You need to be brave to live here. Brave too to pack up and leave, starting a new life elsewhere. But even braver to stay and try to change things.
Far away from everything, on the periphery of Europe we face an uncompromising nature, extreme climate (change), enormous distances and wild vastness, excessive light and excessive darkness. Only a few in Europe are willing to live with extreme hardship and extreme beauty.
Yet Europe is much more than just its geographical core. We want Europe to get excited by its edges in 2026!
Finally, actual Climate Change impacts us more visibly here than almost anywhere else in Europe with biodiversity already significantly diminished. The global response to climate change has so far been too timid. We explore this topic in our theme Brave Hinterland.
Each of the three programme themes include programme lines which enable us to group connected projects together to maximise synergy and impact.
Between East and West
Oulu exploring its roots and the routes linking it to Europe. These routes shaped the identity, cultural and societal development of the city and deserve exploring.
Pulsing forces of the North – Nature and Art. With the growing focus on climate change, we cannot ignore or deny nature’s forces – whether you live in Oulu region or on the southernmost shores of Europe. We wish to showcase our region’s traditional engagement with nature reminding us how it enriches our lives, sharing
its vibrant inspiration with a broader Europe.
We do things differently here. We sit in hot saunas and then dive into frozen waters. We cycle on our bikes in minus 25-degrees Celsius. It’s an everyday experience for us, but a surprise to most of the rest of the world. Having fun in the snow hides a deeper message about the sensitivity and disappearance of our traditional habitat. Join us on a journey through our unique way of living and learn to appreciate winter’s natural wonders!
Brave Hinterland: Nature town Kuusamo
Kuusamo, on the eastern border of Finland, has become a meeting place for both nature and animals as well as people from all directions. Kuusamo is one of the most visited nature town in Finland. Unique nature of Kuusamo offers many possibilities to find a little...
The success story of local food is the talk of the day – Oulu2026 Arctic Food Lab awarded food and catering professionals
Nearly 100 food and catering industry professionals gathered in Voimala, Oulu to celebrate Valentine’s Day and local food. At the event, the first ever winners of Arctic Food Lab Newcomer, and Local Food Advocate and Public Choice Awards were also announced. The...
Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Valentino Tignanelli
Our culture personality of the week is Valentino Tignanelli. He is a designer and architect.
Brutally icy atmosphere at Nallikari – Frozen People festival serves art, music and local food
Frozen People, a festival of electronic music and northern art and style, takes over Oulu’s iconic Nallikari in early March. Braving the elements, the unique winter festival will be staged on sea ice. Taking place on 4th March, the festival features a headline...
University Campuses will be filled with culture in 2026 – program proposals are being accepted now!
Have you dreamed of a more lively university campus? Would you like to be able to enjoy the cultural activities also during the working day, for example during the lunch hour? Could the campuses of the University of Oulu offer an attractive cultural program in the...
Frozen People – electronic music festival 4th March
Dance the frost away 4th March! Frozen People is a festival of electronic music as well as northern arts and wintry style. The unique event defies the weather conditions in winter on the sea ice. The festival will take place on the 4th of March 2023 at Nallikari beach...
Exhibition: Peace Machine Through the Eyes of Children
Café - Restaurant Valve Paljetti Hallituskatu 7, Oulu 17th Feb 2023 (13:00) – 12th March 2023 (20:00) How do children envision the Peace Machine? How does it work? What does it do? In Spring 2022 Oulu Culture Foundation invited schools in the area to make their own...
Finland is one of the best places in the world for viewing Northern Lights (aurora borealis). The probability of catching them is highest in Lapland but Oulu is not far behind. According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, we can see Northern Lights about 25% of...
Take part in a survey focusing on stories and places in Oulu
What kind of postcard would you send from Oulu? What is the heart of your neighbourhood? Take part in a survey! We are looking for interesting, intriguing, or even forgotten stories and places to bring up through arts and culture. Share your stories by taking part in...
Nearly 300 projects submitted in the Oulu2026 Open Call
Oulu is a 2026 European Capital of Culture. The Oulu2026 cultural programme is mainly built through a series of Open Calls, the second of which closed on 9 December. In total, 274 applications from Finland and 20 other countries were received. Oulu and the entire...