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NEW YEAR

‘Warzone’ Berlin New Year video goes viral

Sometimes it's hard to explain to outsiders just how crazy Berlin goes on New Year's Eve.

'Warzone' Berlin New Year video goes viral
New Year's Eve, Berlin style Photo: Screengrab

Now you don't have to, as a Youtube video documenting a 20-minute car ride through the capital at midnight on New Year's Eve has gone viral, showing just what a war zone Berlin becomes – for one night of the year, at least.

Whilst London, Edinburgh and Sydney have organised firework displays, in official locations, with health and safety regulations, and crowd control, Berlin…er…doesn't.

Instead, a chaotic free-for-all on every street ensues, with normally sober, and sober-minded, Germans letting their hair down and their firecrackers off.

The result is something that literally has to be seen to be believed – which is perhaps why this video has notched up nearly 70,000 views in the 24 hours since it was put online by the user Boris Niehaus and spread across social media.

The journey, seemingly in one take, goes from Warschauer Bridge in the east of the city, through the hotspot neighbourhoods of Kreuzberg and Neukölln.

In fact, this year there were no reported deaths or serious injuries in the capital, although that was not the case across Germany as a whole.

A 19-year old was killed in Freiburg , in Saxony, and his friend injured, when an illegally-bought firework exploded, causing fatal injuries. His 17-year old friend was severely injured.

In Alveslohe, Schleswig, another teenager, this time 18-years old, was killed when a firework thrown by someone else hit him in the head.

Many of the most dangerous fireworks on sale in Germany in the week between Christmas and New Year are manufactured in Poland but illegal in Germany. The are nonetheless easy to find on the black market or in the numerous temporary pop-up firework shops that cater for the New Year market.

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NEW YEAR

IN PICS: Berlin brings in 2020 with fireworks and winter bathing

Berlin brought in the New Year with a dazzling display of fireworks over the Brandenburg Gate, with the Berliner Sea Dogs later taking their first icy dip of 2020.

IN PICS: Berlin brings in 2020 with fireworks and winter bathing
Revellers in Berlin were treated to a lavish fireworks display over the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa
The lavish public fireworks more than made up for this year's partial ban on the general public firing rockets. Here's a photo of the fireworks over the Brandenburg Gate. 

Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa

…and here's another photo of the display as seen over the Oberbaum Bridge. 

Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa

So many people crammed into the central celebration area that the gates were closed at 8pm for safety reasons.

Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa

Performers included the English boy band East 17, songwriter and DJ Kerstin Ott, pop star Frank Zander and the Swedish rock band Mando Diao.
 
Here's a video of the East 17 performance…
 
 
…and here's Mando Diao. 
 
 
A crowd dispersal vehicle from the German federal police on the ready in a street near the New Year's Eve party at the Brandenburg Gate. 
 

Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa

After the celebrations, the streets were strewn with plastic glasses and bottles. 

Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa

The Berlin municipal cleaning company BSR began the clean-up job early on Wednesday morning. 

Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa

Soon afterwards the Berliner Sea Dogs gathered to take their first cold water bath of the new year. 

Happy New Year! 
 
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