amsterdam, love

{New Years Eve in Amsterdam}

Corey and I flew back from the States just in time to celebrate New Years Eve in Amsterdam. We had plans to join friends for a house party, but realized upon arriving that we were way too jet lagged and exhausted to do much, plus we had a terrified pup to attend to. You see, fireworks are illegal in the Netherlands every other day of the year, so people go nuts on NYE. From the time we woke up we started hearing them go off. As the day progressed the cracks and booms got louder and louder, and once we even thought our windows would blow out (seriously). We spent much of our day staying inside consoling Henry, who’s not a fan of fireworks. In the evening we sat around and drank strong Belgian beers (out of champagne flutes) and talked about our wishes for 2012. Around 11:30 we decided we should at least go out for a bit and experience the commotion and smooch under the colorful bursts of fire at midnight. 

We walked about three blocks to Nieuwmarkt (where we also bought our Christmas tree!) and as soon as we stepped outside we were surrounded by thousands of people, crowded streets and terrifyingly close firecrackers being lit all around us. I saw a girl chugging whiskey out of a nearly-empty bottle of Jack Daniels, and the smell of marijuana surrounded us. It was clear that people had come from all over the world to celebrate the beginning of the New Year here – and they wanted to bring it in with a bang. We stood together for a while in awe of all the chaos and couldn’t help but feel like we were in the middle of a war zone. We had to dodge fireworks more than once as people threw them off their balconies down onto the congested streets. The whole scene was like nothing I’d seen before. It was 4th of July on steroids – and with no rules. Drunken people lighting off fireworks wherever and whenever they wanted – regardless of how many people were around.

At midnight things really went crazy. We kissed at midnight, took a few photos, and then realized that by now Henry must be having a mild heart attack and we’d better get back. Plus, I was scared for my life and was more than happy to go back and seek refuge in our apartment. I figured our quiet street would be saved from the madness, but when we finally turned onto it we found some drunken men lighting off huge fireworks right in front of our door. They were so big you could feel their vibrations deep in your chest. We ran up to our apartment to find Henry shaking uncontrollably. We quickly consoled him and turned some music up loud to try (naively) to drown out the noises coming from outside. We were glad we decided to stay home with him that night (save for 30 minutes)! The fireworks didn’t stop until around 4AM, so our jet lag woes continued into the next day. All in all we were happy to be here and experience the craziness that is Amsterdam on NYE, but I have to say that next year you’ll probably find us holed up in a cabin in the country – far, far away from it all. 

{Fun with Photo Booth}
{Heading out into the madness…}
{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}
P.S. I’ve added a poll right under the Followers widget on the right side of my blog. I’d really appreciate your response! You can choose as many options as you like.  THANKS!

37 thoughts on “{New Years Eve in Amsterdam}”

  1. Gorgeous photos of the fireworks! Looks like it was worth it to leave the coziness of home, at least for a bit. Hope the pup was ok in your absence!

  2. Great pics Liz…you captured it so well! I love the one of the sparkler :). I was celebrating in Nieuwmarkt too…and it looks like we weren't too far from where you guys were!

  3. Great shots, and Happy New Year! One thing you might look into for Henry- a thunder shirt ( They've been around Stateside for years, and we've just gotten them here in the U.K. this past year. My dogs aren't anxious, but several friends of mine with thunder/firework anxiety dogs swear by them. Good luck, poor guy!

  4. You little party animals:-) Poor Henry-pup! I'm sure he was glad you all came back to keep him company. I spent NYE in Africa one year…craziness. The world sure knows how to throw a shindig! xoxo

  5. Amsterdam seems like a great place to spend NYE.

    I totally get the jet lag thing. You really want to get out right away and start exploring but it's tough. I recently dropped a cup of tea on the ground because I fell asleep while drinking it! But it jolted me awake and forced us to go out for a bit!

    Happy belated New Year!

  6. Great shots! Poor puppy 🙁 but sounds like otherwise a night to remember. And who doesn't love Belgian beer? I am a big fan of frambois! I also remember drinking a banana beer while in Bruge that was quite delicious.

    Hope that the jet lag didn't last too long!

  7. Awesome photos!! The fireworks here in Germany were equally as chaotic and, at some points, terrifying! Europeans go nutso for them! I posted a video on my blog in my NYE post capturing the fireworks insanity in the small neighborhood park we were standing near in Frankfurt. You're so right, 4th of July on steriods!

    BTW, adore your blog! Love reading about the adventures of fellow expats! 🙂

  8. Poor little Henry!! We encountered a few incredibly drunk/high people in Amsterdam several days after NYE, so I can only imagine the chaos you must have seen!

  9. Looked crazy there!

    We had fireworks going off all day/night by our apartment too. I watched kids playing with firecrackers in the parking lot nervously hoping no one got hurt. I think I rather the controlled sale of these explosive devices!

  10. oh, and i voted on your sidebar. but, speaking of great photographs, i would love a post or two on photography tips and tricks!! like showing what lens/ settings you used on that sparkler one – i'd love to know. 🙂

  11. how cute are y'all in your matching striped sweaters?! it sounds like a CRAZY nye!! glad you made it out of the madness safe and sound — and poor henry, my dog was the same way. happy new year!! xoxo

  12. Aww, poor little Henry! And I though New Orleans was bad on NYE (people shoot guns in the air) – this sounds way scarier!

  13. There is no where like NL for new year fireworks – not just in AMS but all over the country. You are right, we've always described it as like a war zone! We did miss it this year though – just a few distant bangs and crackles in the night for us and not a sole on the street where we live!

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