Over the years, I have written a fair bit on culture passes that various European countries have distributed to young people. In addition to passes for cultural experiences and goods, some of the passes have been focused on facilitating rail travel so young people can experience a wider swath of national and international places and events.
According to a Guardian article from last week, Germany is the most recent country to tee up a program. When Germans turn 18 they will receive a €200 Kulturpass. The goal is to not only get young people engaged with cultural activities, but to also inject some economic vitality post-Covid.
…has twin aims: to encourage young adults to experience live culture and drop stay-at-home pandemic habits; and give a financial boost to the arts scene, which has yet to recover from repeated lockdowns.
The finance minister, Christian Lindner, described the pass as “cultural start-up capital” that its recipients can use within a two-year period for everything from theatre and concert tickets to books or music. It will be managed via an app and a website that provides a direct connection to a virtual marketplace of everything from bookshops to theatres.
Perhaps most interesting is that the program is intentionally designed to have the 18 year olds “shop locally” as it were and excludes large online platforms and purchases.
Online platforms such as Amazon and Spotify have been excluded from the scheme, which places an emphasis on smaller, often local organisations, such as independent cinemas and bookshops. Individual purchases will be limited in value to prevent someone from using the voucher to buy, for example, a single concert ticket for €200.
I am curious to know if the German government analyzed the programs in places like Spain, France and Italy for design problems. The goals of these other countries were similar in terms of stimulating interest in in-person experiences. The German program seems to have more restrictions built in to achieve that.