Helsinki Baltic Herring Market comes to the Market Square on the first week of October

The Helsinki Baltic Herring Market will be held at Helsinki’s Market Square on 1–7 October. The beloved autumn event brings to Helsinki over 20 fishers selling Baltic herring products and other product vendors from all over Finland. The best Baltic herring products of the year are selected by a panel of judges on the opening day of the Market.

One of the most famous autumn traditions in Helsinki, the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market kicks off at the Market Square on the first Sunday of October. Guests to the event can enjoy Baltic herring, genuine market atmosphere and the traditional programme until the following Saturday, 7 October. In addition to fishing vessels, traditional sailboats Albanus, Kathrina, Olga, Valborg and Vivan will also drop anchor at the Market Square for the week.

The Helsinki Baltic Herring Market is one of the oldest public events in Finland. It has been held in Helsinki since 1743. One key aim of the historic event, which highlights the city’s autumn atmosphere, is to bring attention to the protection of the Baltic Sea and sustainable development. “Eating sustainably caught local fish cleans the sea, and buying fish directly from the fishers supports their livelihood”, says Stuba Nikula, CEO of Helsinki Events Foundation, the organiser of the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market.

“It is always great to come to the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market to meet regular customers. I have also had the chance to speak different languages with foreign visitors over the years – I have introduced several tourists to Finnish fish products. The week-long Helsinki Baltic Herring Market is the longest fish market event in Finland, which makes it economically very important to us”, says fisher and fish product entrepreneur Pirjo Salonen, who has sold fish products at markets for over 30 years.

Market visitors treated to music, dancing and discussions

Mayor Juhana Vartiainen will open the Helsinki Baltic Herring Market aboard the sailboat Vivan on Sunday, 1 October at 10 a.m., and the traditional Baltic Herring row will finish by the Lyypekinlaituri pier at noon. Starting at noon, there will be a discussion programme about Baltic Sea protection, among other things, aboard the Vivan. Seija Vesterinen will play the accordion to bring a maritime atmosphere to the opening day.

Vesterinen will also perform at the Market on Wednesday, 4 October, when a dance is organised inside the Helsinki Biennial Pavilion. Dance instructor Marianne Krause will teach dancing from 4:30 p.m., and the dance floor is open for guests to show their skills to record music from 5 p.m. until 6:45 p.m.

Panel of judges awards the best products of the year on the opening Sunday

A panel of judges, consisting of friends of Baltic herring dishes, gathers once again on the opening day of the Market to select the best product in two categories: Baltic Herring Surprise of the Year and Pickled Fish of the Year. The winners will be published aboard the sailboat Vivan on Sunday, 1 October at 4 p.m.

The panel of judges consists of Mia Hafrén, President of the Martha – Finlands svenska Marthaförbund r.f. association, Jonna Hurskainen, Head of Production at Helsinki Biennial, Pieta Jarva, Strategic Director at Baltic Sea Action Group, Jyrki Lappalainen, University of Helsinki’s Baltic Sea Expert, Miro Maaranen, member of the Helsinki Youth Council, Esa Nikunen, Director General of the Environment Services of the City of Helsinki, Minttu Perttula, Project Manager of the Helsinki Maritime Strategy, restauranteur Ville Relander, Noora Shingler, social media publicist at the John Nurminen Foundation and Baltic Sea influencer, Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki and Petra Tuominen, Food Editor at MTV3.

The Helsinki Baltic Herring Market is open at the Market Square from Sunday to Saturday 1–7 October 2023. The stalls will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Sunday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. After the Baltic Herring Market on Sunday, 8 October, the Market Square will host the 36th Traditional Sailing Day.

Image: Kim Öhman