Herring season returns: First batch sells for €95.5K in record charity auction

Herring, korenwijn, gherkins, and Amsterdamse uitjes
Dutch herring served with grain wine (korenwijn), gherkins and Amsterdamse uitjes, small pickled onion. Photo: sara_winter / DepositPhotos

Herring season is officially underway in the Netherlands. The first barrel of Hollandse Nieuwe herring, a Dutch specialty, was sold on Tuesday and raised 95.5 thousand euros in a charity auction, beating the previous record by 500 euros.

Proceeds from the annual event at the Scheviningen fish market were raised for the non-profit group Mag Ik Dan Bij Jou. The organization provides financial assistance to parents of children with cancer, so the parents can spend more time by their child’s side day or night.

The final bidder was Dutch wholesale center Makro, which also won the barrel in 2018. The fish auction is presented under complicated rules that the market calls "the American system", where all bidders essentially put their money in one pool so even the losing bidders pay a portion of the sale price. The final bidder gets to take the prize as the winner.

Last year, the auction raised 78 thousand euros, 13 thousand more than in 2017. The 2018 Hollandse Nieuwe sale raised money for Hulphond, which trains helper dogs for people with disabilities. The Make-A-Wish Foundation was the beneficiary in 2017.

Three years ago, an impressive 90 thousand euros was raised for Het Vergeten Kind, which provides housing and care for children who flee abusive homes.