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Soon to Come: Great Northern Cultural Climate Change!

Thirty-one municipalities from northern Finland contracted to cooperate with the City of Oulu and the cultural climate change programme. Cooperation decisions are fundamental to Oulu's journey to become the European Capital of Culture in 2026. Even though only one city can bid for the official title, the cultural programme of the city may involve neighbouring municipalities. The ECoC competition benefits all when cooperation adds to the whole region's attractiveness and appealingness to residents, businesses and tourists.

"The cultural climate change stems from the enthusiasm that northern Finland's municipalities have towards the Oulu2026 Themes. As different, yet cooperative, we strengthen one another", says Pauli Harju, the Region Mayor from the Council of Oulu Region.

The decision of cooperation signed by the municipalities includes different options for participating in the Oulu2026 project. The majority of municipalities chose to plan and carry out the Oulu2026 themed programme in 2024–2026.

"The Capital of Culture 2026 Project is not merely a celebration year but also a far-reaching development project for people-friendly and culturally rich region. We are touched by the region’s strive of towards achieving this goal", says the Oulu2026 Project Director Piia Rantala-Korhonen.

The contracted municipalities, the Council of Oulu Region and other key stakeholders from the region form the Oulu2026 Delegation. Its' missions are to promote the bid in local, national and European networks and to encourage organisations to develop the world's best cultural programme for the year 2026.

The municipalities that decided to cooperate with Oulu2026 are Haapajärvi, Haapavesi, Hailuoto, Ii, Kajaani, Kalajoki, Kemi, Kempele, Kuhmo, Kuusamo, Kärsämäki, Liminka, Lumijoki, Muhos, Nivala, Oulainen, Paltamo, Pielavesi, Pudasjärvi, Pyhäntä, Raahe, Sievi, Siikajoki, Siikalatva, Sotkamo, Suomussalmi, Taivalkoski, Tyrnävä, Utajärvi, Vaala and Ylivieska.

The Oulu2026 project aims to increase the attractiveness of the whole North Ostrobothnia and northern Finland and to raise the Europeans' awareness of the cultural offerings of the region. The focus on the project is currently on preparing the pre-selection application, to be submitted in May 2020. The cities that proceed to the final selection phase will have time for finishing their applications. The European Capitals of Culture for 2026 are announced before the end of 2021 once the European Panel reaches its decision. If Oulu2026 is designated, more elaborate planning of the cultural programme begins.


Further information:

Piia Rantala-Korhonen
Oulu2026 Project Director
City of Oulu
+358 44703 1116