First herring not auctioned this year; donated to care workers

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

For the first time in 35 years, the first batch of new Dutch herring will not be auctioned off this year. Instead, it will be donated to healthcare staff at a number of hospitals on Thursday, the day on which the auction was set to happen, the Nederlands Visbureau announced.

Ernest Kuipers of the National Network for Acute Care and Diederik Gommers of intensive care association NVIC will receive the herring at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, from where it will be shared with healthcare workers at a number of Dutch hospitals. As a token of thanks to Germany, who took in a number of Dutch ICU patients during the peak of the corona crisis, herring will also be presented at the University Hospital in Munster to the German Minister of Health Karl Josef Laumann and hospital director Hugo Aken. 

The traditional auction of the Hollands Nieuwe could not take place this year due to measures in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The auction always attracts a great deal of spectators and press, which would make social distancing impossible. Traditionally, the herring goes up for sale to the public the day after the auction. That is still the case this year - herring will be available in stores on Friday.

Last year's first batch of herring sold for 95,500 euros. The proceeds were donated to non-profit group Mag Ik Dan Bij Jou, which provides financial assistance to parents of children with cancer so that they can spend more time with their kids.