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Culture & Identity of Monaco

Introduction

Contrary to popular belief, the people of Monaco do work, but many visitors fail to see this as they are blinded by the shiny cars, casinos, and high price tags. For some people work life takes place in Monaco, while for others Monaco is a vacation destination and when here life is all about enjoyment.

Due to the differing crowds of people in Monaco the dynamic and way of life is significantly different from person to person. For the local workers, most jobs are in tourism, but construction is also a never-ending project in the country, either in building the new or improving the existing. In fact, the country boasts a 0% unemployment rate as there are few citizens and enough jobs to cover the citizens as well as numerous immigrants or commuters from nearby France or Italy. For the people that work in Monaco the jobs vary drastically; many positions are in finance, tourism, service, or entertainment (such as restaurants or casinos). All of these jobs offer the employee different hours and lifestyles.

For many others, Monaco is only their weekend home or vacation destination. Most of these people have jobs, often times well-paying jobs, in France, Italy, or whatever their home country might be. Their time spent in Monaco is to relax and enjoy life, the place to socialize, to see, and to be seen. The attraction to Monaco is the natural beauty, the many amenities, the incredible service, great food, and really anything one could want (although not everyone can afford it). Because of this, the people living here tend to enjoy these things and this is how most weekends are spent.

Of course, Monaco is more than just luxury; many people live and work in the country, having a somewhat normal life compared to neighboring countries. These people have regular jobs, start families, and life a life as quiet and normal as one can when surrounded by the glamour of the country. For these families, schools run from about mid-September to about early July each year and free time is often spent at home with their family. In fact, for these locals the glitz and glamour that attracts outsiders is often times avoided altogether by the locals.

Identity

Trying to determine how the people of Monaco identify is rather difficult since so many people are not actually citizens of Monaco nor are they originally from Monaco. Many of the ethnic Italians identify as such, while many of the ethnic French see themselves as French, both of which are ethnically-based identities. Oddly, it is the minority population of the Monegasque (defined as those born in Monaco) that struggle to find an identity. For many, they define themselves as citizens of the country, but for a substantial minority, they continue to see themselves as a Frenchmen living in Monaco, even if he or she has citizenship in Monaco. In some ways, what it means to be Monegasque is based on citizenship and lifestyle above all else, but many Monegasque still identify first with their ethnicity and only second with their country.

This page was last updated: November, 2013