Honoring the life and work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Tobias Asser

Published 28 August 2019

Asser Institute president Prof. Ernst Hirsch Ballin wrote the foreword to the two-volume biography of Tobias Asser, and academic director Janne Nijman will speak in a mini-symposium on Thursday to commemorate the Nobel Peace Prize winner.

A new two-volume biography of Tobias Asser will be launched on Thursday 29 August at the Peace Palace in The Hague. Asser Institute president Ernst Hirsch Ballin wrote the foreword to the biography, which was written by Arthur Eyffinger and published by Brill. To commemorate the legacy of Tobias Asser, the academic director of the Asser Institute Janne Nijman will be speaking in a mini-symposium on the great man after whom our institute was named.

Hot pursuit of great challenges
Tobias Asser (1838-1913), professor of law at the University of Amsterdam, as well as the man after whom our institute is named, dedicated his life to foster peace through international law. Tobias Asser was an expert in both private and public international law; he was a practitioner and a scholar, a peace activist and a diplomat. The cosmopolitan Asser was greatly appreciated: he became Dutch Minister of State (1904) and he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1911, being the only Dutch person to ever receive it. Asser, definitely, never was the man to contend himself with the placid enclosure of study and family life. His ambition was the hot pursuit of the great challenges of his day and age in the frontline of intellectual discourse. Indeed, the present position of The Hague as a major hub of international law and diplomacy is hardly conceivable without the interference of this extraordinary man. 

Public intellectual
T.M.C. Asser (1838-1913), In Quest of Liberty, Justice and Peace,  Arthur Eyffinger’s latest biography on Tobias Asser, traces the life of Asser as a public intellectual and the broader history of his ideas.  Asser Institute president Ernst Hirsch Ballin wrote the foreword to the two-volume biography. “Asser’s life and work are inspiring examples of how individuals are able to transgress the confinements of descent and discipline without forgetting where they came from,” argues Ballin. “Not being afraid of differences is the key to reinforcing trust in the belief that human beings have a common dignity that has to be recognised in law.” Read more about Tobias Asser here

To honor the legacy of this great man, the academic director of the Asser Institute Janne Nijman will be speaking at a mini-symposium to commemorate Asser’s legacy on Thursday 29 August, 17.30-20.00 hours, in the Auditorium of the The Hague Academy, Peace Palace, The Hague. The symposium is jointly organised by The Institut de Droit international and the Royal Netherlands Society of International Law.

Arthur Eyffinger will be giving an introduction to the work of Tobias Asser and will present the first copy of his book to Prof. Daan Asser, great-grandson of Tobias Asser.

This mini-symposium is open to the general public. If you wish to attend it, send an email to info@knvir.org