Address by Jan van Zanen at the centenary celebration of The Hague Academy of International Law, 24 May 2023



Distinguished Guests,


A very warm welcome to this centenary celebration of The Hague Academy of International Law.

Where else could this celebration take place but here in the Peace Palace?

A building which more than any other represents what The Hague stands for: peace and justice.

The presence of such an abundance of knowledge in the field of international law has turned The Hague into an academic centre.

It all began with the founding of The Hague Academy of International Law in 1923.

Although the history of this institute goes even further back than that.

Tobias Asser, one of the ‘founding fathers’ of international law, strongly advocated for an Academy to be established in The Hague.

The dissemination of knowledge and the training of new generations of jurists were matters dear to him.

In 1911 he was the first and, until now, only Dutch citizen to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Asser donated most of the money associated with the prize to the Peace Palace library.


In the century since its inception countless students have attended its renowned courses on international private law and international public law.

Many of them have at some point returned to The Hague to work here as a jurist.

Either at the International Court of Justice or the Permanent Court of Arbitration, for example, both housed in ‘Andrew Carnegie’s Temple of Peace’.

Others now apply what they have learned here ‘at home’ or elsewhere in the world.

Whatever the case, the Academy has contributed to The Hague’s reputation as international city of peace and justice.


The 100-year history of the Academy also tells us about the bond that has been forged between the Academy, the city and its residents.

For many years now, some two or three hundred families in The Hague have hosted Academy students.

I would like to take this opportunity to say: thank you.

Thank you for offering such hospitality.

The Hague is a city which is home to the world, not least because of you.


The municipality also welcomes Academy students with open arms.

The traditional meeting at City Hall on the third day of the summer course is just one such occasion.

A wonderful opportunity to get to know one another and the city in an informal setting.

The city has a lot to offer.

The students of the Academy, naturally, come to The Hague to learn more about international law.

But that they can do that somewhere that is so close to the sea and the beach, is also very attractive of course…

Certainly if the Dutch weather is willing…


I would like to warmly congratulate The Hague Academy of International Law on this special anniversary.

May there be many more.

Know that you will always have the support of the city of The Hague.