The Scandi style set’s guide to celebrating New Year's Eve

By Sophie Axon

We gather together Viola Bergström, Amalie Star, Alphons Amuri and more to spill the Champagne on how to ace New Year's Eve

The Nordic region is the ideal setting to spend the festive and new year period in. Throughout December our hands are warmed with glögg while our hearts are filled with the joy of a season spent meandering through forests filled with snow-dusted pines followed by evenings curled up by the fire.


After the calm of Christmas comes the excitement of New Years where we turn up the notch on festivities, soundtracked by ABBA’s ‘Happy New Year’ of course.

Here, six in-the-know Scandinavians reflect on their favourite memories from New Year’s Eves past and share their plans to ring in 2023 with a bounty of high-octane fun.

Anna Clausen – stylist (Reykjavik)

New Years includes a couple of traditions for me. The first is from my childhood growing up in Denmark, where we watch Queen Margrethe's New Year speech, a classic way to mark the end of the year. I love how ceremonious and formal it is and the feeling of excitement, waiting for her majesty to appear and how she sums up the year with a “Gud bevare Danmark”.

Since living in Reykjavik, I have embraced the tradition of going to the swimming pool early on New Year's morning, a fresh swim followed by a cold splash and sauna to heat up. Meeting friends in the pool is the perfect start to the day.

Anna Clausen indulges in a New Year's dip. Photo: Bjarni Einarsson.

This is followed by a stop at the local rescue team, to buy fireworks for the evening. Bjarni, my partner, and I celebrate with family at Hallgrimskirkja, located on the highest point in the city. When Ármótaskaupið — which is mandatory to watch — and the state TV´s comical take on the political year has rolled out its final song, we fittingly start to shoot the old year off. When the clock of Hallgrimskirkjan turns midnight, we pop the Champagne to ring the New Year in.

It’s freezing cold and a challenge to wear a dress and heels in the snow, but it’s also part of the fun. I throw over a big coat and safety glasses to avoid the rockets and ash fall. After the initial celebration, we meet friends and end up going to a New Year's Eve house party. I like to keep the evening open and not plan too much in advance, that has turned out most fun.

Alphons Amuri – model and stylist (Oslo)

I grew up spending all my New Years with my family. In the Mwange refugee camp, New Year was a time for gratitude. My most memorable New Year’s Eve was my last celebration in the refugee camp. This turned out to be the last time I would celebrate with a lot of people before life separated us onto different paths.

I remember there were a lot of people that I didn’t know we considered family, and I was so angry at my father because I wanted to eat all the food myself — being 7 years old and childish, I didn’t understand the importance of shared memories. However, this evening turned out to be the best celebration of my life. We sat around the fire pit and told stories; I have some of the best narrators in my family so everyone was immersed in these stories. My family has a habit of friendly teasing, and no one is safe; we laughed till there was no more pain.

As fashion is super important in a Congolese household, every year we have an unofficial best-dressed contest where we dress up in our best outfits. As I continue growing, so does my passion for styling and I feel even more connected to this tradition, and it’s something that we’ve kept around even after 15 years in Scandinavia.

Alphons Amuri throws down the gauntlet in his family's best-dressed competition.

New Year’s Eve remains a time for gratitude for me and I’ve come to truly value the times when my family and I can just sit down and appreciate where life took us and where we humbly find ourselves today. To this day, I have still never spent any New Years celebrations outside my family’s presence.

Every New Year's morning, my seven siblings and I usually meet at my parent’s house. This year will be no exception. We eat together and later in the evening we all go to church. In my family we value gratitude, and I don’t know how to explain it, but going to church has this humble sense of appreciation to it, which connects our family values. After church, the plan is to regroup at our parents’ to watch the fireworks. We will all camp in the living room and talk all night until we pass out, and next morning awaits another feast prepared by my amazing mother.

Anna Sarlvit – content creator (Copenhagen)

One of my most special memories of New Years was when, some years back, my older sister and I travelled to Zanzibar to spend some time on the beautiful sunny island. The only plane tickets we were able to get hold of were for the 31st of December, so we ended up celebrating the New Year on the plane, something which I wasn’t very happy about at first, but it turned out to be such a special moment. And when the clock turned midnight, all the guests opened Champagne and had a great time up in the air.

Anna Sarlvit is swapping Zanzibar for Copenhagen this NYE.

This year I’m spending New Year’s Eve with my best girlfriends, we’ve known each other since elementary school. We are throwing an intimate dinner at home in Copenhagen and hopefully we’re going to dance into the New Year and have some amazing homemade food. For the outfit, I have my eyes on a beautiful sheer silk minidress from Coperni that I’d wear with some heels from my closet.

Viola Bergström – creative (Stockholm)

I really used to hate New Year’s Eve, because of the unrealistic expectations that usually ended up in disappointment. The last couple of years I’ve found the perfect recipe for a successful ending and new beginning — skiing. My fiancée is half Norwegian, so we are travelling to the Norwegian mountains to celebrate with friends and family in Hemsedal, where they have a Norwegian hytte. Being surrounded by beautiful nature and staying active by skiing all day, the level of cosiness is truly amazing.

What I look forward to the most for New Year’s Eve is to hit the slopes in the morning followed by a long wine lunch. Even though there is a relaxed and casual mood, I love to dress up for the evening, preferably in something silky with sparkly details, and a tinted red lip.

Viola Bergström is hitting the slopes to see in 2023.

A tradition I love is to reflect on the year that has passed, and to create affirmations for the next. I then play ‘If It Wasn’t for the Nights’ by ABBA all night long and go to bed embarrassingly early just after midnight. I then wake up on the 1st January ready to cure my hangover by hitting the slopes again.

Armin Semovic – PR and communications manager (Copenhagen)

The people around me are always the most exciting part of the evening. For this reason, I’d have to say my most special memory of New Year’s Eve is when we celebrated at my friends Dia and Nik’s (founders of Aeris Cocktails) in Copenhagen. The apartment has two floors, and after a dinner with some amazing people, additional friends joined and we danced to ABBA all night long. ‘Happy New Year’ played in the background when we cracked open a bottle of natural Champagne and all stood and hugged on their balcony, trying to catch a glimpse of the fireworks. That was a moment I’ll never forget.

This year, I’m having dinner with my ‘Gaysties’. The term is something we made up as we’re four gay guys who really see one another as family. Together we’re joined by partners, best friends and simply just great vibes — it’s going to be the first time we’re all together. For the midnight fireworks, we will probably be out on Sønder Boulevard in Vesterbro watching.

Armin Semovic's NYE with the Aeris Cocktails crew.

Outfit-wise, I’ve worn the same white, oversized Jacquemus shirt with embroidered details and wide legged wool pants from HOPE for two years in a row (I love a good reused moment). But this year I’m contemplating my The Frankie Shop ‘Beo Suit’ in chocolate brown. It’s boxy to the fit and works well with both boots and trainers.

I hope to implement traditions over the forthcoming years. For now, there’s something quite freeing about not having any traditions and/or obligations for the last day of the year. The fact that New Year’s Eve is so transformative is something I really appreciate at this stage of my life.

Amalie Star – content creator (Copenhagen)

My mother, step-father, and baby brother all live in Dubai, so this year I’ll be flying there with my younger brother to celebrate with them. My mother has decided to make it something grander, by hiring a DJ and inviting more people. This year it won't be as intimate, but I think it’ll be so much fun regardless. My brother's friends from Copenhagen will be flying in to celebrate with us too. Last year it was my friends who flew to Dubai to join us.

I always wear black on NYE. I don't know why, but it’s just what I've always gone for. I love seeing people in sparkles and glitter, so I might try that out this year; or those few pops of colour, like emerald green, or a royal red.

Amalie Star always enters the New Year dressed in black.

One of my favourite New Year’s memories is jumping into the ice cold ocean the night leading into 2020, with my brothers. Running from the door to our bridge and into the water, and just having a fun spontaneous night with them. And playing many games — from cards, to Uno, to poker, to pool. For me it's such a fun wholesome family time.