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Getting ready for New Year's Eve in Denmark!

Writer Shani Bishop offers her tips and hints for the New Year.

Photographs: Unsplash

Text: Shani Bishop

It can be a shock if you have never experienced New Year's Eve in Denmark. The usual calm and sensible Danes morph into risk-takers, unlike the people you meet daily!

In the UK, like in many countries, people gather at specific historic points like Trafalgar Square in London. First, there's a big countdown, and then everyone hugs, kisses, or wishes each other a 'Happy New Year'.

Firework know-how

In Denmark, the Danish Queen, Margrethe II (now the only Queen left!), gives a speech on TV at 18:00, and the fireworks start afterwards. Like in many countries, friends and family gather to celebrate together. However, it's the fireworks which set Denmark apart. Fireworks are commonplace and are sold everywhere. Plastic glasses are sold, too, and my big tip is to buy a set for everyone! The press reports injuries every year, so you must take this seriously.

"Where we lived in Hellerup, people would buy a box of fireworks (one firework in each compartment), place the box in the street, often next to expensive cars, and set it alight!"

It's the way the fireworks are used which is surprising. Where we lived in Hellerup, people would buy a box of fireworks (one firework in each compartment), place the box in the street, often next to expensive cars, and set it alight! Of course, the streets are wide in Denmark, but the enclosed space makes it interesting. It is fun and exciting but somewhat dangerous as fireworks can fly towards you anytime.

The best places to gather in Copenhagen are City Hall Square, Dronning Louise's Bro (Queen Louise's Bridge) and The Copenhagen Lakes. I would like to add my own tip to this. The beaches where you can see Sweden are good too. The Swedes have a different timetable during NewYears' evening, so if you are near the beach, you can see their displays too!

In Denmark, like in most countries, New Year's Day is a public holiday, so everything closes. However, we always found that shops like Fakta and Irma were open, so there is no need to fret if you get stuck without food – check the websites to see who is open. New Year is always a good time to reflect and plan for the year if you're not too hung over. Although 2022 has been unexpectantly challenging, it feels like 2023 may be equally so. The best thing we can all do is look to the future with confidence and hope things improve.

The New Year

January, February, and March can be tough months in Denmark, so plan ahead for lots of social gatherings, bakes cakes and stay warm. Make full use of the bike lanes to exercise and see parts of the city you've not seen before. We always enjoyed cycling to a new bakery, and My Donut was good too. If you have kids and haven't signed up to Børn i byen, then do that soon. You get an email every Thursday with lots of things to do.


Going out?

Looking for a night where you can experience the joy of the multinational universe in Denmark? There are plenty of events around Denmark where you can purchase a ticket that usually covers drinks, delicious food and fabulous musical entertainment. So, choose your best party dress and purchase those tickets now!

A quiet night in?

If going out is not on the cards, create your own "party" at home. Whether it's an actual party or a quiet night spent on the sofa, don't miss "90 års Fødselsdag" or "Dinner for one" as we know it in English. A firm favourite with a lot of Danes and internationals.

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