Portugal: Free culture scheme for 18-yr-olds to be made permanent – official

A programme under which Portugal’s 18-year-olds have for the past year had free access to a large range of cultural institutions and activities in the country is to be made permanent, the secretary of state for culture, Angela Ferreira, announced on Friday.

The ‘És. Cultura’18’ programme, which was among the winning proposals in Portugal’s 2017 Participative Budget, has been in force since April 2018 and was to end this month. It will now continue and become permanent from May, Ferreira told Lusa.

In comments after a presentation in Lisbon on how the programme had worked out, the secretary of state noted that more than 3,000 young people had taken advantage of it over the 12 months it was in place.

“Because of the programme’s positive effects on youth access to culture and the creation of new audiences, it was decided to extend the programme,” she explained.

In addition to institutions overseen by the Ministry of Culture, 64 municipalities and 11 private entities also took part in the programme, so that more than 350 museums, monuments, palaces and theatres were covered. To gain free admission to participating institutions, an 18-year-old need only present their Portuguese identity card.

By making ‘És.Cultura’18’ a permanent programme, Ferreira said, the ministry aims to “open the horizons of young people who have reached adulthood” by giving them free admission to a less habitual cultural consumption at this stage, namely theatre, opera, exhibitions and Symphonic concerts.

Asked about the amount of money involved, Ferreira said a total of €36,800 was needed, mostly for IT platforms to manage the scheme.

It is, she said, “worth the investment, because there will be a return in [the form of9 the creation of new audiences, in fostering new cultural habits.”

A further 19 municipalities are now set to join the 64 already in the programme.