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WHERE TO SHOP IN HELSINKI
Helsinki is an excellent shopping destination. From department stores, modern shopping malls to small handcraft manufacturers, second-hand boutiques and flea markets – you will find it all here.
Most importantly you’ll be able to find the latest – and best – Finnish and Scandinavian design here.
Market Halls & Markets
Hakaniemi Market Hall & Square
The Hakaniemi Market Hall in Helsinki celebrated its 100th anniversary 1.6.2014. Oldest stores of the hall have served their customers from the very beginning. The Hall is the liveliest market hall in the city.
The first floor of The Hakanimi Market Hall has food stores and their retailers are experienced experts in the field. So, if you are looking for fresh fish, meat, bread, organic food, vegetables, cheese, delicatessen... The second floor of the building has specialty shops including a bookstore, a shoe repair workshop and a fashion store.
The Hakaniemi Market Hall is the place where the locals go to when they want to get something really good, service and attention. The shopkeepers know their regular customers. The local clientele of the hall ranges from students and artists living nearby to Tarja Halonen, the President of Finland.
Before becoming a market hall, the building, built in 1903, functioned as a horse stable. Finland was still a grand duchy under the Russian tsar. The Hall is designed by architect Karl Hård af Segerstad.
Address: Hakaniemi, 00530 HELSINKI
Phone: + 358
Hietalahti Market Hall & Square
THE STORY OF THE HIETALAHTI MARKET HALL
Contrary to the urban legend, Helsinki’s second oldest market hall has never served as horse barracks for the Russians. The traditional Market Hall of Hietalahti was opened in December 1903, and with the exception of antique sales between 2003–2012, food has always been sold at Hietalahti. The preparations of the building project already begun in 1889, but due to the difficult economical situation, the city had to postpone the project, and the hall did not open until 1903.
The Hietalahti Market Hall, with its 116 wooden shops, was designed by architect Selim A. Lindqvist. Lindqvist also designed the Kasarmintori i.e. Kaarti Market Hall, finished in 1907, that was taken down at the end of the 1950s. The Hietalahti Market Hall instantly became a central trading place, and the busy sales continued up until the 1970s. After this, offices increased around the hall, trade experienced structural changes throughout the country, and the trade at the Hietalahti hall also begun to die down.
In the 1980s, a flea market was set up at the Hietalahti Market Place, and for a moment, the trade at The Hall recovered too. At the turn of the century, the city made a bold decision to transfer the Hietalahti hall into an organic hall. However, the time was not yet ripe for an all-organic hall, and, hence, the quietened hall was closed at the end of February 2003. The organic hall trial created, however, some success stories, such as the Lentävä lehmä cheese shop that continued at The Hakaniemi Hall. After the organic trade ended, the restaurants that had remained at the ends of The Hall were no longer alone, when the hall was reopened as an antique hall. In August 2012, the antique trade ended, when the renovation work for transforming the hall back to a food hall was started.
The vendors of The Old Market Hall moved to The Hietalahti Hall in February 2013, while The Old Market Hall renovated. After the renovation 2014, the vendors returned to The Old Market Hall, and The Hietalahti Hall filled with new food vendors.
Address: Lönnrotinkatu 34, 00180 HELSINKI
Phone: + 358 9 3102 3565
Old Market Hall & Market Square
In 19th century Helsinki, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland, groceries were mainly sold in outdoor marketplaces. The idea that trade could take place in covered halls only came to light in the last decades of the century. A new consciousness about food hygiene was the main reason for this, but it was also hoped that the occasionally disorderly market trade would become better organized if moved indoors.
The construction of the first indoor hall in Helsinki, the Old Market Hall, was started at Eteläranta near the Market Square in 1888. This is the year written above the southern entrance of the building, but because of problems with cement delivery, the hall was not opened to the public until 1889. The building was designed by Gustaf Nyström who had studied how market halls were built in large European cities. At the time of opening the hall had 120 stalls as well as 6 shops in the central gallery. Regulations stated that vendors were allowed to sell meat products, eggs, butter, cheese and garden produce. At the turn of the century, some of the fish trade from the outdoor marketplace was also moved into the hall.
FOUR DECADES OF SCARCITY
The first period of prosperity and dynamic construction for Helsinki’s market halls ended with the First World War in 1914-18 and Finland’s independence and civil war in 1917-1918. After a few years of extreme scarcity, trade started to blossom again at the start of the 1920s, and market halls were enthusiastically built in other Finnish towns as well. In the early 1930s, the global recession hit the trade at the Old Market Hall. Although trade recovered towards the end of the decade, the Finnish Winter War broke out in 1939, resulting in six harsh years that threatened the operations of the Old Market Hall in several ways. Due to general scarcity, the access to raw materials was strictly rationed, while black market trade was a further menace to hall merchants. At times, the winters of the war years caused many impoverished Helsinki residents, such as single parent families and pensioners, to be pushed to the verge of famine. Rationing continued in Finland for another 10 years after the war, until the availability and trade of raw materials picked up again soon after 1945.
THE EU BRINGS NEW TASTES INTO THE HALL
Rationing came to an end in post-war Finland in 1954, and the decades that followed saw food trade recover and expand year by year. Finland joining the EU in 1995 meant significant changes for the many Market Hall merchants selling foreign delicacies. For example, the cheese shops of the Old Market Hall could start selling unpasteurized cheese from France and other Central European countries, the import of which was forbidden in Finland before EU membership. The cheese merchant Tuula Paalanen remembers the event well: - The arrival of these cheese novelties on our counters started a whole new cheese culture in Finland, which in turn led into Finnish dairy companies learning new skills in cheese production. Meat trade in the Market Hall’s butcher shops was also transformed by the arrival of cold cuts, sausages and cured hams from countries such as Italy, Spain and France. Today, 20 years after Finland joined the EU, the product selection at the Old Market Hall is better and more varied than ever before.
The Old Market Hall is located at Eteläranta, next to the Market Square, and served by excellent transport connections. Though only a short walk away from the city centre, it can also be reached by trams 2, 3, 1A and 1. There is abundant parking space right by the Market Hall for those arriving by private car.
Address: Eteläranta, 00130 HELSINKI
Phone: + 358
Töölöntori Market Square
The Töölöntori Market Square is a small square in the Runeberginkatu, in Taka-Töölö.
In wintertime the it is quiet, maybe a couple of market sellers are active.
But in the summertime The Market Square starts to live with its cafes, various market stands and different events. Locals love their square.
Shame is that outside the market hours the square serves as a parking lot.
Address: Runeberginkatu , 00260 HELSINKI
Phone: + 358