Our typical New Year’s Eve is pretty quiet. We have spent many New Years doing nothing at all and some hanging out with a small group of friends who generally go home well before midnight. This year we decided to stay home and have a private party for our family. We decided to let the kids stay up until midnight for the first time ever as we were informed that there was no way they would be able to sleep through the multitude of explosions at midnight.
To say that the Dutch love their fireworks for New Year’s Eve would be an understatement. Early in the day on New Year’s Eve, our neighbor came by to warn us about the evening and explain what typically happens in our area. She said they would be moving their cars to another location as there would be a lot of fireworks in the street out front but since ours’ are in the garage, we would be fine. Around midday, we biked to the store. There were tons of people on the street: much more than normal as many were on holiday. As we were biking away from the store, an explosion went off right in front of the door to the store. Apparently, grocery storefronts are a popular area for teenage boys to set off fireworks. After that, we stayed safe inside our house and enjoyed our family party. We snacked on Dutch food and prepared oliebollen, a fried donut type treat, to have with champagne-a Dutch tradition for New Year.
All evening we could hear fireworks going off and we wisely decided to medicate one of our animals, but there were no scares other than when we were walking upstairs and a firework exploded right in front of our hallway window between our house and the neighbor’s. As midnight approached, we headed upstairs to see what we could see out of our windows. We were not disappointed! At midnight, massive fireworks commenced all around the area. From our windows, we had a panoramic view that was awesome!
Our animals, however, were less than thrilled. Even the medicated one was hiding and another urinated all over himself. We opened our window to lean out and look at the display and one of our neighbors saw us and invited us to come out front. In the front, many of the neighbors were out walking around and wishing each other a Happy New Year. They were also setting off large fireworks very close to all of us, the houses and cars.
At times it felt like the sparks were going to rain down on us. Some of the people were wearing special glasses to protect their eyes from the light, but I think they might have needed protective wear for their ears as the booms and pops were nearly deafening at times. After watching the show out front, people wandered back inside, and while we were told that there is only a twenty-minute window for setting off the fireworks, the booms continued until 1-2am. And much like in the US, we continue to hear some each evening. All in all, it was a festive and fun way to start the new year (dogs, cats, birds and other animals likely disagree) and one of the kids said New Year is a lot more fun here than in the US. So here’s to bringing 2019 in with a bang (a hopefully safe one)!
Happy New Year from The Netherlands!!