New Year's Eve in The Netherlands
We had a splendid evening with loads of excellent seafood, champagne and fun little kids to play around. It was a very relax evening among friends, exactly as I had expected it to be.
The entire evening there was already fireworks in the neighbourhood going off. So we had to teach the children that this was a fun thing; that it was nothing to be afraid off in order to prepare them for the inferno that would burst loose at midnight. With every boom we enthousiastically cheered "yeaaah fireworks!". We know that in the Netherlands, just about everybody launches heavy fireworks. There are strict regulations, stricter than in Belgium, which results in a Dutch invasion in Belgium in December in any shop that sells fireworks. In Belgium there is also ever more fireworks launched by citizans in the street but it is not yet comparable with what happens in the Netherlands at all.
When the clock had struck 12 and all the wishes and kisses had been exchanged we got out of the door to enjoy the spectacle. People nextdoors were rolling out a few meters of bombthingies in the middle of the road, after which they set the thing on fire. Cars driving by had to simply avoid the fireworks on the street. Those bombthingies were rather popular, other neighbours had them as well later on.
A couple of houses further on the other side, one after the other great professional looking fireworks were launched from a bottle at 2 m in front of them on the sidewalk. Nutters, what if it falls down at the moment of getting launched???? Across the street one big cardboard box of fireworks after another got unloaded from the back of a car. There surely isn't an economic crisis in the Netherlands if they can buy so much fireworks! It was fun but I must really admit that I did not always feel at ease at all. With the smoke in the air and light flashes near and far and sizzling sounds coming by, I sometimes wondered how different this really was from a city getting bombed (thinking back at CNN images of Sarajevo or Bagdad or something). Only people wouldn't be there outside cheering with a glass of champagne in their hand as their reality would be a little different than ours!
And you know what the biggest wonder was: while some explosions were so loud that I ducked down and lost half of the champagne in my glass, the toddlers in the house slept through it all!