Oulu, Finland

Oulu, at 65° N, will be the Northernmost Baltic Way site thus far. (Reykjavik is a bit over 64° N.)

The town of Oulu was founded in 1605 by King Charles IX of Sweden at the mouth of river Oulu. Remnants of the fortress he commissioned are still visible on an island facing the the center of the city.

Oulu has long Baltic traditions. The export of tar produced in the northern woods of Finland and carried downstream to Oulu in special boats brought prosperity to the “tar burghers” of Oulu in the 19th and early 20th century. At times, the Oulu commercial fleet was the largest in Finland. At present, Oulu, the fifth largest city in Finland with some 200000 inhabitants, is best known by its high tech industries. When entering the Oulu Airport you will see the text Welcome to the Capital of Northern Scandinavia. There is some exaggeration, but in fact Oulu has profiled itself as a Northern hub for some time. Its commercial services draw customers from a large area, extending to the North-Western regions of Russia.

Oulu’s traditions in education are as old as the city itself. Three of the 12 Presidents of Finland have received their school education in Oulu. Oulu University was founded in 1958. It is an all-round university with some 16000 students, the fourth largest university in Finland.

In early November, the temperature in Oulu usually is around zero, but can be much lower. Most likely there will not yet be snow on earth of ice on the sea. The Sun will rise around 8.30 and set again at about 15.30. This is in contrast to the very short nights at summer time. Check Oulu weather!

Oulu is a city of cyclists. The terrain is quite flat and the network of cycling paths is probably the best in Finland.

Oulu Airport is the second busiest one in Finland. There are approximately 15 daily connections from Helsinki, operated by Finnair and Norwegian. Unfortunately, the services to Stockholm and Riga, still active a couple of yaers ago, have been cancelled, due to the recession times. By rail, Oulu is about 6 hours from Helsinki. By bus, the travel time is somewhat longer, but may be cheaper.