Culture Next Conference
February 28th to March 1st, 2024
Culture Next is an informal, friendly and relaxed network dedicated to mutual support and collaboration between European cities currently or formerly in candidacies for the European Capital of Culture title.
Five years after its founding in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Culture Next involves 29 cities on the continent. In 2021 the network received a grant from the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission to scale-up Culture Next and improve its capacity to work with more European cities.
For its 12th and long-awaited conference, Culture Next heads north, well north. In February 2020, we were prepared to head to Oulu, at the time a candidate city for the ECOC title, when a global pandemic caused the conference to be canceled just 2 days before its start. The pandemic is over, Oulu was the city chosen to be the European Capital of Culture in 2026 and Culture Next grew.
The Culture Next Conference is dedicated to:
- Cities that are full or observing members of Culture Next.
- Cities that are not members of Culture Next, but have been candidates or are preparing or reflecting on a potential candidature for the title of European Capital of Culture may also participate.
- Full members: the organization assumes the payment of travel cost for 2 people (through a reimbursement request) up to a maximum of 150€ per person + two hotel nights (28 and 29 February) + meals on 28, 29 and the lunch of March 01 + conference registration for 2 members.
- Observing members: the organization will pay for meals on 28, 29 and the lunch of March 01 + conference registration for 2 members.
- Non-members: each participant from non-member cities should pay a fee of 250€ per person and will be entitled to conference attendance and meals on 28, 29 and the lunch of March 01.
Cities that are in the process of finalizing their status as Observing Members can already access the benefits of Observer Membership at this conference. If you have any questions about this topic, please contact Bruno Inácio via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or whatsApp +351 962192690.
The general conference program is as follows:
- On February 28th (Wednesday) we will have a workshop for members involved in the SGD Pilot program. After that, from 6pm we will welcome all participants to the Conference.
- On February 29th (Thursday) we will start the conference at 09:00.
- The conference ends its official program on March 1st, Friday at 4pm. For your flight organization, the time between the place where the conference ends and the airport is around 15 Km and by Taxi it takes around 25 minutes.
Before registering, carefully read the following important information.
The conference hotel is Hotel Scandic Oulu City, located in the center of Oulu. Name of the hotel is:
Address: Saaristonkatu 4, 90100 Oulu.
The organization will ensure the following:
- For Full Members: 2 nights hotel accommodation for 2 people in single rooms. The nights will be 28 and 29 February and cannot be changed.
- For Observing members and non-members: There is no obligation to stay at this hotel, but we recommend it and encourage it. To do so, you just need to fill the registration and let us know your travel dates. We will book it for you and let you know how to handle the payment.
- For extra nights (anyone): If you’ll stay at this hotel for the extra nights, then the Oulu team will take care of the arrangements, and you can pay for the extra nights at the hotel. If you decide to stay at some other hotel, please book directly with the hotel of your choice so you can make the necessary payment arrangements. See the hotel recommendations under Travel info.
- For SGD Pilot participants: 1 night hotel accommodation in a single room for 1 person. This night will be the night of 27 of February.
More info about accommodation and registration:
- Accommodation information and request (for all participants, full and observing members, non-members and participants in the SGD Pilot Workshop) will be centralized by the Oulu team. Please carefully complete the conference registration form for each participant where you should indicate which nights you need for each of the participating people.
The Oulu team will then transmit the needs to the conference hotel to guarantee reservations.
You will be informed by the Oulu team how to proceed with the payment of the extra nights that each person will require.
For those who can, we encourage you to stay the night from March 1st to 2nd for the unofficial (but very interesting!) program.
We encourage everyone to stay in Oulu for 1 more night and to schedule at least the night of March 1st. You can indicate this on the registration form too.
If your city is participating in the SDG Pilot Project, we suggest that you arrive a day early and stay overnight in Oulu on the night of February 27th to 28th. Culture Next pays the cost of the night on February 27th for 1 person per city/members participating in SGD Pilot. Please, add this info in the registration form.
For participants in the Conference, Culture Next pays 2 nights (28 and 29 February and cannot be changed) per person per full member. If a full member wants to participate with more than 2 people, they must register those people and pay only the hotel cost for those extra people.
Cities that are not members should pay a participation fee of €250 per person. This amount entitles you to registration at the conference and participation in all its activities, as well as meals included in the program. The hotel is not included in this participation fee.
Observing members and non-members who do not wish to stay in the hotel selected by the conference organization must make explicit mention of this on the registration form.
The registration fee payment process for non-members is as follows: This fee should be paid directly to Oulu Culture Foundation. Please send an email to email@example.com asking for an invoice. Please send the data for the invoice (name; organization; address; fiscal number; email address.
If you have any questions regarding accommodation, please contact directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are preparing a programme that will be mostly within walking distance of the official hotel. Some transport may be necessary in very specific situations but the organization will provide it to all participants (full, observing and non-members).
Travel to Oulu
The City of Oulu is located halfway of Finland on the west coast by the Bay of Bothnia, appr. 600 kilometers from the Capital City of Helsinki. You can reach Oulu via Helsinki by several transportation means (all tickets can be purchased online):
- in 1 hour by plane (Finnair) https://www.finnair.com/en
- in 6 hours by train (VR) https://www.vr.fi/en
- in 8 hours by bus (Matkahuolto / Onnibus) www.matkahuolto.fi/en
Also, there is a direct flight from München to Oulu with Lufthansa (3 hours), a flight departing from München to Oulu on Wednesday, and a return flight on Saturday. Bookings via Lufthansa: https://www.lufthansa.com/fi/en/homepage
Oulu Airport (Oulu Lentoasema):
For your transfer from Oulu airport to city center, you can use either public transport (bus) or taxi:
- BUS number 8 and 9, a direct bus route between Airport – city center (~35 minutes).
- Bus stops in the city near the hotel are (both stops 150 meters / 2 min walk from the hotel):
- Bus nr. 8 stops at “Rotuaari” bus stop
- Bus nr. 9 stops at “Elokuvakeskus” bus stop
Check the Journey Planner and the bus timetables on OSL website (Oulu Regional Transport): https://www.osl.fi/en/
The single-way ticket costs 2,05 €, which can be paid on the bus with debit/credit card’s contactless payment feature (Visa, Visa Electron, Mastercard, Eurocard debit cards and on the mobile payment apps Google Pay and Apple Pay). Your credit/debit card works as your personal bus ticket (you won’t get a ticket on the bus when you tap to pay). You may see all your travel charges and print out a receipt from Littlepay online service with your payment card details, which are visible online for 90 days.
- TAXI from airport to the hotel – Taxis are lined outside the airport entrance. The cost from the airport to the hotel in the city center is typically around 40 €.
- TRAIN STATION – the train station in Oulu is a 15-minute walk from your hotel or 5 minutes by taxi (1,1 kilometer). Taxis are lined up along the road by the train station.
If you have any questions about traveling to Oulu, please contact Monika: email@example.com
Hotel info for additional nights
If you wish to stay at some other hotel than the conference hotel (Hotel Scandic Oulu City) for your extra nights, please book the extra nights yourself. We recommend for example these hotels in the city center:
Sokos Hotel Arina
Radisson Blu Oulu
Lapland Hotels Oulu
The average temperature at the end of February is typically around -2…-12 Celsius. Due to occasionally strong wind, the weather might feel much colder.
What to pack with you (the winter essentials): Warm gloves, a beanie, a scarf, wool socks, good and weather-appropriate shoes, and a thick & warm jacket.
For the sauna & jacuzzi (and ice holes): Swimwear. Towels are not necessary (usually provided on site, and of course at the hotel).
How to dress (wintertime): It’s good to always check the day’s weather forecast before heading out so you’ll know exactly how to dress to be as comfortable and as warm as possible. Our best advice is to dress for the likeliest weather and to wear layers that you can take off or add on, when needed (pack spare layers of clothing in your bag / backpack).
Local weather forecast: https://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/local-weather/oulu
NOTE: If you don’t have suitable winter clothes of your own, it is also possible to rent winter outerwear for your stay. If this option interests you, please contact Monika: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Language: The national languages are Finnish and Swedish (Finnish is the most used). English is widely spoken.
Timezone in Finland: EET – Eastern European Time
Emergency number: 112
Currency: EUR. Credit cards are widely accepted (Amex, Visa, MasterCard).
Pharmacy: “Apteekki” in Finnish. Yliopiston Apteekki (University Pharmacy) in the city, address: Isokatu 27, open daily 8-23.
Taxi: Taxis can be ordered by phone or by getting one at a taxi stand.
- Taxi companies (24/7 phone service):
- Otaxi, call: +358 600 30081, https://www.otaxi.fi/en/otaxi-services/
- FixuTaxi, call: +358 100 6060
All taxis accept credit cards.
Uber / Bolt: Uber and Bolt operate also in Oulu, but a ride ordered through a taxi company might be more reliable, because Uber/Bolt is not yet so widely in use.
Please use the form below to register for the Elefsina Conference before May 14th at midnight.