The Baltic Sea Day inspires Finns to protect their sea

The Baltic Sea Day will be held on 27 August 2020. The new annual theme day was initiated by the John Nurminen Foundation, partnered by Orion, a long-time supporter of the Foundation’s work. The Baltic Sea Day is also spreading to other sea-loving countries around the Baltic.  

The team at the John Nurminen Foundation had been considering an idea for some time, and finally, last year, it came to fruition: the Baltic Sea deserves its own day. 

“We hosted two panel debates in the spring of the general election of 2019 and received a very enthusiastic response to them. The sea is clearly something very important and personal to us Finns,” says Tuula Putkinen, Communications Director for the Foundation. 

Our corporate partners as well as the City of Helsinki and the Helsinki Festival organisation were really excited about the idea, so the Foundation decided to organise the first Baltic Sea Day in August 2019. The day is celebrated on the last Thursday of August, which this year falls on 27 August. 

The goal is to establish the day as a widely celebrated event throughout Finland and also to introduce it to the other countries around the Baltic Sea. “St Petersburg and Tallinn have already announced they are joining in, and negotiations are underway with Stockholm as we speak,” says Tuula Putkinen.


Everyone welcome 

The thing that first comes to mind for many regarding the Baltic Sea is its ecological status and the blue-green algae misery that we suffer every summer. The purpose of the Baltic Sea Day is to inspire Finns to take action to save the Baltic Sea but also to celebrate all the important milestones already achieved. 

“The aim is also to expand the image of the Baltic Sea to include the dimension of culture and traditions,” Tuula Putkinen adds. 

The Baltic Sea Day is a genuinely community-based celebration, in which anyone can participate as they wish. A list of all the tips, activities and events are provided on the website Organisations, groups and teams are also welcome to post information about their Baltic initiatives and events.


Take the Roach Approach – eat Baltic Sea delicacies and take the Plunge 

The John Nurminen Foundation has planned three different activities that are easy for anyone to get involved in. Cultural institutions, such as museums and libraries can provide Baltic Sea themed experiences using the eRoach image. The eRoach image is the key: say the word or show the image on your phone. 

Another idea is to celebrate Baltic Sea cuisine. The Finnish Martha Organisation has designed a special Baltic Sea Menu, which is available on the website, and Tuula Putkinen invites everyone to create their own version of it and create an entire theme week based on it. 

“One obvious ingredient on the menu is sustainably caught Baltic fish, and in particular the roach.” 

The third activity is the Plunge: the target is to get as many people as possible swim or at least dip in the water at the same time, 6 pm, on the Baltic Sea Day. This can be the Baltic or any other waterway nearby, a lake, pond or river.   


Baltic Sea memories are part of cultural heritage 

Tuula Putkinen points out that the Baltic Sea Day is not just for the regions and cities by the Baltic Sea. 

“The Baltic belongs to all Finns. Ecologically thinking, all bodies of water in Finland drain into the Baltic, and most Finns have personal experiences and memories about the Baltic, perhaps from a cruise to Stockholm or Tallinn.” 

The John Nurminen Foundation wants to celebrate this cultural resource through its own Baltic Sea Day event by collecting memories of the Baltic Sea from the members of the public in the form of text, audio, images and videos, to be presented in the multimedia exhibition A Sea of Memories opening on the Baltic Sea Day. The project is ongoing, and the aim is to record a comprehensive body of cultural heritage related to the Baltic Sea.


Orion encouraging its employees to clean beaches and eat roach  

The John Nurminen Foundation has prepared an inspiring programme for its corporate partners for this great cause. Orion has been the main partner of the John Nurminen Foundation since 2018. 

“We will serve the Baltic Sea menu at all our staff restaurants and challenge all our employees to take the Plunge on the Baltic Sea Day,” says Terhi Ormio, Communications Director at Orion. 

Orionees are also invited to join the team effort to clean up beaches and to share their best fish recipes and Baltic Sea memories. The memories will be submitted to the John Nurminen Foundation as material for the A Sea of Memories exhibition. 


#OURSEA campaign will continue until summer 2021: EUR 420,000 already raised  

Alongside the Baltic Sea Day activities, the #OURSEA campaign, the joint initiative of the John Nurminen Foundation and Moomin Characters, launched in February 2020, is also ongoing. Orion has donated EUR 48,000 to the #OURSEA campaign. The campaign is also part of Orion’s collection campaign at pharmacies until the end of June: customers can choose between the usual gift product or a donation by Orion to remove 40 kilos of blue-green algae from the Baltic Sea. 

“The target of the #OURSEA campaign is to raise EUR 1 million for the John Nurminen Foundation’s Baltic preservation work. So far, we have raised more than EUR 420,000,” Tuula Putkinen says. 

Because of the coronavirus epidemic, many of the #OURSEA events have had to be cancelled, so Moomin Character made the good decision to continue the campaign until July 2021. While the outlook for the epidemic is now cautiously positive, the exceptional situation has taught us that we must also be prepared for the possibility that the situation could get worse again. 

“We are ready to work around the situation and take all our events online,” Tuula Putkinen confirms.

Text: Sanna Jäppinen