Would Germany’s new KulturPass work in London?

Would Germany’s new KulturPass work in London?

Alamy Stock Photo (Alamy Stock Photo)

On his 18th birthday, the average Londoner is endowed with natural gifts: luscious hair, a flair for the faded bon mot, a high vodka tolerance. Allowing for their broken emotional incontinence (renamed “Charisma”), they have what it takes to thwart society. Anything but cash. In concrete terms, it is about the disposable income that is necessary to take part in the cultural festival of our glittering capital.

That’s a loss, both for the eager beaver teenager and for the arts and culture community that would benefit from the burning enthusiasm of the inquisitive youth. Countries across Europe are now offering art vouchers when their citizens reach adulthood. In 2016, Italy introduced the “18app”, a €500 limited app for cultural activities. France has beefed up its dance card for 18-year-olds in 2021 with a €300 Happy Birthday gift. The government stipulated that the grant must also be spent on French streaming platforms, in addition to activities, books and musical instruments. But the troublemakers were sly French rascals who hacked the system by spending most of their money on Japanese manga comics. Take that, AcadeÌ mie Française!

The federal government is the latest to jump on the minipops train after introducing the €200 “KulturPass” on June 14. Every resident who turns 18 in 2023 is eligible to participate. Films, concerts, theatres, museums and more await young people in Germany who are interested in art. But how would KulturPass have an impact here in London?

London’s arts and culture scenes would benefit from the burning enthusiasm of inquisitive youth

I have no hesitation in declaring such an initiative perfect for this city. Our cultural wealth is stunning and accessible through memberships at Tate, BFI and world-class dance studios. There are countless music festivals, immersive theater like the amazing productions of Punchdrunk and even graffiti art workshops at Tunnel Leake Street. The more ambitious kids could trade their golden ticket for artworks from the Affordable Art Fair or get a permit to dig up Roman coins on the banks of the Thames. And beyond the city limits, there’s Glyndebourne for the brave and grinning, Glastonbury, full of sweaty pastel mermaids and confused pony boys. Excited at the prospect of a flock of baby cultured vultures, I stopped various hatchlings in my orbit and was prepared to marvel at their initiative.

Eighteen-year-old Anna is decisive. “I would spend it on gigs,” she explains. Solid strategy – cultural and social. Jonny is equally decisive: “Tattoos!” Noticing my skepticism, he barks, “That’s art!” and added, “Oh, and the pub – for archetypal British culture.” (Can I award culture points for Johnny’s use of “archetypal”?) “Are video games culture?” Jonny’s friend Zak asks wistfully. Then he gets an idea: “I would spend the time visiting historic archeological sites like Tintagel Castle in Cornwall.” That’s more like it, Zak – head to the fabled site of King Arthur’s Camelot… we’ll see those manga-eating French teenagers yet.