On 27 August, the last Thursday in August – i.e. the Baltic Sea Day – more than 100 events were organised and more than 40 tangible activities completed in honour of the Baltic Sea by more than 150 partners, and numerous citizens who took part in the activities. Amongst other things, the Day's programme featured culture, inspiring talks, environmental activities, feasting on Baltic delicacies, and learning those always important swimming and lifesaving skills.
The morning kicked off with inspiring talks, carnivals, and maritime memories
The Baltic Sea Day began on the Espa Stage with a morning session, followed on site by dozens of eager friends of the Baltic Sea; online, the streamed event was viewed almost 1,000 times. The event was hosted by Baba Lybeck, who was joined in discussions by for example Jan Vapaavuori, the Mayor of Helsinki, Tarja Halonen, President, Annamari Arrakoski-Engardt, Managing Director of the John Nurminen Foundation, Juha Hurme, author, Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, and many other top experts from the fields of science and culture.
“In Helsinki, every day is Baltic Sea Day. Helsinki will do all it can for the Baltic Sea by building solutions together with numerous stakeholders”, said Jan Vapaavuori in his opening speech.
After the morning session, the day continued with events organised by various partners, and the Baltic Sea activities set up by both organisations and private citizens. The opening of the Sea of Memories exhibition in Citycenter was very busy during the day. Invited guests and passers-by stepped in to view the multimedia installation built from the stories, memories and photos sent in by the Finns. The Sea of Memories exhibition is open until 20 September at the Citycenter mall.
In Vantaa, the Kuusijärvi Plunge family event, organised in cooperation with the Finnish Swimming Teaching and Lifesaving Federation, had swimmers both large and small strive to win the title of the greatest Crowd Plunge; this was all part of the Baltic Sea Day Plunge event, organised at 6 pm all around Finland. At Kuusijärvi, open water swimming instruction was available from the Uimalla yli association, and Aurajoen Tarzan was there to give dødsing lessons.
Trash collecting, diving, and discussions events organised all around Finland
This year, the Baltic Sea Day was celebrated almost on the entire coastline of Finland, from Hamina all the way to Siikalatva. With The Plunge and various other events, the Baltic Sea Day was also introduced to inland waters – after all, even the crests of Tammerkoski eventually end up in the Baltic Sea.
In Turku, everyone was challenged to eat sustainable fish, Baltic Sea themes were discussed in the Europe Forum, jazz music was enjoyed, and the bottom of the Aura River was cleaned by divers.. At the Tampere Postal Museum, letters to the Baltic Sea were written, while at the Hamina Town Museum visitors travelled to the world of Tiny Roach, in Siikalatva The Plunge was taken after reed mowing, and in Kotka, folks gathered to the Baltic Sea Village and learned about eels at the Maretarium. Wonderful virtual events were also organised on Baltic Sea Day, and some of them continue to be available on the Baltic Sea Day website.
On Baltic Sea Day, we declared our love for our dear home sea also through action: on the day of the celebration, hundreds of thousands of fish meals were served all around Finland, people were encouraged to pick up thrash with various challenges and competitions, and magnificent photos taken underwater by divers as well as works by the CityTorppari art community were enjoyed. Even Sauli Niinistö, the President of Finland, chimed in and reminded us of the importance of our sea, encouraging us to protect the Baltic Sea on his Twitter account.
From the Sanoma House Media Piazza to a celebration of the entire Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea Day is a theme day initiated and coordinated by the John Nurminen Foundation; it was launched last year on the Media Piazza of Sanoma House. A year ago, the goal was set to make the day a celebration for everyone, and to invite not only the cities, municipalities, companies, associations, organisations and citizens of Finland to join in, but also to include other countries of the Baltic Sea.
In 2020, we did in fact have cities from other countries by the shores of the Baltic Sea joining us, in addition to the Finnish cities, organizations, associations and private citizens. In Stockholm, people could learn of how water is treated at wastewater treatment plants, admire the organisms of the Baltic Sea, and take a Crowd Plunge in honour of the Baltic Sea. In Tallinn, the Baltic-Sea-friendly recipe tool, originally developed by YLE, was made available in Estonian, shores were cleaned up, and fairytales were read. In Russia, amongst other things, a Baltic-Sea-wide food festival was organised, and sailing boats took part in the Baltic Sea regatta.
We also heard the warm greetings of our neighbouring countries from Anna König Jelmyr, the Mayor of Stockholm; Isabella Lövin, Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister; and Mikhail Kõlvart, Mayor of Tallinn. You can view these greetings on the John Nurminen Foundation’s YouTube channel.
Next year, the Baltic Sea Day will again be celebrated on the last Thursday in August, on 26.8.2021, with an even more extensive programme – be sure to save the date!
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Baltic Sea Day
The John Nurminen Foundation launched the Baltic Sea Day on 29 August 2019. The Baltic Sea Day is celebrated annually on the last Thursday of August with various events and rallies. The goal of the theme day is to highlight important marine themes, and encourage people to take concrete action for the Baltic Sea. The Day celebrates the versatility and immeasurable value of the Sea. Moreover, the celebration seeks to disseminate information on marine nature, culture, and history. The Baltic Sea Day is celebrated on the last Thursday of August (in 2020, the 27th of August) with events, rallies, and education.