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This collection consists of 267 printed works by and on the great Dutch humanist and jurist Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), published between 1609-1941, that are kept at the Peace Palace Library in The Hague. 205 of these titles have been published on microfiche before in the collections on international law and jurisprudence. 18 more titles have been digitized from microfiche, that have not been published before. 44 more titles have been newly scanned and added to this online collection. Including one of only three known copies of the rare first state of the first edition of De Iure Belli ac Pacis, purchased in 2012 by the Peace Palace Library. The result is an indispensable source of information covering a wide range of disciplines. From law, jurisprudence and diplomacy to philosophy, history and theology. This collection enables scholars to examine the work of Hugo Grotius, quickly and efficiently online.
The titles in this collection can be divided into a few subject categories and are written in several languages.

Subject categories
Écritures: Works on Hugo Grotius - 2 titles
History: Works by Hugo Grotius - 2 titles
International Law: Works on Hugo Grotius - 165 titles
Jurisprudence: Works by Hugo Grotius - 84 titles
Poesie: Works by Hugo Grotius - 2 titles
Theology: Works on Hugo Grotius - 11 titles
[no subject] - 1 title

Dutch - 88 titles
English - 33 titles
French - 19 titles
German - 13 titles
Italian - 3 titles
Latin - 108 titles
Polish - 1 title
Spanish - 1 title
various languages - 1 title

The collection at the Peace Palace
In 1914, the Hague publisher Martinus Nijhoff donated to the recently established library of the Peace Palace a collection comprising 55 editions of De Iure Belli ac Pacis ( On the Law of War and Peace), the most famous work by the great Dutch humanist and jurist Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). The Nijhoff collection comprised editions in Latin, the original language of the publication, as well as in French, English, German and Dutch. Imprints ranged from 1625 to 1901.

De Iure Belli ac Pacis
The gift from Nijhoff was singularly appropriate because De Iure Belli ac Pacis is a milestone in the history of international law. In this work, Grotius lays out his doctrine of natural law as the basis for the justifiable war. For a long period, De Iure Belli ac Pacis was granted such high significance that its author was regarded as the father of international law. The work aroused much interest at the very beginning of the period between the two World Wars because the conviction gained ground that Grotius's body of thought could provide an answer to the question of how to clear away the violence of war and cultivate a lasting peace.

Largest collection in the world
Using the gift from Nijhoff as foundation, subsequent librarians of the Peace Palace have strived to expand the collection: many other works of Grotius were added, or obtained in photocopy-form from other libraries, with the aim of bringing together as complete a corpus as possible. The Grotius Collection at the Peace Palace Library holds approximately 200 editions of De Iure Belli ac Pacis (in all languages imaginable), and 100 other legal works including Mare Liberum and Inleidinghe tot de Hollandsche Rechts-geleerheid, as well as Grotius’ contributions to history, theology, philology, and poetry – a total of more than 1200 volumes spanning 50 meters of shelves. The collection of Grotiana in the library of the Peace Palace is the largest anywhere in the world.

Jacob ter Meulen
Hence, the Peace Palace can function as a home for research into the life and work of Hugo Grotius. In this respect, Jacob ter Meulen is worthy of special mention. Ter Meulen, librarian at the Peace Palace from 1924 until 1952, has been of immeasurable service to the field of Grotius research. Following years of intensive bibliographical investigation, in 1950 he published, together with his colleague P.J.J. Diermanse, the Bibliographie des écrits imprimés de Hugo Grotius (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff), which contains an exhaustive description of every known edition of Grotius's works. The book, known by Grotius specialists simply as TMD, is an indispensable work of reference for any serious researcher into the life and work of Grotius. In 1961, Ter Meulen and Diermanse published another edition of Bibliographie des écrits sur Hugo Grotius, imprimés a u XVII siècle (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff), a bibliography that includes all minor seventeenth century literature devoted to Hugo Grotius. Both bibliographies were used as a frame of reference for this online collection.

For an overview of more Brill publications on Grotius, please click here.