Oulu in Northern Finland selected as European Capital of Culture for 2026

Good moods at the main library in Oulu as the city was chosen as the European Capital of Culture in 2026 in an announcement on June 2, 2021. (Photo: Sanna Krook). 

The concept of the European Capital of Culture project by the city of Oulu and municipalities in Northern Finland is Cultural Climate Change. 

The city of Oulu in Northern Finland has been selected as European Capital of Culture for 2026. The news came at a press conference on Wednesday June 2. 

”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", the Director of Oulu2026, Piia Rantala-Korhonen says in a press release. 

The Oulu2026 team has worked on the project for four years and the Oulu2026 region consists not only of Oulu, but is joined by 32 Northern Finnish municipalities and cities.

'Cultural Climate Change'

The concept of the European Capital of Culture project of Oulu is ‘Cultural Climate Change’.

"This 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", the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture states in a press release. 

”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”,  Programme Director in Oulu2026 Samu Forsblom says. 

The selection is recommended by a European expert panel composed of nine independent experts in the field of arts and culture. The Finnish cities of Savonlinna and Tampere also bid to be nominated as Finland’s candidate for the European Capital of Culture for 2026.

Another 2026 European Capital of Culture will be selected from Slovakia.

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