Euro­pean Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re 2026

Oulu is the Euro­pean Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re for 2026! What does this mean? Well, of cour­se it means a fan­tas­tic fes­ti­val year when clo­se to 500 events take over Oulu and the north of Fin­land.

If you fear that the pro­ject is just about arran­ging a one-year fes­ti­val, stop wor­rying! The concept entails years of urban deve­lop­ment that will pack nort­hern Fin­land with new vita­li­ty and ener­gy. First and fore­most, the sta­tus will bring Euro­pean visi­bi­li­ty to the region, joy to the resi­dents, and new forms of coo­pe­ra­tion to the field of cul­tu­re!

The Euro­pean Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re brand is one of the most recog­ni­sed forms of ope­ra­tion by the Euro­pean Union. It high­lights the sig­ni­ficance of cities as cent­res for cul­tu­ral life. Oulu and Fin­land will beco­me a vibrant city and region that ema­na­tes even more crea­ti­vi­ty, att­racts visi­tors and enga­ges new resi­dents – whi­le taking care of the cur­rent ones, of cour­se.

Let’s get more out of cul­tu­re toget­her!

Col­la­bo­ra­tion is the dri­ving force of Oulu2026 acti­vi­ties. A wide spect­rum of experts from dif­fe­rent sec­tors of the socie­ty have alrea­dy been gat­he­red toget­her in Oulu and the pro­ject region, and the work con­ti­nues. Any­one can join in!

Beco­me a Cul­tu­ral Ambas­sa­dor, hear about topical pro­ject issues first­hand, and speak for the pro­ject in your own com­mu­ni­ties.

Why the Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re?

A city with the tit­le of Euro­pean Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re gets loads of inter­na­tio­nal atten­tion star­ting with the selec­tion and car­rying far into the futu­re – way bey­ond the dura­tion of the tit­le year.

Kan­sIn­ter­na­tio­nal pro­jects and subs­tan­tial Euro­pean visi­bi­li­ty inc­rea­se the num­ber of tra­vel­lers, which in turn mate­ria­li­ses in eco­no­mic vita­li­ty, a vibrant citysca­pe, busy hotels, and bust­ling res­tau­rants. As Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re, Oulu has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to int­ro­duce a special, new angle to deci­sion-making also out­si­de of cul­tu­re – hence adding vibrancy and vigour to the who­le of nort­hern Fin­land!

To take things to a prac­tical level: doesn’t it sound mag­ni­ficent that all this deve­lop­ment will result in Oulu and nort­hern Fin­land beco­ming an inc­rea­singly crea­ti­ve and vibrant region? And that the local resi­dents will bene­fit from a ver­sa­ti­le cul­tu­ral selec­tion in a city that is full of life, because people par­tici­pa­ting in cul­tu­ral acti­vi­ties feel bet­ter and stay more acti­ve? Or that more and more people will be emplo­yed by the crea­ti­ve industries whi­le the who­le region beco­mes more open and inter­na­tio­nal due to Euro­pean coo­pe­ra­tion? We think so, too!

Oulu is crea­ting a cul­tu­ral cli­ma­te chan­ge that crys­tal­li­ses under three main the­mes: Bra­ve Hin­ter­land, Cool Cont­rasts, and Wild City.

The cul­tu­ral pro­gram­me is not imple­men­ted by the Oulu2026 orga­ni­sa­tion – ins­tead, most of the pro­jects are car­ried out by its ext­raor­di­na­ry part­ners. Open applica­tions pro­vi­de access to the cul­tu­ral pro­gram­me which will grow during the years to its ulti­ma­te, notewort­hy sca­le. Join the cul­tu­ral cli­ma­te chan­ge and do not hesi­ta­te to enqui­re about col­la­bo­ra­tion and visi­bi­li­ty part­ners­hips by con­tac­ting the Oulu2026 team!

What is the Euro­pean Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re all about?

Euro­pean Capi­tals of Cul­tu­re are the most visible form of cul­tu­ral sup­port in the Euro­pean Union. Capi­tals of Cul­tu­re have been appoin­ted since 1985 and they are cur­rent­ly fun­ded by the Crea­ti­ve Euro­pe pro­gram­me. The appoint­ment of Capi­tals of Cul­tu­re emp­ha­si­ses the mul­tiplici­ty and ver­sa­ti­li­ty of Euro­pean cul­tu­res and inc­rea­ses cul­tu­ral exc­han­ge wit­hin the con­ti­nent. Since 2009, two cities have been appoin­ted Euro­pean Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re eve­ry year. The other Capi­tal of Cul­tu­re for 2026 will be Trenčín in Slo­va­kia.