Peace Palace Library
The Peace Palace Library is a prestigious collection of studies and references specializing in international law. It is located in The Hague, Netherlands, and was established as a support institution of the Permanent Court of Justice.
The Library is one of the oldest libraries dedicated to international law. Its principal objective is to service the institutions that reside in the Peace Palace, including the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the Hague Academy of International Law. The Library is also open to employees of all other international legal institutions in The Hague, as well as to all scholars and students of international law.
History and Relationship with Carnegie Foundation
The Dutch Carnegie Foundation was created in 1904. It managed a generous financial donation by Andrew Carnegie, which made the construction of the Peace Palace possible. The Palace was finished in 1913, just before the start of the First World War. In present times, the Carnegie Foundation is subsidized by the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Since 1913, the Foundation has remained the owner of the Palace, and it still runs the Peace Palace Library. The Peace Palace is located at the Carnegieplein in The Hague, Netherlands.
The Palace was built to accommodate the Permanent Court of Arbitration, but Carnegie insisted that room be made available also for a legal library; such a legal library, was the main motivation for Carnegie's gift.
The Peace Palace Library was situated in the Palace itself until 2007, when it moved into the new Academy & Library Building, in the rear of the Peace Palace.
The Peace Palace Library has collected publications since 1913. The collection of the Library now includes over a million volumes. A large part of this collection is searchable through the Library’s unique online catalogue, which classifies not only books and (journal) articles according to their subject, but also book items. In its classification of all books, book items, journal articles and other types of publications, the Library tries to remain faithful, as much as possible, to the famous Catalogue de la bibliothèque du Palais de la paix, designed in 1916 by Elsa Oppenheim, daughter of the famous international lawyer Jacques Oppenheim. At the same time, the Library also uses a more modern classification system, which consists of around 6,000 keywords. In order to help visitors make the most of these classification systems, the staff of the library offers a monthly Peace Palace Library Introduction Course.
Most of the publications of the Library are about public international law, addressing topics of public international law such as the law of State responsibility, human rights, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, law of international organizations, European law, etc. The collection of the Palace further includes private international law, international commercial law, international bankruptcy law, and international law of procedure. In 2012 the Peace Palace Library and the Institute for Environmental Security began compiling a research database on the proposed Law of Ecocide.
The library houses a few special collections, of which the Grotius Collection and the Peace Movement collection are the most important. The Library has the world's largest collection of works by Hugo Grotius, including a rare early edition of De Iure Belli ac Pacis ("On the Law of War and Peace"), his most famous work, written in 1625.
The Reading Room of the Peace Palace Library is open weekdays. The Library staff includes 28 positions; its director is Jeroen Vervliet; there are 10 reference librarians, 5 catalogue librarians, and 3 service librarians. These librarians together run a blog, the Peace Palace Library Blog. They have also set up, and maintain, the news service International Law News, and the Peace Palace Library Research Guides. This is a large network of wiki-pages, which introduce researchers to various topics of international law. The Library also has two acquisition librarians, a department which manages the digital library (including the website), and a stacks department.