Art wants to tell us about the world we live in. This was Noorderlicht’s starting point in 1990, and it still is today. As times change, Noorderlicht continuously changes with it in its endeavour to fulfil its pioneering role. For three decades now, we have offered a platform to image-makers from the Netherlands and abroad, who show themselves to be investigative participants through their work. With exhibitions, festivals and commissions with a socially engaged agenda, Noorderlicht has a national public outreach as well as an international appeal and reputation.

Photography is always central to our presentations, but with an open eye to the changing nature of image communication we increasingly embrace video, animation, virtual reality environments and other visual arts in our programming. Noorderlicht is an open organisation: we regularly engage guest curators who bring in new perspectives and keep us on our toes, we collaborate with organisations from many social fields, and when it comes to major projects we invite artists from all over the world to show their work with us or develop it for us.

From 2020, our programme is defined in three branches, each with its own character and timbre. Together they serve a wide audience.

The Noorderlicht International Photography Festival is our anchor point, an annual event that takes place alternately in Groningen and Friesland. From 2021 onwards, the festival will be a biennial for the three northern provinces: Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe.

Noorderlicht Studio is our permanent exhibition space in the heart of Groningen, where we offer space for experimentation and talent development. Here we organise four large exhibitions every year, supplemented by smaller events.

On Tour
Noorderlicht On Tour is our external programme. With partner organisations we set up projects in the public space, in external locations and abroad, and we give commissions to artists. This programme is aimed at a broad audience.

Noorderlicht supports other art institutions with our expertise and production capacity. An important part of this is the Noorderlicht Photo Lab, a certified print studio that can produce exhibition works on commission.

Noorderlicht is a member and co-founder of Platform Fotografie Nederland, a collaboration of national photography institutions that promotes the position of photography in the Dutch art establishment. We are also part of De Noordenaars (The Northerners), an alliance of presentation institutions dedicated to the preservation and development of the exceptional art scene in the Northern Netherlands.

Thanks to its status as a recognised ANBI institution, donations to Noorderlicht are fiscally attractive.