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.