Oulu has been selected as the European Capital of Culture 2026. The selection was announced by an international panel of experts in Helsinki on 2 June 2021.
“Of course, it is a pity that we were not selected,” admits the Mayor of Tampere, Lauri Lyly, and continues: “Warm congratulations to the winner, who deservedly was chosen.”
“As always after such a long period of work, it always makes you sad and wonder why we are in this situation now,” says Perttu Pesä, the director of the bid project.
“First of all, congratulations to, of course, Oulu for being selected. I encourage all the people of Tampere and Pirkanmaa to keep their heads up because the valuable work that has been done will not be wasted”, says Perttu Pesä.
The mayor also thinks it is worth welcoming: “Nevertheless, we, the Region of Pirkanmaa are winners, because the application process has highlighted our wide and diverse cultural offer.”
Even though, the decision of the selection panel has ended the preparations for the European Capital of Culture year in full scale and the planned cultural program will not be implemented to the proposed extent, this does not mean that unnecessary work has been done in the Tampere Region.
“The application book package prepared jointly by Tampere and Pirkanmaa contains sections that we will implement in any case. We have gained new impetus and good ideas during the application process to develop a common cultural offering and new experiences. This is certainly not a waste at all”, Lyly says.
Already during the application process. Tampere26 has been working on a “Plan B”, in case Tampere is not selected. This means that about 10% of the cultural programme mentioned in the Bid Book will be implemented anyway. The 19 other municipalities in the Tampere Region are involved and committed to the implementation of Plan B.
“We are launching a programme, in which we will thoughtfully implement the sections of our bid book that we consider most relevant to our region and our current regional and European issues. The people of the Tampere Region can enjoy new cultural content throughout the region”, Lyly also assures.
The Tampere26 Capital of Culture bid was officially launched in March 2019. In addition to the actual application team, hundreds of cultural actors from all over the Tampere Region have participated in the application project for more than two years.