New Year: near and worth a peer and where to steer clear

When celebrating New Year’s Eve in Copenhagen, there are options to suit every taste. Danes love a good party and regardless of where you find yourself, you’ll be sure to see off the old and see in the new in style.

Such an evening includes a few must-dos such as watching the queen’s New Year’s speech on television at 6 pm as well as the live countdown from the big clock at Copenhagen City Hall – followed by a rendition of the national anthem.

Party food by the book
If you are invited for dinner at someone’s house, it’s guaranteed to involve a mountain of pretzels and salt sticks. New Year’s Eve dinner classically consists of cod in a mustard sauce served with various condiments like potatoes, boiled eggs, marinated beetroot, bacon, horseradish and capers. In Denmark food surrounds every tradition, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. When the clock strikes 12, kransekage (a marzipan-based cake) is served along with champagne. This dessert comes in different shapes and sizes and can be made into rather elaborate structures.

Rebels in disguise
If you happen to have experienced a quieter side to the Danes up until this point, New Year’s Eve is certain to reveal a different side to them. While Danes can come across as somewhat reserved at times, New Year’s Eve brings people out onto the streets drinking, singing and celebrating with everybody. Since Danes do not often engage in activities unless they’re scheduled (and preferably three weeks in advance), this behavioural blow-out is the people’s way of rebelling against the orderly way of Danish living!

Pre-New Year’s cleansing!
Make a splash alongside the rest of the mad winter swimmers at Vinterbad Bryggen for a pre-party endorphin kick with a New Year’s Jump at Island’s Brygge between 12:00 and 16:00. Learn more at

READ MORE: Testing the waters, winter bathing: Freeing the mind or just plain freezing?

Mi casa es su casa
Get invited to someone’s house – this is the usual way Danish people celebrate New Year’s – in good company with lots of food and drink. This way you’ll get immersed in the culture without having to work it all out for yourself. And prepare to take to the streets just before midnight as Danes are seriously into their fireworks. Some countries have heavy restrictions on the private use of fireworks – but in Denmark you can blast away merrily! And people do. Pre-purchasing a pair of safety goggles for this particular night is a very good idea.

Countdown in the centre
Join other party-happy Copenhageners at Rådhuspladsen (city hall square) for an open-air mass celebration as the crowds follow the live countdown being broadcast to the rest of Denmark. Do watch out for rogue fireworks as the place is known for getting a little sparky as the night continues. Danes are firework enthusiasts and on New Year’s Eve the streets come alive with blast-happy party-goers.

Gate-crasher’s free pass
Crash a neighbour’s party! Or even better – a neighbour who has a large rooftop terrace! This is the one night no-one will bat an eyelash at this kind of behaviour. Copenhagen is as flat as a pancake and so it is not hard to get high enough to watch the sky light up. Crashing parties is a popular activity on this particular eve and Danish people are great at throwingfun and lively affairs. These can get rather rowdy and always include lots of singing and dancing – so you probably won’t need to go anywhere else!

With new friends
If you are single and between the ages of 42 and 54, then join other singles for an all-singles party at the Radisson Blu Falconer this year! The Nytårs Running Dinner is being held for the 14th time. The organisers are apparently responsible for Denmark’s biggest singles events. Learn more at

Toasting 2016 at Tivoli
This is a classic and sure to please as Tivoli is a magical place regardless of the occasion. There are various restaurant choices, although many do get booked in advance. You can enjoy the rides until 22:00 and watch the impressive fireworks display at midnight. Learn more at

Revelling with the royals
If you’re a fan of royalty there is always a crowd of Copenhageners gathered at Amalienborg square at midnight to watch the Royal Guard Parade and to wish each other a happy new year.

Celebrating at the circus
Wallman’s (Cirkus bygningen) features extraordinary New Year shows and this year includes an international musical show and various circus performances. Learn more at

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