Oulu has been selected as European Capital of Culture for 2026. The selection is recommended by a European expert panel composed of nine independent experts in the field of arts and culture. The panel, having visited the candidate cities, announced its recommendation at the end of its two-day meeting in Helsinki on Wednesday 2 June.
The concept of the European Capital of Culture project of the City of Oulu and the municipalities in Northern Finland is ‘Cultural Climate Change’, which is about reconnecting with the world and creating new kinds of togetherness. The project’s main goals are to inject new energy into the region by means of arts and culture and to meet cross-border demands through cooperation.
Oulu’s new cultural strategy is built around three themes: Wild City, Cool Contrasts and Brave Hinterland. It emphasises social, cultural, economic and ecological sustainability. Oulu2026 wants to bring culture into everyone’s lives and create new opportunities for people to participate in arts and culture.
Three Finnish cities, Oulu, Savonlinna and Tampere, bid to be nominated as Finland’s candidate for the European Capital of Culture for 2026. After a pre-selection process last summer, the three cities were shortlisted for the final selection.
Third Finnish city to be selected as European Capital of Culture
European Capitals of Culture have been designated since 1985. Finland’s two earlier European Capitals of Culture were Helsinki in 2000 and Turku in 2011.
The European Capital of Culture event is one of the most well-known and successful cultural measures of the EU. It aims to highlight the diversity of cultures in Europe, to boost cultural exchange and to increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area. In addition, it fosters the contribution of culture to the development of cities.