Robert Hans van Gulik (髙羅佩) (August 9, 1910, Zutphen - September 24, 1967, The Hague) was a highly educated orientalist, diplomat, musician (of the guqin) and writer, best known for the Judge Dee mysteries, the protagonist of which he borrowed from the 18th century Chinese detective novel Dee Goong An.Van Gulik was the son of a medical officer in the Dutch army of what was then called the Dutch East Indies (modern-day Indonesia). He was born in the Netherlands but from the age of three until twelve he lived in Batavia (now Jakarta) where he was tutored in Mandarin and other languages. He went to the University of Leyden in 1934 and obtained his Ph.D in 1935. His talents as a linguist suited him for a job in the Dutch Foreign Service which he joined in 1935 and he was then stationed in various countries, mostly in East Asia (Japan and China).He was in Tokyo when Japan declared war on the Netherlands in 1941 but he, and the rest of the Allied diplomatic staff, were evacuated in 1942. He spent most of the rest of World War II as the secretary for the Dutch mission to Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government in Chongqing. While in Chongqing he married a Chinese woman (Shui Shifang), the daughter of an Imperial mandarin (under the Manchu Dynasty). Together they had four children.After the war ended, he returned to the Netherlands then went to the United States as the Councillor of the Dutch embassy in Washington D.C.. He returned to Japan in 1949 and stayed there for the next four years. While in Tokyo he published his first two books, Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee and a privately published book of erotic colored prints from the Ming dynasty. Later postings took him all over the world from New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Beirut (during the 1958 Civil War) to The Hague. From 1965 until his early death from cancer in 1967 he was the Dutch ambassador to Japan.