|Oulu is clean and well kept, its roads and cycle
lanes well maintained, and in winter the snow is
cleared regularly-a plus with the average
temperature for six months is below freezing.
Buses are punctual, and equipped with
ramps, bankcard readers, room for baby carriers, and
wireless Internet. You can use a town smartcard as
a ticket; the centre has its own free wireless
Internet; libraries are excellent and the online
reservation system works.
Kela, the social insurance institution, processes
student, housing, unemployment, retirement,
childcare, rehabilitation, health, and disability
benefits. Finnish offices can be daunting,
especially the queuing and paperwork involved, but
most forms are available in several languages.
Oulu has seven health care districts, and seven
health centres. Each resident has a family doctor,
whom they can contact for urgent care-or in the
evenings or at weekends the hospital. Oulu
University Hospital, the largest-staffed in Finland
with 6000 employees, offers 900 beds. Oulu City
Hospital, in the centre of town, has five medical
wards, 150 members of staff, and 142 beds. Oulu also
has many private clinics, and many employers offer a
private health package for checkups, diagnosis, and
Oulu is well equipped with leisure centres,
sports tracks, and gyms. The city has several
stadiums, and a rebuild is planned for Raati stadium
in 2009. Oulu swimming pools are particularly well
organised. Eden, the 'tropical' spa off Nallikari
beach, offers jacuzis and steam baths. Raksila in
the town centre has a 50-metre pool with eight
tracks, a smaller pool for children with water
slides, a massage pool, and times for ladies'
aerobics. The Ouluhalli and Raati pools have similar
Oulu airport, the second busiest in Finland, is
15 km out of town and flies several times daily to
Helsinki, Stockholm, and Copenhagen.