Rutger Blaauw

Get to know Rutger

Rutger is active in the field of commercial law. He often assists companies within the Netherlands and abroad, such as trading companies, ship owners, insurers and property companies. Rutger also advises on contractual and company-law matters.

The emphasis of Rutger's practice is on liability law in all its aspects. Rutger advises and litigates in all kinds of matters. He represents and acts against directors, supervisors and other company officials. The experience gained as a trustee in numerous bankruptcies, comes in very handy. Companies in trouble ask him for his guidance. Rutger also acts for lawyers, insurance brokers, real estate agents and appraisers in (professional) liability matters.

Throughout the years Rutger has handled many personal injury cases. An issue in these cases may be to what extent another party than the client is bound to pay the damage in the end. For instance, in the offshore industry contracts are concluded on the basis of the knock-for-knock principle. Under the knock-for-knock agreement the parties are only liable for injuries of their own employees and they shall safeguard other parties, if addressed by employees of these other parties.

Because of his broad experience with litigation in complex matters, Rutger is also asked to assist in unorthodox matters that require a creative solution.

In 1996 Rutger started his career with Van Dunné & Van der Wiel, a Rotterdam specialist law firm in the field of transport and trade. In 2000 Rutger switched to Van Harmelen Beijneveld van Houten, where he has been a partner since 2005.

Rutger has regularly been a guest lecturer at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2016 he was asked to coach a group of law students.


Representative experience
  • Court proceedings about the interpretation of the jurisdiction clause in the bill of lading conditions of the m/v Copiapo (2003)
  • Take-over of a participation in a bunker fuel terminal in Botlek (Rotterdam) (2007)
  • Court proceedings in order to protect a German property investment fund against malpractice by the Board of Directors of the Fund (2007)
  • Providing assistance to IPO Chemoil Energy Ltd. in Singapore (2008)
  • Court proceedings concerning the liability of a broker following a fire in a marina (2012)
  • International arbitration relating to the application of an indemnity arrangement that is contrary to public policy in the United States (2013)
  • Court proceedings serving to apply the Arrest Convention to vessels not originating from Signatory States (2013)
  • Court proceedings relating to the contamination of large consignments of cocoa (2014)
  • Court proceedings relating to the liability of a Supervisory Board of an Independent Administrative Body (2015)
  • Obtaining the acquittal of a director of an investment fund in criminal proceedings (2015)
  • Court proceedings resulting in liability of a former director for malpractice in a public procurement procedure (2016)

Professional & Community Affiliations

  • Netherlands' Association for Maritime and Transport Law
  • The Association for Liability and Compensation Law
  • The Association for Insurance Science
  • Erasmus Trust Fund and  College Board
  • Royal Maas Yacht Club


  • Dutch Bar Association
  • All Courts in the Netherlands
  • Various arbitration institutes
  • Appeal bodies
  • Raad van State (Dutch Council of State)


Publications & Lectures
  • ‘Aansprakelijkheid van de taxateur van onroerende zaken’, BR 2010/139, afl. 9, p. 733-734;
  • ‘Werkwijze taxateur bepaalt aansprakelijk’, De Taxateur 2008/19, afl. 40, p. 10-11

  • Grotius Academy (Postgraduate Course Transport Law, 2000)
  • London Guildhall University (International & Comparative Business Law, 1995)
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam LLM (Private Law, 1994)
"True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice (Martin Luther King jr.)" - Rutger Blaauw, partner

Contact us

RotterdamOffice (6th floor)
Westblaak 179
3012 KJ Rotterdam

Telephone: +31 10 820 86 20
Fax: +31 10 412 40 11