Kokkola offers a wide range of top-quality experiences in music, visual arts, verbal arts and dramatic art. In its capacity as the musical capital of the Central Ostrobothnia region, Kokkola offers a wide variety of first-rate concerts – classical as well as folk and popular music – and music education ranging from music playschools for babies all the way to vocational training.
The Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra is one of the leading chamber orchestras in Finland and an ambassador of Finnish music worldwide. The orchestra gives several concerts in Kokkola annually in, for example, the Snellman Hall (Vingenkatu 18) and the churches in the city. You will find further information about the concerts and performances of the orchestra on the orchestra’s website and in the Kokkola event calendar. Other concerts organised in the Snellman Hall can be found on the hall’s own website.
The Music Department of the Centria University of Applied Sciences and the Central Ostrobothnia Conservatory arrange a variety of concert activities, mainly at the premises of the Central Ostrobothnia Conservatory (Pitkänsillankatu 16). Further information about the concert activities can be found on the websites of both these educational institutions.
There are musical events and concerts in Kokkola to suit many different tastes. The Kokkola Winter Accordion Festival (a member of Finland Festivals) offers a variety of musical experiences every year in February. The Ullava Visual Arts and Music Week is held in June and the Lohtaja Church Music Festival normally from the latter part of July to the beginning of August. The Scandinavian Blues Party takes place in October. The musical events and concerts in Kokkola can be found in the event calendar.
Visual arts and handicrafts
For those interested in the visual arts, Kokkola offers art exhibitions and varied training in the visual arts.
The art exhibitions of the K.H. Renlund Museum on display at the elegant Roos House (Pitkänsillankatu 39) are based on the bequest of commercial counsellor Karl Herman Renlund. The collection consists of around 50 pieces from the turn of the 19th century, the Golden Age of Finnish art. The Roos House also displays a large exhibition of the works of artist and professor Veikko Vionoja (1909–2001). The spiritual art of Vionoja is based on his childhood experiences in Ullava in Central Ostrobothnia. The ITE Museum has temporary exhibitions in its exhibition gallery (Pitkänsillankatu 26–28). You will find further information about the Renlund permanent exhibition, the Vionoja collection and the temporary exhibitions on the K.H. Renlund Museum’s website.
Veikko Vionoja’s summer home is located in Ullava, approximately 60 kilometres from the Kokkola city centre (Haapalantie 121, Yli-Ullava). Taide-Vionoja, maintained by the Vionoja Foundation, is open in the summer, when the master’s works are on view in authentic Vionoja surroundings.
The Suntin Helmi gallery (Pormestarinkatu 2) is an art gallery maintained by the local visual arts organisation, and it displays the works of local artists.
Temporary exhibitions are also regularly displayed in the lobby of the Kokkola city hall (Kauppatori 5), in the city library (Isokatu 3) and in the libraries of Kälviä, Lohtaja and Ullava. For more information, check the Kokkola event calendar.
The local heritage museums are mainly open during the summer season. The museums are found on the Kaarlela church hill, in Öja in Knivsund, on the church hill in Lohtaja, in Ohtakari in Lohtaja, and in the Kälviä village. Moreover, the Toivonen Animal Park and Peasant Museum in Kälviä is also open in the summertime.
The Central Ostrobothnia arts and crafts association TAITO offers information and training services, handles arts, crafts and materials and organises development projects, exhibitions and events to promote handicrafts. In addition to the Kankuri Arts and Crafts Centre maintained by the TAITO association, handicrafts training is also provided by the Kokkola Region College.
Theatre and dance
Kokkola has a long tradition of theatre and offers high-level theatrical performances by both professionals and amateurs.
The Kokkola Municipal Theatre
The Kokkola Municipal Theatre, located in Vartiolinna (Torikatu 48), is rich in atmosphere. The theatre makes good use of the city’s diverse cultural expertise. You will find the programme on the theatre’s website (see link).
There are three amateur theatres with a regular programme in Kokkola. Two of the theatres are over a hundred years old. Karleby Ungdomsförening (KUF, Kokkola Swedish youth club), founded in 1894, maintains a Swedish-language amateur theatre at Jungsborg, its premises at Poikkikatu 8. The theatre is known for its annual New Year Variety Show and its activities for children and young people. Ykspihlajan Työväen Näyttämö (YTN, Ykspihlaja workers’ theatre) was founded in 1907. Its home stage is at the Ykspihlaja headquarters (Satamakatu 40). Apart from its varied and high-level programme, the theatre also offers activities for children and youth. Kokkolan Iltanäyttelijät (evening actors of Kokkola) at the Iltatähti theatre (Pitkänsillankatu 1-3) present several premieres every year. The theatre is centrally situated and also hosts a number of guest performances. The Iltanäyttelijät group also has its own youth groups and courses for those interested in amateur theatre.
Even the villages around the town centre have their own clubs for amateur theatre. These clubs are producing their own performances and they are providing the locals with possibilities to do theatre as a hobby. More information about these theatre clubs can be found from our register of organisations.
The Kokkola Winter Dance is a contemporary dance event of national importance, arranged every year in February. You can also enjoy dance in Kokkola at the performances of the Ballet School of the Conservatory and the Performing Art School of Kokkola. The programme of the dance events may be found in the Kokkola event calendar and the Kulttuuri-Kokkola Facebook page. There are several dance and movement art organisations in the city, offering hobby activities for all ages. You will find further information about these organisations in our register of organisations.
Kokkola has one cinema, Bio Rex, with two different scenes. Both scenes are equipped with digital and 3D technology. The current programme of Bio Rex can be found at this link.