Lifestyle & Culture

Dispatches’ weekly weekend event guide for Europe: Best of New Year’s Eve 2017

(Editor’s note: Terry Boyd also contributed to this Best of New Year’s Eve post.)

We’ve made it. We’ve survived the death and tragedy parade of 2016. A lot of stars ascended into the heavens; Donald Trump is the new President of the United States; England and Wales are set to leave the European Union by March (while Scotland, the City of London, and Northern Ireland are set to leave what remains of the United Kingdom in due course). Austerity is still a thing across southern Europe.

Even Rome, which parties as hard as any city in the world, is having a hard time coming up with the cash for anything big this year thanks to the incredible ineptitude of the Five Star Movement.

What else can you do but party? And there are plenty of parties even in this bleak year. To quote Donald Trump, we know the BEST parties for 2017 ….

You bring the champagne, we’ll bring the fireworks!


Amsterdam – Brokken New Year’s Eve Festival: Looking to jazz up your new year? Head over to the Bimhuis for the Brokken New Year’s Eve Festival. Hosted by jazz guitarist Corrie van Binsbergen, the lineup features jazz, electronic, classical and pop artists like Perforator, Kruidkoek, and the supergroup Brokken Estafette.

Tickets range from 29€ to 35€, and can only be had online or at the box office. Doors open at 19:30, and the party runs from 20:30 to 4:00.

1064208_52711696Barcelona – New Year’s Eve Party at Poble Espanyol: For 27 years, Barcelonans and visitors have welcomed the new year in style at Poble Espanyol, an architectural museum comprised of 117 buildings representing 15 of the 17 autonomous communities of Spain.

(La Rioja didn’t exist at the time of construction, and the four designers behind the museum were unable to visit the Canary Islands for economic reasons).

The 28th edition of the museum’s New Year’s Eve party will have plenty of “grapes, novelties, drinks, good music and good vibes” to bid farewell to 2016 from 22:30 to 6:00.

Tickets currently range from 40€ for a standard ticket, to 135€ for a premium VIP table.

Berlin – New Year’s Eve Party in Berlin: Happen to be in Berlin when the ball drops on 2017? Head over to Straße des 17. Juni between the Victory Column and the Brandenburg Gate for one of Europe’s largest street parties!

You can even drop by the day before to watch bands, DJs and performers rehearse their sets, then return on New Year’s Eve for the grand extravaganza.

Performers for this year’s gathering include Jermaine Jackson, Bonnie Tyler, La Bouche, and the Venga Boys. The festival area opens Friday between 14:00 and 20:00 for general rehearsals, then from 14:00 to when the last drunks are collected from the street. The show starts at 19:00, with fireworks at midnight, and the party coming to life thirty minutes after.

Best of all, admission is free.

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-8-25-12-pmBrussels – Happy Brussels New Year’s Extravaganza: We just got back from Brussels, and sorry, but it’s the most underrated city in Europe. Great people. Great architecture. Great places to drink beer and eat frites. Great everything, including New Year’s Eve parties.

There are dozens to choose from, but we narrowed down our selection to Happy Brussels. Why? Try 16 clubs and 60 top DJs at one low, low price. Are you sitting down? How about 60 euros!

Why so cheap? Because Happy Brussels is an initiative of the Brussels Tourism Office. Which apparently knows how to party.

Clubs include Fuse (techno) and Mirano (hip-hop). There are house parties, acid raves and even something called Bollywood-fusion. Come on … even Berlin doesn’t have Bollywood-Fusion. Whatever the hell that is.

Get your tickets here!

15123060_768919176580354_3238948401411697747_oCopenhagen: New Year’s Eve in Copenhagen is for a lot of Danes to get together with family or friends whom you’ve known all your life. Then you shoot off fireworks and drink a lot of akvavit.

BUT, it’s also a surreal party town on par with Berlin.

If that’s more your thing, then there’s only one place to go … Chateau Motel. Chateau Motel is not a motel, but a 4-story night club. For New Year’s Eve 2017, they’re having a Guilty Pleasures party.

Tickets are 200 Danish Krone, or about 30 euros. Chateau Motel is really trendy. Lines are long and VIPs get in first. A great alternative might be Rust in the Nørrbro district. Though Rust only has three floors. What is it with mega-clubs in Copenhagen?



Frankfurt – Having misspent our younger days in Frankfurt, we know there’s only one place to go on New Year’s Eve. Glorious, notorious SachSINhausen.

Sachsenhausen is Frankfurt’s fun, if kind of seedy, bar district. There’s a little sumpin’ sumpin’ for everyone. Here’s a list of the bars and what they have going on for New Year’s Eve. 

If that’s a little too much, there’s a very elegant alternative at the Frankfurt Opera House. After a NYE performance of La Boheme, there will be a New Year’s Eve party with food, a DJ and dancing. Tickets are 85 euros, and you can get them here.

London – New Year’s Eve Cruise on the Thames: If you’re one of the lucky ones to have a ticket to London’s fireworks display over Big Ben on New Year’s, you won’t need this one. For everyone else, why not take a cruise on the River Thames?

City Cruises can put you on a Thamesjet speedboat for a rapid charge under the fire and lights, or on one of their slower boats for a calmer cruise on the river. Tickets range from £299 for a Thamesjet ride, to £329 for a gala dinner aboard one of their Riverliners. You best hurry and click the link above, however, as tickets are going fast; some cruises have already sold out.

Paris – New Year’s Concert at La Sainte Chapelle: This Friday and Saturday evening, ring in the new year at La Sainte Chapelle Church with the finest classical music.

Friday’s programme includes Vivaldi, Handel and Caccini — as performed by Les Solistes Français, Fabienne Conrad and Paul Rouger — while Saturday’s set is a triple shot of Strauss — performed by Les Solistes Français and Paul Rouger. Tickets range from 2€ for little ones under 10, to 44€ for a VIP seat; Friday’s tickets can be had here, Saturday’s over here.

Otherwise, all of Paris is a party on New Year’s Eve, from the Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Élysées.

Oslo – Norway, where the sun barely makes it above the horizon this time of year. It’s below zero on any temperature scale you care to use. And snowy. The nearest palm tree is 4,000 miles south. So naturally, Oslo celebrates New Year’s Eve with a … A Big Latin Party. 

Radio Latin America puts on this party, which features reggaeton, salsa, bachata, merengue and latin hits at Rockefeller Music Hall. Entry is 250 Norwegian Krone, or about 30 euros.

You can get tickets here.

And of course, there’s a big official fireworks celebration. Visit Oslo has all the info here. And be forewarned. A lot of restaurants are NOT open on New Year’s Eve. Visit Oslo has the list of those that are.

ola-ericson-new-year-in-stockholm-152-1Stockholm – Stockholm, like every other European city, is a party playground, with way more clubs than you can possibly hit in one night. BUT, should you decide to try, here’s a list of special New Year’s Eve events.

Otherwise, you’d be well advised to just check out the Stockholm fireworks on the sea from one of these vantage points around the archipelago that makes up Stockholm courtesy of the tourism office:

  • The street Fjällgatan, the beautiful walking path Monteliusvägen and the highest natural point of Stockholm; Skinnarviksberget.
  • The bridges Västerbron and Skanstullsbron.
  • Skansen: Traditional celebration all evening. Singing, dancing and fireworks.
  • Skeppsbron, Slottsbacken, Strömbron, Blasieholmen and Skeppsholmen towards the inlet, where the city’s official fireworks will be celebrated this year.

Here’s a link to Google maps so you can find your way around. And don’t forget to wear a sweater. It can get chilly at night in Stockholm.

Vienna – New Year’s Eve Trail in the Old City: Spending the last day of 2016 in Vienna? Head over to the old city center to celebrate the end of one year and the birth of the next! From 14:00 to 2:00, the entire city center becomes the New Year’s Eve Trail, filled with tons of entertainment, food, music, dancing (and waltz classes to help you get started), and of course, fireworks at City Hall Square and the Prater.

Admission is free.

There’s also a full schedule of events in Vienna to ring in 2017, along with ticket prices, in case the trail isn’t enough for you to drown the sorrow of 2016.

2016 was a year of endings. May 2017 be the start of new beginnings. Cheers!

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