I split new year between Germany and the Netherlands and it was a noisy, messy affair. I read (somewhere or other) that the end of the year is a violent time in Germany, when fireworks are aimed at people, buildings, passing cars and the emergency service. The Times reported that Berlin fire brigade crews had been attacked 49 times on the 31st as they dealt with more than 130 fires. Friends from a small town in the Netherlands said it was much the same there and on a quiet Amsterdam street near the Rijksmuseum we stumbled across the remnants of an industrial scale firework (half the size of a box of wine and operating like a mortar) lying on the street amidst other detritus of a fun-filled evening. The fireworks are illegally imported from China it seems.
In Germany (sadly, Mrs M wasn't at the party) as we listened to a cacophony of exuberance on the evening of the 31st, we wondered if this really was the same people that stand at red pedestrian lights waiting for permission to cross even though there's no car in sight. Being socially repressed for most of the year (not counting Carnival) might explain some of it, I suppose.
Happy New Year anyway ...