Robert Hans van Gulik (August 9, 1910, Zutphen - September 24, 1967, The Hague) was an orientalist, diplomat, musician, and writer, best known for the Judge Dee mysteries. He was the son of a medical officer in the Dutch army. He was born in the Netherlands but from the age of three until twelve he lived in Batavia (now Jakarta). He went to the University of Leyden in 1934 and obtained his Ph.D in 1935. He joined the Dutch Foreign Service in 1935. He was in Tokyo when Japan declared war on the Netherlands in 1941 but was 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), with whom he 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. From 1965 until his early death from cancer in 1967 he was the Dutch ambassador to Japan.