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Oulu Travel Guide, Finland

Oulu, Finland - Overview

Oulu is the biggest city in the northern part of Finland and was established by King Karl IX in 1605.  The city is located by the mouth of the Oulu River, and its name comes from a Sami word that means 'flood water'.  However, there are also other translations.  This city has been the capital of the province of Oulu since 1776 and used to be known as a salmon and wood tar town.

However, Oulu has now grown into a competence center for technology.  The city is known for having competent and cooperative people, high-class services, a strong economy, a versatile structure of business, and active development.  Oulu also offers people a great environment for research and development, working, and studying.

As of January 2008, the city had a population of 131,585, consisting 48.9% of men, 51.1% of women, and 1.95% of the total population are foreigners.  This population makes this area the sixth biggest in the country, and it has been one of the quickest growing urban centers for many years now.  The youthful structure of Oulu is what sets it apart from the other cities in Finland, as there is a consistent flow of job applicants and students.  The region around Oulu has also had a high nativity.  On the 1st of January in 2008, the age average of the people who were living in the city was 36.7 years old.

Industry and Business

Oulu is known around the world as a technology center, and the cooperation between public, research, enterprises, and education organizations has given Oulu significant results.  The city is also known as a main competence center for high technology, specifically wellness technology and IT technology.

Oulu also has more traditional industries that include steel, paper, and wood refining industries; these are also strong industries in Oulu.  The city is investing more in extensive business developments, as well as content production, environmental and bio fields, media, information technology, and logistics.


There are plenty means of transport in Oulu, whether it is by road, air, or rail.  The city is the home of Oulu Airport, which is the second biggest airport in the country in terms of the number of passengers.  There is also a railway station that travelers can use for commuting, the Oulu Railway Station, which is serviced by VR.  The station operates both day and night services to destinations that include Tampere, Seinäjoki, Rovaniemi, Kolari and, of course, Helsinki.

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