The first merger of large urban municipalities in Finland took place in the Oulu region, as five municipalities in the region were set to merge as of the beginning of 2013.
The New municipality is called Oulu, and it is the fifth largest city in Finland, with the number of residents totalling 207,327 (as of 31 December 2020).
The new Oulu – a city by the sea and with three rivers – has shown that it is both willing and able to cooperate with others.
- The new Oulu is the operational and economic hub of Northern Finland.
- The economic success of the core urban region has a great impact for a geographically large area, both nationally and internationally, e.g. within the context of northern Scandinavia and the Barents region.
- The current vision is for Oulu to act as the successful centre of a northern network of partners.
- In order for the vision to be realised, Oulu must have the courage to stand out and specialise, relying on its strengths and international cooperation.
- The merger of Haukipudas, Kiiminki, Oulu, Oulunsalo and Yli-Ii will strengthen the income base and viability of the new Oulu, as development efforts are focused on the business sector.
- Expenditure can be curbed by efficient and correctly targeted municipal service provision, which will have more resources available thanks to the merger.
- As of 2013, the new Oulu is the first region in Finland where the new Act on Local Authority Boundaries of 2009 will be applied.
- According to Arto Koski, Advisor on Municipal Restructuring, the new Oulu model will serve as a pioneer of municipal mergers that other Finnish municipalities may use as an example.
- A strategic multi-municipal merger:
- contributes to a more uniform community structure in the region impacts transportation needs has an effect on regional competitiveness and vitality, service supply and helps curb climate change.
- Even though the new Oulu will formally and legally come into being on 1 January 2013 and the old municipalities will cease to exist, the history of the municipalities taking part in the merger will remain unchanged, and local history will not be rewritten.
- The new administrative boundaries will not change people's sense of local identity.