This New Year's Eve will be different for many, as a lot of the big cities in Germany set stricter guidelines in terms of fireworks. To find out if and where you are still allowed to ignite fireworks on Dec 31st in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne & Co., then read on.
The German Environmental and consumer protection organization (DHU), has appealed to nearly 100 German cities to allow or organize only black powder-free New Year's Eve fireworks due to the high levels of particulate matter pollution. According to the German Federal Office of Environment around 4,500 tonnes of particulate matter are released nationwide at the turn of the year - around one-sixth of the amount of fine dust emitted in road traffic during the entire year. As an alternative, the DUH suggested laser or light shows, as the Bavarian city of Landshut is for example already perfoming.
In fact, fireworks don't only pollute the environment, they also stress noise-sensitive people and animals and are potentially dangerous when combined with too many people and too much alcohol in public places. That's why, for example, Munich has set much stricter regulations regarding fireworks and has decided on a fireworks ban in parts of the city center for the turn of the year 2019/2020.
"The ban became necessary because we have had very bad experiences over the last few years," says Thomas Böhle, head of the district administration department (KVR). "There were also people who found it fun to shoot fireworks horizontally into the crowds, causing significant injuries, and that was simply no longer acceptable." The new ban will be announced via the information screens at the Munich underground stations and signs with pictograms and will mostly apply to the area between Marienplatz and Karlsplatz-Stachus.
Berlin has set up three zones free of fireworks and firecrackers this year: the central celebration will again take place at the Brandenburg Gate. Firecrackers and fireworks are forbidden in this area. Their use will also be punishable in the northern part of Alexanderplatz and in Pallasstraße in Schöneberg for the first time in 2019.
Almost the entire old town of Dusseldorf is banned from fireworks too. Between Flinger- and Ratinger road and between the Rhine bank and Heinrich-Heine-Allee, it is even forbidden to just carry firecrackers with you.
In the hanseatic cities of Hamburg and Bremen as well as in Hannover, a general fireworks ban applies for the inner city areas.
In Cologne, fireworks have been banned since 2016 in the area around the cathedral.
Anyone who celebrates in Stuttgart is for the first time not allowed to light their own fireworks on Schlossplatz. Instead, there will be a big celebration starting at 9 pm with music, comedy acts and more. The highlight of the celebration will be light, laser and multimedia shows at midnight, which replaces the classic New Year's Eve fireworks display. Fun Fact: this laser show is performed by a pyrotechnician. The area is designed for up to 14,000 visitors.
For Frankfurt the same rules apply as for basically all German cities: fireworks can be ignited only between December 31st and January 1st and never in the vicinity of churches, clinics, hospitals, children- and retirement homes and especially fire-prone buildings.