Belgians sms the New Year in

Festivities took place all over Belgium to usher in the New Year. Around midnight more than 96 million sms messages were sent. This is a considerable increase compared to last year. The Flemish public transportation company De Lijn and the Responsible Young Drivers had a busy night.

New Year's Eve was celebrated lavishly all over Belgium, although most people chose to stay at home and celebrate with friends than in previous years. Still, thousands of people went out for fireworks at midnight. In Brussels, the Grand Place market square was crowded (photo above). Many people also gathered at the Mont des Arts (Kunstberg) to get a good vantage point to watch the fireworks.

Over 96 million sms messages were sent in Belgium around midnight: a record high. The peak was between 11:45 PM and 00:15 AM. Proximus, Belgium's largest mobile phone operator processed 155,000 messages/minute.

The biggest increase in the number of sms messages sent was for Mobistar. Some 33 million messages were sent with Mobistar which is an increase of 40%. 41 million sms messages were sent via Proximus, an increase of 13%. Base processed 22 million messages (+19%). According to the operators there were no technical problems this year.

De Lijn and Responsible Young Drivers had a busy night

The Flemish public transportation company De Lijn had 300 buses and trams running to bring the partiers home safely. In Brussels and the province of Antwerp public transportation was free of charge and many people took advantage of the offer.

The Responsible Young Drivers also had a busy night, driving people back to their homes. Thanks to some 200 young volunteers at RYD, a total of 1000 people were returned home safely.

The freezing cold weather and icy conditions were less harsh than had been expected. The sanders were well prepared and they sanded the roads preventively. The roads were clear and driving went smoothly.