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Finland Ecoc 2026, discovering the final candidate cities: Oulu

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In 2026, a Finnish city will become a European Capital of Culture. Oulu, Savonlinna and Tampere are the three finalist cities candidates for the title. On 23 April 2021 they submitted their application to be European Capital of Culture in 2026. The panel visits to the candidate cities will be organized in May 2021. The name of the European Capital of Culture will be announced on 2 June 2021 when the panel meets in Helsinki. 

The winner city will be the third European Capital of Culture chosen from Finland. Helsinki held the title as one of nine cities in 2000 and Turku together with Tallinn in 2011.

Ecocnews make a journey to discover the bid books submitted by the three candidate cities.

Today we speak about Oulu’s concept: “Cultural Climate Change

"Cultural Climate Change (CCC) is about reconnecting with the world around us and creating new sense of togetherness.  Oulu2026 wants to be a European laboratory to find solutions to the changing cultural climate in which we find ourselves, finding the right balance between fear and freedom.

With Cultural Climate Change Oulu2026 is trying to get across the need to shift Oulu's emphasis from being a hard-tech, functional city to one which is full. Full of soul. Full of possibilities. Full of Culture. CCC is about a major change in the way that Oulu operates as a European cultural city, the largest in the Arctic region. More than ever, that means delivering the City Strategy and the Cultural Strategy! Culture is Oulu builder.

Oulu can rebuild and reshape its cultural system which everywhere is facing the same existential threat. Making museums as bold and adventurous as Olulu2026 own vision. Repairing the damage to the independent sector, offering exciting new pathways into culture and jobs for young people. ECoC Oulu2026 is the action pian to accompany, activate and accelerate CCC. Oulu2026 can be the perfect tool to balance the fusion of the macro-level  visions and strategies with the micro-level delivery of real social and cultural change.

Children and youth are at the heart of CCC. Oulu2026 wants to raise bold, creative and responsible citizens of the future, including a number of innovative projects which will reset models for cultural education and creative employment form any years to come. Whilst young adults have their own programme line focusing on training and employment opportunities in the field of culture throughout the Oulu2026 region.

Finally, actual Climate Change impacts Oulu more visibly than almost anywhere else in Europe with biodiversity already significantly diminished. Oulu2026 take climate change seriously and adjust its actions accordingly. The work already done by Oulu 2026 partner, European Green Capital Lahti 2021, supports the city in developing criteria for carbon-neutral cultural activities. The goal is to create tools enabling Oulu to move to a carbon-neutral lifestyle in the region and eventually deploy these solutions throughout Europe.

Cultural Climate Change and actual climate change have a lot in common. Climate change means that we need to reshape the way we interact with the planet. Cultural Climate Change means that we must reshape how we interact with each other - on the social, cultural, artistic, political, spatial and virtual levels. Both reshaping processes transcend the local and make European cooperation more necessary than ever. Sparsely populated areas like Oulu region have the potential to develop new creative economy models, offering affordable spaces and inspiring environments. The last year has shown that living in remote areas does not have to mean isolation or exclusion. Oulu2026 must seize this chance to spread creative and cultural opportunity beyond their current southern Finnish heartlands".

These are the dreams, the hoping, and the goals of one of the three Finnish cities that applied to be European Capital of Culture in 2026. So good luck to every one of them. Next updates on 2 June!

The Oulu bidbook here

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