by The Hague composer Roel van Oosten, was commissioned by the Haags Toonkunstkoor and premiered in 2009 to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the publication of the treatise of the same name by Hugo Grotius, in 1609. Grotius’ Mare Liberum (The Free Sea) contains important initial principles of international law. In his treatise Grotius formulated the principle that the sea is international territory and all nations should be free to use it for seafaring trade. He considered it inconceivable that nations could possess the sea, as they possess land. On balance the message of Hugo Grotius is that the sea is common to all, because being (almost) limitless,
like the air, it cannot become a possession of any nation. It remains a relevant thought today since, over past decades, it has led to agreements laid down in treaties about Antarctica, the Moon and Space, which, like the sea, are a res communis (an international public good).