Interview Lecturer

Tjaco van den Hout

Visiting Lecturer

Where do you come from?

I am Dutch and have lived in the Netherlands since my high school years up to the moment that I went on my first diplomatic mission, having just finished my law studies at Leiden, the country’s oldest university (1575).

What courses do you teach?

I teach International Adjudication and International Investment Law for Masters students, and European Legal History and Roman Law and Geo-economics: the Geopolitics of Energy for Bachelor students. All in all, I have been teaching at RGSL for over ten years.

What is the main thing the students should take from your courses?

In my teaching at RGSL, I use (the modern American law school version of) the Socratic method, which stimulates interactive classroom discussions and critical thinking. I would hope that the main thing students take away from my courses is a combination of passion for and curiosity in the subjects I cover: International Adjudication and International Investment Law.

Your authority/role model in your professional field?

I like to think that I bring to the classroom extensive professional
experience in the field of law and diplomacy — having served, amongst others, as the second highest civil servant in the Dutch Foreign Ministry, an Ambassador accredited to four countries in Southeast Asia and head of an international organisation headquartered in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

A must-read book in your field?

One of the must-reads in my field is “When International Law Works: Realistic Idealism After 9/11 and the Global Recession” by Tai-Heng Cheng.

The one fun thing you want our students to know about you?

When my wife served as Latvia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, we went to certain events at Buckingham Palace, one of which was the annual “garden party” attended by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philippe, Prince Charles and Camilla, as well as Prince William and Kate. When Prince Philippe, who must have been in his nineties at the time, walked by, he stopped to chat with us. Understanding that we were both ambassadors, he remarked, looking at both of us with a twinkle in his eye:
“Well, well. That must make for interesting pillow talk!”