes that all contribute to a larger sequence and supporting the video content in telling the story of the castle. In total 28 different settings were programmed, each one of which can be overlaid to form full lighting Scenes and for ease of use an Operations Chart was drawn up to clarify the interactions between Settings, Scenes, and Video content for the operator.

A particular challenge during the installation process was operating around the historic ruins. The entire process took a month and great care was taken to preserve while attempting to enhance the iconic site and its grounds. This caution was well founded and it paid off: the installation suffered no faults and the fixtures turned on without a hitch.