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Oulu2026 Capital of Culture Project Launched the Themes

Oulu’s ideas were considered original in Helsinki


The themes for Oulu2026 were launched simultaneously in Oulu and Helsinki on Friday February 1st.

“Since there are no applicants in Helsinki, we wanted to impress the cultural crowd, media and decision-makers that Oulu is fully immersed in a tight competition for European Capital of Culture,” says Project Director Piia Rantala-Korhonen.

In addition to Piia Rantala-Korhonen, Mayor Päivi Laajala, City Council Chairman Kyösti Oikarinen, European Member of Parliament Mirja Vehkaperä and Project Manager Heli Metsäpelto represented Oulu in Helsinki. Among the creative advisers present were musicians Jaakko Kuusisto and Jukka Takalo. Approximately one hundred people attended the event in Helsinki.

Innovation Born on the Edge

The main title of Oulu’s application is Cultural Climate Change. Below that you will find three main themes: Bravely on the Peripheral Edge, The Power of Opposites and Wild City.

“The Oulu2026 themes were considered relevant and authentic in Helsinki,” says Rantala-Korhonen.

“Oulu’s culture scene is fascinating because it is created passionately with much fewer financial funding resources than in Helsinki. National cultural institutions have not reached Oulu, but still we have learned to create and organise culture ourselves with flare and originality."

"Oulu has always been international despite its geographic location. Additionally, it has been bravely launched into the world. And it returned. Oulu is on the edge of Europe, yet we succeed in producing world-class innovations,” Rantala-Korhonen points out.

Twenty creative advisers from various fields of art and science have worked and developed the themes for the European Capital of Culture application. The starting point was nature, northern location, communality and urban culture.

The first application for the European Capital of Culture will be submitted in May 2020. The winner will be announced in 2021.


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