Oulu is European Capital of Culture for the year 2026

The international jury chose Oulu as the European Capital of Culture for the year 2026. Competing for the title of European Capital of Culture alongside Oulu were Savonlinna and Tampere. The victory of Oulu will be celebrated together with the citizens on 8th August at Varjo-Piknik summer party in Oulu’s Kuusisaari.

Mayor of Oulu, Päivi Laajala stated: “On the behalf of the city and myself I want to warmly thank the Oulu2026 Bidding Team for this significant achievement and the four years of preparatory work. Oulu is truly happy about this victory. The preparations for the Cultural Capital year continue immediately. I also want to thank our competitors Tampere and Savonlinna for fair and good competition.”

”We are beyond happy about the win and the opportunities that the European Capital of Culture position opens to Oulu and the whole of Northern Finland. Thank you to everyone involved, Cultural Climate Change continues”, said Director of Oulu2026, Piia Rantala-Korhonen.

The Capital of Culture year will bring international visibility to both Northern and the whole of Finland’s culture that can change Finland into a permanent cultural destination. The Oulu2026 region is wide because Oulu has been joined by 32 Northern Finnish municipalities and cities that share a common history and future.

”Cultural Climate Change will change things a lot. Oulu and Northern Finland are an inspiring and intriguing place to those who live here and to those who travel here”, tells the Programme Director Samu Forsblom.

Forsblom believes that during the Capital of Culture year in 2026 the region will have plenty of jobs in the creative industries, culturally interesting new places to visit, and neighbourhoods flourishing with culture: ”There is a lot to show about Northern culture to Europe. We will see word class culture in the middle of wild nature. Snow, ice, ice holes, saunas, light and darkness, as well as four seasons are the stages of the cultural programme. Creative energy becomes visible also in city spaces, creating new inspiring cultural centres. It’s amazing that we get to implement our versatile cultural programme”, visions the Programme Director Samu Forsblom.

Photo Oulu2026