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Oulun kaupunki
coat of arms map
Coat of arms of Oulu Location of Oulu in Finland
Basic data
State : FinlandFinland Finland
Landscape : Northern Ostrobothnia
Administrative community : Oulu
Geographical location 65 ° 1 ′  N , 25 ° 28 ′  E Coordinates: 65 ° 1 ′  N , 25 ° 28 ′  E
Surface: 1,513.42 km²
of which land area: 1,410.19 km²
of which inland waterways: 34.54 km²
of which sea area: 68.69 km²
Residents : 203,567 (Dec. 31, 2018)
Population density : 144.4 inhabitants / km²
Municipality number : 564
Postcodes : 90000 - 90801
Language (s) : Finnish
Website : ouka.fi
Oulu satellite image

Oulu [ ˈɔu̯lu ] ( listen ? / I ) ( Swedish Uleåborg [ ˈʉːlɛoːˌbɔrj ]) is a city in northern Finland . It is the largest city in Northern Finland, the fifth largest city in Finland and the northernmost major city in the European Union . Audio file / audio sample

While Oulu used to be famous for wood tar and salmon , today the city is best known as a center of the Finnish IT industry and for its distinctive wellness culture . Other important industries are wood processing and papermaking. Within a radius of 200 km there are two integrated steel works (in Raahe and Tornio), a ferrochrome mine (in Kemi) and a pulp mill (in Kemi). The Oulu Airport is the second most frequented on the country and is located about 15 kilometers south, in Oulunsalo . The University of Oulu is the largest in the country outside the greater Helsinki area and is located six kilometers north of the city center.

Oulu is famous for the annual air guitar world championship, the Mieskuoro Huutajat ( The Screaming Male Choir ) and a wide range of cultural opportunities. The Qstock rock festival has been held annually in Oulu at the end of July since 2003.


Oulu is located at the mouth of the Oulujoki in the Gulf of Bothnia . The city covers an area of ​​449.2  km² , of which 79.5 km² is water. At the beginning of 2009, the city area was expanded by 1061.07 km² and almost 3,400 inhabitants by incorporating the municipality of Ylikiiminki east of Oulu .

Climate table

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: wetterkontor.de
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Oulu
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) -7.4 -6.8 -1.7 4.5 12.2 17.9 20.4 17.8 11.9 5.5 -0.6 -4.9 O 5.8
Min. Temperature (° C) -15.4 -14.7 -10.1 -3.4 2.8 8.8 11.4 9.5 4.9 0.3 -5.9 -12.1 O −1.9
Precipitation ( mm ) 26th 21st 23 19th 30th 43 57 65 48 42 31 28 Σ 433
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 0.7 2.2 4.1 6.3 8.6 9.6 9.2 6.6 4.2 2.4 1.0 0.3 O 4.6
Rainy days ( d ) 8th 7th 6th 6th 7th 8th 9 10 10 9 9 9 Σ 98
Humidity ( % ) 86 85 82 74 67 65 70 77 82 85 88 88 O 79.1
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: wetterkontor.de


Oulu seen from the northeast (1840)

The name (originally Owla or Oula ) of the city comes from the Sami languages and means something like flood or flowing water .

Oulu was on April 8, 1605 by King Charles IX. founded by Sweden. Just five years after it was founded, the place received city ​​rights . In 1776 the city became the capital of the province of Oulu . After it was almost completely destroyed by a major fire in 1822, it was rebuilt according to plans by Johan Albrecht Ehrenström . In the 19th century, Oulu was one of the most important northern European ports for the export of timber tar, along with Arkhangelsk . This was produced in large quantities in the hinterland, transported in tar barrels across the Oulujoki River and then shipped from Oulu to all of Europe . In 2005, Oulu celebrated its 400th anniversary.

For some years now, due to the technology companies based in Oulu, the number of inhabitants and the city have grown rapidly, so that Oulu is now referred to as the “ boom town ” of the north. In addition, the high birth rate in the Northern Ostrobothnia region, where Oulu is by far the largest city, is contributing to growth. It is 2.38 children / woman, which is more than the 2.1 children necessary for a stagnant population.

Development of the population (December 31) :

  • 1983 - 96,243
  • 1987-98,582
  • 1990 - 101,379
  • 1997 - 113,567
  • 1999 - 117,670
  • 2000 - 120,753
  • 2001 - 123,274
  • 2002 - 124,588
  • 2003 - 125,970
  • 2004 - 127,226
  • 2005 - 128,962
  • 2006 - 130,178
  • 2007 - 131,585
  • 2008 - 133,541
  • 2010 - 139,133


City council

The 2017 local elections in Finland on April 9, 2017 for the electoral period from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2021 (four years) led to the result shown in the table in Vantaa. The turnout was 56.0%.

The Liberal Center Party is the strongest party with 24.2% of the vote. It has 17 seats in the local council, to which 67 members belong. It is followed by the conservative rallying party, which received 19.9% ​​and received 13 seats. The left alliance has eleven seats, the Green Bund 10 seats, and the Social Democratic Party eight. In addition, the Basic Finns (6 seats), the Christian Democrats and the ASY group (1 seat each) are represented in the municipal council.

Oulu City Hall (built 1886)
Composition of the City Council (2018-2021)
Political party Share of votes +/-% p Seats +/- Allocation of seats from January 1, 2018
Center Party 24.2% - 2.9 17th - 2nd
A total of 67 seats
National rally party 19.1% - 0.8 13 ± 0
Left alliance 16.0% + 1.5 11 + 1
Green covenant 14.1% + 4.7 10 + 3
Social Democratic Party 12.3% - 1.3 08th - 1
Base fins 08.3% - 3.3 06th - 2nd
Finnish Christian Democrats 02.4% + 0.5 01 ± 0
ASY 01.5% + 1.5 01 + 1

coat of arms

Description: The coat of arms is divided into red and silver. Above is a golden tinned castle with two blue open passages on top of which there are golden towers with similar colored pennants pointing to the left and each has a blue window. Below is a red-flooded blue salmon with a red eye swimming to the right .

Town twinning

The city of Oulu has twinned cities with the following cities:

Culture and sights


The Turkansaari Open-Air Museum is located 13 kilometers south-east of the city and features 27 historic wooden buildings and a church. Ainola Park, north of the city center, houses the local history museum for the city and province of Oulu, as well as an art museum and a maritime museum.


Sofia Magdalena Cathedral of Oulu (1777/1832)

As in Helsinki , the architect Carl Ludwig Engel also has a share in the historical building fabric in Oulu . After the city fire of 1822, he took over the reconstruction of the cathedral (Tuomiokirkko), which was built between 1771 and 1776 . Above the door to the sacristy is the oldest oil painting in Finland, the portrait of Johannes Messenius . Oulu is also home to the Trinity Orthodox Cathedral .

Southwest of the cathedral is the Neo-Renaissance town hall from 1886. It has a beautiful reception room with Bohemian crystal chandeliers.

Regular events

Oulu regularly hosts the International Theater Festival for Children and Young People at the end of February .

In the middle of June each year, the Tar Burning Week takes place, an insight into the time when wood tar made Oulu famous.

Since 1996, the air guitar world championship has been held in Oulu as part of the Oulun Musiikki Video Festivaalit ( Oulu Music Video Festival ).

The two-day rock festival Qstock takes place annually at the end of July and is the largest summer event in Northern Finland.


Kärpät wins the Finnish ice hockey championship in 2005

The most important sports facility is the Oulun Energia Areena , home of the ice hockey team Oulun Kärpät and Laser HT . Kärpät is a seven-time Finnish ice hockey champion and was twice runner-up in the IIHF European Champions Cup .

The AC Oulu football club plays in the Veikkausliiga . Oulu continues to have two teams competing in the highest bandy league: Oulun Luistinseura , OLS, is 15-time Finnish champion, while Oulun Palloseura , OPS, won seven championships. In 2001 the Bandy World Championship was held in Oulu .

Regular sporting events

The Terwahölkkä Marathon takes place at the end of May every year , a running event in which over 1,000 running enthusiasts take part.

In addition, there are various events in the areas of winter sports, water sports and fun sports, such as B. the wooden tar rowing in mid-June on the Oulujoki.

Economy and Infrastructure


Oulu, train station (1886)

The fastest train connection is the Pendolino from VR , it takes 5 hours 44 minutes to cover the 680 kilometers between Oulu and Helsinki. The speed on this route Oulu – Helsinki is different. From Oulu to Seinäjoki (approx. 350 km south of Oulu) it is 140 km / h. From Seinäjoki to Tampere (approx. 180 km) there is a fast connection with 160 km / h. From Tampere to Helsinki (approx. 175 km) the speed is mostly 200 km / h. The reason for these speeds was linked to the goal of getting through Finland as quickly as possible - something that is still being worked on with new lines.

In the station , the trains no longer have to be switched from electric locomotives to diesel operation, as these have been running on electric locomotives as far as Rovaniemi for several years . The station has a loading point for motorail trains .

There are direct flights to Helsinki and flights to holiday regions within Europe from Oulu Airport in the neighboring municipality of Oulunsalo .

Oulu has a very well developed network of cycle paths, very often with underpasses under large streets and up to two meters wide. Oulu manages the high cycling share of 12% of the routes in winter and in 2013 is hosting the world's only congress on cycling in winter.

Economic structure

Oulu is an internationally known location for high technology, especially for telecommunications and IT . More traditional industries such as paper and steel are also well represented in Oulu. The focus of today's, future-oriented development work in IT, media technology , bio and environmental technology, as well as in the wellness industry are strongly promoted in Oulu. The production of wood tar that made Oulu famous has largely lost its importance.

Oulu endeavors to encourage the settlement of high-tech companies and ensures this with the availability of building space and good infrastructure .

Established businesses

Technopolis, Stora Enso , VTT (Technical Research Center) and Nokia should be mentioned here in particular . The largest manufacturing company in Oulu is Nokia with 4,700 employees (2008). The largest employer in Oulu is the city of Oulu itself with 9,760 employees (2008), the university hospital has 5,546 employees and in fourth place (after Nokia) is the University of Oulu with 3,050 employees. Other employers: Stora Enso Oyj (1,155 employees), K-ryhmä (1,054 employees), Itella Oyj (920 employees), Osuuskauppa Arina (830 employees), ODL Konserni (694 employees) (all data from 2008)


The University of Oulu , founded in 1958, is one of the largest universities in Finland with almost 17,000 students. It is located five kilometers north of the city ​​center in the Linnanmaa district . The university is divided into faculties for humanities, natural sciences, medicine, education, technology and economics, the largest of which are the faculty of natural sciences and the faculty of technology. Historically, the university played a major role in the boom in the IT industry in the 1990s.

There is also a university of applied sciences with various departments spread over the entire city area and a conservatory. 9000 students take advantage of the opportunity to study in various departments. The Diakonia University of Applied Sciences, which is affiliated with the Protestant Church, offers higher education on its campus in the city center.

sons and daughters of the town



  1. Maanmittauslaitos (Finnish land surveying office): Suomen pinta-alat kunnittain January 1, 2010 . ( Memento from May 20, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Statistical Office Finland: Table 11ra - Key figures on population by region, 1990-2018
  3. ^ Yleisradio (Finnish public broadcaster), Oulu election results , accessed on February 2, 2020
  4. Kuntavaalit 2017 - Vantaa
  5. ^ Oulu website
  6. Information motorail trains Finland ( Memento from February 3, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  7. http://www.ibikeoulu.com/ Winter Cycling Congress February 13-14, 2013

Web links

Commons : Oulu  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files