People always told me that the Dutch set off fireworks at New Year’s. Until last year, when I spent my first New Year’s here, I didn’t really appreciate what they meant.
You see, in England, when people let off fireworks at New Year’s there’s maybe one or two fireworks set off somewhere in the distance, and that’s it. On Bonfire Night, there are organized displays, or people set off fireworks in their garden. But the whole process is surrounded by caution, has a build up of graphic TV adverts showing what can go wrong, and, well, everyone keeps their distance.
Here, it’s a totally different experience. First of all, there’s the pre-New Year’s build up. Everyday, a few more bangs during the day. By New Year’s Eve, there’s someone letting off bangs all through the day. And then at midnight. Well, the world goes crackers.
Setting off fireworks here means people standing in the middle of the street, lighting 2000 euros worth of fireworks, and standing about a foot away from them. It’s loud. Like Concorde flying overhead, loud. And, it’s pretty spectacular!