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Oulun kaupunki
Uleåborg stad
Top: Rantakatu in downtown Oulu, <br/>Middle:  and the <br/>Bottom: Shops along Kirkkokatu, Radisson Blu Hotel along Ojakatu
Top: Rantakatu in downtown Oulu, Oulu City Hall
Middle: Oulun Lyseon Lukio and the Oulu Cathedral
Bottom: Shops along Kirkkokatu, Radisson Blu Hotel along Ojakatu

Coat of arms

Location of Oulu in Finland
Location of Oulu in Finland
Country Finland
Region Northern Ostrobothnia
Sub-region Oulu sub-region
Charter 1605-04-08
 • City manager Matti Pennanen
Area (2011-01-01)[1]
 • City 1,513.37 km2 (584.32 sq mi)
 • Land 1,410.17 km2 (544.47 sq mi)
 • Water 103.2 km2 (39.8 sq mi)
 • Urban 187.1 km2 (72.2 sq mi)
Area rank 67th largest in Finland
Population (2015-06-30)[2]
 • City 196,828
 • Rank 5th largest in Finland
 • Density 139.58/km2 (361.5/sq mi)
 • Urban 190,000[3]
 • Urban density 915.8/km2 (2,372/sq mi)
Population by native language[4]
 • Finnish 97.3% (official)
 • Swedish 0.2%
 • Others 2.4%
Population by age[5]
 • 0 to 14 17%
 • 15 to 64 70.5%
 • 65 or older 12.5%
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Municipal tax rate[6] 19%

Oulu (Finnish pronunciation: ;

  • City of Oulu – Official website
  • – – Official tourism website of Oulu
  • Oulu travel guide from Wikivoyage

External links

  1. ^ "Area by municipality as of 1 January 2011" (PDF) (in Finnish and Swedish). Land Survey of Finland. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "VÄESTÖTIETOJÄRJESTELMÄ REKISTERITILANNE 30.06.2015" (in Finnish and Swedish). Population Register Center of Finland. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Tarkoma, Jari (2,008-01-15). "Taajamissa asuu 84 prosenttia väestöstä". Tiedote (in Finnish). Statistics Finland (Tilastokeskus). Retrieved 11 February 2,013. 
  4. ^ "Population according to language and the number of foreigners and land area km2 by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  5. ^ "Population according to age and gender by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 28 April 2009. 
  6. ^ "List of municipal and parish tax rates in 2011". Tax Administration of Finland. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  7. ^ Saylor, Michael (2012). The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything. Perseus Books/Vanguard Press. p. 63. 
  8. ^ "Oulu-nimen etymologia". Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  9. ^ "Uusi Oulu" [New Oulu] (in Finnish). Oulu: City of Oulu. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Climatological Information for Oulu, Finland" (PDF). FMI. 
  11. ^ "Väestö kielen mukaan sekä ulkomaan kansalaisten määrä ja maa-pinta-ala alueittain 1980–2012" (in Finnish). Tilastokeskus. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Autoilijan Tiekartta 2007 – Road map (Map). 1:800,000. AffectoGenimap Finland Oy. 2006.  
  13. ^ Jeffrey Pratte, "Mainstreaming Bicycling in Winter Cities: The case of Oulu, Finland", Masters thesis, University of Manitoba (Canada), 2011. P. 99-100
  14. ^ Anders Swanson, "Winter Cycling for Everyone", (Video, 21:30 min.), Vimeo, 2013
  15. ^ a b "Business and industry" (PDF). Information about Oulu. Oulu: City of Oulu. 2012-01-01. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Ystävyyskaupungit (Twin Cities)". Oulun kaupunki (City of Oulu) (in Finnish). Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  17. ^ "Vennskapsbyer" (in Norwegian). Alta kommune. 
  18. ^ Информация о городах-побратимах (in Russian). October 26, 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Kardeş Şehirler". Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyesi Basın Koordinasyon Merkez. Tüm Hakları Saklıdır. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Partneri- ja kummikaupungit (Partnership and twinning cities)". Oulun kaupunki (City of Oulu) (in Finnish). Retrieved 2013-07-27. 


See also

The educational department takes part in Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 in Finland.

International municipal projects

In addition Oulu has eight 'Partnership & Twinning cities':[20]

Partnership & Twinning Cities

Oulu is twinned with:[16]

Twin towns — Sister cities

International relations

Notable people from Oulu

Terwa Marathon & Run is an annual event run in late May (since 1989).

Oulu is also home to several other sports clubs such as Oulu Northern Lights (American football), Oulun NMKY (Basketball), Oulun Lippo (Pesäpallo), Oulun Pyrintö (Track and field), OYUS (Rugby union), Oulu Irish Elks (Gaelic Football) and Etta (Volleyball).

Oulu has one well known bandy club. OLS which plays in Bandyliiga and has become Finnish champions 14 times, last in 2014. The other one, OPS, with their 7 championships, and a beonze medal as late as in 2009, announced closing down the bandy team after the 2009-10 season. In 2001 the city was the main venue for the Bandy World Championship for men.

In football AC Oulu is playing in Ykkönen, the second tier of Finnish league system. Up to date only OPS have claimed Finnish football championship by winning Mestaruussarja twice in 1979 and 1980. Other notable football clubs include OLS, OTP and Tervarit.

Ice hockey is the most popular spectator sport in Oulu. The local club Kärpät have won the SM-liiga championship title seven times (1981, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2015). They have also been the runner-up in the IIHF European Champions Cup twice, in 2005 and 2006.

Kärpät wins the Finnish championship in 2005 after beating Jokerit.


Employer No. of employees
City of Oulu 9,709
Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District 6,144
University of Oulu 3,045
Nokia Siemens Networks 2,100
Nokia Group 2,000
The Oulu Region Joint Authority for Vocational Training 1,955
Kesko Group 1,426
Cooperative Arina Group (S Group) 1,107
Stora Enso Group 1,155
Itella Corporation 780
ISS Palvelut Oy 730
ODL Group 653

In 2011, the most important employers were:[15]

Industries Working population
Services 43,049
Industry 11,111
Commerce 10,848
Construction 5,449
Transport 3,698
Farming, forestry and mining 582
Unknown 431
Total 75,158

As of December 31, 2008, the active working population was employed as follows:[15]

Technopolis Linnanmaa is home to nearly 200 corporations.
Nokia premises in Peltola.
Stora Enso has an important paper manufacturing plant in Oulu.


Oulu is notable for its transportation network dedicated to non-vehicular traffic including pedestrians and bicycles (termed "light" traffic in Finland). In 2010, the city contained more than 600 kilometres (370 mi) of pathways and more than 100 underpasses and bridges devoted exclusively to light traffic. The network is used year-round. The ratio of light traffic pathways to residents is the highest in Finland and the cycling mode share is 20 percent.[13][14]

The most important road in Oulu is Highway 4 (E8/E75) that runs from Helsinki to Utsjoki via Lahti, Jyväskylä, Oulu, Kemi and Rovaniemi. Other highways running to and from Oulu are Highway 20 to Kuusamo and Highway 22 to Kajaani.[12]

The shortest travel time from Oulu railway station to Helsinki Central railway station is 5 h 44 mins, operated by VR. Other destinations include Kolari, Rovaniemi, Seinäjoki and Tampere.

The Port of Oulu is one of the busiest harbours on the Bothnian Bay. It includes four separate harbour areas: Vihreäsaari oil and bulk docks, Nuottasaari docks and Oritkari docks.

Oulu is served by Oulu Airport, the second largest airport in Finland by passenger volume. It is located 15 kilometres (9 mi) south-west of the city centre.

The Oulu Bus Station


Oulu International School is one of nine schools in Finland offering basic education in English.

Oulu Vocational College has over 13 000 students. It houses several different study subjects in different units which are spread over Oulu and neighbouring municipalities. Oulu Vocational College School of Business Studies is one of the few vocational schools which has game programming in its curriculum.

Oulu is home to the most northerly architecture school in the world. The school is best known for its strong regionalistic ideas for developing architecture. This movement is named "the Oulu school" ("Oulun koulu") of architecture.

The University of Oulu and Oulu University of Applied Sciences have their main campuses located in Oulu.

University of Oulu main building.


Other points of interest


  • Tietomaa, a science center with over 150 exhibits
  • Ainola Park, formerly a university botanical garden before the university was moved to Linnanmaa
  • The Rapids Center, the area in the estuary of the Oulu river consisting of small islands connected with bridges and fountains in the middle of the river, and including a housing area of building blocks planned by Alvar Aalto
  • The Market Square with the City Library, the City Theatre and old salt and tar storehouses
  • Hupisaaret, a large park area located in the estuary of the Oulu river
  • The F. M. Franzen memorial
  • The Northern Ostrobothnia museum
  • The Pateniemi Sawmill Museum
  • The Vehicle Museum
  • The University of Oulu Botanical Gardens (situated in Linnanmaa)
  • The Arctic Gallery
  • Technopolis, the technology village
  • Turkansaari (historical open-air museum)


Kalmah is a melodic death metal-band from Oulu that formed in 1998.

Notable statues and sculptures in Oulu include a sculpture of Frans Michael Franzén and The Bobby at the Market Place statue.

Museums in Oulu include the Northern Ostrobothnia museum, the Oulu Museum of Art (OMA), the Tietomaa science center, and the Turkansaari open-air museum.

Many artists, writers, and musicians live in the city. A variety of concerts—rock, classical, and jazz—as well as other cultural events take place each year. Examples include the Oulu Music Video Festival, the Air Guitar World Championships, and the Musixine Music Film Competition, all in August. In July, the annual rock festival Qstock takes place. The Oulu Music Festival is held in winter and the Oulunsalo Music Festival in summer. The Irish Festival of Oulu takes place each October and the International Children's Film Festival each November.

The best known cultural exports of the city of Oulu are Air Guitar World Championships, Mieskuoro Huutajat (also known as Screaming Men), and the now defunct metal band Sentenced.

Air Guitar World Championships 2012, an annual event held in Oulu since 1996


The population growth of Oulu (and merged municipalities) 1980–2015
Year Population
121 809
128 869
136 029
146 395
160 851
173 436
185 419
196 956
Source: Tilastokeskus[11]


In 2008, there were 316 Swedish speaking inhabitants, which was 0.2% of the total population, making the city unilingual. In 2007, there were 2,417 foreign citizens living in the city, of whom 618 were from elsewhere in the EU. 51.1% of the population is female.


Climate data for Oulu, Finland
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −6
Daily mean °C (°F) −9.6
Average low °C (°F) −13.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 31
Average precipitation days 10 8 8 6 7 7 9 10 9 10 11 10 105
Mean monthly sunshine hours 24 69 137 208 273 296 283 212 133 69 28 8 1,740
Source: FMI[10]

Oulu has a subarctic climate with cold, snowy winters and short, warm summers. Average annual temperature is 2.7 °C (36.9 °F). The average annual precipitation is 508 mm (20.00 in) falling 105 days per year, mostly in late summer and fall.


Oulu is divided into 106 city districts. The largest of these are Haukipudas, Oulunsalo, Kaakkuri, Ritaharju, Tuira, and Kello.


A satellite image showing the Oulu region in 2007


The municipality of Ylikiiminki was merged with the city of Oulu on January 1, 2009. Oulu and the municipalities of Haukipudas, Kiiminki, Oulunsalo, and Yli-Ii were merged on January 1, 2013.[9]

Once known for wood tar and salmon, Oulu has evolved into a major high-tech centre, particularly in IT and wellness technology. Other prominent industries include wood refining, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paper, and steel.

In 1822, a major fire destroyed much of the city. The architect Carl Ludvig Engel, chiefly known for the neoclassical (empire style) buildings around Helsinki Senate Square, was enlisted to provide the plan for the rebuilding of the city. With minor changes, this plan remains the basis for the layout of Oulu's town center. The Oulu Cathedral was built in 1832 to his designs, with the spire being finished in 1844. During the Crimean War, Oulu's harbour was raided by the British fleet, destroying ships and burning tar houses, leading to international criticism.

Oulu was founded on April 8, 1605, by King Charles IX of Sweden, opposite the fort built on the island of Linnansaari. This took place after favourable peace settlements with Russia, which removed the threat of attack via the main east-west waterway, the river Oulu. The surrounding areas were populated much earlier. Oulu is situated by the Gulf of Bothnia, at the mouth of river Oulujoki, which is an ancient trading site. Oulu was the capital of the Province of Oulu from 1776 to 2009.

Drawing of central Oulu from the 19th Century


The most probable theory is that the name derives from the Finnish dialectal word oulu, meaning "floodwater", which is related to e.g. Southern Sami åulo, meaning "melted snow", åulot meaning "thaw" (of unknown ultimate origin). Two other word families have also been speculated to be related. The first is seen in the Northern Savo dialectal word uula and its Sami counterpart oalli, both meaning "river channel". The second is the Uralic root reconstructed as *uwa, meaning "river bed" (reflected as vuo in modern Finnish, also in derivatives such as vuolas "heavy-flowing"). To either of these roots, some Sami variety would have to be assumed having added further derivational suffixes.[8]

The city is named after the river Oulujoki, which originates in the lake Oulujärvi. There have been a number of other theories for the origin of the name Oulu. One possible source for the name Oulu is a word in the Sami language meaning 'flood water', but there are other suggestions. At minimum, the structure of the word requires that, if originally given by speakers of a Uralic language, the name must be a derivative. In all likelihood, it also predates Finnish settlement and is thus a loanword from one of the now-extinct Saami languages once spoken in the area.



  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Geography 3
    • Subdivisions 3.1
    • Climate 3.2
  • Demographics 4
    • Population 4.1
  • Culture 5
  • Sights 6
    • Churches 6.1
    • Other points of interest 6.2
  • Education 7
  • Transport 8
  • Employment 9
  • Sports 10
  • Notable people from Oulu 11
  • International relations 12
    • Twin towns — Sister cities 12.1
    • Partnership & Twinning Cities 12.2
    • International municipal projects 12.3
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15

[7]-screens) at a community-wide scale.ubi. It is the most populous city in Northern Finland and the fifth most populous city in the country. There are no larger cities (outside of Russia) that are more northerly than Oulu which is also considered one of Europe's "living labs", where residents experiment with new technology (such as NFC tags and Finland, Northern Ostrobothnia in the region of [2] of 196,828 inhabitants (30 June 2015)municipality and city) is a

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