This exhibition was made by nine students at Leiden University College The Hague, Leiden University’s international honours college. Their portraits and a short quote from each of them can be found further below. Founded in 2010, LUC is the university’s liberal arts and sciences college and its rigorous and interdisciplinary programme is marked by strong societal engagement. The college has been consistently ranked as the Netherlands’ top university college and placed in the top three of the country’s bachelor programmes. Grotius’ work and legacy are taught in all three BA majors, ‘Human Diversity: Culture, History and Society’, ‘International Justice’ and ‘World Politics’, at Leiden University College.


The section on the conservation of Grotius'manuscript of Mare Liberum was written by Karin Scheper, conservator of Leiden University Libraries.


Project supervisors: Dr. Hanne Cuyckens and Dr. Jacqueline Hylkema

Portraits of the students: Tzu-Ruei Wu

Digitisation: Eva van ’t Loo and Nico van Rooijen

Digital exhibition: Rob Feenstra and Jef Schaeps

Design: Artefacto (Londen)

© Leiden University Libraries and the authors, 2021


Hanne (3rd year, HD:CHS) is currently writing her BA thesis on the self-representations and self-fashioning of female artists in the Dutch Republic. “To me, Grotius represents a new generation of conscious scholars, who prized interdisciplinary education as a mean to navigate the world around us better. They saw that no challenge can be solved without having regards for the different factors that complicate it, and I think that today too, with the challenges we are facing now, this remains a valuable lesson.”






Birgit (3rd year, HD:CHS) is currently undertaking her BA thesis on the responsibility and restoration of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. “To me, Hugo Grotius represents a figure who sought out and subsequently overstepped the boundaries of tolerance within the Dutch Republic, a struggle that cost his own freedom and ultimately rendered him an exile.”








Hendrik (3rd year, WP) is working on his BA thesis on the ethics of war photography. “To me, Grotius’ story is the story of international law: influenced by current events and political struggles, yet promising a better world with more freedom and tolerance. Although he was not perfect, Grotius strove to achieve these ideals.”








Alina (3rd year, HD:CHS) is working on her BA thesis on Conceptual Art in Covid times. “To me, Grotius represents the intersectionality of our liberal arts college and the values that are so evident in LUC.”









Marie-Estelle (3rd year, HD:CHS) is currently working on her BA thesis on depictions of insects in relation to environmental change in Ancient Egypt. “To me, Grotius is the best example of an interdisciplinary scholar. Having been able to take a close look at his extraordinary life strengthened my belief that no issue can be tackled when isolating fields of research. This is surely a lesson that I am taking with me into my thesis project and hopefully beyond as well.”







Inez (3rd year: HD:CHS) is currently writing her BA thesis regarding the representation of the Jewish Diaspora in pre- and postwar art. “I admire Grotius because of his perseverance. It is inspiring how he refused to give up on the goals he established for himself.”








Jort (2nd year, IJ) combines his studies at LUC with a part-time degree in Law at Leiden University as part of the double-degree programme LUC offers. “To me, Hugo de Groot is a true inspiration. He helped shape a more tolerant and free society by using an incredibly powerful toolkit: the law."








Melvin (2nd year, WP) is focusing his studies on critical theories of international relations. “To me, the story of Grotius proves that freedom and tolerance are not always a given, and that we should continue to stand up for our ideals, even 400 years after Grotius’ escape from Loevestein.”








Shoshanah (3rd year, WP) has written her BA thesis on a Gramscian analysis of the Black Lives Matter movement. “Grotius, to me, is admirable for advocating religious toleration in the Dutch Republic and standing by this ideal even when this was to his own detriment.”