Tjaco van den Hout graduated from Leiden University's Law School with honors. He joined the Dutch foreign service in 1975, first serving in the lower ranks at embassies in Africa and southeast Asia. Subsequently assigned to the Dutch permanent mission to the UN in New York, he represented the Netherlands on the governing boards of UNICEF and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) while also sitting on the ACABQ - an advisory committee of independent experts on financial, administrative and managerial issues regarding the United Nations. He returned to the foreign ministry for a five-year home posting.
He was subsequently appointed consul-general in New York and managed the country's largest consular post with jurisdiction in northeastern US, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He returned to the foreign ministry after 3 years to become its deputy secretary-general.
He stepped down from this post after 2 years to take the helm at the Permanent Court of Arbitration - a treaty based international organization devoted to the peaceful settlement of international disputes and headquartered alongside the International Court of Justice (World Court) in the Peace Palace at The Hague. After his first five year term was unanimously re-elected to a second term Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Photo: Welcoming UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
In June 2008, after having served the organization for nine years during which he oversaw its revitalization, he announced his intention to step down and return to diplomatic service Letter from UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband
He was appointed Netherlands ambassador to Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia and Laos with residence in Bangkok and took up his duties in September 2008. Upon completion of his assignment he was awarded the Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Order of the White Elephant "for services to the State". He frequently traveled to the other countries under his jurisdiction in particular to Burma where he met not only with senior government officials but also, following her release from house arrest in November 2010, on several occasions with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Photo: meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi