The Finnish city of Oulu, European Capital of Culture 2026, announces an Open Call for cultural programme partners

The Open Call for international partners of the Oulu 2026 cultural programme will be launched in October 2022. The preliminary announcement of the Open Call is available on the Oulu2026 website   

(The first open call webinar is available at

The Oulu2026 organisation is offering an unmissable opportunity in autumn 2022 for partners to become part of the capital of culture programme. The autumn 2022 Open Call is specifically aimed at large-scale projects that take several years to prepare or carry out. The call for applications for individual, communal projects will be announced nearer 2026. 

What type of projects are we looking for? 

The goal of the Oulu2026 cultural programme is to achieve a permanent cultural climate change and a positive development fuelled by culture in Northern Finland. Naturally, the operative focus of the projects is on the capital of culture year 2026 but they may be launched earlier. 

The projects are expected to deliver a European dimension through, for example, involving international cooperation partners. 

Who can apply? 

The Open Call for applications in October is open for Finnish and international actors. Funding may be applied for by private individuals, groups, associations, networks, businesses, organisations, and public institutions. The application must indicate the lead organisation or person in charge of the project. 

Application process 

Start by familiarising yourselves with the three main themes and the cultural programme described in the Bid Book of Oulu2026. 

More detailed application instructions, criteria and terms and conditions for funding will be published on the website of Oulu2026 on 1 September 2022. 

The application form will be available on the Open Call website from 3 October 2022. 

The call for applications closes on 9 December 2022. The final decisions will be announced by 31 May 2023. 

What are the application criteria? 

The autumn 2022 Open Call is aimed at projects related to the main themes Wild City, Cool Contrasts and Brave Hinterland.  

The project must be linked to one or several of the three main themes. Focus areas relevant to the themes include art and technology, the cultural history within the Oulu2026 region, creative spaces and places, regional food culture, combining nature and art, festival development, the promotion of minority cultures and a sustainable future. 

The projects must be ready to be delivered independently with funding provided. 

The projects must have a wide-reaching impact and the ability to offer unique experiences, permanent change or new models of operation. The focus of the project must be on 2026 but it may be launched earlier if this supports the achievement of the key goals. 

The purpose of the Open Call is to support unique artistic and cultural initiatives. The purpose is not to offer funding for regular operations of organisations and actors, but rather encourage established organisations and actors to envision programme that complements and furthers the daily operations. 

The project must mainly take place within the Oulu2026 region. 

What type of costs can be covered? 

As a rule, the funding awarded will cover up to approximately 50% of the total budget. The application must include a budget for the project. The self-financing may be obtained through, for example, sales or fees, grants and sponsorship. The remaining funding may also include salaries and voluntary work. 

The Open Call is specifically aimed at projects, not regular and established activities. 

Infrastructure and property costs (e.g., rent, building service charges, repairs and building work and equipment) may be funded only if they form an essential part of a larger project and account for a reasonable part of the overall budget. 

The application instructions published on 1st September will provide further details about the application and funding. 

Need further information? 

The webinars and help desks organised during the summer and autumn will provide more information about the Open Call. 

You can book a time from our Oulu2026 team in September to discuss more about your project, how to apply and get prepared for submitting your application! 

Book a time 

Do you have any questions? 

Please email us at [email protected] 


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