Unique Oulu

25.9.2018 | Along the way

How is Oulu recognised? Well, the tar business was an essential makeup of the city as well as the numerous fires that destroyed the city at various times in our history. Fortunately, we cannot live in the past.  Presently, this windy city has, at least, the Air Guitar World Championships and a choir that screams and shouts instead of singing to get us on the world map. Also as an essential part of Oulu’s image, of course, is the best ice hockey team in the world, the Oulu Kärpät. The most famous piece of art in the city is a piece of graffiti with an offensive word that, despite successfully always being removed, constantly reappears. The city centre and surrounding areas offer fresh and interesting urban culture such as Karjasilta Blues, Titta på Tuira, The Irish Festival of Oulu and various other events and festivals. Additionally, vibrant culture can be found elsewhere than in the heart of the city centre, for such events as Bättre Folk Hailuoto, IIK !! – Horror Film Festival in Ii and Maakinen Martinniemi in Haukipuhdas.

Oulu is not in a position to compete for international visibility if compared to the makeup and means of larger cities. As the capital of Western Siberia with 200,000 inhabitants, Oulu cannot provide air pollution for millions, unbearable crowds or an artificial busy lifestyle. Rather, Oulu could be branded as the leisure capital of northern Finland. The young people of Oulu who responded to the city’s questionnaire strongly supported leisure and relaxation. And why not: when it comes to relaxation, you can take better care of other people. In a city like Oulu, the city culture can be genuinely defined from the people themselves.

This doesn’t mean that Oulu can’t brag over the feelings over the self worth of the city’s inhabitants. We are, in any case, a bit better than the south. Of those born in the late nineteenth century luxury of nature, as well as in the mild snow summers or regardless of the perpetual headwinds, I think the people are what make Oulu Oulu. Expertise and potential are definitely present, but we need to promote them better.

Every city wants a unique image. Every city wants to find its own claim to fame. This is important both nationally and internationally, but it’s also important for the city’s inhabitants to feel that they in fact are heard and belong to a place that has its own character and personality. In Oulu, there are enough skilled and brave cultural and artistic actors and the European Capital of Culture bid is one way for Oulu to be even more Oulu.

Ville Hämäläinen
Society and Culture Services
City of Oulu

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