For many years now, Jon and I have spent New Year in Amsterdam with his sister and brother-in-law. There are many customs and traditions here that were strange to us at first but have become part of our traditional New Year celebrations.
Not least of these are the fireworks. Growing up in Britain, during my childhood and youth fireworks were reserved for Guy Fawkes Night. As I began to travel this world, I realised that fireworks are not just for Bonfire Night but nowhere have I encountered such an outpouring of pyrotechniques as in Amsterdam at New Year.
They begin several days in advance of December 31 and gradually the occasional pop, bang and crackle increases in frequency. Throughout the last day of the year the explosions can be heard across the city and as darkness falls the sky is lit up with a colourful display of sky rockets. Then at the turn of midnight the city irrupts in a crescendo of noise and colour.
Wherever you are, however you hail the New Year, I wish you a Happy any Prosperous New Year.