Welcome to Finland!
Finland, the happiest country in the world
Finland, a member of the European Union since 1995, counts about 5.3 million inhabitants and with a surface area of roughly 338 000 km2 is the fifth largest country in the EU. With almost 200,000 lakes and dense forests that account for two thirds of its surface area, Finland is a northern country of great natural beauty.
Oulu - On the edge of creativity and nature.
Oulu was established by King Carl IX of Sweden on the mainland opposite Linnansaari Island and the castle.
Oulu is situated by the Gulf of Bothnia, at the mouth of Oulu River, which is an ancient trading site. The name ‘Oulu’ comes from a word in the Sami language meaning floodwater.
From a town known for tar and salmon, Oulu has evolved into a growing modern centre of competence. A diverse and international business sector, a strong economy and a cooperative business culture create a foundation for new business activities. The miracle of technology in Oulu means usability. Technology is used to make everyday life easier.
Oulu created the modern mobile technology and are forerunners in 6G and are now nominated as the European Capital of Culture 2026.
Over centuries, Oulu Market Square has offered its visitors a year-round, lively meeting and trading place which has also required guarding. A peculiar feature in the local policing history were the Market Square policemen who kept an eye on the Market Square and maintained order there. Through them, the townspeople and those who came from the province became acquainted first-hand with the authorities and the police.
Standing at 2.2 metres, the robust policeman with his cap and Sam Browne belt has become a symbol of Oulu over the years and is a popular choice for selfie buddies.
In Oulu, life is an adventure, filled with rich tones of creativity and the magic of pure northern nature.
Currency and Payments
The local currency in Finland is Euro (EUR). All major credit cards are widely accepted in Finland.
For an ATM machine, look for the sign "OTTO". These 24-hour cashpoint machines are widely available and accept the following international ATM and credit cards: Visa, Visa Electron, EuroCard, MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and EC.
Banks are usually open on weekdays 10am - 4:30pm.
Climate and Weather
Summer in Finland is bright. Days are at their longest in the second half of June, when the sun stays above the horizon for 19 hours.
The evenings grow cool towards the end of September, and the days grow noticeably shorter as winter approaches. The crisp air is spiced with the colours of the splendid autumn foliage.
The winter begins in either November or December depending on the year. The temperature fluctuates either side of 0°C. The first snowfall makes the city look picture perfect. The average temperature between December and February is around -4°C. The coldest time of the year is usually at the end of January, when the mercury can fall to below -15°C and the ground is covered by snow.
Spring arrives in Finland usually sometime in April. The days grow rapidly longer and warmer, attracting people to the city while the nature blossoms all around.
Citizens of non-European countries are eligible for tax-free returns upon leaving EU territory. Purchases must be made in shops displaying the Tax Free Shopping sign. The minimum total sum of purchased goods must be €40.
Tipping is not expected in Finland and a service charge is added in hotels and restaurants. Finnish people do tip (max 10%) only if they wish to appreciate good service or delicious food. It is not obligatory to give a tip to the taxi drivers.
Finland has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Street signs in Helsinki are in both languages. English is widely spoken and most Finns also master one or two other foreign languages.