Festive fare and football at Scandinavian Christmas Market

A Danish Christmas celebration which has been a fixture in the region’s festive calendar for nearly 50 years will embrace a football theme this year as it clashes for the first time with the football World Cup.

Charlotte Theill (left), manager of The Danish Church/Nordic House, organising stock for the Scandinavian Christmas Market with Marie-Louise Watson, one of the 30 volunteers.

Organisers of the Scandinavian Christmas Market on Saturday 26 November have extended their schedule to include a live TV screening of the big match between Denmark and France.

Charlotte Theill, manager of the Danish Church/Nordic House, was called upon by Radio Humberside as a pundit when Denmark reached the semi-finals of the Euros in 2021 to be knocked out by England.

She said: “We Danes are very proud of our national football team and when the World Cup fixtures were announced we knew we just had to make the game part of our annual Scandinavian Christmas Market.

“Denmark is the only team from Scandinavia to have qualified for these World Cup finals and a lot of the people working at our event will want to watch the match. Similarly, many of the people coming to the market will want to see it.

“Some of them travel considerable distances – Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool – and have been coming here since we launched the market in the 1970s. We don’t want them having to leave early to watch the football or – worse still – staying at home in the first place!”

The Scandinavian Christmas Market will take place from 11am until 5pm at the Danish Church/Nordic House building on the corner of Ferensway and Osborne Street in Hull. Guests are welcome to stay and enjoy Danish hot dogs and beer until the end of the match, which kicks off at 4pm.

Charlotte and the volunteers are taking delivery now of produce and products specially imported from Denmark including herring, cheeses, pickles, sweets, biscuits and cakes. There will also be festive Scandinavian candles, decorations and ornaments.

The volunteers will also present the Captain’s Table, preparing and selling Scandinavian food including open sandwiches, layer cake and coffee.

Admission is only £1 and all the proceeds go towards maintaining the building. The first Danish Church in Hull was consecrated in Hull in 1871 but was bombed in 1941. The current building opened in 1954 and still holds a handful of services every year but is evolving into Nordic House, as a venue for community, cultural and business events.

It recently hosted a Big Conversation meeting organised by Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy and attended by representatives of local businesses. It also featured in the recent Heritage Open Days.

Charlotte said: “We still have a few church services but we have created the Nordic House brand to broaden the range of what we do and we hope the market will help to raise awareness of that. With Nordic House we hope to be able to strengthen the already close relations between the Humber and the Scandinavian countries, something which is more important today than ever.

“Usually people are queueing down the street when we open the doors. The last time we did a two-day event was in 2019 and the following year we couldn’t invite guests inside so we took orders online and people were able to come and collect them.

“Last year we resumed with a one-day market and we are doing that again this year. It takes more effort to organise and to source the products than it used to before Brexit came along but hopefully we can build up to two days again because people love the atmosphere and many of them see it as the start of their Christmas.

“The volunteers help us set everything up during the week before the market and then run the stalls on the day and we would not be able to do it without them.”

To find out more about the Scandinavian Christmas Market call Charlotte Theill at The Danish Church/Nordic House on 01482 225469.