A man wearing black jeans on a stage jumps higher than his the monitors, holding a microphone.

Small­er and big­ger thrills, unique events, and art and sci­ence made with the uncom­pro­mis­ing north­ern atti­tude – and the cul­tur­al cli­mate change, of course! The cul­tur­al scene in Oulu has all this and a lit­tle bit more.

The cul­tur­al scene in Oulu is packed with incred­i­ble exper­tise and inter­est­ing, edgy phe­nom­e­na. Arts, sci­ence, sound and emo­tion, sea winds, events under the big sky, spaces for cre­at­ing the unimag­in­able, laugh­ing, cry­ing, shout­ing, and mov­ing… List­ing the ele­ments of the local cul­ture is a breath-tak­ing chore, for even peo­ple who have lived here all their lives are con­stant­ly bump­ing into new and excit­ing things.

And what would be more appro­pri­ate for the Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture? That is what Oulu will be in a few years, and you are join­ing us at the right time: from this moment on, things will only get more excit­ing until the title year in 2026 – and onwards! Read more about the Oulu2026 activ­i­ties.

Cul­ture for all the peo­ple

A person in the green and blue lights of a stage is lifting his hands in the air, wearing leather pants and a golden shirt. In the background is the text Air Guitar World Championships.
The Wiz­aird, Ilmak­i­taran­soiton MM-kisat 2019.

The enti­ty of City of Oulu gen­er­al cul­tur­al ser­vices includes the oper­a­tion of Cul­tur­al Cen­tre Valve, the oper­a­tion of Oulu Cul­ture Cen­tre for Chil­dren and Youth, and the ser­vices of region­al cul­ture and the cul­ture of well-being.

You can find out about library ser­vices on the City of Oulu web­site (opens in a new tab).

Cul­tur­al Cen­tre Valve show­cas­es an awe­some amount of cul­tur­al exper­tise through local tal­ent and inter­na­tion­al guests. Three gal­leries, two rooms for per­for­mances, and a cin­e­ma invig­o­rate the city cen­tre with films, comics, con­certs, exhi­bi­tions, dance, cir­cus, and var­i­ous hob­by options and cours­es – and ever more vir­tu­al­ly, too! Valve is also home to Oulu Cul­ture Cen­tre for Chil­dren and Youth, mean­ing that the new gen­er­a­tions have not been for­got­ten: the cen­tre is respon­si­ble for oper­a­tions such as the art class­es and events of Valve Film School and the School for Lit­er­ary Art. Step in through the Cul­tur­al Cen­tre Valve web­site (opens in a new tab).

Cul­ture for the brain

Muse­um and Sci­ence Cen­tre Luup­pi is an orig­i­nal enti­ty of his­to­ry, arts, and sci­ence in Oulu. Luup­pi will charm you with its sto­ries and expe­ri­ences – often in inter­ac­tion with the vis­i­tor.

Luup­pi con­sists of nine out­stand­ing des­ti­na­tions. The North­ern Ostro­both­nia Muse­um, Oulu Muse­um of Art, Tietomaa Sci­ence Cen­tre, Turkansaari Open-Air Muse­um, and Kierik­ki Stone Age Cen­tre, along with small­er loca­tions: Oulun­sa­lo Tra­di­tion­al Vil­lage Muse­um, Sailor’s Home Muse­um, Pate­nie­mi Sawmill Muse­um, and the Oulu Cas­tle Cel­lar. They all bring joy and inspi­ra­tion insight­ful­ly from a north­ern per­spec­tive. All the des­ti­na­tions are in build­ings that are not only sig­nif­i­cant to the his­to­ry of the north but also part of every­day life in Oulu.

Read more and dis­cov­er Muse­um and Sci­ence Cen­tre Luup­pi through its web­site (opens in a new tab).

A child is cycling on a high wire with a safety net below.

Cul­ture that is music to your ears

A symphony orchestra is rehearsing with a conductor who has his back to the camera, In the front row are string instruments and horns in the background. Everyone is wearing dark clothes.

Pio­neer­ing com­posers from Tulind­berg to Madeto­ja have made sure that Oulu has been heard, and their work is con­tin­ued by the north­ern­most sym­pho­ny orches­tra in Fin­land: Oulu Sin­fo­nia. Named after the famous com­pos­er, the Madeto­ja Hall at Oulu Music Cen­tre is the home of Oulu Sin­fo­nia, but the beau­ti­ful acoustics of the hall can be wit­nessed also at oth­er artists’ per­for­mances. Vis­it the Oulu Sin­fo­nia web­site (opens in a new tab).

Do not go just yet – Oulu is a city of music no mat­ter what the genre. Just think of artists such as Saara Aal­to, Sen­tenced, or Blind Chan­nel who have risen to inter­na­tion­al fame from Oulu.

Live­ly and mov­ing cul­ture

A man wearing a denim jacket is holding the shoulders of a little boy with a denim jacket and a worried look on his face.

Oulu The­atre is the home of the­atri­cal art in the north, dat­ing back to the year 1931. Now it is sit­u­at­ed on an arti­fi­cial island in one of the most cen­tral loca­tions in Oulu, hous­ing the biggest pro­fes­sion­al the­atre in north­ern Fin­land. It pam­pers art enthu­si­asts with big emo­tions, sur­pris­es, and excep­tion­al sto­ries – ambi­tious per­for­mances of spo­ken plays to opera and musi­cals. The­atri­cal art in Oulu is appeal­ing, respon­si­ble and renew­able! Sense Oulu The­atre through its web­site (opens in a new tab).

If you are into film art and the big screen, Oulu can pro­vide. Screen­ing films from box office smash hits to exper­i­men­tal cin­e­ma in the city cen­tre are Cul­tur­al Cen­tre Valve and Finnk­i­no Plaza. In Tuira, you can find Eloku­vateat­teri Star which is run by a fam­i­ly of local entre­pre­neurs.

Every­one who has been watch­ing prime time dance shows on Finnish tele­vi­sion in the 2000s will know that Oulu pro­duces dancers! This is a danc­ing city with promis­ing new tal­ent bring­ing home medals as well as sea­soned dance coach­es known to all the nation. Folk danc­ing, ball­room danc­ing, street danc­ing, mod­ern dance – any­thing to get your body mov­ing!

Cul­ture under­neath the open sky

The main stage at Qstock Festival in the evening dusk. On a big screen there is the image of a singer performing on stage and a massive crowd is admiring the pyrotechnics in front of the stage.

Just like food, also cul­ture tastes good when enjoyed out­doors! The sea breeze whis­pers in the ears as spec­ta­tors in Oulu are offered both the­atre and fes­ti­vals. The sum­mer the­atre in the Hupisaaret park and Meri Oulu the­atre in Top­pi­la serve cul­tur­al treats to vis­i­tors in the sum­mer­time.

Also music fes­ti­vals for all tastes take place in Oulu every sum­mer! Qstock is one of the biggest fes­ti­vals in Fin­land, sell­ing out year after year. Var­jo is a more laid-back event, tar­get­ed to a small­er crowd of indie fans. Met­al Cap­i­tal Fes­ti­val Oulu serves a more met­al-ori­ent­ed audi­ence. Suomipop Fes­ti­vaali and Kuus­ka Soi have a more vari­able line-up, where­as Koiteli elää! has been described as the most beau­ti­ful fes­ti­val in Fin­land. No won­der – the Koiteli rapids in Kiimin­ki is a unique loca­tion for events if any!

Cul­ture and night-time activ­i­ties

Do you feel like par­ty­ing and crave a bit of cul­ture for the week­end? You are in the right place – many venues and clubs in Oulu have a good selec­tion of events through­out the year.

Gigs, stand-up com­e­dy clubs, big con­certs, open mic nights, and all kinds of DJ-dri­ven events enter­tain crowds not only in the city cen­tre but also else­where in Oulu. Com­bine this with tasty food and drinks, and your night in Oulu will be a suc­cess! Find more fun time alter­na­tives on the Enter­tain­ment page.

Three young women are dancing with their hands in the air, people in the background are watching them. The woman in the front has red lipstick on and she is dressed in yellow.

More cul­ture? Yes, please!

If you are cul­tur­al pro­duc­er, hear this! The City of Oulu pro­motes and facil­i­tates the pro­duc­tion of art and cul­ture with grants. Also the Oulu2026 organ­i­sa­tion is look­ing for part­ners to cre­ate the cul­tur­al pro­gramme for the Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture year in 2026.