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Cool contrasts

Oulu2026 valo ja hahmo

Oulu is the kingdom of great contrasts – positive, but also challenging. Contrasts such as the nightless nights of the midnight sun and sunless days in the heart of winter. Contrasts have the power both to connect and disconnect, but also to create something new.

Cool Contrasts is about rebalancing our communities. There is already a recognised European need to use culture as a means to help reduce health inequalities. Oulu2026 will work with our citizens and with European partners to develop cultural practices that promote positive engagement to re-balance these inequalities. People are literally dying of loneliness in parts of Europe, both in big cities and in struggling rural hinterlands.

Oulu2026 wants to help Europe to reconnect with itself, promoting community life and face-to-face connection and exploring mental wellbeing  through sensitive and thoughtful projects.

How do we learn to better understand each other? What new and surprising connections can we create and nourish? We can listen, appreciate, be curious, supportive and interested in each other. Let’s celebrate our differences in the city of contrasts!

Programme Lines

Each of the three programme themes include programme lines which enable us to group connected projects together to maximise synergy and impact.

Art <3 Tech

Every day, nearly three billion people use mobile technology developed in Oulu. The city has long been a pioneer in technology research, product development and start-ups – and now it wants to take over Art&Tech. The models used to produce the culture of the future will increasingly utilise a hybrid strategy, a combination of virtual and physical experiences.

Dark Matters

No one has such an intimate relationship with light as us northerners. Acknowledging the dark and harvesting the light for health
and well-being.

Oulu Calling!

Celebrating the city’s resilience and power of reinvention as an inspiration for the future. We want to explore our local identities through outsiders’ eyes, and be surprised by what we discover about ourselves.

Latest

Oulu2026 Stage opens Qstock on Thursday – Free entry!

Oulu2026 Stage opens Qstock on Thursday – Free entry!

On the upcoming weekend, Qstock, celebrating its 20th anniversary, invites the audience to festival vibes starting from Thursday, when the Oulu2026 stage kicks off its program. The area on Linnansaari island is free of charge, and there will be concerts on Friday and...

This year’s mural will be located in Tuira

This year’s mural will be located in Tuira

The residents of Oulu have voted for Tuira as the location for the Oulu2026 mural. The artist selection and the exact location of the artwork will be announced in August. The public vote for this year's Oulu2026 mural has concluded. A total of 1521 votes were cast,...

Long Table Picnic in the Oulu Arts’ Night

Long Table Picnic in the Oulu Arts’ Night

Come and feel the atmosphere and culture of the city at the common dining table in Mannerheim park in the Oulu Arts’ Night on August 17. from 18:00 to 20:00.

Programme Peek: AaltoSiilo

Programme Peek: AaltoSiilo

The Program Peek is an article series where, as the name suggests, we take a sneak peek into the cultural programme of Oulu2026, the European Capital of Culture. The series provides small glimpses of what's to come and highlights interesting aspects. As the year 2026...

The district vote on this year’s mural is underway

The district vote on this year’s mural is underway

Upeart, a Finnish public art professional, is involved in our cultural program with the “Joy from Urban contemporary art” -project, which produces mural artworks around the Oulu area. Voting is open for the location of this year’s Oulu2026-mural! The residents of Oulu...

62 new projects for Oulu2026 culture programme

62 new projects for Oulu2026 culture programme

Oulu is a European Capital of Culture in 2026. The Oulu2026 culture programme in 39 municipalities is realised by local, national and international actors. The programme in Oulu is coordinated and managed by the Oulu Culture Foundation. The Foundation provides...

Which Northern Story You Would Like to Hear?

Which Northern Story You Would Like to Hear?

  Northern Stories-project develops new ways of bringing stories to their authentic locations using technology. The aim of the project is to create several themed routes with user-friendly mobile technology. We are mapping and collecting the stories around local...

Screaming Duende at the AaltoSiilo June 3rd

Screaming Duende at the AaltoSiilo June 3rd

The Factum Foundation and AaltoSiilo are organizing the Screaming Duende event in Meri-Toppila, Oulu on June 3rd. The event is a world premiere of pairing the radical flamenco master Israel Galván and Huutajat (Screaming Men) Choir. The event is a central part of the...

Oulu2026 Stage at Qstock – free entry!

Oulu2026 Stage at Qstock – free entry!

The Qstock Festival in Oulu stretches partly over three days this year, for music on the Oulu2026 Stage starts already on Thursday, 27 July. The stage moves to a new location in Linnansaari island, and entry to the island will be free throughout the festival.  As...