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Finnish ECoC candidate Tampere 2026: Our “Equally European” concept is an invitation to Europe to dance with us

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We continue interviewing our Finnish friends, partners and ECoC candidates! Next in line is Tampere 2026. Tampere city and the Tampere Region are applying together to become the next European Capital of Culture in 2026 with the concept of their application called Equally European.

What does it mean exactly? What was the biggest challenge they, as a team, had to overcome in the project so far? What is the best café in Tampere city and what does their “Heittää talviturkki” mean?

Our questions were answered by Claire Delhom, who is in charge of international relations in the Tampere26 team. 

Team Tampere 2026

Hi, Claire. I guess our readers don’t know much about your city and region. Could you introduce Tampere in a few sentences?

Hi. 🙂 Tampere is Finland’s biggest city outside the Capital area. Tampere is a charming industrial city built around Tammerkoski rapids, between two large lakes (there are around 180 000 lakes in Finland…). It’s the main city in the Pirkanmaa region. 

Tampere Pispala, photo credit: Laura Vanzo

The final Bid Book of your candidacy has a concept “Equally European”. Could you tell us more about it?

Equally European is an invitation to Europe to dance with us. Equality is a fundamental right of EU citizens that we often overlook. With our theme ‘’Equally European’’ and our cultural and artistic programme we want to wake up Europeans on topics related to equality, diversity and sustainability, and altogether find solutions to the current and future challenges we are facing at regional, national and European levels. By acting together, we will create a strong local and European identity that bridges the gap between cultures and brings us together as humans.

What was the biggest challenge you, as a team, had to deal with and overcome in the project so far?

Like in any big project communication is key. While we enjoyed the luxury of being able to meet our communities in person during the first phase, we, just like everyone else, had to re-structure our usual working methods to maintain the productivity of our ECoC project. One of the biggest challenge we had to overcome was to find news ways to keep artists, activists, NGO’s and other stakeholders from Tampere and the whole region active and in the loop, not only because of Covid-19, but also of the variety, diversity and complexity of the mosaic we are building together.

Starting a little bit bumpy, the journey has shown us the importance of the implementation of newer, more modern, and sustainable strategies to be prepared for the future.

Restaurant and sauna in Tampere city, photo credit: Laura Vanzo

If our team was planning a road trip and had a day to spend in your city, what places shouldn’t we omit? 🙂 

We’d start with Tammerkoski Rapids, have a coffee at the Tramway Café by the main square before visiting the Finlayson Art Area, a reminder of the city’s industrial heritage. Then we’d head for a nature walk in Pyynikki forest. Reaching to the top of the hill, we’d stop for a munkki at the Pyynikki café and observation tower, from which we can see the lakes and a panorama of the city. On the way down we’d go through Pispala district and have a sauna in Rajaportti sauna, visit Pispalan harju before heading for a concert in G Livelab and have a drink on the terrace looking at the rapids. 

What will be the first thing you do on June 3, the day after the jury decides what finnish city wins the ECoC title? 

Heittää talviturkki! a.k.a. we’ll jump in the lake and lose our winter fur in the lake!

Why should your city be chosen as European Capital of Culture 2026? 

Tampere26 has an important message to tell about equality and we want to share this message with the rest of Europe! The European Union is built on equality and human rights – and those values are under threat. Our concept and cultural programme of Equally European is actively working on tackling our common social and environmental challenges but also celebrating our common European identity and the diversity of our cultures. We want to bring European’s communities together, overcome barriers and work on a future of equal opportunities. It is not only about us in Tampere, it is about all humans in this world. We’re looking forward to bringing Pirkanmaa’s culture to Europe and getting more European culture to Pirkanmaa! 

Claire, thank you for the interview.

You can find more information about Tampere 2026 candidacy at

photo credit: Laura Vanzo