Last week CityLab wrote about the European Union’s plan to offer 18 year old residents a free 30 day Interrail pass this summer. What this means is that potentially 20,000-30,000 teenagers will have the opportunity to travel across 30 countries this summer.
Why fund a bunch of free trips? The intent is to broaden young participants’ horizons and hopefully instill some sense of Europe’s connections. “Education is not only about what we learn in the classroom, but what we discover about the cultures and traditions of our fellow Europeans,” Tibor Navracsics, E.U. Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said in a press release.
This reminded me of a program I wrote about a couple years back where the Italian government provided a culture voucher worth €500 to 18 year olds.
As I quoted from an article on The Stage (UK):
It can be used to buy books, pay for entry fees to parks, museums and archaeological sites, and instead of cash for theatre, cinema and concert tickets. The euros in the app are spent by the young people and the arts organisations then reclaim this money off the state.
I will have to see if I can find an article about how well Italy felt the program went. It bears reading The Stage article because it explores the idea of funding culture on the demand side versus the supply side.