Dr Chris Müller
A special New Year’s Eve for me was in Berlin at the turn of the millennium. Even though it was -10 °C and terribly cold, it was like everyone kept each other warm by being together.
Even though New Year’s Day is a special day, I don’t do anything in particular. I try not to plan anything other than time with my family or cleaning the house after the New Year’s Eve party. I have a 1.5 year old toddler, so I’ll probably be up early this year.
At the turn of the millennium, I celebrated New Year’s Eve in Berlin with some friends. Like a bunch of tourists at Unter den Linden, we were part of the largest public festivities I have ever witnessed. Afterwards I read that there were about a million people in the streets that night. It was my first time in Berlin, so I remember the atmosphere very well.
Even though it was -10 degrees Celsius and terribly cold, it was like everyone kept each other warm by being together. People passed each other glühwein, not knowing where it came from. There were people everywhere, no matter what street or square you went to. It was nothing like the Netherlands, where everyone celebrates New Year’s Eve with their own circle of friends. Everyone partied together and everyone in Berlin who was there at the time was part of it.
For me, the New Year celebrations are a party where everyone is included, whatever your background. In that sense, it’s a very inclusive holiday. Most people follow the same calendar, so it’s hard to miss. So I think it’s really special if you can share it with someone. What I don’t really like are the fireworks that you can buy and use in the Netherlands. It’s bad for the environment and very dangerous; so many people get injured. Things are beginning to change though and I think that’s an improvement.