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EXPLAINED: What to know about Germany’s youth culture pass

As of June 14th, anyone turning 18 this year can sign up for €200 worth of free books, music, theatre and cinema tickets under Germany's 'Kulturpass' scheme. Here's why and how they can use it.

Young people look at the view from Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie.
Young people look at the view from Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

What’s Germany’s culture pass?

The KulturPass – or culture pass – is a bit like a voucher that young people in Germany can use to buy tickets to cultural events, or even products like books or sheet music.

Anyone turning 18 in 2023 – estimated to be about 750,000 people – can get their hands on the pass. They will have €200 credit that they can spend on a special culture pass platform over two years for event tickets and other cultural offers. 

It’s worth noting that the digital pass is available to all young people living in Germany, even if they don’t hold German citizenship.

How is it given out?

The pass won’t be handed out automatically – those who are eligible have to sign up and prove their identity and age. To do so, simply head to the Kulturpass website (you can change the language from German to English by clicking on ‘Profil’) or download the Kulturpass app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Cultural venues can also sign up to sell their tickets or entrance cards via the Kulturpass app and website, so they can get a boost to their sales by promoting it on this central platform.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in June 2023 in Germany

Why is Germany doing this?

The move follows similar youth culture projects by other countries, including France, Italy and Spain. 

The German government initiative has two major aims: the first is to give young people an opportunity to get out and experience live culture in a way they weren’t able to during the pandemic.

Culture Minister Claudia Roth said last year that she hoped the KulturPass would get “young people go out and experience culture, see how diverse and inspiring it is”.

This, the government hopes, will create the next generation of culture vultures. 

The second aim is to help give a boost to cultural institutions like theatres, galleries, live music venues and similar businesses. 

The culture industry was one of the hardest hit in the pandemic, due to the Covid shutdowns put in place by the German government to combat the spread of the virus. 

Venues have struggled to encourage people to break out of their pandemic habits and get out to live events again. 

What kind of events can young people go to?

The emphasis is on live events to get people away from their home and to give the arts scene a boost. Theatres and concert venues will likely be a popular choice, but also independent bookshops, art galleries, and small business cinemas.

Amazon, Spotify, big chain cinemas – those kinds of vendors are excluded. Instead, the emphasis will be on local, independent venues and higher culture like opera, theatre, and concerts, as well as books and music.

Are there plans to roll it out to other age groups?

At the moment, this is a pilot project for people turning 18 this year. Depending on how it goes, the government may be looking at plans to roll such a pass out for 16 and 17 year-olds as well.

To hear more on this story, tune into our Germany in Focus podcast episode released on Friday, March 26th. 

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German part-time teachers ‘prepared to increase hours’ to combat staff shortages

A significant number of teachers working part-time in Germany would be prepared to work more hours, according to a recent study - but only for better overtime pay.

German part-time teachers 'prepared to increase hours' to combat staff shortages

According to a new survey, many part-time teachers would consider upping their hours in school in light of rampant staff shortages – but would need a fairer wage system in order to do so. 

According to the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s School Barometer, which saw 1,032 teachers surveyed between June 12th and 23rd this year, 38 percent of teachers in Germany are currently working part-time. Two-thirds of them would be prepared to increase their hours, and among those over 40, the figure is as high as 73 percent.

However, a major barrier to encouraging people to spend more time in the classroom is the so-called teaching load model, which only remunerates teaching hours.

Commenting on pay conditions, almost three-quarters (73 percent) of teachers said they would prefer a working-time model that included work-related tasks outside of teaching, such as meetings, further training and parental work.

At present, teachers only receive additional pay for administrative tasks on a flat-rate basis – and the time needed for this extra work is often underestimated, according to the survey. 

“The only solution for teachers is therefore to reduce their teaching load so that they can continue to work the same amount of overtime,” said Dagmar Wolf of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. “The German model of teaching load is an outdated model.”

READ ALSO: Parents in Germany ‘facing burnout’ due to limited childcare options

For 26 percent of respondents, childcare responsibilities were the main reason for keeping their hours down, and for 40 percent, other types of private care work in the family – for example, shopping, cooking, cleaning, homework supervision and driving duties – was also a barrier to working more hours. 

According to the authors of the report, this is a situation that is only likely to worsen in the future, due to the staffing crisis in the childcare sector and Germany’s aging population. 

“In our current school system, the shortage of teachers will not be solved by part-time teachers working more,” said Wolf. “School as a job must become more attractive again. This includes taking teachers’ concerns seriously and responding to their demands for reform.”

In total, more than 800,000 teachers teach at general and vocational schools in Germany, but experts say many more are needed to meet the needs of the educational sector. 

READ ALSO: The German industries most desperate for skilled workers

In a recent study by the German Economics Institute (IW), teachers were among the most in-demand workers in the country, alongside those in nursing, care and healthcare work.

In this category, 163,000 open positions went unfilled last year, representing 60 percent of the jobs on offer.

At present, the German government is hoping to woo skilled workers from with simpler immigration processes to plug its worsening skills gap.

This includes introducing a points-based system, lowering Blue Card salary requirements, and easing rules for family reunification.