Reviving hygiene standards in the 20th century: the contributions of Prince Albert I of Monaco

The dual dynamic forces of science and technology radically changed views and practices relating to hygiene in the late nineteenth century: microbiologists, including Pasteur, revealed hitherto unsuspected causes of disease. Identifying sources of infection became a principle of hygiene, immediately followed by protecting against such sources through improving cleanliness. The new development in the 1900s was the effort to systematise these guidelines, incorporate them into law and step up international cooperation to improve defences and protections. 

At the beginning of the century of Prince Albert I, Monaco responded to these efforts, specifically creating hotel accommodation that was considered to be strikingly modern. In addition, the Prince officially opened a new spa in 1908, which brought together the latest thinking from academia and sophisticated equipment. The Prince’s most distinctive hallmark was his influence on international thinking. His opening address at the Congress of Monaco on promoting the development of the spa, seaside, climate and alpine resorts of the allied nations in 1920 focused the agenda on regaining the momentum with regard to sanitary standards, which had been severely compromised by the Great War, and on studying in depth the resources of the sea, an area in which he was a pioneer. He sang the praises of water and sunlight, denounced poorly managed industrial facilities and emphasised the importance of research for wellbeing and progress. In short, he refocused attention on hygiene as a vital element in sustaining life.

This lecture is being organised as part of Prince Albert I’s death centenary commemoration

In partnership with the Institute of Oceanography, Prince Albert I of Monaco Foundation.