Happy New Year! London celebrates European ties with spectacular fireworks display as world welcomes 2019

Big Ben returned to action to kick off the sold-out show after a year of renovation works

London welcomes 2019 with spectacular firework display and 'London Is Open' slogan

More than 100,000 spectators gathered in London on Monday evening to watch Europe’s largest annual firework display as the world welcomed the new year with a series of spectacular celebrations.

With less than three months until Britain leaves the EU, London mayor Sadiq Khan said the display showed Europe that the capital will remain “open-minded” and “outward looking” post-Brexit.

Big Ben returned to action to kick off the sold-out show – Europe’s largest annual firework display – after a year of renovation works.

As London’s landmark clock tower chimed, 70,000 projectiles made up of 12,000 fireworks lit up the sky above the capital in an occasion Mr Khan hoped would “send a message of support” to the more than one million European citizens who call the city their home.

The words “London is open” were spoken in seven languages as the capital welcomed in 2019 with a dazzling riverside fireworks display.

Mr Khan spoke the adage in English around two minutes into the new year, which was then uttered in Spanish, Polish, French, Romanian, German and Italian.

We Are Your Friends, Stay and Don’t Leave Me Alone were some of the songs chosen for the 11-minute soundtrack, which featured artists from Ireland, France, Sweden and elsewhere.

London’s breathtaking display came after a series of stunning shows across the world – Auckland was the first major city to welcome the new year with spectacle centred around the New Zealand city’s Sky Tower.

Meanwhile more than a million people turned out to watch Sydney’s world-famous display, despite torrential rain and lightning earlier in the day.

As the hours passed, millions of people across Asia, Africa and Europe braved the conditions to see the fireworks and celebrate the new year – with Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai among the cities putting on the most impressive displays.

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