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Swiss celebrate arrival of frosty New Year

Swiss welcomed in the New Year with champagne and fireworks Keystone Archive

Thousands of Swiss took to the streets on Monday night to celebrate the start of 2002 on the coldest New Year's Eve for six years.

This content was published on January 1, 2002 - 12:22

Average overnight temperatures of between -7 and -10 degrees were not enough to deter people from heading outdoors to ring in the New Year with fireworks and champagne.

Mobile phone operators said the Swiss set a new record for the number of text messages sent around midnight to friends and family.

Switzerland's largest telecommunications operator, Swisscom, said 12 million text messages were sent via the company's mobile network during the final 24 hours of 2001, 5 million more than on a normal working day.

Swisscom said demand on the network was so high around midnight that some customers experienced minor delays in the sending and receiving of calls and messages.

Euro enters circulation

Around Europe, 303 million people were waking up on January 1st not just to a new year but to a new currency as Euro notes and coins officially went into circulation in 12 European Union countries.

Though Switzerland is not in the Euro zone, the new banknotes went on sale at midnight in bureaux de change at mainline railway stations in Zurich and Basel.

When the first notes were sold on the morning of January 1st, one euro was worth SFr1.54.

swissinfo with agencies

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