The ILA approach to the progressive structuring of international society, so typical of later 19th Century social optimism, has from the very first found a warm advocate in its oldest national branch, the NVIR. The idea to assemble legal luminaries and captains of industry into a single body might not be quite representative of the Dutch, rather compartmentalized, tradition of legal thinking, but even so, the NVIR, after a first abortive attempt in 1875, from its ‘re-launch’ in 1910 invariably met with a thoroughly welcoming intellectual climate in the Netherlands.
Over the past century, the Society's (board) members have not consistently proved themselves visionaries in their anticipation of, or reaction to, social change, be this in the domestic sphere or the international domain. Symptomatic of this were the fairly conservative views they held on such issues as Neutrality or the League of Nations in the 1920s; on the conflict with Indonesia, also regarding New Guinea, in the post-WWII years; on the Benelux experiment and the Schuman Plan in the 1950s; or on the decolonization process in the 1960s.
Even so, in the final analysis, the views represented by the NVIR have invariably been a welcome, indeed fairly refreshing contribution to the Dutch social debate. Also, and in spite of the progressive institutionalization and codification in the international arena auspicated by a wealth of intergovernmental bodies, ILA and the NVIR never did, nor will they presumably, fail in carving a very respectable niche of their own in aspiring to help the implementation of the Rule of Law in this world drawing nearer.