.This year we'll see in the New Year in Switzerland for the first time, and we're planning to take in the firework display over Lake Zürich. Here's four things you maybe didn't know about the city's Silvester (New Year) extravaganza, inspired by an article in today's Tages Anzeiger newspaper.
1. Like Guy Fawkes night, Silvester in Zürich has seen gunpowder and plot
While the Swiss new year spectacle is not based on an attempt at early terrorism like Britain's bonfire night, it's not without a violent history. In 1717 a baker by the name of Scheuzer was murdered during the firework display.
2. They cost less that they did in the 1800s
Last year's Silvester fireworks in Zürich cost 80,000 Swiss francs, but that's actually relatively cheap compared with the displays of yesteryear. In 1850 the spectacle cost less than 3000 francs but measured against the salaries of the time, that's 10 times more than the city pays today.
3. Blue fireworks are a rare treat
When the sky above Lake Zürich is filled with fire, blue explosions are a rarity, and this comes down to cost. Even though the City of Zürich doesn't skimp on the New Year display, blue fireworks are simply much less cost effective, as they require more technical know-how and contain copper salt, which is expensive.
4. The air on Silvester is filled with more than sparkles
While Zürich normally has very good air quality ratings compared with other big cities, come New Year's Eve it loses some of its alpine freshness. Measurements for fine dust particles in the air are apparently 15 times higher than usual. Fireworks also contain some poisonous elements. After a New Year firework display in Austria researchers found traces of arsenic, strontium and caesium in the snow!
Tales of murder and arsenic aside, I hear the fireworks are a spectacular way to celebrate Swiss Silvester. Wherever you're seeing out 2016,, I wish you a very happy New Year.
Mike Stuart moved to Switzerland in 2013 when his better half Zoë landed a job in Zurich.