New Year's in Copenhagen

Photo: Martin Heiberg

New Year's in Copenhagen equals fireworks, jumping off of chairs, champagne and quality time spent with loved ones. We've put together all you need to know to celebrate the beginning of a new year in Copenhagen. 

Each city has its own New Year's traditions. In New York City the ball drops, and in London, the Coca-Cola London Eye is covered in an explosion of fireworks. In Copenhagen, the main New Year's attraction takes place in the City Hall Square. Thousands of Copenhageners venture towards the square to ring in the New Year with the rest of the city, and the people that aren't there, are most likely live-streaming the happenings from the warmth of their living rooms. Everyone has their eyes set on the City Hall Tower Clock, and once the clock hands turn to midnight, fireworks light up the sky. 

Danish New Year's traditions

When New Year's comes around, Danes get ready to wave bye-bye to the year that's passed, and they often do so wearing silly hats or bibs. If you want to join in on the fun you can find yourself some perfect New Year's gear at most supermarkets in Copenhagen. 

When the clock turns to 18:00 a whole lot of Danes turn their face towards their television. This is when the Queen of Denmark gives her yearly New Year's speech to the Danish people. A speech that is live-streamed from Amalienborg. This has been a tradition for the monarch since 1941, but back then the speech was transmitted on the radio. 

On this specific day, the Danes like to make a lot of noise. Firecrackers, poppers, fireworks, bullhorns and champagne bottles popping. If it's noisy, it's welcome to join the New Year's table. This tradition stems from back in the days when farmers thought that noise would scare off evil spirits. Back then it was common knowledge that they were very active around the holidays, so that's why all of the noise had to be made on New Year's eve. Danes are no longer scared of evil spirits, but they still like their New Year's noise. 

When midnight comes around and the Danes say hello to the new year, they do so by jumping into it. The jump can take place from a table, chair, couch or any other remedy that's raised above the ground. This is something the Danes have been doing for the last 60 years or so, and they do it to avoid stepping into the space between the old and the new year.

Day time activities on New Year's and on January 1

On 31 December, the majority of stores and attractions are closed, but there's still lots to do and see in the city. How about getting some fresh air, going for a long walk and, exploring Copenhagen's architectural masterpieces? Tivoli, The National Museum of Denmark and ZOO are open as well. 

Looking for more inspiration for your trip?

Check out this guide to winter in Copenhagen.