Every year on May 5th, the Netherlands celebrates the country’s liberation from the Nazis. The national holiday is usually filled with parades and country-wide celebrations, which this year — the holiday’s 75th anniversary — have all been canceled due to the pandemic.
But while the typical celebratory fireworks were absent, looking outside their windows, medical workers and patients at the Erasmus MC hospital in Rotterdam were captivated by something else — above the city’s iconic Nieuwe Maas river a mysterious swarm of floating lights were rising in gentle flight.
The dazzling show was the result of 300 illuminated drones that have been programmed by an arts organization to mimic the behavior of a murmuration of starlings in the sky. Called Franchise Freedom, the project was first unveiled in Miami in 2017.
This latest performance in Rotterdam featured similar swirling patterns of light in the sky as previous performances of the artwork. But at the end of the 15-minute show, the flock of drones came together to form a bright red three-dimensional heart shape in the air, which pulsed with light, as if it was beating — a breathtaking way to show gratitude and support to health care workers and those struck by the virus.
To watch the mesmerizing and heartwarming art performance, look no further.