Here comes great news for Finland. The Finnish city of Oulu has been named the European Capital of Culture of 2026, beating competition from two other national rivals: Savonlinna and Tàmpere. The European Capital of Culture initiative saw cities stay on display for a year with a celebration of art and culture. But the jury liked the city of Oulu especially for its project focused on sustainability and local participation, thanks to which the public is directly involved in the creative process, of which they are co-author and observer.
This project promises cultural climate change, through the participatory nature of art and culture.
“After the pandemic, it is extremely important to collaborate, to make things interesting and to use culture as a unifying element in our daily life,” said Piia Rantala-Korhonen, director of Oulu’s international affairs department.
The mayor of the city, Päivi Laajala, said preparations for Oulu2026 will continue immediately and was keen to thank the two competing cities for a fair challenge.
Oulu is home to around 200,000 inhabitants and the Nokia brand, and the capital of Northern Ostrobothnia in northern Finland. It is the fourth largest city in Finland and is considered an example of urban culture surrounded by the nature of the north. It is in fact located on the shores of the Bay of Bothnia, and therefore represents the perfect union between technological progress and Nordic exoticism. The streets of the city are full of greenery, and there are various outdoor activities, including the various parks and the nature of the archipelago of the Bay of Bothnia.
It is a perfectly ecological city, in fact you can easily reach the centre on foot and there is the most extensive network of cycle paths. Even in winter, with snow and a – 17 ° C temperature, children go to school by bike. Plus, in winter it is also possible to take a walk on the frozen sea!
The exuberant city of Oulu is already getting prepared to be European Capital of Culture for a year, and 32 municipalities and cities in northern Finland will also join it, which have joined its green program tailored to citizens. Forsblom has promised that they will give great space to large international productions, but also to small village festivals within the program. No one will be left out of the initiatives to protect the environment and culture, in a town that is perhaps little known, but which already seems more advanced than many others. In fact, by now Oulu will already have its mind projected into 2026.