Background articles

Numbers of students with mental health problems not on the rise

Anyone who reads a newspaper almost always come to the same conclusion: life is tough for students. They have to deal with stress, anxiety disorders and symptoms of burn-out. And with the increased pressure to achieve and the abolition of the basic s...

“It’s up to the journalist to peer through the smoke screen”

“It’s up to the journalist to peer through the smoke screen”

Interest rate derivatives, share buy-back programmes, government bonds, deposit banks. Dear reader, are you still there? Investigative journalist Thomas Bollen (1984) lives for these kinds of financial-economic concepts – the more obscure the better. He meticulously dissects them, leaving no stone unturned. “The Netherlands is a wonderful country. Many things are well organised here. But if you delve deeper into the matter, you can see how corruption has permeated our financial systems, industry and, yes, our universities, too. And the people are the ones who suffer.” Bollen will give an English-language lecture in the Minderbroedersberg auditorium on the evening of Monday 18 November. 

“The police always threaten to arrest me, but they never do”

“The police always threaten to arrest me, but they never do”

Cambodian human rights activist Lim Kimsor (31) and her family were forced by their government to leave their house in the city of Phnom Penh in July 2009. The government gave several reasons: city beautification, construction of a drainage system, laying streets. It turned out that the land had been sold to private companies. Since 2011, Kimsor has been fighting this kind of corruption non-stop. That’s why she is staying in Maastricht for three months, as a participant of the Shelter Cities project of Justice and Peace Netherlands, a human rights and social justice organisation. This project enables human rights activists to catch a breath, continue their work safely, and do some networking by visiting a number of Dutch cities.

“We are human beings, not human doings”

“We are human beings, not human doings”

“You are your own boss, you have the power to do what you want. It sounds simple, and it is simple,” says Jasmijn George, a consciousness coach who helps people discover what they really want. She is one of the panel members for Let’s Talk about stress and burnout, the opening event of the Well-being Week, in the SNS Community Room on Monday evening.

“I see things within the UM that worry me”

“I see things within the UM that worry me”

How can we tackle the problem of a heavy workload? How can we ensure a safe working environment? Eighteen groups of employees (approximately 180 people) pondered these questions the last few weeks. Solutions will be presented in spring.

 “Studying kind of felt like a necessary evil to me”

“Studying kind of felt like a necessary evil to me”

“Are you happy with the way you look? Well, I’d rather be 10cm taller and/or 5 kilos lighter, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I think I’m hideous…

Do you want children? ‘That’s just about the last thing I want to think about’ isn’t included as an option on this dating site.

Do you smoke? Shoot, there goes my chance of meeting the woman of my dreams I’d quit smoking for.”

Hardware stolen from UNS 60

Hardware stolen from UNS 60

MAASTRICHT. During a burglary, last week, in two of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences' offices on the Universiteitssingel 60, hardware from eight computers (processors, RAM, and hard disks) were taken. The crime was reported to the police. According to Ineke Wolfhagen, assistant director of the education institute, no privacy-sensitive or confidential information has disappeared.

“Let yourself get involved in their lives, rather than engaging them in your research”

“Let yourself get involved in their lives, rather than engaging them in your research”

MAASTRICHT. Helping researchers who want to do community-engaged research and showcase what is already happening at Maastricht University. That is the aim of the Maastricht Platform for Community-Engaged Research (MPCER). During the launch event at Lumière last Thursday, the pitfalls and challenges of this kind of research were discussed.

Mindfulness: Not a Swiss Army knife

Mindfulness: Not a Swiss Army knife

Mindfulness – if you look it up on Google, you will get 103 million hits. More than 60 thousand non-specialist books have been written on the subject. But what do we really know about it? What effects have actually been proven, what role can mindfulness play on the work floor and what are the pitfalls? These are the questions touched upon by Ute Hülsheger, professor of Occupational Health Psychology since last Friday, in her inaugural speech.

King's Day in Maastricht

King's Day in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. No European Song Contest in Maastricht next year - that will be celebrated in Rotterdam – but we will have the celebrations for King Willem-Alexander’s birthday together with his family. On King’s day, 27 April 2020, the...

“I find jokes about the war hard to take”

“I find jokes about the war hard to take”

It was 75 year ago when Limburg was liberated. On 13 September 1944, the American army entered Maastricht, a thing that was celebrated elaborately last weekend, with among others a Ticker Tape Parade to honour the liberators. Does the liberation still interest students? Do they think it is important to commemorate and celebrate or is it just an event from the history books?

Shilly-shallying, sleeping in and shouting

Shilly-shallying, sleeping in and shouting

There are no solid national figures, but there is no longer any doubt: many students are at the end of their tether. Also in Maastricht. “Everything has to be done quickly, quickly, quickly. That’s the struggle of our generation.”

A cause worth fighting for

A cause worth fighting for

Sometimes, an issue gets under your skin. Whether it's because it’s personal or because you believe it to be the greatest concern of our time. These students have decided to dedicate their free time trying to improve the world in their own way.

“If something goes wrong, stay calm”

“If something goes wrong, stay calm”

It was only a year ago that he started to live by himself and took his first steps in the kitchen. Meanwhile Cas Renders, second-year student of Psychology, has been declared the winner of UM’s Next Top Chef, a cooking competition organised by catering company Albron. He created a recipe especially for this first-years’ edition for new cooks. Easy, tasty and cheap.

Looking for your inner Scrooge McDuck

Looking for your inner Scrooge McDuck

Rent, tuition fees, books, food, insurance, going out. Frightening, just how much money needs to be paid out every month when you first become a student. Fortunately there are many ways to economise. Here are some tips.

“What do you do when someone starts crying?”

“What do you do when someone starts crying?”

“I know that most of the teaching and mentor staff finds it difficult when a student confronts them with an extremely emotional story. What do you do when someone starts crying? Should you give him a hug, offer a tissue?” It’s the question that Pia Harbers, student advisor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, drops in her ten-minute talk during EDLAB’s teach-meet last Tuesday afternoon. Staff from all UM faculties and service centres discuss the issue of student well-being and how it affects them.

“I thought studying would be more relaxing than working full-time, it was the other way around”

“I thought studying would be more relaxing than working full-time, it was the other way around”

Why is it that so many young people today feel stressed, anxious, depressed and burned out? Many have tried to find an answer. The panellists and the audience at the Sphinx debate about the topic, Wednesday 29 May at Lumière, took another stab at it. Their conclusion: structural changes have to be made at Maastricht University.

“It’s not like either everyone in Germany was a Nazi or everyone in the Netherlands was part of the resistance”

“It’s not like either everyone in Germany was a Nazi or everyone in the Netherlands was part of the resistance”

 “I was quite anxious, going to a commemoration of Second World War victims as a German.” On 1 May 2011, Professor Martin Paul became president of UM. Three days later, on 4 May, he lay down a wreath on behalf of the university during the Remembrance of the Dead ceremony in Maastricht. He immediately felt welcome and was “taken in” by the atmosphere. “It was all about remembering, not about exclusion at all. Of course, it was a solemn event. There was a uniformed concert band – very Limburgish – and a men’s choir sang a German church song, giving it a cross-border touch. It was very special.” This month, Paul begins his third term as president of UM and he’s acting as guest editor of Observant. His theme: Europe.

“Sometimes you have to pull the emergency brake to open people’s eyes”

“Sometimes you have to pull the emergency brake to open people’s eyes”

He’s prepared to threaten Brussels with a Nexit. He’s even prepared to mean it, if the EU spins out of control. Ruud Burlet, political leader of the conservative Eurosceptic party Forum for Democracy (FvD) in Limburg, engages in a debate with EU expert Professor Mathieu Segers. The latter doesn’t like threats. And he certainly doesn’t like pretending.

Meet Maastricht Festival

Meet Maastricht Festival

From 24-26 May you get the chance to learn about Maastricht’s culture, history, monuments and food at the third edition of the Meet Maastricht Festival. New this year is a sleepover at the Museum aan het Vrijthof, a big opening party at the Cod...

“PBL is a kind of minidemocracy”

“PBL is a kind of minidemocracy”

You don't need to tell anyone at Maastricht University that problem-based learning has a lot of advantages. But will a democratic society work better because of it? Do students learn skills that will make them more involved citizens? Teun Dekker, professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Education, believes so. To test this out, Observant asked him to discuss PBL, democracy and Europe with a number of his students.

UM Pride launch event

UM Pride launch event

MAASTRICHT. There is a new network for LGBT+ people in Maastricht. On Thursday 23 May UM Pride will have its launch event. “We want to be a safe space for the LGBT+ community at Maastricht University for both staff and students”, says initiative taker and law student Davide Muraro. UM Pride will focus on four themes: research and academics, education and training, support and welfare, and events.

Europe needs a new story

Europe needs a new story

Learning from the past. It is a cliché that is often neither here nor there, the writer and historian Ian Buruma will argue in his Schuman lecture The Wrong lessons from history, next week. And what about the endless comparisons with the Second World War then? Is it right to call Baudet a fascist? “It is not completely unfounded.”

Big feminist questions and party music at Ladyfest

Big feminist questions and party music at Ladyfest

For the third year in a row, Maastricht will celebrate the expression, creation, discussion and collaboration of feminist, women, trans and gender-non conforming people at Ladyfest on 4 and 5 May.

Museumnacht 2019: conspiracy theorists, a meteorite impact and Nightwatchmen

Museumnacht 2019: conspiracy theorists, a meteorite impact and Nightwatchmen

The Young Office has created a spacescape in the Bonnefanten Museum, at Bureau Europa you can immerse yourself in a world of conspiracy theorists, big data and artificial intelligence, and Marres is brimming with sculptures and moulded portraits of people in everyday situations. Museumnacht Maastricht is almost upon us once again. On Friday, 12 April from 20:00-1:00hrs, thirteen Maastricht art institutes will open their doors, for the fourth year in a row.

“Europeans are not the central force behind history anymore”

“Europeans are not the central force behind history anymore”

What it means to be European, how to deal with European history – both good and bad, collective memories and individual experiences. These are all themes that the storytellers who spoke at last Tuesday’s Storyline event ‘Europe: stories about love and hate’ touch upon in their work, whether it’s in writing, the spoken word or film. In cinema theatre Lumière they shared their thoughts.

Europe: stories about love and hate

Europe: stories about love and hate

MAASTRICHT. The opinions about Europe are – to put it mildly – divided. In the next Story-Line event on Tuesday 26 March storytellers will share their stories about love and hate in Europe. Guests include Mathieu Segers, professor of European Affairs at University College Maastricht, best-seller author Francesca Melandri and Dutch writer Lodewijk van Oord.

On bombings, torture, smugglers… and research

On bombings, torture, smugglers… and research

Three refugees recently received a special NWO grant to carry out research at the UM. Two of them - a Syrian neuroscientist and a Palestinian pharmacologist - tell their stories. The third laureate, from Turkey, preferred not to be interviewed.

Becoming more democratic through the Liberal Arts

Becoming more democratic through the Liberal Arts

To prepare students to be good citizens in a democratic society is the central concern of education for Teun Dekker, recently made first professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Europe. Dekker intended his inaugural lecture on Thursday, the 31st of January, to be a “celebration of Liberal Arts education” and hence introduced his idea of the seven democratic virtues fostered by a Liberal Arts and Sciences education.

Women in film: small steps, big dreams

Women in film: small steps, big dreams

“Small steps and big dreams” illustrates perfectly the sentiment that the visitors could feel in  the room  4 of the Lumière Cinema on Saturday afternoon. The discussion regarding the Women in Film Post- #Metoo was part of the Shift Film Festival. This festival happens every year. Throughout conferences, discussion, movie screening and diverse activities the major and current societal and political shifts are put in the spotlights. Meet Maastricht, a cultural foundation gave the opportunity to students to participate  to  multiple events.

How to motivate the Danish to buy electric cars

How to motivate the Danish to buy electric cars

SBE dean and Danish citizen Peter Møllgaard became the new chairman of the Danish Council on Climate Change from 1 December. Despite recent ominous reports, Møllgaard believes in a good outcome. “I am a born optimist.”

“When there are bombings I tell my children there are fireworks”

“When there are bombings I tell my children there are fireworks”

On 14 June 2009, a missile hit the second floor of the house of 39-year-old Palestinian human rights activist Yamen Al Madhoun. Glass and stone splinters slightly injured two of his sisters. Whose missile that was, is still under investigation. Viole...

"Be present in the moment in a non-judgmental way"

How to successfully juggle all the balls that you have up in the air and how to live your life according to your priotities – these were just two of the many topics discussed in the ‘Bend, don’t break’ workshop on Wednesday 31 October, during the well-being week at Maastricht University. 

Housing policy: students and citizens don't agree at all

Housing policy: students and citizens don't agree at all

MAASTRICHT. The measure introduced by the Maastricht city council to only allow a maximum of 120 new rooms annually, the so-called 40-40-40 rule, has put the brakes on the proliferation of student housing. Other rules, such as the requirement of bicycle parking facilities and a shed for rubbish bags, have had much less effect. An evaluation report has been published regarding the property division policy, introduced in 2016. There is a considerable conflict of opinions. Where the students detest the measures for being too strict, neighbourhoods believe they should be even stricter.

Impossible to walk away without emotion

MAASTRICHT. From 19 October until 11 November, Centre Céramique is hosting the annual World Press Photo exhibition. The competition receives photos from around the world showcasing a variety of news works that emulating depth and creativity, allowing visitors to engage with news events more personally. 

“Europe should re-establish its enlightened values”

“Europe should re-establish its enlightened values”

The Muslim question – that’s the greatest challenge for Europe today, according to Maajid Nawaz, who gave the Tans lecture last Monday. Nawaz, co-author of Islam and the Future of Tolerance, believes that both Islam and Europe need to reform in order for us to build a society in which people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds can live together.

Expats not satisfied yet

Expats not satisfied yet

NETHERLANDS. The tax on dividends remains and the cabinet therefore has enough money to meet the demands of expats whose tax benefit is being decreased. But the expats remain vexed and threaten to go to court.

Tans lecture by deradicalised Muslim

Tans lecture by deradicalised Muslim

MAASTRICHT. At the age of sixteen, the British-Pakistani Maajid Nawaz joined Hizb ut Tahrir, a world-wide Islamist organisation that aims at establishing a caliphate. Nawaz becomes a leader, but eventually ends up in an Egyptian jail. After spending ...

iArts students create conceptual clothing line with fabrics from the Maas

iArts students create conceptual clothing line with fabrics from the Maas

What kind of waste do you think ends up in the river Maas most? Plastic? Glass? Actually, second- and third-year students of iArts, an interdisciplinary arts programme of Zuyd Hogeschool to which also UM teachers contribute, found a lot of clothing and textiles. Commissioned by Dutch Earth Week – which starts next Monday – to do a project about nomadic waste in the river, they designed a clothing line made from fabrics found in the Maas.

Maybe container accommodation in Randwyck after all

Maybe container accommodation in Randwyck after all

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has reopened discussions about container accommodation in Randwyck. This time it doesn't concern second-hand units from Amsterdam, but newly built sea containers by social enterprise Rendiz from Limburg.

Delay renovation Annadal: students disadvantaged

Delay renovation Annadal: students disadvantaged

MAASTRICHT. “It's a mess.” That’s what foreign students who have recently rented a room at the Annadal complex on the Brouwersweg say. The 217 additional rooms were renovated in no time during the summer. The objective was reached: handover on 1 September. But it isn’t ready. The inhabitants are dealing with a lot of dust and noise.

“If one person gets sick, everyone will follow”

“If one person gets sick, everyone will follow”

Anyone who enters the former nurses flat on the Annadal complex, will receive a friendly greeting from the builders. “Don't fall over the materials.” This person is sanding and painting, another is putting up shower units like you wou...

“It is actually possible, equal academic careers”

“It is actually possible, equal academic careers”

Dual inaugural lectures have happened before in Maastricht, but this is the first time that a ‘husband and wife’ present theirs in the same ceremony. The honour goes to German researchers Lisa and Alexander Brüggen, each of whom will accept a chair at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) tomorrow. “Some employees, who have worked at SBE for years, don't even know that we are a couple.”

PAS workshop: I write, so I stay

PAS workshop: I write, so I stay

MAASTRICHT SATURDAY NIGHT 20.30. In no more than 45 minutes these brave writers wrote a small article about PAS during the Observant writing workshop. You can read them here.

Two or three kisses on the cheek?

Two or three kisses on the cheek?

Doga Kordel (19) from Istanbul is going to study International Business. He chose Maastricht because he wanted to study in Europe and he didn’t want to make it too expensive. However, the most important reason is that he wants to learn a new la...

“You would never see an introduction like this in India”

“You would never see an introduction like this in India”

Mrinal Gupta (19) is a soccer player, but he’s thinking about  joining Saurus this year. His Inkom mentors got him really excited about rowing, he tells during the Sports Event at the Griend on Thursday. He came all the way from New Delhi ...

A tattoo as a memory of Costa Rica

A tattoo as a memory of Costa Rica

As she stands in front of the wall, ready to be photographed, Italian Lisa Scanu (18) tells about the tattoo under her left collarbone. The word zussen – Dutch for sisters – remembers her of her time in Costa Rica. It sounds crazy: a Dutc...

Three minutes by bike

Three minutes by bike

Jannick Neudert (24) from Germany, master International Business: “What I like about Maastricht? I arrived this morning and parked my car not far from SBE. I had to walk through parks to reach the faculty, I like the green atmosphere. I want to...

“If I say I’m going to dinner with the Maastricht rector, they’ll let me off”

“If I say I’m going to dinner with the Maastricht rector, they’ll let me off”

MAASTRICHT. Tuesday evening. As the clock strikes six, the front door of the student house at Vrijthof 27 rattles. Two bright eyes peep through the mail slot into the corridor. It’s rector Rianne Letschert, pressing the doorbell in vain. In June last year, she joined the students for dinner for the Observant series Guess who's coming to dinner?! They agreed to meet again in a year’s time to see how everyone has got on.

‘Austere expat ruling damaging to the Netherlands as a knowledge country’

NETHERLANDS. Dutch universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutes are afraid that they may miss out on international talent as a result of restrictions on the so-called ‘expat subsidy’. They think that the Cabinet would do well to reconsider the measure.

When storytellers become activists

When storytellers become activists

MAASTRICHT. How do storytellers relate to current pressing issues? When and why do writers, filmmakers and artists become activists? That’s the theme of the fourth Story-Line event, this Saturday in Lumiere Cinama. The English programme include...

Tropical tunes, a maze and obscure stories

Tropical tunes, a maze and obscure stories

MAASTRICHT. For one night, Marres will be transformed into a jungle, Bonnefanten Museum into a maze, and the Dominicanen bookstore into a trendy club. During the Maastricht Museum Night on 13 April, thirteen art institutes will not only open their do...

“Researchers don’t have a clue about deadlines and word counts”

“Researchers don’t have a clue about deadlines and word counts”

Academics have an ethical obligation to write articles for a broad audience, partly to counter others who are less than expert in the material or who wish to manipulate us. This is the standpoint of the Melbourne-based guest lecturer Simon Clews, who is giving writing workshops all week at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Alles is Drama tries its hand at musical theatre with Family Matters

Alles is Drama tries its hand at musical theatre with Family Matters

For their new production Family Matters, student theatre association Alles is Drama embarks on a new adventure: musical theatre. In addition to sketches that they wrote themselves, each player will also perform a song. The overarching theme is family...

Big student debate elections at SBE

MAASTRICHT. Ten (of the fourteen) local political parties, five propositions, five debate rounds and rector Rianne Letschert to set the ball rolling. A large city council election debate for students will take place in the Franz Palm lecture hall at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) on Monday 12 March.

Portraits of human rights defenders

Portraits of human rights defenders

“Richard fights for the rights of prisoners in Burundi.” Under the impressive photo of this African human rights defender, with the Servaas Bridge in the background, visitors to the exhibition in the Faculty of Law's Lenculenhal can r...

Maastricht’s not-so-dead Poets Society

Maastricht’s not-so-dead Poets Society

As the meek face of morning

Peered, winking generously

Over the woken earth

Came a lonely boat,

Slaving to the tide

Soothing solemnly by

As a sailing thought

 Slowly making its way

 Across the pallid waters

 Of my liquid mind.

(Alfie Marsden-Smedley)

“I still believe there’s room to get it right, a culture of law instead of revenge”

“I still believe there’s room to get it right, a culture of law instead of revenge”

After studying law in England, Anuol Deng decided to return to his native soil in South Sudan. He was determined that, as a lawyer, he could make a contribution in his war-ravaged country. The Dutch sisters Femke and Ilse van Velzen trailed him for months, filming a documentary called A Haunting History. This Thursday afternoon, Deng will deliver the Theo van Boven lecture at the law faculty. The film will also be screened.

“Sacrifice one submarine to move forward in regenerative medicine”

“Sacrifice one submarine to move forward in regenerative medicine”

“He is not only an idol, he is my hero!”, were Professor Clemens van Blitterswijk’s words leaving the curious audience tempted to learn about the identity of this mystery man. His talk was one of the many that were given during TEDx Maastricht’s 5th anniversary, which took place this year at the MECC forum. This year’s theme ‘The process of inception’ was entertained by various speakers taking the stage, attempting to awe, inspire and motivate the public.

“You don’t know what you need until you’ve done it”

“You don’t know what you need until you’ve done it”

What do a surgeon, a chef and a hat maker have in common? They all work with their hands. As this was the theme of the Training the Senses held in the Brandweer Kantine last Wednesday, it made sense (pun intended) to invite exactly those people to be the hosts of the evening.

Maastricht Disrupt

Maastricht Disrupt

MAASTRICHT. Design thinking – it’s a concept many people are unfamiliar with. This is something Maastricht Disrupt – a think tank of about twelve people, among them UM students – wants to change. They are organising  the second edition of their annual conference on 23 and 24 September in the Cube Design Museum in Kerkrade.

PAS 2017: lots of visitors, pity about the weather

PAS 2017: lots of visitors, pity about the weather

We have no control over the weather, wrote Jacques Reiners in the programme booklet for PAS (Pleasure, Art and Science) Festival that took place last weekend. And that proved to be true: on Thursday and especially Friday evening, it rained cats and d...

58 lectures, thirty music performances and a proper shooting gallery

58 lectures, thirty music performances and a proper shooting gallery

With no fewer than 58 lectures, most of which by Maastricht scientists, there is something for everyone during the PAS (Pleasure, Arts and Science) Festival that will open its doors at the beginning of September. A preview by Observant.

Lots of DJs during Inkom

MAASTRICHT. Lyrics by Nirvana poured like a sauce over the music of the Final Countdown. It's those types of mash-ups that new first-years can expect when Daredevils play during the Inkom opening event on the Markt. They are one of the few bands ...

Discover cultural Maastricht

Discover cultural Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. What does Maastricht have to offer in the cultural field? Young international people living in Maastricht can discover the city’s ‘hidden treasures’ at the new Meet Maastricht Festival from 26 until 28 May. There are ove...

Teaching a computer about harmony

Teaching a computer about harmony

MAASTRICHT. What do Grammy winner Jacob Collier, food trucks, and Maastricht University researchers have in common? They are all part of Cross Currents, a new festival held in the Sphinxkwartier on Saturday 13 May, and organised by Jazz Maastricht. Four art and science collaborations will be presented at the festival, which combines music performances with movie showings and presentations. One of them is a project on artificial intelligence and creativity.

Celebrating women at Ladyfest

Celebrating women at Ladyfest

MAASTRICHT. Ladyfest is a festival to celebrate, empower and inspire women. This worldwide concept will come to Maastricht for the first time at the Mandril Cultural Centre on 6 and 7 May. It’s a do-it-yourself festival, meaning that instead...

Playing in the museum during Museum Night

Playing in the museum during Museum Night

MAASTRICHT. Swooshing down a slide in the Bonnefanten Museum, lip-syncing to Elvis, or dancing to night-time sounds of nature. All of these are possible during the Maastricht Museum Night on Friday 7 April. Thirteen art institutions will open their doors for the evening. Visitors can go to the Muziekgieterij after 1 o'clock for the after-party.

How to pick a mandrake without being killed

How to pick a mandrake without being killed

MAASTRICHT. A beetroot up your nose will do wonders for a cold, tobacco improves a sore throat and mandrakes should always be picked by a dog. Folklore abounds in the historic herbal books on display at Realm of Herbs (Kruidenrijk), three mini-exhibitions curated by students and spread around Maastricht: Centre Céramique, the University Library and the Natural History Museum.

"I had to keep repeating: this is really reality"

"I had to keep repeating: this is really reality"

On Friday night, March 17th, all chairs are filled in the InnBetween, in anticipation of hearing Samar Yazbek talk about her two books, Woman in the Crossfire and the Crossing. Yazbek is originally a novelist but her desire to cover the Syrian conflict has lead her two books to hover half-way between journalism and fiction. They cover her experience with the Syrian resistance. This event is the third installment of Storytellers on Stage, an event organized by StoryLine.

Heartbreak, anger and existential thoughts

Heartbreak, anger and existential thoughts

MAASTRICHT. You know it’s Stukafest (the student room festival held last Thursday, 9 February) when you’re in a quiet residential street and suddenly a group of Germans on bikes comes to a screeching halt in front of a student building. &...

First-year student sings in student rooms

First-year student sings in student rooms

MAASTRICHT. When he was 16, singer-songwriter Joshua Oudendijk (19), first-year student of European Studies, performed in the Rockhal in the city of Luxemburg, one of the most important pop podiums there. A year later, he was at the Luxemburg festiva...

Songs about Maastricht at Stukafest

MAASTRICHT. There will be many musical performances again at this year’s edition of Stukafest, the student room festival that will take place on Thursday 9 February. “It is difficult to find drama, cabaret or poetry in English,” say...

Only politics can save us

Only politics can save us

In the week of the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Professor Dirk de Schutter delves into Hannah Arendt’s take on the implications for our collective humanity that the Holocaust has left behind. Questions of truth and judgment, evil and responsibility are laid out in relation both to the past and to the present.

Uncensored stories from and about China

Uncensored stories from and about China

Visitors of the story festival China, Secret Stories, organised by Story-Line Maastricht in the Bonnefanten museum on Sunday 22 January, will receive a red envelope. The Chinese give these to family and friends at New Year and they usually contain mo...

Confusing love

Confusing love

MAASTRICHT. One play, four separate scenes, the connecting theme being love and how people deal with it. That is Confusions, written by Alan Ayckbourn, played on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January by the Maastricht PhD Academy, directed by John Ramaek...

University Choir’s anniversary concerts

MAASTRICHT. The University Choir is celebrating its fortieth anniversary in 2017 with a series of special concerts. The first is on Saturday, 14 January in the Sint Janskerk and is entitled Stars. In addition to the composition of the same name by No...

A good cause and music: “It’s magic”

A good cause and music: “It’s magic”

MAASTRICHT. An intimate crowd gathers inside the Innbetween, which is decorated with warm lighting and a traditional Christmas tree, for the Unicef Charity Concert Thursday night. People chat and eat Mexican milk cake before the concert begins, which...

“Islam did not kill my son, Daesh did”

“Islam did not kill my son, Daesh did”

MAASTRICHT. The SBE lecture hall is full on the evening of Wednesday 23 November. Security is tight, and the mood is sombre. Three speakers have been invited for a discussion that is “perhaps even more important to have now – now that the issue is out of the headlines again”, in the words of one of the organisers, Luca Bucken. The theme of the evening: ‘An honest conversation about Islam, terrorism, and extremism.’

Dehumanization can take many forms

Dehumanization can take many forms

The Collector - John Fowles Recommended for: Art, Literature, and Society students (FaSoS) ‘We are such stuff/  As dreams are made on; and our little life/ Is rounded with a sleep.’ – Prospero in The Tempest (Act 4 Scene ...

A “sketchy” drawing session

A “sketchy” drawing session

MAASTRICHT. In a well-hidden corner of the Bonnefanten museum, a group of about thirty people gathers. As they collect their paper and charcoal, pencil or pen, the near-nude models take their places at the front. Hungarian artist Sándor Sinkó will le...

Films to enrich the curriculum

Films to enrich the curriculum

The “1970s living room” on the Bogaardenstraat was recently traded in for a hundred-year-old boilerhouse with style. But the new Lumière is not about to start showing James Bond films. Definitely not. What the cinema would like to do is cooperate in a more structural way with Maastricht University: “UM will have free use of Screen 2.”

Be gezellig, don’t boast and be sure to complain

Be gezellig, don’t boast and be sure to complain

How does one ‘be’ Dutch? Greg Shapiro, self-proclaimed ‘American Netherlander’ and comedian from Boom Chicago, Comedy Central, answers this question meticulously in his book How to be Dutch. Using quiz questions in the style of the official integration exam, Shapiro pokes fun at the reader, himself and especially the Dutch.

Three days of PAS

Three days of PAS

Maastricht University, celebrating its fortieth anniversary last week, went all out with an art and science tour, the PAS+ festival, boasting 150 activities. The wonderful weather helped; the performances in the gardens were very popular. As far as the lectures given by scientists were concerned – one spoke of Sjeng Tans’ legacy, another about EU crisis management, yet another about immune therapy for cancer: some of them were completely full ten minutes before they started, others could have done with a larger audience.

A thousand people on yoga mats

A thousand people on yoga mats

MAASTRICHT. A thousand people on yoga mats at the Tapijn barracks. That is the aim of the Good Life Yoga Maastricht foundation. On 21 June, International Yoga Day, the organisers want to show that yoga is not “woolly, boring or just sitting dow...

WE Festival expands

MAASTRICHT. A film festival, a kick-off in the Stadspark and of course lots and lots of workshops: the seventh annual WE Festival, from 24 April to 1 May, will be the most extensive one yet. The festival is organised by volunteers – many of the...

The Vagina Monologues at UCM

The Vagina Monologues at UCM

MAASTRICHT. Vagina, vagina, vagina. It wasn’t too long ago that uttering this word in the public sphere could induce sharp rebuke or embarrassment. Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues, doesn’t just say the word - it’s enti...

“We live like professional musicians”

“We live like professional musicians”

MAASTRICHT. The students of the Dutch National Student Orchestra rehearse ten hours a day during the days prior to their eleven-day tour ‘Vrij’. Together with pianist Arthur Jussen, the ninety members play pieces by Claude Debussy, Trevor Grahl, Ravel and Béla Bartók in various cities (in Maastricht on 14 February). Second-year Biomedical Sciences student Pieter Dijkstra (percussion) is one of them.

“If you see the Prince, give him a hug and a kiss”

“If you see the Prince, give him a hug and a kiss”

Keen to join in during the Maastricht Carnival? Be prepared. But don’t worry – Ad van Iterson, associate professor at the School of Business and Economics and Carnival – goer by birth, is here to help you through these weird three days and nights. “Get over your shyness, but don’t overdo it; don’t be too enthusiastic. The best way to get into the Maastricht groove is to shuffle a bit.”

“We are a rainbow-like community”

“We are a rainbow-like community”

It all started in 2002 with four people who started living in the squatted former grain storage facility at the Biesenwal 3 in Maastricht. Nowadays, the Landbouwbelang is home to fifteen people, a ‘free zone’ for art, music and culture and the set of many a festival, play and exhibition. Sina Maghami, a third-year Science Programme student, and Mareike Smolka, a research master’s student in Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology, are part of the community that lives there.

"Will I be able to correctly play that high bar in the Schubert piece?"

MAASTRICHT. On December 6th the Maastricht University Orchestra performed at Maastricht’s Christmas celebration ‘Magisch Maastricht’. Leading up to this, Sophie Silverstein, second violist and second year UCM-student, kept a diary.

Creating a play from individual scenes

Creating a play from individual scenes

MAASTRICHT. The American Dream was their point of departure: what is it in fact, why does everyone want it? The students from drama association Alles is Drama subsequently improvised and elaborated on the theme. This resulted in a mix of made-up scen...

Sinterklaas user guide: from steamboat to sweets

Sinterklaas user guide: from steamboat to sweets

The Dutch pop band Het Goede Doel sang Sinterklaas, wie kent hem niet, (Sinterklaas, who doesn’t know him) in 1982. But this saintly man is not so well known outside the Netherlands and Belgium. In various parts of Europe, a children’s party is celebrated in or around the day of Saint Nicolas’s death (6 December), but often a lot less elaborately than in our region. Steamboat, putting your shoe out at night, making surprise gifts; what exactly are all those traditions? Observant has put together a summarised user guide.

Countless tables laden with books

Countless tables laden with books

MAASTRICHT. Every year the Boekenfestijn, a travelling event selling books at reduced prices that failed to be sold in stores, makes a stop in Maastricht. From November 26-29 the fair took place in the MECC, its yearly reoccurring venue.

“Photography is the best way to bring about emotion in people”

“Photography is the best way to bring about emotion in people”

MAASTRICHT. The image of two male lovers bathed in the teal-tinged light of a bedroom confronts the visitor when entering the Centre Céramique. With this image, Danish photographer Mads Nissen won the prize of Photo of the Year. It is part of the World Press Photo exhibition, which Céramique hosted until the 15th of November.

A butterfly house in the garden at the Faculty of Law

A butterfly house in the garden at the Faculty of Law

Have you ever heard of the Maastricht Quartier Latin? It is located in the area of the Bouillonstraat, Tongersestraat, Minderbroedersberg, Zwingelput and all the way up to the Tapijn barracks. On Saturday, 12 September, this area will be the beating heart of lectures about scientific research, for theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts. It is known as Parcours of Art and Science, or PAS. “A kind of tasting for science and art,” says Jacques Reiners, head of the organising body Studium Generale.

Artists Inkom announced

Artists Inkom announced

MAASTRICHT. Inkom wouldn’t be the same without Fabrizio. The Maastricht singer will make his appearance again during the Inkom opening event on the market this year. Spanish-Belgian singer Belle Pérez will follow him. No Dutch main act t...

The meaning of art

Last week, while hanging around Maastricht, I ran into several contemporary art events and expositions. I stopped at some of them, just the time for a quick peek. As usual when it comes to contemporary art, I felt first amused, then confused, and fin...

“Language is in control of us”

“Language is in control of us”

“Writing starts with a sense of a tension, which gets into my head. A friend and writer once said to me: ‘I have that scream in my head and I need to get rid of it, in a manner that is as beautiful and elegant as possible.’” ...

Professors possessed by aliens

Professors possessed by aliens

When you move someplace new in your twenties, you make friends by getting drunk. In your thirties, you join a book club. The first book in my new Amsterdam group is called The Humans. It’s about a Cambridge maths professor whose body is possess...

WE-festival: A week full of magic

WE-festival: A week full of magic

MAASTRICHT. “Progress, ah! Progress, ah!” Performance artist Rachel Solomon is performing her interactive poem about politics on the little stage next to the campfire at the St Michel farm, just outside Maastricht. Her performance is part...

ISN sponsors first day of Bruis festival

ISN sponsors first day of Bruis festival

MAASTRICHT. ISN, the International Student Network, is sponsoring Bruis this year. The pop festival will take place at the Koompe, the sport’s area of the former Tapijn barracks on 4, 5, and 6 September 2015. Entrance is free.