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Record crowds awaited at Brandenburg Gate

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Photo: DPA
07:13 CET+01:00
Berlin tourism officials are gearing up for what may be the world's biggest New Year's Eve party on Monday, the daily Berliner Zeitung reported on Sunday.

The German capital is expecting at least a million visitors to the historic Brandenburg Gate – drawn by enormous fireworks, world renowned performing artists and a big party.

The two-kilometre long party will stretch from the gate to the Victory Column (Siegessäule), with three stages along the route to accompany 19 bands and musicians, including Oceana, Jürgen Drews, Bonnie Tyler and the Pet Shop Boys.

A highlight of the event is expected to be a mass “Gangnam Style” dance to the Korean hit. The sky over Berlin will be illuminated by 6,000 fireworks, the paper said.

What does the event mean for the city's tourism officials?

“It's priceless,” Burkhard Kieker, the head of Visit Berlin, the city's tourism marketing company. He called the event Berlin's most important campaign to get even more tourists to come to the city for New Year's next year.

“From Togo to New Zealand everyone sees the same thing on television on New Year's Eve,” he said. But he thinks Berlin will stand out when at midnight 11 minutes of fireworks will stream over the Brandenburg Gate.

“First it's us with the Brandenburg Gate and then New York with Times Square,” he said.

The city's New Year's eve party gets packed because of German tourists flooding the capital, Kieker said. The biggest contingent of tourists comes from North Rhine-Westphalia, he said.

Would-be party goers are advised to get there early. The Korean dance routine lessons will begin at 6:30 pm and the area is expected to be full by 8:00.

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Last year the entrances were closed two hours before midnight as the area had reached its capacity.

Latecomers who can't get in might want to mosey over to the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg, the paper waid, where 15 floors have been open in what the newspaper said was the biggest indoor party – at least in Berlin.

The Local/mw

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