Conference Grotian Law and Modernity at the Dawn of a New Age

Grotian Law and Modernity at the Dawn of a New Age: 400 Years of De jure belli ac pacis, 1625-2025
International Conference, 19-20 June 2025, Leiden University Wijnhaven Campus, The Hague

On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the first publication of De jure belli ac pacis by Hugo Grotius in 1625, an international conference will be organized by the Grotiana Foundation, the Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence at the University of Amsterdam, the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at the University of Leiden and the Department of Public Law and Governance at Tilburg University.

The major aim of the conference is to foster new narratives on the thought of Grotius, in general legal theory as well as in international law against a the backdrop of present-day rapid, fundamental changes that challenge the very foundations of the modernist paradigm, of which Grotius may be considered a key trailblazer. The core question of the academic conference is to what extent Grotian thought about general legal theory and international law is still relevant today, and what adaptations current foundational changes to our world make necessary. In this context, discussion of the many trajectories of reception, appropriation and reinterpretation of Grotius in different times and places, offers a valuable, additional perspective.

The organizers invite twelve speakers for each of the three thematic parts of the conference.  Candidates are requested to send in an abstract of 250-400 words and short c.v. of max. 100 words to the general convener, Randall Lesaffer ( by 1 May 2024. Please mention your affiliation and indicate a preference for one of the three conference themes.

Part I ‘Lineages of Grotian Thought’
Convener: Mark Somos
Keynote speaker: Martine van Ittersum

Part II ‘Modernity and the dawn of a new age: general theory of law and
Convener: Marc de Wilde
Keynote speaker: Annabel Brett

Part III ‘Modernity and the dawn of a new age: international law and governance’
Convener: Eric De Brabandere
Keynote speaker: Hilary Charlesworth

Speakers are expected to turn in a draft paper before 1 June 2025. Papers will be distributed to the participants in advance of the conference. Those papers which pass peer review will be published in both the journal Grotiana(New Series) as well as collected in a separate book with Brill.  More information here.