One Hundred Actions from Oulu – 100th acknowledgement for the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District as the enabler of future health: Biobank Borealis and OuluHealth Labs

Biobank Borealis and OuluHealth Labs, which both contribute to the Future Hospital OYS 2030  programme, were awarded the final acknowledgement on the list of One Hundred Actions from Oulu. Both Biobank and OuluHealth Labs are significant projects and they mark the ending of the One Hundred Actions from Oulu campaign in an outstanding way.

Biobank Borealis started operating in July 2015 at the same time as it was listed in the national biobank register. Biobank stores a collection of biological human samples, such as tissue, cell and blood samples, which are used in medical research. The samples are collected with the permission of the donor patients. The founders of biobank are Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, University of Oulu, Nordlab and the Hospital Districts of Lapland, Länsi-Pohja, Keski-Pohjanmaa and Kainuu.

Oulu region provides good opportunities for ICT application areas connected with the excavation, data security and analysis of biobank information. The Biobank of Northern Finland utilises regional resources and competences as well as the internationally renowned successes of our country’s health care system. Biobank benefits the health care system and the patients by providing better and more efficient personalised health care being, at the same time, more cost efficient.

The second part of the 100 Actions from Oulu acknowledgement goes to OuluHealth Labs, due to be opened at the Kontinkangas campus site in autumn 2015. This innovation, testing and development environment for health technology and welfare services provides the enterprises a real-life environment in the different stages of their product development. The partners of OuluHealth Labs are Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, City of Oulu, and Oulu University of Applied Sciences.

Future Hospital 2030 is a programme whose aim is to renew the operations of the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District and to build and renovate the properties in order for them to meet the present requirements as well as the future challenges. The estimated investment need for the Future Hospital 2030 programme in the near decades is €500 million. Biobank and OuluHealth Labs both contribute to ensure that the City of Oulu gains the leading position in the development of health technology.

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The 99th Action from Oulu is ‘The Whole City Walks’ health promoting sports campaign

The penultimate action on the list of One hundred Actions from Oulu is ‘The Whole City Walks’ – Around the Globe – health promoting sports campaign organised by the City of Oulu Sports and Recreation Services. The aim of the campaign is to inspire the citizens of Oulu to embrace a more active way of living in their everyday life by collecting steps or kilometres.

You can register your estimated distances on the campaign’s website where you can also follow the progress of different cities on the world map. On the map you can see how many laps each city has walked around the globe. In addition to the campaign cities, the route of the round-the-globe journey travels through several Summer Olympic host cities and football World Cup host cities.

The campaign was organised for the first time last year. At the time, the citizens of Oulu walked more than three times around the globe. This year, Oulu has also challenged the Cities of Vantaa, Tampere and Turku to join the campaign. The aim is not only to beat the last year’s result but also to win the other cities in the friendly competition.

This year ‘The Whole City Walks’ campaign has particularly focused in children and young people. During the campaign sports events have been organised for children’s daycare groups and primary school classes. Other events related to the campaign will also be organised around the city. ‘The Whole City Walks’ campaign was impressively kicked off at the ladies jogging event ‘Likkojen Lenkki’.

At the moment, the cities have walked over 59 000 kilometres all together. Turku, having collected over 28 000 kilometres, currently holds the first position. Oulu and the other cities still have one week to catch up with the leader. The winner will be published on 7 September. The progress of the campaign can be followed in real time on the website:

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Sonnisaari Brewery has been chosen as the 98th action within the “One Hundred Actions from Oulu” campaign. The brewery opened this spring continuing the long tradition of hand-crafted beers in Oulu after a break of more than ten years.  

The craft brewery was founded by Timo Tyynismaa, Timo Kanniainen, Harri Vaarala and the restaurant company Säkenöivä Voima Oy in June 2014. The brewery crafts beer by hand and produces a wide range of beers – up to 34 different typesa year.

The brewery’s real trump card is the fact that it is local and based in Oulu. The design and manufacturing of the brewery’s brewing equipment has been done by locals. After the approval process, the first beers were sold in May 2015. Currently, 5-6 restaurants – e.g. Oluthuone Leskinen, Jumpru pub and Rooster – sell Sonnisaari Brewery’s beer in Oulu.

Both the name of the brewery and its beers refer to Oulu. In the names of the beers, there are also hints of local flair. The range includes for example Intiö Pale Ale and Pale Ale Qstock. In addition, the brewery has cooperated with the Oulu-based musician Kauko Röyhkä and produced a beer that is named after Röyhkä’s song Maa on voimaa. According to the jury, the brewery has had good cooperation with local actors, which is why it is the 98th action on the list.

The demand for the brewery’s products has been good. So far, Sonnisaari’s beers have been sold only in the Oulu region, but there is definitely an interest even outside the region. The company is considering increasing its annual capacity from the current 30 000 litres. It seems that the people in Oulu have been waiting for a local brewery that brews high-quality craft beer. Sonnisaari Brewery is a real guardian and successor of the local brewing tradition.

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The Irish Festival of Oulu has been chosen as the 97th action within the “One Hundred Actions from Oulu” campaign. The festival is the world’s northernmost and biggest Irish cultural festival in northern Europe gathering musicians and friends of Ireland to Oulu for the 10th time already.

The person behind the event is Brent Cassidy, known as the Irish cultural ambassador in Oulu. Thanks to him, the festival was originated in the early 2000s. The Irish Music Society of Oulu was established in 2005 and the first Irish Festival of Oulu was held in October 2006. At that time, nearly 2 000 people gathered to enjoy the festival. All in all, the festival has attracted more than 60 000 people since the beginning. The festival is still organized as teamwork and mostly by volunteers. They are united by their passion for Irish music and culture.

The Irish Festival of Oulu is not just a music festival, but it reflects Irish culture in many ways. From the very beginning, the festival has featured storytelling, poetry, films, courses, lectures and theatre, among other things. This year, the program is even more extensive including, for example, Gaelic football and a lot of different courses, such as a music workshop, dance course, Irish language course and, for the first time ever, an Irish cooking course. Even some of the performers, such as Flook and Réalta, will hold workshops and take part in other organized events.

The festival is held in September-October. The event headliner this year is The Chieftains, the winner of six Grammy awards. It is the world’s most famous Celtic band and a legendary messenger for Irish folk music. All concerts will be offering different styles of music from different regions. Guests are coming from Great Britain, Ireland, Russia, Sweden and around Finland. The aim of the 10 year anniversary is to attract altogether 8 500 visitors. The Irish Festival of Oulu is a significant event and definitely worth experiencing in the autumn of Oulu.


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The ongoing Oulu August Festival has been chosen as the 96th action within the “One Hundred Actions from Oulu” campaign. The festival is running throughout August and offers a wide variety of cultural events in Oulu and its surroundings.

The festival features the following events: Elojazz, chamber music festival Oulunsalo Soi, literary art festival Oulun muusajuhlat, metal music festival Jalometalli, music festival Koiteli Elää, Oulu Music Video Festival, Air Guitar World Championships, Oulu Arts Night and Time Tunnel with tens of related events. During Oulu August Festival, you can enjoy the so called Macro concerts with small audiences and grand experiences or Extras that are produced by the partners of Oulu August Festival. Oulu August Festival Presents is an event presenting local artists.

The 5th Oulu August Festival offers a wonderful cultural experience in concert halls and churches, restaurants and cafés, libraries, parks, squares and on the streets.

The program offers something for all tastes. The chamber music festival Oulunsalo Soi plays chamber opera whereas Jalometalli celebrates heavy metal. Oulu Arts Night has different works of art on display in downtown Oulu. At the end of the month, it is time to enjoy literature and literary art at the literary art festival Oulun muusajuhlat. Oulu Music Video Festival offers live music and moving pictures. And before the August Festival is over, the Air Guitar World Championship will choose a new guitar champion for 2015 – for the 20th time already.

Oulu August Festival is coordinated by Oulun Kulttuuritapahtumayhdistys ry (Oulu Cultural Event Assosiaction) established in December 2010. It aims at strengthening the work of cultural actors for example through different projects. Currently, the association is carrying out a project where the aim is to make events easier to access from different perspectives of accessibility and communication.

The Association develops the regional event network and acts as an umbrella for event production. It gathers different regional cultural events in August into one Oulu August Festival. This is a fine example of cooperation between regional actors, which makes it easy for people to find their way to a variety of events throughout the city.


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The 100 Acts from Oulu list is now complemented with the local freebie adventure at Oulu campaign by Go Arctic who is awarded the 95th recognition. The campaign is a fine example of how small gestures can spread happiness around and all for free.

Go Arctic decided last autumn to give away for free a local adventure once a month for a year. Every month Go Arctic either provides or participates in providing one free even in Oulu region. Free adventures have, so far, included for instance rafting, climbing down from Tietomaa Science Centre tower and a ghost tour.

Businesses and local residents were challenged to join in the campaign. The idea is that an adventure does not take huge preparation, lots of money or posh gear but it is accessible for everybody.
A free adventure can take place on a playground or be a photo exhibition, dog park or a picnic spot. Anyone can join in and share a free experience though Facebook, Twitter or Instagram #ilimanenoululainenelämys. The goal is to create a long list of free adventures available for all locals by the end of the year.

So far, Go Arctic challenge has been taken up by Hotel and Restaurant Lasaretti where an audio-visual artwork was exhibited as a local art experience in January. Other partners include Oulu Region Tourist Guides, Koiteli elää ry (Acoustic music festival in Koiteli), Kierikki Stone Age Centre, Tietomaa Science Centre and Rautatieharrastajat ry (Railway Enthusiasts in English).

The campaign attracts positive attention and for instance such adventures as a swim in the rapids and climbing down from the Tietomaa tower were fully booked in a day. Some of the events have unlimited participation.

The campaign was started in October 2014. More free events will be arranged in August, September and October. At least one family-oriented free event will be organised for families in autumn. The campaign will be drawn to a close with Valoa Koiteli! event in November.

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The 94th recognition in the 100 Acts from Oulu listing is awarded to retket.fi a nature tourism website which introduces local nature-based tourism services. The objective of the site is to help visitors and local residents to better find versatile and numerous nature-based hospitality and tourism services and the small businesses providing them in Oulu region.

The site, launched in May, presents more than 30 service-providers and over 70 different services. Retket.fi site includes information about trips and activities arranged by local service providers: For instance the full-moon star track, fyke net fishing and an excursion to learn about local wild herbs. Themes cover fishing, nature trekking, countryside, canoeing and wild products, to name a few. You can send a digital postcard to the website and share your news on your trip.

According to the feedback from entrepreneurs listed on the site, the web page and its active marketing on social media are an added bonus to any company’s advertising. The website enhances the visibility of services provided by local businesses. Through retket.fi, many visitors and locals as well have found services they never knew even existed. Indeed, Retket.fi is an excellent example of a working concept for joint marketing.

During its first two months in the Internet, Retket.fi had about than 7,000 visitors. Most of them were Finnish and locals or from Helsinki region. Retket.fi is also active in social media and most of the visitors find it via Facebook or Twitter. Also entirely new nature-based services were conceptualised through the website.

The website was constructed in start-up spirit and is backed up by Nouseva Rannikkoseutu ry, a fishing and nature-based tourism project, and Oulun Yritystakomo hospitality team. Site development and maintenance is carried out on voluntary basis.

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Rotuaari Piknik, organised now for the 16th time, is the 93rd recognition in the list of 100 Acts from Oulu. The four-day city festival includes entertainment and electrifying shows by top Finnish performers. The hugely popular event gathers approximately ten thousand festival-goers in Oulu city centre every year thus being one of the most popular events in summer in Oulu.

Mr Ilpo Sulkala, a restaurateur and promoter, is the man behind the idea originating in the second half of 1980’s that eventually evolved into what is now known as Rotuaari Piknik. The idea of a city festival that would be held on the Rotuaari Promenade was created then. In 1991, the very first street carnival was organised and over the two night event thousands of people gathered in Rotuaari Promenade. Street carnivals were held for a period of four years, then the event was left to rest for a couple of years and then, in 2000, given a new start, this time named Rotuaari Piknik. The idea was to hold a high-class urban festival in the heart of the city, in a central and safe location. The organisers wanted to invite the most popular top-notch artists in Finland to perform at the show.

During the 16 years of its existence, Rotuaari Piknik has not really changed the format. The organisers do not want to expand the event and they rely on Finnish top entertainers also in the future. The idea in the background is for the event to boost local hospitality industry, i.e. restaurants, hotels and the world of shopping in Oulu. This goal clearly was achieved as for instance hotels are fully booked during the Rotuaari Piknik.

This year the event seems to be on a par with past couple of years. Friday night tickets were sold out more than a week before the event took place and the presale totalled over 6,000 tickets by 2nd July.

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The 92nd recognition in the 100 Acts from Oulu listing is awarded to Haltian who specialises in innovative design, development and productisation of wireless technologies. Haltian Ltd, a design service provider, was established only about 2.5 years ago but its impact in the region is significant. Last year, Haltian turnover was 7.8 M€ and it employs more than 70 persons in Oulu Region. Although the company has been growing fast, the business is lucrative and can partly be funded by income financing.

Thingsee One is a smart sensory-based device by Haltian’s subsidiary Thingsee. With the open source, the Wonder Device of the Internet of Things may be adapted to the user’s needs. Thingsee One operation is based on communication between devices allowing its use, for instance, as a tracker or car guard.

Thingsee One certainly is not your random device but actually qualified only last week as a finalist at an international innovation competition. The goal of the Cloud Innovations World Cup is to support the development of groundbreaking cloud solutions and applications. This year the competition received over 300 applications, of which the best 24 finalists qualified for five separate categories. The winners of these categories will be announced on 8th July.

Haltian is an excellent example of a company and people who did not give in to the hard times the world of ICT is going through but instead built an internationally profitable business. Their business is international, all the way from the very beginning and last year the business was taken also to the Silicon Valley, in Sunnyvale. However, the company values and supports local competence and employs world-class experts for as interesting and challenging jobs as possible, and will continue to do so also in future.

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The 91st recognition in the 100 Acts from Oulu listing is awarded to Ouman Energiatehokkuuspalvelut Oy, a group providing energy efficiency services for housing companies, who rose to the top of the Kauppalehti compiled list of one hundred fastest high-growth companies. Ouman’s growth rate has been breath-taking as indicated by their 7,800 annualised growth percentage. Ouman, who was regarded as a bit of a dark horse, swept clearly past the mobile game developer Supercell.

The primary product for Ouman energy efficiency services is the Ouman HeatGuard which is connected to the hydronic radiator heating system as well as to the automated heating controls. Ouman HeatGuard takes into account sources of free heat such as the sun, body heat, home appliances and other sources of thermal production and, based on the data collected, reduces excessive heating in housing companies.

Kempele-based Ouman has offices in 11 towns in addition to Oulu and Greater Helsinki. The turnover of the energy efficiency services rose to 5.1 million euros in just few years. The group employs a total of 250 persons of which approximately 60 work in Oulu region. Future, too, looks promising: the company extended their business to Sweden a couple of years ago and now operates in Gothenburg and Stockholm. Now little less than one tenth of the turnover comes from Sweden but there are opportunities to grow, too.

Northern Ostrobothnia and Oulu region are steadily increasing their share of startups and high-growth companies and are currently the second most popular location for them. The jury considers Ouman an excellent example of an internationally successful high-growth company.

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