Oulu was established in 1605 on popular trade routes through the Oulu Delta, which gives onto the cold northern seas and the Gulf of Bothnia. However Oulu's days as a great trade centre have faded and today the town dedicates itself to the arts.
High concentrations of artists and musicians have come to call the town their home, which now hosts numerous art and music festivals each year, some of them now on an annual basis. One of most popular festivals held here is the Oulu Music Festival. Visitors to this event can also seize the chance to explore one of the city's 40 museums, which include the popular science centre and Turkansaari open-air museum.
An image synonymous with the cold north is the large icebreaking ships, which allow people to infiltrate the Arctic seas during the cold winter months, and you can experience this yourself on retired government ship, the Sampo, located half an hour to the North of Oulu in the town of Kemi.