Guided tours in the market hall
Both private parties and companies can book guided tours of Östermalmshallen, led by the Östermalms Saluhall Magazine editor-in-chief. Lina Bielsten has worked as a project manager with Östermalms Saluhall for twelve years and conveys in her personal way knowledge about the long history of the foodhall along with some funny anecdotes from those who have been a part of this journey. Tastings can be added as well.
BOOK A POPULAR PRIVATE TOUR IN ÖSTERMALMS SALUHALL
How to book?
- Simple. Send an email with your wishes and together we will tailor your very own activity. It will be a personal and initiated tour in the ancient Östermalms Saluhall, where you will learn more about their rich history, the specialties of the individual traders and get a unique insight behind the scenes.
Is it only companies or is it fine if we are two people who want to have our own tour?
- I usually organize tours for international tourist agencies, associations and companies, but also tours with private groups. There is no minimum limit so you can be two people if you want. I have given private tours as birthday presents and also hosted families and groups of friends who wanted a personal tour. However, we recommend a maximum of 15 people per viewing so that everyone in the group can hear well and be able to walk around the market hall.
Can you guide in English as well?
- Absolutely, I speak fluent English and have spent long periods in the U.S., so that works just fine.
How long is the tour and can we add food and beverage?
- Usually a guided tour is about 1 hour. Many groups choose to book tastings from different stores. Either I set up the guided tour according to the specific wishes of the group or, as in most cases, I get a request to select a couple of stores based on food preferences.
- Some groups have asked to book a goodie bag, which they receive at the end of the tour, with a couple of items that I put together within the specified budget. It has been very appreciated. We then also give a group discount on the products in the gift bag.
Can we sit down and eat before or after the guided tour?
- Both yes and no, it all depends on the size of the group and the time of the tour. Sometimes I have started a guided tour with breakfast for 10-15 participants, sometimes we have finished with the group enjoying a dinner in one of the food hall restaurants. We can help with the table reservation for smaller groups, but groups of 15-30 people we unfortunately cannot guarantee seats. Then we recommend reserving a table yourself via the restaurants own table reservation, by phone or website, and their the staff will help as best they can to find seats for you.
Can we book a viewing at any time during the food hall opening hours?
- Since the market hall does not have fixed times for guided tours, they are carried out on request and subject to availability. However, we solve most things with good foresight. Although, we do not recommend private tours during lunch, approximately 11.30 to 13.30. At that time it´s more crowded with customers and less space in the aisles. Also, it´s hard to set up food samples since the staff is too busy. The fantastic ceiling height in the food hall also provides an extra challenge in that the sound rises upwards, it is more difficult to walk around and talk to a larger group when there is a lot of noise in the background. So far, we do not have earphones for the participants, but if this will be requested in the future, we can review new solutions. But for now the guide will talk without a microphone and earphones, then it will
also be more personal which we prefer.
In the picture you see Danish smörrebröd with Nordic ingredients that can also be ordered as canapes. Very popular on guided tours, just like the committed owner Vincent Vintilescu. In the middle is Betsy Sandbergs own lactose-free gelato and sorbet, it is both dizzyingly good and available all year round in the food hall (over the counter or half-liter packs to bring home). Last but not least, Ulrika Jonsson presents tasting samples of cheese and charcuterie in M Segers pleasant bistro. This is just a hint of all the goodies that guests can try during a guided tour. Bon appetit!
What questions do you usually get on the tours?
- Oh, there are always many questions and they vary depending on the group and what basic knowledge they have of the market hall. For some it is the first visit and then I go through the history of Östermalms Saluhall, introduce our 18 traders and talk about the range. Other groups have some familiarity, but want to know more about specific ingredients, which famous people shop here and want to hear funny inside stories that cannot be read anywhere else. But there can also be questions about the statue in the main entrance, whether you can bring a dog into the market hall (one of the most common questions), whether you can rent the entire food hall for a party, where the proverbs at the top of the walls come from and what all the numbers on the shops carpentry means.
- I can answer most of the questions, after all, I have worked with Östermalmshallen for 12 years and in addition, as editor-in-chief of the magazine, I have written so many articles about the traders that most of it is imprinted in my memory whether I want it or not! But it's fun when I get an odd or specific question that makes me have to look up the answer in the archives at the City Museum or talk to one of our most experienced dealers, who usually remember most of it.
Are there any questions you can't answer?
- It has happened that a customer wants to know which store was located on an exact spot 100 years ago, and it is difficult when the City of Stockholm does not have the floor plan from that time. Although I have read both of the books that have been published about Östermalmshallen so I know which traders have existed throughout the ages, but not exactly where the shops were at the beginning of the 20th century... However, I do my best to find out what I can. I kind of like digging into our history and become an even bigger geek when it comes to the food hall.
Do you have a fun memory from one of your screenings?
- A presentation that stood out in the crowd was when I guided the mayor of Taiwan with his entire delegation and interpreter and TV crew. They filmed the entire tour. So, somewhere in Taiwan I am the Swedish, over-enthusiastic woman who no one understands a word of what she says...
"The nicest compliment I can get is when participants say they have never met a more committed person who is passionate about Östermalmshallen."
- Lina Bielsten, project manager and editor-in-chief