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Kuvassa Jouko Niinimäki

“I participate in cultural events together with my family every time there is an interesting opportunity.”

Jouko Niinimäki was born in Oulu and is a Doctor of Technology who has worked at the University of Oulu since 1995. The past years, he has acted as the Rector of the University. He studied in Oulu and graduated from the University of Oulu as an engineer. He has several positions of responsibility in various foundations and boards. 

How do you find Oulu as a city right now?

Oulu is a great city where we have plenty good things and wonderful events. The citizens of Oulu have all the reasons to be proud of their city, but we should see things more positively and through that create common good. We could speak more positively about our city to others. Maybe we are somewhat too self-critical. Maybe we could increase the positive feelings about our city with the Capital of Culture position. 

What are your thoughts about joining the board of the Foundation?

I’m happy and proud that I was chosen to the board. I see this as a great opportunity and I’m ready to work together with the Oulu2026 team to achieve the goals. It is a shared project, so it is important to engage operators, citizens and those living in the surrounding municipalities. 

What relevance does the Capital Culture title have for the city?

The Capital of Culture 2026 is an endeavour. A common endeavour that the project forms, diversifies our cultural offering and consumption of culture. I believe that through the project, there will be many kinds of and varied, large and small cultural offerings that will change Oulu more than we might think at this stage. 

What are you specifically bringing to the Foundation? 

I have a big community behind me from the university, so I am able to help in creating connections with them. We have many good practices place at the university that can be connected and utilised in the Capital of Culture activities. 

How do you spend your spare time?

I spend my spare time exercising in different ways and going around in the nature. I participate in cultural events together with my family every time there is an interesting opportunity. I think as a cultural consumer, I am typical citizen of Oulu.