In August 2019, the renowned Institut de Droit international (IDI) convened at the Peace Palace in The Hague. The KNVIR co-organized and financially supported a panel on ‘Tobias Asser: pioneer, trendsetter, founder of The Hague tradition’.

The invitation said the following on Asser: 

“In a period during which cooperation and attempts to reach mutual understanding were increasingly overshadowed by fighting and preparing for war amongst states, Tobias Asser (1838-1913) was one of those who stood up and came forward with a range of ideas that were new at the time and helped to shape public and private international law to what it is today. Asser was the representative of his generation in his reliance on liberalism, free markets, and the idea of Progress. He even upheld his international approach when, towards the close of the century, nationalism and protectionism gained the upper hand in international legal and political thought.  This is exemplified by his (co-)initiative to establish the Institut de Droit international, to start the Hague Conference on Private International Law and to conceive The Hague Academy of International Law, as well as by his role as Dutch representative at the Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 and as arbitrator in the newly established Permanent Court of Arbitration and his writings in a wide range of fields.  For all these efforts he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1911.”

Tobias Asser

Dr. Arthur Eyffinger, author of an extensive biography on Asser, T.M.C. Asser (1838-1913), In Quest of Liberty, Justice and Peace, discussed Asser’s work and presented the first copy of the biography to prof. dr. Daan Asser, great-grandson of Tobias Asser.

Next to the Introduction by dr. Eyffinger, dr. Hans van Loon, IDI member and former Secretary-General of the Hague Conference of Private International Law, invited three panel members – prof. dr. Marta Pertegás Sender, prof. dr. Janne Nijman and prof. dr. Jean Salmon – to reflect on the meaning of Asser’s work for their own fields of expertise. 

KNVIR members were invited to attend the panel session. The Institut de Droit international also invited KNVIR members to attend a session on ‘World Politics: International Law First?’. This panel was moderated by prof. dr. Marcelo Kohen (Secretary-General IDI, Graduate Institute Geneva) and prof. dr. Nico Schrijver (Curatorium The Hague Academy, President IDI, Leiden University). Under their guidance, four IDI members reflected on the topic: prof. Hannah Buxbaum, Judge Rosalyn Higgins, prof. Maurice Kamto, and prof. dr. Martti Koskenniemi.

Both panel sessions were very well attended and led to lively debates with and amongst the audience.

At the occasion of the IDI Conference, the KNVIR also asked IDI members to be available for talks to individual KNVIR members (‘Meet your Bookshelf and/or your Favourite Practitioner’). Several IDI members were available for such meetings. Five (?) KNVIR members made use of the opportunity.