Oulu2026 is almost here!

Author Piia Rantala-Korhonen is CEO of the Oulu Culture Foundation responsible for organising Oulu2026.

The Oulu2026 Capital of Culture year is just two years away!

Based on previous Capital of Culture years, we know that the busiest years of preparation lie ahead.

In 2026, thousands of cultural events will take place in Oulu and 39 other municipalities, and we expect around two million visitors during the year. The events will bring new customers to companies and employ professionals from a wide range of industries. A successful Capital of Culture year will increase the vitality of the entire region.

Culture experienced together connects people and builds mutual trust. This social capital will help us face the challenges of the future – together, we can do anything!

Over 100 local, national and international top productions have already been selected for the culture programme. Due to the abundance of events, some of them will take place in surprising and interesting locations in addition to traditional cultural institutions. Most of the programme will be free of charge.

The programme will be supplemented with the Me olemme kulttuuria – We are culture programme search, which will open in autumn 2024. We welcome all local residents to join us in building the 2026 culture programme. We are cooperating with local companies, which benefits both the culture programme and the companies.

The programme work shifts into a new gear as the plans for large productions are refined and move into the production phase. Communications and marketing are gradually being expanded to cover the whole of Europe. We are cooperating with Finnish embassies and cultural institutes in Europe to gain broad visibility for the culture programme.

In 2024, we will already be getting a taste of what’s to come. Next summer, a new wall painting will be finished in Myllyoja, and the Oulu2026 stage will welcome future stars. In September, the Oulu region will offer affordable culinary experiences. November is the month of light, inspiring events across the entire Oulu2026 region.

We are all needed for a successful implementation in 2026! This year, we are launching a volunteer programme that offers everyone interesting ways to get involved in the implementation of the culture programme. Now is the time to look at your own home region with love, and to share with others the unique things you can see and experience here at the northern edge of Europe.

In February, the next President of the Republic of Finland will be elected. As soon as the results of the elections are announced, they will be sent an invitation to the Oulu2026 opening ceremony in January 2026.

Who are you going to invite to the opening ceremony?