In the context of the European Capital of Culture project, there is usually concern about the equitable distribution of money. Oulu citizen’s big question is have the project funds been taken from some other of the city’s operations or services. However, it is good for the citizens of the city to be aware that project funding for the European Capital of Culture is being sought from national and EU funding channels. These are already the funds purposely meant for culture and will not be used for any other purpose.

The time of hard values and the technology boom are over. According to the latest study, the people of Oulu want softer values naturally represented by culture. In addition, globally creative economies are on the rise. However, from the point of view of the artists’ artistic credibility and cultural life, it is important to state that Northern Finland has in recent years remained in the state arts grants in Finland and Pirkanmaa.

The European Capital of Culture Project also helps a creative economy, for example the livelihood of artists, by bringing them visibility, awareness and credibility. At the same time it adds regional equality in artistic life throughout Finland. This is how the European Capital of Culture project also brings out from Oulu these vital sources of funding.

The European Capital of Culture Project focuses specifically on the Oulu region and all of Northern Finland. Attentively, the project is about a stimulus that brings benefits to businesses, tourism and the citizens. Being that the culture supply is increasing, people who are interested in the area also accelerate. We know that one festival visitor, for example, spends about 100 Euros that stays in the community. How much would the Oulu region benefit financially from a multi-year project?

In September, creative advisors were selected for the European Capital of Culture project. Creative advisors represent a diverse range of artists and culture with a vision and experience on the cultural economy and specifically its practical implementation in Oulu, Finland and Europe. Creative advisors recognize the weaknesses and strengths of Oulu around which they will develop a solid application.

In order to become the European Capital of Culture, Oulu must meet the exact criteria. As we make our application, we examine the facts critically. In the Oulu region, cultural accessibility could be improved. When writing a project application, one should consider, for example, how to bring older people to culture, how immigrants find joy in Oulu, and how culture affects urban people, even outside the heart of the city.

We are answering the questions together with urban and creative advisors. I would like to emphasize that the European Capital of Culture project is a project for every citizen of Oulu and Northern Finland as a whole.

Juha Hänninen
Chairperson
City Council of Oulu