My name is Gijs Dreijer, born and raised in The Hague, and currently finishing my PhD studies at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (Belgium). Although I am originally trained as an historian, my PhD research is in legal history and, as a result, I work at the Law Faculty in Brussels. Just before starting the PhD, I became a member of the Peace Palace Library to prepare for the legal part of my PhD and I have been a regular visitor ever since!

I work on the history of maritime law in sixteenth-century Belgium, not necessarily a topic which many coming to the Peace Palace Library may necessarily consider their speciality… Yet the collection is excellent for my research, as both material on the history of maritime law and present-day maritime law is available here. The research guide on the Scheldt question, which only is a side note in my research, was particularly useful to understand the complicated legal background. Moreover, works in other languages than English and Dutch (for example French, German and Spanish) are easily accessible, something that is definitely not always the case in other libraries!

Of course, the librarians of the Library are another major reason to come here to study and write large sections of my PhD. The librarians are always willing to help me with finding certain specific books and, not unimportant, always deliver the books I need in no time. I also can of course not complain about the free coffees that are given to me from time to time!

I am still planning to organise a visit to the Peace Palace Library for my colleagues in Brussels, of whom many work on the history of international law and the law of nations. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this has unfortunately been impossible for now, but they are still very interested in seeing the Grotius collection soon when this is possible again!

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