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Basic information (Perustietoa)
The City of Oulu is located by the Gulf of Bothnia around 600 kilometres north of Helsinki. Oulu is the centre of Northern Finland. The municipalities of Haukipudas, Kiiminki, Oulunsalo and Yli-Ii merged into Oulu on 1 January 2013, and currently, Oulu is the fifth largest city in Finland. Oulu's total population is 205,489 (31 December 2019).
Oulu is known for its cooperative, competent people, active development, high-class services, and versatile business structure. Oulu has an established a reputation in Finland and abroad as a city of advanced technology.
Oulu has long traditions as an international area. For centuries, the city has had international connections through the sea and trading, among other things. The number of foreigners is increasing steadily in Oulu. In 2019, there were around 6,174 foreigners in Oulu from 128 countries.
Oulu can be reached quickly from every direction and with several means of transportation. There is an international airport in Oulu. All highways in the region lead to Oulu, and the city's railway station is also one of the busiest in Finland.
Resident centres (Asukastuvat)
The City of Oulu provides the facilities for the resident centre activities. Third sector bodies, such as resident associations, are responsible for the operations of the resident centres.
There are currently 11 resident centres in Oulu in various parts of the city. The centres are ‘shared living rooms’ intended for everyone. You are welcome to visit a resident centre, regardless of where you live. Resident centres operate in various kinds of facilities, such as in detached houses, or in connection with a school or a multipurpose hall. The operation and services of resident centres vary depending on the area. Some resident centres offer a sewing service and IT training and assistance, for example. Resident centres that operate in connection with a school or a multipurpose hall offer an opportunity for sport, such as gym, exercise and volleyball. It is recommended to browse through the offering in advance.
All centres have a cafe and the opportunity to use a computer with a free-of-charge Internet connection. Most resident centres also offer the opportunity to enjoy an affordable lunch prepared at the centre that is served on weekdays.
At a resident centre, you can have a cup of coffee or lunch, use a computer, read newspapers, take part in various hobbies, participate in shared happenings and events, meet friends or make new acquaintances. The centres offer the opportunity to participate in volunteer work as a recreational or hobby instructor, for example.
The facilities of a resident centre can also be reserved for meetings, for example. Reservations are made at the resident centre in question where you will also receive more detailed information and instructions.
Community centres (Yhteisötalot)
In addition to resident centres, there are three community centres in Oulu maintained by the City of Oulu, Aleksinkulma, Honkapirtti and Oulunsalo that offer facilities for various kinds of festivities, meetings, clubs and leisure activities. You can receive more information on the operation of the centres, their facilities and prices by contacting the community centre in question.
You can access the Internet free of charge at city libraries, Oulu10 service point and some resident centres. You can obtain an Internet connection to your home from a service provider for a fee. These include DNA, Elisa and Telia. You can get more information on subscription types and prices from service providers.
The City of Oulu also offers its residents a free-of-charge wireless Internet connection in the city centre.
Oulu Tourist Information (Oulun kaupungin matkailuneuvonta)
You are welcome to get tips on sights, events, leisure time activities and culture and nature activities from Oulu Tourist Information. We provide a wide range of brochures and maps on Oulu, the Oulu region and the whole of Finland, free of charge.
Oulu Tourist Information (Oulun kaupungin matkailuneuvonta)
Hallituskatu 36 B
Telephone: 08 558 41330
Further information: Traffic
Local buses are a good way to get around in the Oulu region. There are about 40 bus routes, some of which run all the way to nearby municipalities. In addition to regular bus routes, the city has three City Bussi routes that run in and around the city centre and have a cheaper ticket price.
In the city centre, nearly all bus routes run along Torikatu. Timetables, ticket prices and route maps are available on the website of Oulu public transportation in Finnish and English.
You can order a taxi by calling or you can get one at a taxi stand where vacant taxis wait for passengers. A taxi ride can be paid for with cash or a debit or credit card.
A telephone number for a taxi and price information can be found online in Finnish and English.
The central area of Oulu features paid, time-restricted and non-restricted parking spaces.
A parking disc, which is a blue plastic disc with a clock face, must be used in time-restricted parking areas. Set the arrival time to the next full half-hour and leave the disc in a visible position behind the windscreen. Discs are available for purchase at service stations and department stores.
The price of paid parking areas depends on the parking zone. Parking is more expensive in the city centre than in the peripheral areas. The fees for paid parking are handled through a payment machine near the parking area. A fee can be paid with coins, a card or by using a mobile phone.
Traffic signs indicate the parking rules applicable in each respective location, observe the signs when arriving in a parking area.
Oulu is a beautiful city for cycling. There is an extensive cycling network in the city that extends from one district to another and the surrounding municipalities. Cycling lanes are also maintained in good condition in winter, and many locals cycle year-round.
Traffic connections (Liikennelinkkejä)
Several regional and long-distance busses operate from the bus station in Oulu.
There are railway connections to everywhere in Finland from the railway station in Oulu.
There are several regular flights from Oulu airport to Helsinki, other domestic cities as well as international destinations.
Further information: Cultures and religions in Finland
Decision-making and public engagement (Päätöksenteko ja vaikuttaminen)
The City Council holds practical control over the development of the city with regard to the use of financial power in matters related to tax rate and general grounds for payments, for example, the council also sets qualitative and operational goals for the administrative branches.
The City Board carries the responsibility for the city's administration and finances, prepares matters for decision by the City Council, and ensures the implementation and validity of the council's decisions.
The highest-ranking officials in the City of Oulu are the mayor and the heads of various service areas.
Public engagement (Vaikuttaminen)
Municipal residents can influence local matters by voting in the municipal election, which is held every four years. In addition, municipal residents have other opportunities for engagement, such as submitting an initiative, giving feedback, contacting city representatives and officials, and taking part in public events, surveys and discussions.
Involvement and public engagement of children and young people (Lasten ja nuorten osallisuus ja vaikuttaminen)
The youth and educational services of the City of Oulu have created a model that promotes public engagement and participation among children and young people, along with increasing their opportunities to make a difference.
Public engagement of municipal residents and community activities (Kuntalaisvaikuttaminen ja yhteisötoiminta)
The public engagement of municipal residents and community activities support societal participation among local residents. The aim is to create a city where everyone can influence matters that affect their residential areas and the entire city, as well as the preparation and decision-making related to these matters. Under community activities, you can find more information on regional cooperation groups, resident centres and resident communities.
Further information: Finnish society - Suomalainen yhteiskunta