Germany Introduces 200-euro Culture Pass For 18-year-olds

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The German cultural pilot scheme aims to encourage teenagers to embrace live culture, and jump start the cultural economy post-pandemic recovery.

In Germany, around three-quarters of a million teenagers are set to receive a ‘cultural passport’ from the government in 2023 to rekindle their interest in the arts industry.

The ‘KulturPass’ is a pilot scheme which will offer those turning 18 next year €200 worth of vouchers to spend on cultural activities, including at theatre and concert venues.

The scheme was announced in a joint press conference between Germany’s culture minister, Claudia Roth, and finance minister, Christian Lindner, last Friday.

At the event, Roth explained the KulturPass scheme aims to “get young people excited about the diversity of culture in our country”, as well as jump start the cultural economy which is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Similar schemes have been introduced elsewhere in Europe. In October last year, Spain announced that teenagers turning 18 in 2021 would receive a €400 culture to spend on anything from books to concert tickets. France and Italy have also had similar schemes, but Spain’s was the first to be implemented as a reactionary measure to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the implementation of the Spanish scheme, their government has reported that 57.6 percent of the country’s population who turned 18 in 2022 registered for the scheme.

Germany’s scheme is estimated to cost their government €100 million and if the KulturPass is successful, it has been reported the voucher programme could be rolled out to a wider demographic, possibly for age 15 and upwards.

The KulturPass is intended mainly for experiencing live arts, such as theatre and concerts. However, there will be limits placed on individual purchases, to encourage 18-year-olds to spend their €200 across a range of activities instead of just one ticket.

Smaller organisations, such as independent book shops and cinemas, also being championed as places to spend the KulturPass. Online retailers such as Spotify and Amazon have been excluded from the scheme.

More information about the scheme is due to be released shortly, but clearer guidelines around how the €200 can be spent has caused doubt among critics.

Executive director of the German Cultural Council, Olaf Zimmermann, has expressed his support for the scheme but also called for a quick delivery of the KulturPass with defined rules so 18-year-olds celebrating their birthday next year, won’t be left without their present from the German government.


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