The Abattoir

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The Abattoir is constantly renewing, permanently in progress, better than ready, and more than the sum of its parts!   

This is the Abattoir. The area was constructed in 1933 when it housed the City of Helsinki's abattoir. Used for wholesale in the recent years, the historical compound is now being taken over by citizens, phase by phase. The historical spaces are under gradual renovation and preparing for the next chapter. Spontaneous urban culture will be nesting among wholesale bustle for some more years to come.

The first restaurants and shops have already opened their doors and many fun, distinctive events have taken place under the crabapple trees.

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The Abattoir yard is your yard

The Abattoir yard has a barbecue spot, which is free for all to use while chilling out.  Or maybe you want to try out our charming basement sauna, once used for warming up the local butchers?

If you are more action-orientated, you are even welcome to set up your own event in the yard! So far, the charming courtyard has warmly welcomed farmers' markets, urban gardeners, a skating rink and many other activities. Check the calendar and get in contact with us. Let's make it happen!  

A part of the yard area is used by urban gardeners. They are using the area free of charge, which is our way of supporting urban gardening initiatives.


All Abattoir plants edible  

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While urban gardeners grow-bags are personally assigned to gardeners, little by little the yard will also grow food to go around. Our aim is that in the future everything in the Abattoir area will be edible. This summer, one can already enjoy samples of grapefruit mint, sage and berry bushes.  

The trees and other plants in the yard will also be replaced by fruit trees and other crop yielding plants. Just follow the common rule like anywhere else – EAT ONLY PLANTS THAT YOU RECOGNISE! 


A bloody history

The redbrick buildings date back to 1933 and originally served as the city abattoir. The last slaughter took place in 1992, after which the facilities have housed a wholesale meat market, a bakery and other food and florist activities. With the development of new residential districts in the area, the City of Helsinki wanted to open up the historic abattoir buildings. The history of the listed buildings makes them very special, and they provide a charismatic contrast to the brand new buildings being developed in the Kalasatama area.

Designed by Bertel Liljequist, the redbrick buildings have remained largely unchanged over the years. The abattoir was originally built according to the German model, and it had its own railway line to transport the livestock. Other refinements included enclosures, cowsheds, complete abattoir facilities for both pigs and cattle, a ventilation hall, and cold storage rooms.

Already back in 1623 the city fathers wanted to build a municipal abattoir, but wars, the plague and fires postponed construction for over a hundred years until 1753. Before then, professional butchers went door to door to slaughter livestock. The first city abattoir was built where the Presidential Palace stands today next to the Market Square, and the livestock was kept in the adjacent of Katajanokka. As the city expanded, however, the abattoir was forced to relocate on numerous occasions. For example, before finally being established in its current location, the city abattoir was located in Hämeentulli, Ruoholahti and Taivallahti.