Helsinki Baltic Herring Market set to fill the Market Square with a program for all the family

The week-long Helsinki Baltic Herring Market will be held in the city on 1–7 October. The Market Square, Cholera Basin and Lyypekinlaituri areas will be filled with fishermen, autumnal delicacies, music, and a family-friendly program. Helsinki Baltic Herring Market will be open 7am–7pm on Sunday 1 – Friday 6 October, and 7am–3pm on Saturday 7 October.

At the heart of Helsinki Baltic Herring Market will be dozens of fishermen, who will be docking at the Market Square for the week. Sure to make your mouth water are traditional, seasoned herrings and a large selection of delicious marinades for herring, ranging from rowan berries to red pepper.

This year’s market will play host to 30 fishermen, half of whom will be arriving at the Market Square by boat, with the other half selling Baltic herring from vendor stalls. Islander-style delicacies will also be sold from the traditional sailing boats Albanus, Vivan, Olga, Valborg and Joanna Saturna, moored at the Market Square docks. This year the program is set to include activities such as market square dances, a film night, a herring-themed bike ride, an Instawalk photography walk, and fishing.

The program for the opening Sunday, 1 October, will feature Baltic herring tastings, the Silakkasoutu rowing race and market square dances

On the opening Sunday, a party tent will be set up on the Market Square, offering a free-of-charge program for all. Helsinki Baltic Herring Market will be opened at 11am with a speech from Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki. The opening day will be hosted by presenter of the Yle Puhe radio show Huoltamo and true island girl Tiina Lundberg.

The traditional Herring Jury will gather in the party tent at 11.30am. The competition will feature two classes, seasoned herrings and herring surprises, tasted by food blogger Jella Bertell, Monocle journalist Petri Burtsov, Executive Director of the ELO Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture Seija Kurunmäki, Speaker of the Finnish Parliament Maria Lohela, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki Anni Sinnemäki, and Chef Ali Toppinen of the restaurant Hieta. After the Jury’s tasting, the Herring Jury for Children, hosted by Meri-Tuuli Väntsi, will provide its own assessments of the year’s herring catch at 2.30pm The audience will also be able to taste the herring and watch both juries at work. The winners will be announced on stage in the party tent at 3.45pm.

The opening day’s program will, as always, also feature the Silakkasoutu rowing race organised by Rotary clubs, which this year forms the finale of the 100 acts for Finnish waterways campaign, and is included in the Finland 100 programme. The race will arrive at Vironallas at approximately 12 noon, with the Helsinki Finnish Club’s brass band getting the audience going. The race will feature 16 church boats and over 250 rowers from around Europe. A 15-person team will be arriving from Italy, alongside 27 Rotary exchange students from all over the world.

Alongside the fishermen’s stalls and boats, the Market Square will also host a number of cafés on the opening day. Accordionist Seija Vesterinen will be creating a party atmosphere, playing from 11am to 3pm. The tents at Lyypekinlaituri will host an all-day, fish-themed program, covering everything from the Seabin maritime debris interception device and bream burgers to a presentation on the archipelago Local Fishing Project and Helsinki’s maritime nature, hiking destinations and exercise opportunities. The Old Market Hall will also be open 10am–5pm. Helsinki Helper guides will be circulating throughout the event area on cargo bikes, providing guidance to visitors and tourists, from 10am to 3pm.

The day will conclude with maritime-themed market square dances from 5pm to 7pm, with DJ Harri Hertell playing musical blasts from the pasts from across the decades. His decks will play host to original recordings of joyous waltzes, emotive tangos, and spirited foxtrots.


Throughout the week visitors will be able to partake in a photography walk, herring-themed bike tours and marine insect quizzes

On Monday from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, the City of Helsinki’s City Environment Sector will be organising a guided Instawalk Instagram photography tour in collaboration with Helsinki City Museum, in the Market Square area. During the walk participants will get the chance to photograph their surroundings and hear about development work in maritime Helsinki. The walk will end with a visit to Helsinki City Museum. In the Museum’s Picture Browsery, visitors will find almost a million photographs of Helsinki and the everyday life of its residents, stretching from 1860 to the current day. In the Museum’s Time Machine exhibit, Signe Brander’s hundred-year-old photographs are brought to life again with the help of new technology.

On Monday and Tuesday between 10am and 11.30am, HELtours will be holding the Baltic Herring Bike Tour, with participants welcome to bring their own bike or borrow a bike. Departing from Kasarmitori square, the route will take in Hietalahti and Eira, before heading through Kaivopuisto park to the Market Square, where the tour will continue with herring tastings and a festive atmosphere. The cycling part of the tour will last for approximately an hour. If you would like to borrow a bike for the tour, please preregister by emailing Those bringing their own bikes do not need to register in advance.

On Thursday at 6pm there will be a Baltic Sea themed panel discussion, followed by a screening of the documentary Chasing Coral at 7pm. The panel will discuss the state of the Baltic Sea now and in the future, as well as sustainable development, with participants including Marjukka Porvari, director of Clean Baltic Sea projects at the John Nurminen Foundation and Maria Mikkonen of TwentyKnots. The event is being organised by Nordic Ocean Watch Finland and Allas Sea Pool.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the City of Helsinki’s Sports Services stand will be offering visitors the opportunity to try out fishing, with all the necessary equipment available to borrow, 9am–12 noon and 1–3pm.

The tents at Lyypekinlaituri will also be hosting a varied program for the entire duration of the week. Visitors can find out more about algae and crustaceans under the microscope, and test their knowledge of marine insects with a marine life quiz. At the aquarium visitors can see the kind of fish living in the Baltic Sea and learn more about them. The Wärtsilä event tent will be hosting presentations on the Seabin maritime debris interception device, virtual SUP boarding and a wheel of fortune.

Furthermore, the City Hall Restaurant will be hosting a herring brunch on both event weekends, inspired by archipelago traditions. At the weekends the brunch tables will be filled with the best catches Baltic fishermen have to offer, accompanied by freshly-baked islander-style bread. Once again, you will also be able to enjoy a herring pizza at Ristorante Vaelsa

The herring-themed #ihansilakkana photo competition will also be underway during the course of Helsinki Baltic Herring Market, with the best photo winning a gift card for a herring dinner for two at restaurant Salve. Post your best herring moment on Instagram with the hashtag #ihansilakkana.


Baltic Herring Market program 2017

Helsinki Baltic Herring Market on Facebook and on Instagram

Instawalk photography walk on Facebook

You can get involved in the online herring-themed conversation with the hashtags #stadinsilakkamarkkinat and #ihansilakkana.