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In order to book an accommodation in Oulu enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found Oulu hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on Oulu map to estimate the distance from the main Oulu attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of Oulu hotels and see their ratings.

When a hotel search in Oulu is done, please select the room type, the included meals and the suitable booking conditions (for example, "Deluxe double room, Breakfast included, Non-Refundable"). Press the "View Deal" ("Book Now") button. Make your booking on a hotel booking website and get the hotel reservation voucher by email. That's it, a perfect hotel in Oulu is waiting for you!

Hotels of Oulu

A hotel in Oulu is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Oulu hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Oulu are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Oulu hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Oulu hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Oulu have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Oulu
An upscale full service hotel facility in Oulu that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Oulu hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Oulu
Full service Oulu hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Oulu
Boutique hotels of Oulu are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Oulu boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Oulu may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Oulu
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Oulu travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Oulu focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Oulu
Small to medium-sized Oulu hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Oulu traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Oulu hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Oulu
A bed and breakfast in Oulu is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Oulu bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Oulu B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Oulu
Oulu hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Oulu hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Oulu
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Oulu hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Oulu lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Oulu
Oulu timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Oulu often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Oulu on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Oulu
A Oulu motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Oulu for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Oulu motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Oulu

Oulun kaupunki
Uleåborg stad
Top: Rantakatu in downtown Oulu, Oulu City HallMiddle: Oulun Lyseon Lukio and the Oulu CathedralBottom: Shops along Kirkkokatu, Radisson Blu Hotel along Ojakatu
Top: Rantakatu in downtown Oulu, Oulu City Hall
Middle: Oulun Lyseon Lukio and the Oulu Cathedral
Bottom: Shops along Kirkkokatu, Radisson Blu Hotel along Ojakatu
Coat of arms of OuluUleåborg
Coat of arms
Official logo of OuluUleåborg
Location of Oulu in Finland
Location of Oulu in Finland
Coordinates:  / 65.017; 25.467  / 65.017; 25.467
Country Finland
Region Pohjois-Pohjanmaan vaakuna.svg Northern Ostrobothnia
Sub-region Oulu sub-region
Charter 1605-04-08
• City manager Matti Pennanen
Area (2016-01-01)
• City 3,031.64 km (1,170.52 sq mi)
• Land 1,410.17 km (544.47 sq mi)
• Water 103.2 km (39.8 sq mi)
• Urban 187.1 km (72.2 sq mi)
Area rank 17th largest in Finland
Population (2016-03-31)
• City 198,804
• Rank 5th largest in Finland
• Density 140.98/km (365.1/sq mi)
• Urban 200,071
• Urban density 915.8/km (2,372/sq mi)
Population by native language
• Finnish 97.3% (official)
• Swedish 0.2%
• Others 2.4%
Population by age
• 0 to 14 17%
• 15 to 64 70.5%
• 65 or older 12.5%
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
• Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Municipal tax rate 19%
Website www.ouka.fi

Oulu (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈoulu]; Swedish: Uleåborg [ˌʉːleɔˈbɔrj]) is a city and municipality of 198,804 inhabitants (31 March 2016) in the region of Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland. It is the most populous city in Northern Finland and the fifth most populous city in the country. There are no larger cities, apart from Murmansk, Russia, that are more northerly than Oulu. It is also considered one of Europe's "living labs", where residents experiment with new technology (such as NFC tags and ubi-screens) at a community-wide scale.

Oulu: Etymology

The city is named after the river Oulujoki, which originates in the lake Oulujärvi. There have been a number of other theories for the origin of the name Oulu. One possible source for the name Oulu is a word in the Sami language meaning 'flood water', but there are other suggestions. At minimum, the structure of the word requires that, if originally given by speakers of a Uralic language, the name must be a derivative. In all likelihood, it also predates Finnish settlement and is thus a loanword from one of the now-extinct Saami languages once spoken in the area.

The most probable theory is that the name derives from the Finnish dialectal word oulu, meaning "floodwater", which is related to e.g. Southern Sami åulo, meaning "melted snow", åulot meaning "thaw" (of unknown ultimate origin). Two other word families have also been speculated to be related. The first is seen in the Northern Savo dialectal word uula and its Sami counterpart oalli, both meaning "river channel". The second is the Uralic root reconstructed as *uwa, meaning "river bed" (reflected as vuo in modern Finnish, also in derivatives such as vuolas "heavy-flowing"). To either of these roots, some Sami variety would have to be assumed having added further derivational suffixes.

Oulu: History

Drawing of central Oulu from the 19th Century

Oulu was founded on April 8, 1605, by King Charles IX of Sweden, opposite the fort built on the island of Linnansaari. This took place after favourable peace settlements with Russia, which removed the threat of attack via the main east-west waterway, the river Oulu. The surrounding areas were populated much earlier. Oulu is situated by the Gulf of Bothnia, at the mouth of river Oulujoki, which is an ancient trading site. Oulu was the capital of the Province of Oulu from 1776 to 2009.

In 1822, a major fire destroyed much of the city. The architect Carl Ludvig Engel, chiefly known for the neoclassical (empire style) buildings around Helsinki Senate Square, was enlisted to provide the plan for the rebuilding of the city. With minor changes, this plan remains the basis for the layout of Oulu's town center. The Oulu Cathedral was built in 1832 to his designs, with the spire being finished in 1844. During the Crimean War, Oulu's harbour was raided by the British fleet, destroying ships and burning tar houses, leading to international criticism.

Once known for wood tar and salmon, Oulu has evolved into a major high-tech centre, particularly in IT and wellness technology. Other prominent industries include wood refining, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paper, and steel.

The municipality of Ylikiiminki was merged with the city of Oulu on January 1, 2009. Oulu and the municipalities of Haukipudas, Kiiminki, Oulunsalo, and Yli-Ii were merged on January 1, 2013.

Oulu: Geography

A satellite image showing the Oulu region in 2007

Oulu: Subdivisions

Oulu is divided into 106 city districts. The largest of these are Haukipudas, Oulunsalo, Kaakkuri, Ritaharju, Tuira, and Kello.

Oulu: Climate

Oulu has a subarctic climate Dfc with cold, snowy winters and short, warm summers. Average annual temperature is 2.7 °C (36.9 °F). The average annual precipitation is 477 mm (18.78 in) falling 105 days per year, mostly in late summer and fall.

Climate data for Oulu, Finland normals 1981-2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 7.2
Average high °C (°F) −6
Daily mean °C (°F) −9.6
Average low °C (°F) −13.6
Record low °C (°F) −37.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 31
Average precipitation days 10 8 8 6 7 7 9 10 9 10 11 10 105
Average relative humidity (%) (daily average) 87 86 82 73 67 66 71 76 82 86 90 89 80
Mean monthly sunshine hours 24 69 137 208 273 296 283 212 133 69 28 8 1,740
Source #1: FMI climatological normals for Finland 1981-2010
Source #2: record highs and lows

Oulu: Demographics

In 2008, there were 316 Swedish speaking inhabitants, which was 0.2% of the total population, making the city unilingual. In 2007, there were 2,417 foreign citizens living in the city, of whom 618 were from elsewhere in the EU. 51.1% of the population is female.

Oulu: Population

The population growth of Oulu (and merged municipalities) 1980–2015
Year Population
121 809
128 869
136 029
146 395
160 851
173 436
185 419
196 956
Source: Tilastokeskus

Oulu: Culture

Air Guitar World Championships 2012, an annual event held in Oulu since 1996

The best known cultural exports of the city of Oulu are Air Guitar World Championships, Mieskuoro Huutajat (also known as Screaming Men), and the now defunct metal band Sentenced.

Many artists, writers, and musicians live in the city. A variety of concerts-rock, classical, and jazz-as well as other cultural events take place each year. Examples include the Oulu Music Video Festival, the Air Guitar World Championships, and the Musixine Music Film Competition, all in August. In July, the annual rock festival Qstock takes place. The Oulu Music Festival is held in winter and the Oulunsalo Music Festival in summer. The Irish Festival of Oulu takes place each October and the International Children's Film Festival each November.

Museums in Oulu include the Northern Ostrobothnia museum, the Oulu Museum of Art (OMA), the Tietomaa science center, and the Turkansaari open-air museum.

Notable statues and sculptures in Oulu include a sculpture of Frans Michael Franzén and The Bobby at the Market Place statue.

Kalmah is a melodic death metal-band from Oulu that formed in 1998.

Oulu: Sights

  • Tietomaa, a science center with over 150 exhibits
  • The Rapids Center, the area in the estuary of the Oulu river consisting of small islands connected with bridges and fountains in the middle of the river, and including a housing area of building blocks planned by Alvar Aalto
  • The Market Square with the City Library, the City Theatre and old salt and tar storehouses
  • Hupisaaret Islands, a large park area located in the estuary of the Oulu river
  • The F. M. Franzen memorial
  • The Koitelinkoski rapids
  • The Northern Ostrobothnia museum
  • The Pateniemi Sawmill Museum
  • The Vehicle Museum
  • The University of Oulu Botanical Gardens (situated in Linnanmaa)
  • The Arctic Gallery
  • Technopolis, the technology village
  • Turkansaari (historical open-air museum)

Oulu: Churches

  • Cathedral
  • Haukipudas Church
  • Holy Family of Nazareth Church
  • Holy Trinity Cathedral of Oulu
  • Kiiminki Church
  • Oulujoki Church
  • Oulunsalo Church
  • St. Luke's Chapel
  • Tuira Church
  • Ylikiiminki Church

Oulu: Other points of interest

  • Oulu Music Video Festival
  • Air Guitar World Championships
  • Jalometalli Metal Music Festival
  • The Irish Festival of Oulu
  • Madetoja Hall, housing the Oulu Music Centre (website) the residence of the Oulu Symphony Orchestra
  • Oulu Hall (a large indoor sports facility consisting of a low dome, which looks somewhat like a landed flying saucer)
  • Terwa Marathon & Run event in late May (since 1989)
  • The Terva-skiing event in early March (since 1889)
  • The Winter Swimming World Championship

Oulu: Education

University of Oulu main building.

The University of Oulu and Oulu University of Applied Sciences have their main campuses located in Oulu.

Oulu is home to the most northerly architecture school in the world. The school is best known for its strong regionalistic ideas for developing architecture. This movement is named "the Oulu school" ("Oulun koulu") of architecture.

Oulu Vocational College has over 13 000 students. It houses several different study subjects in different units which are spread over Oulu and neighbouring municipalities. Oulu Vocational College School of Business Studies is one of the few vocational schools which has game programming in its curriculum.

Oulu International School is one of nine schools in Finland offering basic education in English.

Oulu: Transport

The Oulu Bus Station

Oulu is served by Oulu Airport, the second largest airport in Finland by passenger volume. It is located 15 kilometres (9 mi) south-west of the city centre.

The Port of Oulu is one of the busiest harbours on the Bothnian Bay. It includes four separate harbour areas: Vihreäsaari oil and bulk docks, Nuottasaari docks and Oritkari docks.

The shortest travel time from Oulu railway station to Helsinki Central railway station is 5 h 29 min, operated by VR. Other destinations include Kolari, Rovaniemi, Seinäjoki and Tampere.

The most important road in Oulu is Highway 4 (E8/E75) that runs from Helsinki to Utsjoki via Lahti, Jyväskylä, Oulu, Kemi and Rovaniemi. Other highways running to and from Oulu are Highway 20 to Kuusamo and Highway 22 to Kajaani.

Oulu is notable for its transportation network dedicated to non-vehicular traffic including pedestrians and bicycles (termed "light" traffic in Finland). In 2010, the city contained more than 600 kilometres (370 mi) of pathways and more than 100 underpasses and bridges devoted exclusively to light traffic. The network is used year-round. The ratio of light traffic pathways to residents is the highest in Finland and the cycling mode share is 20 percent. Oulu is often touted as an excellent city for bicycling.

In 2015, a large underground parking facility Kivisydän (Heart of Stone) opened in the city center directly beneath main shopping streets. The network of parallel roads for cars and pedestrians was drilled in the rock at the depth of 30 meters. The parking facility includes two ramps, 900 visitor parking lots (expandable to 1500), six access points to the ground served by 19 elevators (expandable to nine and 25), a service facility for commercial delivery vehicles, and ubi-screens which guide the driver to the selected ground access point and help locate the parked car by its license number.

Oulu: Employment

Stora Enso has an important paper manufacturing plant in Oulu.
Nokia premises in Peltola.
Technopolis Linnanmaa is home to nearly 200 corporations.

As of December 31, 2008, the active working population was employed as follows:

Industries Working population
Services 43,049
Industry 11,111
Commerce 10,848
Construction 5,449
Transport 3,698
Farming, forestry and mining 582
Unknown 431
Unemployment rate 16.3% (2016)
Total 75,158

In 2011, the most important employers were:

Employer No. of employees
City of Oulu 9,709
Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District 6,144
University of Oulu 3,045
Nokia Siemens Networks 2,100
Nokia Group 2,000
The Oulu Region Joint Authority for Vocational Training 1,955
Kesko Group 1,426
Cooperative Arina Group (S Group) 1,107
Stora Enso Group 1,155
Itella Corporation 780
ISS Palvelut Oy 730
ODL Group 653

Oulu: Sports

Kärpät wins the Finnish championship in 2005 after beating Jokerit.
Oulun Luistinseura beat Jyväskylän Seudun Palloseura in the 2014 Finland men's national bandy championship final.

Ice hockey is the most popular spectator sport in Oulu. The local club Kärpät have won the SM-liiga championship title seven times (1981, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2015). They have also been the runner-up in the IIHF European Champions Cup twice, in 2005 and 2006.

In football AC Oulu is playing in Ykkönen, the second tier of Finnish league system. Up to date only OPS have claimed Finnish football championship by winning Mestaruussarja twice in 1979 and 1980. Other notable football clubs include OLS, OTP and Tervarit.

Oulu has one well known bandy club. OLS which plays in Bandyliiga and has become Finnish champions 14 times, last in 2014. The other one, OPS, with their 7 championships, and a bronze medal as late as in 2009, announced closing down the bandy team after the 2009-10 season. In 2001 the city was the main venue for the Bandy World Championship.

Oulu is also home to several other sports clubs such as Oulu Northern Lights (American football), Oulun NMKY (Basketball), Oulun Lippo (Pesäpallo), Oulun Pyrintö (Track and field), OYUS (Rugby union), Oulu Irish Elks (Gaelic Football) and ETTA (Volleyball).

Oulun Tervahiihto is an annual ski marathon event, held since 1889.

Terwa Run & Marathon is an annual running event, held since 1989, in late May.

Oulu: Notable people from Oulu

  • Saara Aalto, singer, X-Factor UK finalist 2016
  • Peter von Bagh, film historian and director
  • Vladislav Delay, electronic musician
  • Lars Gallenius, 17th century painter
  • Matti Hautamäki, ski jumper
  • Aaro Hellaakoski, poet
  • V.A. Koskenniemi, poet
  • Leevi Madetoja, composer
  • Frans Michael Franzén, poet
  • Impaled Nazarene, nuclear metal band
  • Leena Peltonen-Palotie, geneticist
  • Susanna Pöykiö, figure skater
  • Mika Ronkainen, filmmaker
  • Keke Rosberg, 1982 Formula 1 world champion
  • Kauko Röyhkä, author and rock musician
  • Sara Wacklin, teacher and writer
  • Mikael Toppelius, church painter
  • Three former Presidents of the country, Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg, Kyösti Kallio and Martti Ahtisaari, also a Nobel Peace Prize laureate
  • Ice Hockey players, Kari Jalonen, Mikael Granlund, Markus Granlund, Joni Pitkänen, Reijo Ruotsalainen, Sebastian Aho, Mika Pyörälä, Lasse Kukkonen
  • Football players, Aki Lahtinen, Antti Niemi and Mika Nurmela

Oulu: International relations

Oulu: Twin towns and sister cities

Oulu is twinned with:

  • Norway Alta, Norway (since 1948)
  • Russia Arkhangelsk, Russia (since 1993)
  • Sweden Boden, Sweden (since 1948)
  • Turkey Bursa, Turkey (since 1978)
  • Germany Halle, Germany (since 1968)
  • Germany Leverkusen, Germany (since 1968)
  • Ukraine Odessa, Ukraine (since 1957)
  • Hungary Siófok, Hungary (since 1978)

Oulu: Partnership and twinning cities

In addition Oulu has eight 'Partnership & Twinning cities':

  • Sweden Luleå, Sweden
  • United Kingdom Glasgow, UK
  • Germany Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Japan Sendai, Japan (since 2005)
  • France Vienne, France
  • Sweden Umeå, Sweden
  • Nicaragua Matagalpa, Nicaragua
  • Tanzania Ilembula, Tanzania

Oulu: International municipal projects

The educational department takes part in Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 in Finland.

Oulu: See also

  • Toppila Power Station

Oulu: References

  1. "Population density by area 1.1.2016". Statistics Finland. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  2. Tarkoma, Jari (2008-01-15). "Taajamissa asuu 84 prosenttia väestöstä". Tiedote (in Finnish). Statistics Finland (Tilastokeskus). Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  3. "Ennakkoväkiluku sukupuolen mukaan alueittain, maaliskuu.2016" (in Finnish). Statistics Finland. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  4. "Population according to language and the number of foreigners and land area km2 by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  5. "Population according to age and gender by area as of 31 December 2008". Statistics Finland's PX-Web databases. Statistics Finland. Retrieved 28 April 2009.
  6. "List of municipal and parish tax rates in 2011". Tax Administration of Finland. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  7. Saylor, Michael (2012). The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything. Perseus Books/Vanguard Press. p. 63.
  8. "Oulu-nimen etymologia". Scripta.kotus.fi. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
  9. "Uusi Oulu" [New Oulu] (in Finnish). Oulu: City of Oulu. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  10. "FMI normals 1981-2010" (PDF). fmi.fi. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  11. "FMI open data". FMI. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  12. "Väestö kielen mukaan sekä ulkomaan kansalaisten määrä ja maa-pinta-ala alueittain 1980–2012" (in Finnish). Tilastokeskus. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  13. Autoilijan Tiekartta 2007 – Road map (Map). 1:800,000. AffectoGenimap Finland Oy. 2006. ISBN 978-951-593-047-7.
  14. Jeffrey Pratte, "Mainstreaming Bicycling in Winter Cities: The case of Oulu, Finland", Masters thesis, University of Manitoba (Canada), 2011. P. 99-100
  15. Anders Swanson, "Winter Cycling for Everyone", (Video, 21:30 min.), Vimeo, 2013
  16. http://www.oulunliikekeskus.fi/parking
  17. http://www.sito.fi/en/2014/08/kivisydan-parking-facility-in-oulu/
  18. "Business and industry" (PDF). Information about Oulu. Oulu: City of Oulu. 2012-01-01. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  19. "Ystävyyskaupungit (Twin Cities)". Oulun kaupunki (City of Oulu) (in Finnish). Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  20. "Vennskapsbyer" (in Norwegian). Alta kommune.
  21. Информация о городах-побратимах (in Russian). arhcity.ru. October 26, 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  22. "Kardeş Şehirler". Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyesi Basın Koordinasyon Merkez. Tüm Hakları Saklıdır. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  23. "Partneri- ja kummikaupungit (Partnership and twinning cities)". Oulun kaupunki (City of Oulu) (in Finnish). Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  • Official website
  • Visitoulu.fi – VisitOulu.fi – Official tourism website of Oulu
  • Oulu travel guide from Wikivoyage
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