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Oulu will be the European Capital of Culture 2026

Oulu will be the European Capital of Culture 2026

The main theme of the Oulu2026 programme is Cultural Climate Change

On 2 June, Oulu was chosen to represent Finland as the European Capital of Culture for 2026. Winning this prestigious title will result in numerous opportunities as the City of Oulu reports that it has the power to transform Finland into a cultural destination.

It must be noted that Oulu competed with Savonlinna and Tampere for the ECOC 2026 title. Now, it joins Helsinki and Turku, the 2000 and 2011 winners of the ECOC title, in representing the Nordic country.

A rich and exciting programme

The Oulu2026 programme will consist of 500 different projects, some of which are expected to begin next year and continue for several years ahead. Moreover, the programme will focus on "Cultural Climate Change": a theme that will bring together technology, art, culture, and nature.

Unlike the work of previous winners, Oulu’s projects will inform the world about more than just the city. Expanding on this, Oulu reported that it shares a common culture, history, and future with 32 municipalities and cities in Northern Finland. For this reason, it plans to include them in its projects.

Program Director Samu Forsblom explained that the title will completely transform the region of Northern Finland. More specifically, Forsblom claimed that it will increase the number of jobs in creative industries and result in the development of new, interesting places.

Mayor Päivi Laajala expressed her delight at the city’s victory in a press release, noting: “On behalf of the City of Oulu and myself, I would like to warmly thank the Oulu2026 team for this significant achievement and four years of preparatory work. Oulu is really happy about this victory. Preparations for the Capital of Culture will continue immediately. I also thank our competitors Tampere and Savonlinna for a fair and great competition.”  

The city’s victory will be celebrated on 8 August at the Varjo-Picnic summer party in Kuusisaari, Oulu.

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