My neighbourhood

Nature and easy everyday life in Oulu

In the heart of North Ostrobothnia, the people are easy-going and the diversity of nature surrounds you at each step.


Born and bred in Oulu, teacher Pialiina Syrjänen lived her childhood in Maikkula, south of the Oulujoki river, and has since lived in various parts of the city from a cozy studio in the Tuira neighbourhood to various apartments in different parts of downtown Oulu. With the exception of a few short stints, Syrjänen has lived in Oulu all her life.

Pialiina Syrjänen has lived in Oulu all her life

“At the end of the summer of 2013, I was headed to Tampere for work, but met a guy in Oulu just as I was about to leave,” she says with a laugh.

Her time in Tampere turned out to be brief, and only a couple of years later, she returned to her home region, this time in Pyykösjärvi.

“We wanted to live close to nature. We have a ski track and a running track within walking distance and forests full of berries right on our doorstep. I’ve always loved to spend time outdoors with family and friends.”

The delta of the Oulujoki river used to host a busy marketplace. Syrjänen recommends learning about the old ways of life and trade at the Turkansaari Open Air Museum on the islands of the Oulujoki river.

The provincial centre houses slightly over 200,000 residents as well as diverse cultural services. In addition to nature, Oulu is full of dynamic business life in the technological and industrial sectors, among other things, as well as wide-ranging cultural activities. Excellent studying opportunities, including the university, bring together future experts across various fields and industries.

In the end, however, it is the residents that make a city feel like home, and the attitude of Oulu inhabitants is just right. According to Syrjänen, the people are friendly and easy-going. Interacting with them feels straightforward and genuine.

“The people of Oulu are so sweet and amazing!”

The river and sea are the heartbeat of Oulu

Today’s modern City of Oulu started out as a marketplace of furs and tar at the mouth of the Oulujoki river. Therefore, Oulu residents have easy access to both the banks of the impressive Oulujoki river and the seashore. The kilometre-long beach in Nallikari is one of the most beautiful places in the city, and many residents use the cycle paths along the river every day for their commutes and other activities.

Oulu residents have easy access to both the banks of the impressive Oulujoki river and the seashore.

“I feel like the beaches are not yet used to their full potential,” says Syrjänen.

“Expanding the city centre towards the seashore would make outdoor activities in nature even more accessible and help tourists find our beautiful beaches.”

The banks of the Oulujoki river hold a special place in Syrjänen’s heart. She has spent her entire life in this scenery, and her family members have even studied the history of the river.

“These are the swimming places of my childhood.”

18.5.2020 (Modified 29.7.2021)

Text Salla Salokanto

Images Matti Möttönen

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