Kempele is a municipality just south of the city of Oulu in Northern Finland. Historically it was in the province of Oulu, but today it is in the region of Northern Ostrobothnia. The population of Kempele is 17,499 (31 August 2017) and the municipality covers an area of 110.32 square kilometres (42.59 sq mi) (excluding sea), of which 0.21 square kilometres (0.081 sq mi) is inland waters (2018-01-01). The population density is 159 inhabitants per square kilometre (410/sq mi) (31 August 2017). The municipality of Kempele was founded in 1867.
Kempele is the birthplace of NHL goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Kempele was first permanently settled about 500 years ago, at a time when the coastline was closer than it is today. Kempele was considered part of Greater Liminka and consisted of only three houses in 1568, when it was called Kempele for the first time in official records. In 1774 full church privileges were granted to Kempele, which meant separation from Liminka and establishment as an autonomous parish. The municipal government was established in 1867.
The old church of Kempele, which was built between 1688 and 1691, is one of the oldest wooden churches in Finland. Kempele was granted the right to build a prayer room in 1688, but parishioners decided to construct a church with a steeple. Given the custom of burying local notables under the church, there are about 150 graves in the crypt, the last of them dating from 1796. The church includes decorations by the noted Finnish painter Mikael Toppelius.
The old church ceased to be in active use after a new church was built next to it in the 1990s, but some events are still held in it from time to time.