France wants its young people to experience more culture, so it’s going straight to the source: their smartphones. The French Ministry of Culture has launched a multimillion-dollar mobile application offering young people free access to cultural goods and activities around the country.
The ambitious Pass Culture, or culture pass, was a campaign promise of the French president Emmanuel Macron. Once downloaded, the app offers a credit of €500 ($584) for 18-year-olds to spend on cultural events—including movies, concerts, and theater—and goods such as books, musical instruments, and DVDs.
The app has already been rolled out in test phases in four areas of France—Seine-Saint-Denis, Hérault, Bas-Rhin, and Guyane—since June, and it will be launched in a fifth, Finistère, in September. After the six-month beta-testing phase is complete, it is slated for a more widespread roll out in early 2019.
The app would be available to everyone, although the free credit is limited to 18-year-olds. Like most apps, it’s geolocated so it will show users nearby cultural offerings in real time, prompting some to describe it as a sort of “arty Tinder.”
The app has already won praise from at least one member of the National Assembly.