Northern Finland’s Oulu has ben selected a European capital of culture for 2026.
“This is a huge opportunity for Oulu and the whole of Northern Finland,” said Oulu2026 project manager Piia Rantala-Korhonen after the announcement. “I hope that Northern Finland will now be clearly visible on the map of Europe.”
Experts of a European panel of arts and culture chose Oulu as capital of culture ahead of the two other shortlisted Finnish cities, Tampere and Savonlinna.
The initiative of the European Capital of Culture first began in 1985 and works toward “highlighting the diversity of cultures in Europe, to boost cultural exchange and to increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area,” as stated by Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture.
Following in the traces of Helsinki in 2000 and Turku in 2011, Oulu is going to be Finland’s third European capital of culture, and will share the honor in 2026 with an as-yet-unnamed city in Slovakia. Every year since 2007 two cities have been appointed as capitals of culture.
Oulu made a successful bid by building it around three themes: Wild City, Cool Contrasts and Brave Hinterland, focusing on durability.