The coolest birthday gift an Italian 18-year-old gets this year may be from the federal government.
Starting September 15, all teenagers who were born in 1998 will receive €500 ($565 US) from the Italian government on their 18th birthday. Kids born in that year who already turned will still receive the money, The Local reports.
The generous policy was designed as a way to encourage young people to visit more museums, parks, and concerts. Teens can also use the money to buy books and see movies.
“The initiative sends a clear message to youngsters, reminding them that they belong to a community which welcomes them once they come of age,” Tommaso Nannicini, the public official overseeing the initiative, told Corriere.
To make all this happen, the government is relying on a smartphone app called 18app. When teens want to buy tickets to a concert or museum, the app creates the appropriate voucher that can stand in the place of cash. A copy of the voucher then goes to the government to validate the purchase.
This isn’t the first time Italy has rolled out an inventive solution to promote national interest. Last year, the Sicilian town of Gangi announced it was giving away run-down houses for free, under the condition that buyers had to bear all the fees of claiming ownership and provide a detailed plan for renovation within the first year.
According to Italian officials, the new culture enrichment program will cost roughly $328 million to cover the 574,000 recipients. The program will last until the end of 2017.
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