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Why isn't anyone talking about the profits generated by foreign students?

THE NETHERLANDS. Amid the wide range of concerns raised about the huge influx of foreign students, one thing can be said for certain: they are a source of public revenue. Shouldn't this knowledge help put the worries to rest?

Foreign students permitted to stay longer in the United Kingdom

UNITED KINGDOM. With Brexit fast approaching, prime minister Boris Johnson is showing a willingness to accommodate international students. As far as the PM is concerned, students may stay in the United Kingdom for up to two years after graduation, allowing them the opportunity to find a job.  
Former student of Law Hans Wassink: “I had a great time, but I ended up losing myself”

Former student of Law Hans Wassink: “I had a great time, but I ended up losing myself”

“I owe my current life to the interview in Observant!” Hans Wassink (37) still has a tendency to exaggerate things. Of all the alumni we interviewed about their dreams for the future, the then 22-year-old fourth-year student of Dutch Law was by far the most outspoken one. His dream for the future was to become a decadent prick. He ...
Maastricht 127th in top 200

Maastricht 127th in top 200

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has risen one place in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 and is now at number 127, in front of Nijmegen, Amsterdam (VU), and Eindhoven. There are a total of eleven Dutch universities in the top 200 of best universities worldwide. The highest-ranking Dutch university is Wagenin...
“A lot has to do with common sense”

“A lot has to do with common sense”

Being able to work on something important for a period of ten years. That certainty is the true gift of the gravitation subsidy (almost 20 million) that she and her consortium received, says professor Anita Jansen. “You need that as a researcher.” As a dean, she tried to improve working conditions for her staff. By allocating teaching t...
Students for Climate take action against Maastricht Airport expansion

Students for Climate take action against Maastricht Airport expansion

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht student organisation Students for Climate will make every effort to prevent an expansion of Maastricht Aachen Airport (MAA).
 “I’m fond of unisex silhouettes, I like it straight”

“I’m fond of unisex silhouettes, I like it straight”

Elizaveta Kislova (18), second-year European Law School student from Russia, describes her style as: “Urban style with ease”
Kaleido looking for accommodation again

Kaleido looking for accommodation again

MAASTRICHT. International student club Kaleido won't be moving to Kleine Gracht 41 after all. Before the summer, there were rumours that this would be their new ‘living room’ from which a “community could be built”. That is what Thomas Schäfer, project leader for Maastricht University said back then. Now it appears that ...

Green light for new animal-testing centre

Green light for new animal-testing centre

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has been given the green light for the new animal-testing centre. No objections have been lodged against the permit application, said the spokesperson for the Maastricht city council in response to questions. Apart from that, there is a letter from Animal Rights to the Executive Board with the request to stop anima...
Eclectic eating at Dadawan

Eclectic eating at Dadawan

In Maastricht, students are prepared to wait in long lines for three things: the international student helpdesk at the Student Service Centre, the office of Swapfiets in the first week of the academic year, and restaurant Dadawan. The queues in front of Dadawan are longest and most consistent. This type of popularity is quite an accomplishment for ...

Foreign students may face higher fees, be offered Dutch language lessons

THE NETHERLANDS. Foreign students in the Netherlands will be offered help in learning Dutch, and students from outside the EU may face higher fees, if new proposals on dealing with the internationalisation of the Dutch higher education system come into force.

Foreign students are an asset to the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. Foreign students generate substantial revenues for the Dutch treasury, especially university students from outside Europe. However, the scale of this influx may pose a risk to the quality of education.
An opportunity, not a threat

An opportunity, not a threat

I've always prided myself on knowing my languages. Until I went to Penang, Malaysia. While enjoying my delicious banana pancakes one warm morning, Sandra, the (Indian) woman in charge of the restaurant area of the little hotel I was staying at came over and we started chatting casually. The conversation quickly turned to the different ethnic...

“China was a breath of fresh air, I could be openly gay there”

“China was a breath of fresh air, I could be openly gay there”

MAASTRICHT. Two years ago, Italian law student Davide Muraro was still “hidden in the closet”. A good year later, he set up UM Pride, the LGBT+ network (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender+) at Maastricht University. Last Monday, rector Rianne Letschert handed UM Pride the UM Student Prize, in the form of a distinction and a thousand euro....
Former Arts and Culture student Frouke Verhagen: delivering 265 babies in seven years

Former Arts and Culture student Frouke Verhagen: delivering 265 babies in seven years

She was eighteen years old, a first-year student of Arts and Culture and already quite domestically inclined, by her own account. “A white-picket-fence kind of person.” She wasn’t overly ambitious and she wouldn’t mind becoming a housewife, provided that her husband earned enough money to support their family. Fifteen years ...
On Missed Opportunities

On Missed Opportunities

Last week, I paid a pair of plumbers €140 for a job that took less than an hour and I found myself wondering: Why didn’t I become a plumber? Perhaps it was because in my early years, I mistakenly believed that I wouldn’t amount to anything, if I didn’t graduate from the right university or if I didn’t secure a job of...

“The great thing about such a large amount is that we can do both experimental and clinical research”

MAASTRICHT. A consortium led by Professor Anita Jansen, dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences, has received almost twenty million euro through the Gravitation Programme. This makes it one of the larger subsidies that Maastricht University has ever received. The money will be used to further develop and research a new mo...
“In US Congress, there is only one PhD on 535 members”

“In US Congress, there is only one PhD on 535 members”

Together with his colleagues Rainer Weiss and Kip Thorne, Barry Barish (83) won the Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 for the discovery of gravitational waves. He became world famous overnight. Was his life turned upside down? And: what would be his best tip for ambitious students? Barish gave the key lecture at the Opening Academic Year.
Worries about budget shifts and limits on internationalisation

Worries about budget shifts and limits on internationalisation

MAASTRICHT. He is worried, said Maastricht University president Martin Paul, not only in his speech during the opening ceremony of the academic year, but again during the closing session. About the budget shifts that the 'Van Rijn committee' has in mind – more money for sciences at the expense of languages, humanities and the arts &nd...
“You have to ask yourself with every item on the agenda: why could this not be public?”

“You have to ask yourself with every item on the agenda: why could this not be public?”

MAASTRICHT. For two whole years, Dr Amanda Kluveld was chairperson of the Faculty Council at Arts and Social Sciences. As of 1 September, the Maastricht historian is the new chairperson of the University Council. She is an advocate of transparency and likes to give council members their space.

New Community-Engaged Research platform

MAASTRICHT. During the opening of the academic year, children's rights researcher Marieke Hopman announced the introduction of a new platform: the Maastricht Platform for Community-Engaged Research. According to Hopman, who herself carried out research into children's rights in the Central African Republic, many researchers at Maastricht Un...

“In France, I found what matches my personality”

“In France, I found what matches my personality”

Luisa Arens (20), second-year International Business student, describes her style as: “Chic and comfortable.”
The first batch will be “spoilt rotten”

The first batch will be “spoilt rotten”

MAASTRICHT. Two guinea pigs appear on the screen in the Gymnasium. “You are now our guinea pigs, or as we say in Dutch proefkonijnen‚” says Sally Wyatt, programme director of the new bachelor's programme of Digital Society at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “Sometimes, guinea pigs have a hard time and they ...
Students: “Bring science to prisons”

Students: “Bring science to prisons”

MAASTRICHT. Proposition: It is worth investing billions in the Einstein Telescope. A sea of green cards with ‘Yes’ shoots up, among them two red cards stating ‘No’. It is Monday, 2 September; the morning programme of the Opening of the Academic Year is at full blast. The theme is: ‘Who cares about society?’ or ho...
On steel, yoghurt and the gross domestic product

On steel, yoghurt and the gross domestic product

She’s been working at the School of Business and Economics for barely a year and she’s already been awarded the Edmond Hustinx Prize worth fifteen thousand euros. The winner is… big data expert Ines Wilms.

Labour party does u-turn, says student grants should be brought back

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch Labour party has done a u-turn and is now calling for the return of student grants, which were abolished under a Labour minister in 2015.  

Leiden ‘host’ lashes out at minister

THE NETHERLANDS. Carel Stolker, rector magnificus of Leiden University, believes the relationship between our politicians and our universities is at a low point. He has directed some harsh words towards Minister of Education Van Engelshoven, who he will be receiving as a guest at the university later today.
You’re also still in Singapore, Bob?

You’re also still in Singapore, Bob?

Bob is still in… Singapore? I thought this was going to be a blog about your exchange to Freiburg, Germany? Also, who is Bob? Bob is a lizard - you’ll get to know him later on. And regarding the first question: universities in Germany only start mid-October. Mid-October? Isn’t that our first exam week? Yes, I w...

Judge ruled against Law dean

Judge ruled against Law dean

MAASTRICHT. The dean of the Maastricht Faculty of Law, who suspended five law students last spring because of racist and anti-Semitic remarks in a WhatsApp group, found himself ruled against by the Appeals Tribunal for Higher Education. He should have first given a warning. With this, the Executive Board that supported him were also given a ra...
“It makes no difference to me whether something in the shop is for men or for women”

“It makes no difference to me whether something in the shop is for men or for women”

Joost Wijffels (19), second-year UCM student, describes his style as: “sharp with a twist. I have a number of basic items to which I add something exciting.”
Student housing market to remain out of balance

Student housing market to remain out of balance

NETHERLANDS. Student cities with severe student housing shortages are planning major construction projects over the next six years. Nevertheless, researchers expect that only half will succeed in restoring balance to their overheated local student housing markets by 2026. In Maastricht there seem no problems.
Less stress of choice at PAS festival

Less stress of choice at PAS festival

MAASTRICHT. A skating track on the Oud-Gouvernement parking lot, about forty UM scientists talk about their recent research, the smallest disco in the world, street theatre by Petit Monsieur. The programme for the sixth edition of the PAS (Pleasure, Art and Science) Festival on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 September is complete.
Fuss about a student house roof terrace in Wyck continues

Fuss about a student house roof terrace in Wyck continues

MAASTRICHT. A student accommodation building on the Spoorweglaan in Wyck has received a permit for a roof terrace for the second time. The court previously ruled in favour of the complaining neighbour.
Superhero movies are evil

Superhero movies are evil

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching superhero movies. Their morality is wonderfully uncomplicated. Good vanquishes evil. Protagonists act selflessly to save kittens or the universe. They always do the right thing, even if it comes at a high personal cost. It’s fun to watch heroic deeds and visual effects defeat the enemy against all odd...

YUFE, Veni's and the Einstein telescope

YUFE, Veni's and the Einstein telescope

Five million for YUFE University alliance YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe), which is led by UM Executive President Martin Paul, is to receive five million euro from the European Commission to set up a ‘European University’. The first YUFE students will start in September 2020. YUFE is one of the seventeen univers...

Fraud in UM spin-off VitaK

Fraud in UM spin-off VitaK

MAASTRICHT. Two Maastricht University researchers, professor Leon Schurgers and professor Cees Vermeer (the latter has by now retired) have apparently enriched themselves through the university subsidiary company VitaK. De Limburger and De Groene Amsterdammer in collaboration with the Investico platform reported elaborately...
Law alumnus Niels van der Laan: “I thought it was just a fling, but she became the love of my life”

Law alumnus Niels van der Laan: “I thought it was just a fling, but she became the love of my life”

In 2003 we asked UM students about their dreams for the future. Now, in 2019, it’s time to check in with them and see where they’re at. They’re about forty years old now. Did their dreams end up coming true? We’ll use this special year (Observant is celebrating its 40th birthday!) as an opportunity to find out. In ...
High School Summer College: a week of student life experience

High School Summer College: a week of student life experience

MAASTRICHT. What's it like to be a student? More than forty pupils - averaging 17 years of age - from around the whole world attended the High School Summer College in Maastricht in the middle of August. Living in the Guesthouse for a whole week, taking lectures in the mornings and after that tutorials or a visit to the lab. The evening program...
Master's student creates music from study material

Master's student creates music from study material

MAASTRICHT. “Hello! Psychology?” “Yes” “Wonderful” All new Psychology students are greeted with the same enthusiasm when they arrive at the Universiteitssingel 40 for the faculty introduction on Monday morning. The opening lecture won't start until 9:15 hrs, but at 8:00 hrs the first students are already at t...
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 ...
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.
Exploring the museum in the golden evening sunlight

Exploring the museum in the golden evening sunlight

Cheers come from a room in the Bonnefanten Museum. A group of freshmen has just successfully completed the Euroscoop film quiz. They continue to explore the museum where there are other activities and performances to be found and the exhibition of Andy Summers: A Certain Strangeness to be seen. The silent disco – which was also present at ...

“I hope these friendships will last”

“I hope these friendships will last”

“I’m pretty amazed at how easy it is to make friends”, says Evelina Jahimovica (19), cheerfully at the Griend where she’s enjoying the Sportsevent. “Everybody is so open. Yesterday at the morning workout, I met a girl who also studies European Public Health. She recognized me from the Facebook group and we started chat...

“A wasp just stung me in the face”

“A wasp just stung me in the face”

“Maybe I’m not a good person to interview right now, I just got stung by wasp in the face”, says Dimitar Dimitrov (18). He holds a plastic cup with ice-cold water against the side of his face. “The people from the first aid gave it to me. They said it will be fine.” Luckily he’s not too tired, he got a good night...

Teaching English in India

Teaching English in India

What’s her name? Hanni? Hanny? She grabs the notebook out of my hands and writes: Hanne Schaefer. She is German, applied for European Studies and is 21 years old. A bit older than the average newbie. That’s because she was tired of learning after high school, she says self-assured. So she went travelling, to New Zealand and India, where...

Moving during Inkom

Moving during Inkom

Andrew Spirow (18) from Washington had to temporary leave his Inkom group on Monday in order to check out a room in Belgium. And with success. On Tuesday he again had to ‘check out’ for a little while in order to move in. “It is difficult to find a room when you’re not in the country, but once I got in Maastricht, I quickly ...

“Scary and exciting at the same time”

“Scary and exciting at the same time”

“A famous person from Maastricht? I don’t know”, says Romanian Alex Rogojina (19), who is going to start her bachelor in psychology. “Ah, the violinist! I didn’t know he was from Maastricht”, she says when she hears that André Rieu is from this city. He is very popular in Romania. Rogojina is by herself this...

Bringing your own bike

Bringing your own bike

When we say Maastricht, German Jette Schütze (19) says “Europe, the signed treaty, an international environment”. No word about André Rieu, the world famous violist, or the Songfestival 2020 that perhaps will be organized in Maastricht. Maybe next year when she’s settled in. As a high school student in Hamburg, Schütze heard of M...

Inkom participants’ number increases to 3100

Inkom participants’ number increases to 3100

MAASTRICHT. For the third year in a row, the Inkom is sold out. The introduction week of Maastricht has attracted 3100 students this year, a hundred more than in 2018. The event has been slowly growing; in 2017 the maximum number of participants was 2900.
Coverband Inkom opening predicts future

Coverband Inkom opening predicts future

“Nobody said it was easy”, people are singing at the Markt. Coverband The Hottub Heroes is playing Coldplay’s song The scientist this Monday evening. An applicable song for the opening of the Inkom: the beginning of a career in higher education for the majority of the audience. Unintentionally the musical choices of the co...

Inkom Monday: serenades, sumo wrestling and birth control

Inkom Monday: serenades, sumo wrestling and birth control

It is about two o’clock on Inkom Monday. The registration has begun at ten, but there still is a cue from the registration desk at the School of Business and Economics up until far into the Bonnefantenstraat. It is hot in the sun; luckily Lipton offers cooling. Free bottles of iced tea are handed out from a cart next to the waiting line. A co...

Brain research into order in the chaos

Brain research into order in the chaos

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Neuroscientist Sanne ten Oever wants to carry out measurements to map out the activity of every brain cell (a total of 80 billion).
Twitter Academia

Twitter Academia

We, academics, like to finish our grant proposals by stating how we will communicate our findings to practitioners, and how, thanks to social media (Twitter), this is so easy to do. But, in most cases, that is a lie. Academics don't believe practitioners’ opinions (not supported with a doi number – an ID of material published online...

Law students suspended because of “xenophobic” chats

Law students suspended because of “xenophobic” chats

MAASTRICHT. Five first-year students from European Law School have been punished for writing “racist, or rather, xenophobic” remarks in a (semi-)public WhatsApp group. According to dean Jan Smits, “proportional measures” were taken. He doesn't want to say what the measures were because of “privacy regulations&rdquo...
UM faculties expect an avalanche of applications

UM faculties expect an avalanche of applications

Migration, language education in border regions, internationalisation on the shop floor. These are a few of the themes that will be dealt in the thirteen UM PhD programmes within the inter-faculty project Limes. The project, set up with an EU subsidy, is also state-of-the-art when it comes to the selection and training of young researchers. ...
Concerns about survival of Mandril

Concerns about survival of Mandril

MAASTRICHT. The Mandril, a community of mainly foreign students and a breeding place for talented individuals, will have to leave the former office building of the Radium plant. The user agreement with the city of Maastricht ends in November. There is no sign of a new location for the sanctuary, the regular venue of debates, film evenings, jam...
City expects to have sufficient student rooms

City expects to have sufficient student rooms

MAASTRICHT. The city of Maastricht reckons there will be enough rooms for students. This is mainly because of the 88 additional rooms in Annadal and 257 new studios in the former Bonnefantencollege. The permit applications for another 125 temporary accommodations in a former nursing home and empty office buildings are still being dealt with.
Kaleido has its eye on a building on the Kleine Gracht

Kaleido has its eye on a building on the Kleine Gracht

MAASTRICHT. International student club Kaleido has applied for a permit for a building on Kleine Gracht 41. It could serve as a ‘living room’, a location where a “community could be built”, starting in the new academic year, says Thomas Schäfer, project leader from Maastricht University. Kaleido left pop podium Muziekgieter...

“This is the oldest dog I’ve ever walked”

“This is the oldest dog I’ve ever walked”

Danielle Raja (21)/ third-year student of Psychology/ hours worked per week depend on number of assignments/ earns €9 gross per walk
Eindhoven University opens academic jobs to women only

Eindhoven University opens academic jobs to women only

THE NETHERLANDS. For the next 18 months, all academic jobs at Eindhoven University of Technology will be open to female candidates only in an effort to improve the balance between men and women on the permanent staff.

Universities must be more strict about who they let in: report

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities are too much alike in the Netherlands and too many students fail at the first hurdle, independent government science and technology advisory body AWTI has said in a report on how to make higher education future proof.
An unseen risk of being a doctor

An unseen risk of being a doctor

When I was an internal medicine resident, a delirious patient kicked me in the gut from his hospital bed. Later in training, I just missed being on shift when a man entered the emergency room with a handgun, taking hostages in an exam room, facing off with police and even firing a few warning shots into the ceiling; he later gave himself up and let...

Foreign students find it difficult to connect

THE NETHERLANDS. International students miss the contact with their Dutch fellow students, shows a survey by three student organisations. They also suffer from stress a lot.
Sjanne Quellhorst’s spring quiche

Sjanne Quellhorst’s spring quiche

Sjanne Quellhorst/ 25, master’s student of Politics and Society/ works 12 hours per week at Dille & Kamille/ earning approximately 10 euros per hour (excluding surcharges)

City more involved in Inkom

MAASTRICHT. The city of Maastricht plays a greater role than ever before in the Inkom programme for 2019. For example, the first-year students can participate in a city walk (led by a guide from the tourist information centre), they will eat in Maastricht restaurants and during the event ‘Maastricht is Yours’ they can take part in activ...
The power of the crowd

The power of the crowd

Asking a bunch of non-scientists to help with your research, or to fund your latest project. More and more scientists at Maastricht University are doing this, because it allows them to undertake things that they normally wouldn’t have the time or the money for.

What does the new pension agreement really mean?

THE NETHERLANDS. Agreement on reforming the Dutch pension system has been 10 years in the making, and still needs fleshing out in detail – a process which is likely to take several more years at least.
On Becoming a Father

On Becoming a Father

My dad left when I was four and he has been absent from my life ever since. So growing up and dreaming of one day becoming a father myself, I always imagined that – unlike my father – I would be a loving, caring dad. A dad who was present. But my partner is now 33 weeks pregnant and I find myself struggling to be present as a father (an...

“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 t...
“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.
"I am actually a jane-of-all-trades"

"I am actually a jane-of-all-trades"

Anouk Broers/ 22/ first-year research master’s of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience/ works on average 15 hours a week/ earns €11 net per hour
Theatre on scientific stumbling blocks

Theatre on scientific stumbling blocks

Science satire. Discussion theatre. That is how the play The ConScience App is characterised, which broaches the moral dilemmas in science. The theatre company will descend on Maastricht next Thursday.
Our favourite restaurant: Rozemarijn

Our favourite restaurant: Rozemarijn

This is my last article about eating in Maastricht this academic year. To celebrate, I’m taking my favourite dining companion to our favourite restaurant. Mrs. Eichholtz and I are having dinner at Rozemarijn (Havenstraat). Rozemarijn is an ideal place for a quick and tasty lunch with a guest lecturer, for example. You’re guaranteed to i...

University Library night-time opening not very popular

University Library night-time opening not very popular

MAASTRICHT. It's three o' clock at night. The German Moritz Brunner and the South African Saud Adam, both first-year students of International Business, are studying for their Finance exam in the lobby of The Student Hotel. For the time before and during the exam weeks, between 18 May until 10 June, this is the night-time opening facility f...
Dope once again big winner in the student elections

Dope once again big winner in the student elections

MAASTRICHT. Just like in all previous elections over the past four years, Dope is again the big winner. They have claimed no less than 25 of the total 47 seats and in doing so are represented in both the University Council and all faculty councils. Novum follows at a distance, with eight seats. Turnout among academic staff varied tremendously: the ...
“The cook is the pharmacologist of the future”

“The cook is the pharmacologist of the future”

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Professor Aalt Bast wants to show that the dividing line between medicines, nutrition and poison are no longer current.

Education minister withdraws plan to raise interest on student loans

THE NETHERLANDS. The cabinet has abandoned plans to raise interest on student loans after opposition parties indicated the measure would be voted down in the new senate.

Government urged to bridge €873m gap in highway maintenance

THE NETHERLANDS. The government has been urged to invest more in catching up with the maintenance of bridges, tunnels and waterways or risk economically damaging closures.

Outgoing senators back climate change legislation

THE NETHERLANDS. The outgoing senate on Tuesday backed the government’s controversial plans to tackle climate change – with 62 of the 75 senators voting for the new legislation.

Housing corporation agrees to keep Moluccan neighbourhood Moluccan

MAASTRICHT. A Maastricht housing corporation has agreed to keep a small neighbourhood in the southern city as a ‘Moluccan area’, following local anger over plans to rent a home to a family with a different background.
May - week 3

May - week 3

    

Timmermans calls for ‘progressive alliance’ as Greens and liberals make gains in EU

THE NETHERLANDS. European commissioner Frans Timmermans has called for centre-left parties to form a ‘progressive alliance’ in the European Parliament to outflank the conservative EPP group, which won the largest number of seats.

Maastricht students start European Citizens’ Initiative

MAASTRICHT. A group of Maastricht University students has started a European Citizens’ Initiative to end tax exemption for jet fuel in the EU
The Dutch should appreciate their freedom more

The Dutch should appreciate their freedom more

What is it like to live and work in the European Union, in freedom and democracy, when you have been used to something different? An interview with the student Ahmed Rifai who fled Syria and lecturer Dorina Baltag from Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, which was weighed down by Soviet repression for years and is still struggling with its own ...
Higher education and populism

Higher education and populism

Many of the democratic candidates lining up to face Trump in 2020 are campaigning with a populist slogan, like For the People. Populism by the democratic left often targets big corporations, but also higher education. Being a much more privatized system, university ends up being much more expensive than it is here in Europe. Not everyone can afford...

"The EU needs strong leaders"

"The EU needs strong leaders"

The European Union has existed for almost 75 years. It started with a handful of member states, but the union now has 28 members, still including the United Kingdom. What threats does the EU face? Do they come from within, what about Brexit, Polish and Hungarian nationalism, or do they come from outside the EU? From China, the US or Russia? Ob...
Entering the intestines with a cart

Entering the intestines with a cart

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? PhD candidate Johanna Kreutz (28) dreams of a Mars rover that, instead of filming and taking samples on the red planet, would do so in the intestines.
“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 “tak...
“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 doe...
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 Code 043 office (one of the sponsors) and more tours around Maastricht. Participants can for instanc...

European Union: it’s time to wake up

European Union: it’s time to wake up

Changes need to be made to make the European Union understandable and accessible to all citizens, says Thilo Buchholz, president of the Young European Federalists Maastricht, in this open letter to the EU.

Students call for rethink on loan interest rates, threaten legal action

THE NETHERLANDS. Student organisations say they will take legal action against the government if it presses ahead with plans to increase the interest rate on student loans.
“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 hi...
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 academ...
“Is this a Nash equilibrium?”

“Is this a Nash equilibrium?”

Jannis Besuijen/ 20/ research master’s student of Economics/ currently works 6 hours per week/ earns €14.12 gross per hour

Cities queue up for chance to stage next year’s Eurovision Song Contest

THE NETHERLANDS. The final chords of Duncan Laurence’s victory-lap performance of Arcade had barely fallen silent on Sunday morning as Dutch cities began jostling for the right to stage next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
University library night-time facility in The Student Hotel

University library night-time facility in The Student Hotel

MAASTRICHT. The night-time opening facility of the university library in the upcoming XXL weeks will take place in The Student Hotel. There is room for seventy students.
Stop recycling old ways of thinking

Stop recycling old ways of thinking

You may be surprised by what I am about to say, but here goes: humans are not good problem solvers. Now, if there were a film, this would be the point at which the brakes are slammed and the care screeches to a holt, but hear me out. The reason that humans are not good problem solvers is because we have become hardwired to ignore the fact that most...

“I’m going to sound like a Marxist now”

“I’m going to sound like a Marxist now”

Working, studying, safety and migration in Europe. Those are the topics to be discussed at the student debate with European parliamentarians, organised by the Institute for Transnational and Euregional cross-boarder co-operation and Mobility (ITEM) in La Bonbonniere last Tuesday. But soon it becomes clear that - regardless of the topic - what it re...
Combining small-scale and virtual learning

Combining small-scale and virtual learning

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Associate professor Mark Govers would set up an experiment with a fully digital university.
Books for a good price

Books for a good price

Greek Denys Kyriakou, first-year Economics student, went to the university library in the city centre last Saturday to study, and came across the annual book sale there. It was busy. “I didn’t know about it, but I really like it. I’m especially interested in the applied economics books.” He expects to spend six euro. You can...

“No Itteren, fortunately, that’s such a boring route”

“No Itteren, fortunately, that’s such a boring route”

Audrey Bams/ 21/ third-year student of Biomedical Sciences/ worked about 10 hours per week at bicycle courier company Demarrage/ earning about 10 euros per hour
May - week 2

May - week 2

     

Young people taking longer to find homes, jobs and families

THE NETHERLANDS. People in their twenties are taking longer to reach key milestones such as getting their first job and leaving their parents’ home, according to the statistics agency CBS.
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.&rd...
No loser

No loser

I started studying Health Sciences in Maastricht five years ago, full of enthusiasm and positive thoughts. Today, I’m still a bachelor’s student. Unforeseen circumstances have caused quite a delay in my studies. This all started a few years ago, when my mind stopped working the way it should because of some mental illness. I couldn&rsqu...

“Something like wheat with very little gluten can be created within six weeks”

“Something like wheat with very little gluten can be created within six weeks”

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? University Professor Peter Peters dreams of producing healthy vegetables and fruit using the latest DNA technology.
“Frans Timmermans is like a grandpa to us all”

“Frans Timmermans is like a grandpa to us all”

Five Spitzenkandidaten entered into debate before 750 students at the Theater aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht last week. It was the first large party leader debate for the European elections on 23 May. In the absence - after a cancellation - of the German Christian Democrat Manfred Weber, one of the favourites to take over from President of the Euro...
Adventure with duck

Adventure with duck

Chinese cuisine is so incredibly diverse I could write about it in every Eating with Eichholtz article. To be able to say anything meaningful, I have to limit myself to taste-testing one specific aspect. I’ve chosen duck. Although many different variations and preparation methods exist, the two best-known ones are from Beijing and G...
“Not liking coffee is a bit of a deal-breaker”

“Not liking coffee is a bit of a deal-breaker”

Victor Grenon/ 22/ third-year student of European Studies/ works twelve hours per week/ earning about €12.50 per hour (depending on Sunday and evening surcharges)
University Library should have open access for everybody

University Library should have open access for everybody

The University Library’s new access policy - only to UM students and staff - is a mistake, argue Stephanie Blom, Giulia Frinzi and Saskia Stolk from the Law Faculty. They call the policy elitist, unsympathetic and in clear contrast with the historical background and founding principles of Maastricht University.

Hundreds of organic products don’t meet the rules: RTL report

THE NETHERLANDS. Hundreds of products are being sold in Dutch shops as organic but which actually come from farms which have broken the rules on animal welfare, the use of medicines and the environment, RTL Nieuws said on Tuesday.
May - week 1

May - week 1

   

Harassment, scientific sabotage widespread at Dutch universities

THE NETHERLANDS. Intimidation, bullying and ‘scientific sabotage’ are common among staff at Dutch universities and colleges, according to two separate reports, both published on Monday.
On tech giants, fake news and dinosaurs

On tech giants, fake news and dinosaurs

MAASTRICHT. A social democrat appealing to vote green? This is what happened last Monday in the Vrijthof Theatre during the first, large party leader debate for the European elections on 23 May. Who will take over from President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker? Five Spitzenkandidaten entered into debate before 750 stud...
New UM Inter-Species Personnel Policy

New UM Inter-Species Personnel Policy

Academic staff involved in a cross-faculty educational programme have been invited to an afternoon workshop at Gaia Zoo in Kerkrade in May in order to improve their leadership and mentoring skills by observing zoo animals. The learning goals include those specified in the next paragraph. Rumour has it that following the successful staff worksho...

Valorisation paragraph to become fixed part of theses

MAASTRICHT. The valorisation paragraph – the addendum in which PhD candidates explain the social or economic value of their study – will become a fixed part of the thesis as from January 2020. 

New climate parties in university elections

MAASTRICHT. No less than four new parties are going to take part in the upcoming university elections. Climate and sustainability will be the most important themes between 20 and 23 May. One of these parties has both student and employee members, which is very exceptional at the UM.
Patience is a virtue

Patience is a virtue

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Economics Professor Thomas Dohmen would like to set up a long-term, large-scale research project to see if there is a causal connection between patient behaviour (in economic terms) and income. And if there were, what would be the best way...

“The EU needs a strong leader who counters the apathy among youngsters”

“The EU needs a strong leader who counters the apathy among youngsters”

MAASTRICHT. Who will succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission? In Maastricht, on April 29, five Spitzenkandidaten will go into a debate in front of 750 students. The media, including BBC World News and the Dutch NOS, will be omnipresent. At the Vrijthof, people can follow the debate on screens.
“This place is like my second living room. I’m here almost every day”

“This place is like my second living room. I’m here almost every day”

Hidde Bobbink/ 21/ third-year student of International Business/ works on average 10 hours per week/ earning 9 euros per hour
Match project wins Stadsgoud

Match project wins Stadsgoud

MAASTRICHT. Prize: 3,500 euro for creating a meeting place on a wasteland in Pottenberg. This project by master's students Debbie Markusse and Rachita Munshi won a prize in the annual 'Stadsgoud' competition, organised by the Elisabeth Strouven Fonds, last Sunday. The organisation runs a competition every year with various themes: how t...

Why “warm sweater week” does not work

Why “warm sweater week” does not work

Climate change is not a personal but a political problem, says Martin Unfried, senior researcher at the Institute for Transnational and Euregional Cross border Cooperation and Mobility. Good policies are needed, just raising awareness is not enough. It may not even help at all.
Divest Our Pensions

Divest Our Pensions

Pension fund ABP should stop investing in fossil fuel giants like Shell and ExxonMobil, says PhD researcher Sarah Thin, on behalf of Fossil Free Maastricht, in this opinion article. She asks UM staff to speak up.
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.

More people are pessimistic about the Dutch housing market

THE NETHERLANDS. More people in the Netherlands are pessimistic about the housing market, and the home owners confidence index dipped into negative figures for the first time in 4.5 years in March, according to home owners’ lobby group VEH.
April - week 2

April - week 2

     

“From now on we are operating on an ecological debt”

“From now on we are operating on an ecological debt”

On Sunday 14 April, the organisation Extinction Rebellion together with Students for Climate Maastricht gathered on the Sint Servaasbrug to raise awareness about the Dutch Overshoot Day. From 11h00 to 14h00, these students covered the bridge with flowers and campaigned to stand up for stricter environmental measures. 

More than 100 daycare centres ban non-vaccinated children

THE NETHERLANDS. More than 100 pre-school daycare centres spread all over the Netherlands say their policy is to refuse children who have not been vaccinated, according to broadcaster NOS.
Too much English?

Too much English?

You’ve got to feel a bit bad for Dutch universities. There is a cycle in the public debate on language policy in Dutch higher education that goes like this. First, somebody high-profile laments in a national newspaper that English-language study programmes are a scourge to society. The lecturers' English is worse than Louis van Gaal&rs...

Reality has become too complex

Reality has become too complex

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? ICIS director Ron Cörvers would like to set up an urban lab at the UM to try and solve regional sustainable issues.
Digital exams in MECC from June

Digital exams in MECC from June

MAASTRICHT. The first digital exams are planned in the MECC for June, for up to eight hundred students at a time. The first day of testing this week with 864 Chromebooks, exam software and Wi-Fi installation went well.
First phase Tapijn renovation has been started

First phase Tapijn renovation has been started

MAASTRICHT. BOOM! Last week, a cannon was used to officially kick off the large-scale renovation of the Tapijn barracks. Concerning the new Tapijn terrain, the main theme will be ‘meeting’.
Students in vacant offices and care complex

Students in vacant offices and care complex

MAASTRICHT. Three proposals for temporary (student) accommodation in Maastricht await a permit. It concerns the reallocation of vacant office buildings on the Franciscus Romanusweg 2 (31 rooms) and the Gebroeders Hermansstraat 2 (34 rooms). In the former care home Molenhof on the Sint Pieterstraat 23 and 25, studios will be realised: thirty for stu...

We are scientists, not women in science

We are scientists, not women in science

Trying to promote women in science can have the opposite effect. Katherine Bassil, PhD candidate at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, tells in this opinion article how well-intented efforts to promote gender equality have led her to feel belittled and discriminated against.
Ragweek: Support charity with a luminous football

Ragweek: Support charity with a luminous football

“Children with a serious attachment disorder and behavioural problems who can no longer be placed in 'normal' foster homes live in the Maastricht Bibihuis,” says Eva Vleer, PR commissioner & vice-chairperson of Ragweek Maastricht. The home hugely depends on volunteers and sponsors, so this year some of the proceeds from the ...

“The most difficult question? When do you shoot”

“The most difficult question? When do you shoot”

Bram Boots – 21 – fourth-year student of International Business – works at least 2 evenings and 2 Saturdays per month – earns €9.83 per hour (varies with allowances)

Wolves set up home in Dutch national park, opinions are divided

THE NETHERLANDS. Two female wolves have settled in the Hoge Veluwe nature reserve and a male is also thought to be roaming the area, according to woodland rangers.
“It should never have happened”

“It should never have happened”

“What happened with Rambam, is extremely damaging.” At the same time, Maastricht emeritus professor André Knottnerus is not assuming the programme makers were deliberately malicious. Maybe it was a case of “ignorance, in combination with the pressure to score. But this does not make the damage done any less.”
Exploring Elites

Exploring Elites

There is a serious problem with the future policy-makers. They’re too homogenous. I know because I am - in this very moment - surrounded by them, as I already was in Maastricht. Most of them are at least middle-class. Many of their parents work in related fields – in politics, diplomacy or international business. They may already have l...

"When I study at home, I play the guitar or watch something on Netflix"

"When I study at home, I play the guitar or watch something on Netflix"

It's quiet at the University Library counter in Randwyck during the XXL weeks of the exam period, when both University Libraries have longer opening hours. “There are hardly any queries. Everyone is engrossed in their books,” student employee Mariska Custers explains. It may be quiet at the counter, but it is very busy in the study ...

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 Apr...
Pizza: “Our initial hunger has been satisfied and the four of us are happy”

Pizza: “Our initial hunger has been satisfied and the four of us are happy”

What’s student life without pizza? During exam week or after a long day of tutorials, one craves an affordable, healthy and convenient meal. From there, it’s not much of a leap to Italy’s most popular comfort food. Unfortunately, most of the pizzerias in Maastricht are simply bad. Fake Italian staff, thick crusts, dry edges, way t...

Rambam tinkered with footage, apologies from BNNVARA

Rambam tinkered with footage, apologies from BNNVARA

MAASTRICHT. Two Maastricht professors were unjustly accused of ‘dishonest’ behaviour in the television broadcast Rambam in January. They were portrayed as scientists who could be bought. BNNVARA eats humble pie now that they have reviewed the raw journalistic footage together with a delegation from Maastricht University. The broadcastin...
The most common leftover item: bread crusts

The most common leftover item: bread crusts

Carlijn Jansen (20), third-year student of International Business, supervises three lunch breaks per week, earning 8 euros per lunch break

More violence against the police, officials back tougher sentences

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch police were subject to 10% more cases of verbal and physical violence last year than in 2017, according to new police figures.
March - week 4

March - week 4

    

Four in five private landlords have just one house, CBS research shows

THE NETHERLANDS. Four in five private landlords in the Netherlands rent out just one property and see the income as a supplement to their pension, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.
The war in my head

The war in my head

It was the fifth time that my application was rejected. I was high-spirited that morning, cycling to school, imagining myself volunteering at a hospice in Maastricht. My hope was torn apart when I received an email rejecting my application, purely because I could not speak Dutch. I mean, there are tons of things that I can help in the hospice other...

Wanted: 13 PhD's

Wanted: 13 PhD's

MAASTRICHT. Thirteen PhD students from three Maastricht faculties will need to be recruited this year for research project Limes - Latin for border. The project was recently honoured with a 1.4 million euro European subsidy (Marie Curie Cofund). The participants are the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the School of Business and Economics, the ...

The thriller

The thriller

Recently, many people, even my eminent colleagues, jumped from their sofas, grabbed their phones, and started a storm of comments about the documentary “Leaving Neverland”. This is my contribution to the pile of digital signatures of Thriller lovers turned into (alleged) victim-attackers and prosecutors. In my colleagues’ paper, t...

Erasmus exchange programme can be completed in the case of a hard Brexit

THE NETHERLANDS. Students and lecturers – including British ones – who are on an exchange visit with an Erasmus grant, need not worry about their study or work placement in the event of a hard Brexit. They will be allowed to complete it.
“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 ...
UM starts fundraiser for university in Mozambique

UM starts fundraiser for university in Mozambique

MAASTRICHT. Three faculty buildings were completely destroyed, as were the small hospital and training clinic that belonged to it. Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in the city of Beira, Mozambique on Thursday 14 March, destroyed a large part of Universidade Católica de Moçambique (UCM). Maastricht University has close links with UCM and has starte...
“When she opened the door, her bathrobe fell open”

“When she opened the door, her bathrobe fell open”

Maarten Thissen/31/master’s student of Dutch Private Law/works 16 to 18 hours per week/earns €13.27 gross per hour
The battle for the Maastricht Cup

The battle for the Maastricht Cup

Once a year, the Indonesian Students Association of Maastricht presents the Maastricht Cup, a badminton and table tennis tournament. On Sunday 14 April the 15th edition takes place. Students and other interested people from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are competing in Sporthal De Heeg. There will also be food stalls as well as with some In...

Organic food is getting cheaper, sometimes beats A brands

THE NETHERLANDS. Organic food has gone down in price compared with ordinary foodstuffs and in some cases may be cheaper than A brands, according to new research by the consumers organisation Consumentenbond.
March - week 3

March - week 3

     

Politicians on all sides condemn ‘shoot Baudet’ chants at demonstration

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte has condemned a small group of demonstrators who chanted death threats against Forum for Democracy (FvD) leader Thierry Baudet during an anti-racism protest in Amsterdam at the weekend.
Almost certain: Digital Society to start in September

Almost certain: Digital Society to start in September

MAASTRICHT. There is still one hurdle to take, but everything is pointing in the direction of the new bachelor's of Digital Society at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences starting in September. There is plenty of interest: 282 prospective students have already shown serious interest.
The diversity of doctoring

The diversity of doctoring

What does it mean to be a physician? Providing patient care has long been considered the most noble, intellectual and altruistic aspect of being a doctor. While a nostalgic notion, such a traditional mindset can be divisive. It oversimplifies the complexity of medical practice and the variety of expertise needed to promote and support health. Al...

ROA: there are plenty of jobs, but students are not aware

MAASTRICHT. There are enough jobs in the Euregion for the higher educated, but more than half of the alumni are unaware of that. On average, 80 per cent of them have left the region five years after graduation. 
Mathematics in the city

Mathematics in the city

MAASTRICHT. Mathematicians see mathematics everywhere, even in the most ordinary everyday things, says Frank Thuijsman, professor of Strategic Optimization and Data Science, who opened the Math/Maastricht exhibition on the Minderbroedersberg 4-6 last Thursday. This is how the idea arose for an alternative guide for Maastricht, in which mathematicia...
Laudatory report from NVAO on UM's quality of education

Laudatory report from NVAO on UM's quality of education

MAASTRICHT. Good, good and good again. This was the oral judgment of the NVAO committee that visited Maastricht at the end of October to audit the education (InstellingsToetsKwaliteitszorg, ITK), quality agreements and internationalisation at Maastricht University. The report that was officially handed over to the Executive Board last week, is no d...
The way to the Rembrandt

The way to the Rembrandt

Lisa Hulshof/ 24/ master’s student of Public Policy and Human Development/ works about 20 hours per week via food service and hospitality staffing agency Mise en Place/ earning around 10 euros per hour 
Rector: “Three-year sabbatical for the person who solves distrust from politics”

Rector: “Three-year sabbatical for the person who solves distrust from politics”

Over forty thousand people protested against budget cuts in education at the Malieveld in The Hague last Friday. Protest movement WOinActie did so on behalf of the universities. Their demands are about money, but it’s about more than just money. It’s also about work pressure and distrust. Those are the conclusions of the debate that too...
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 write...

Alles is Drama puts on morality tale

The Choice – that’s the name of the play student drama association Alles is Drama will bring to the stage on 21, 22 and 23 March. The story begins when a stranger comes to a small village that has been dying for years. The young leave to the cities and the elderly that are left behind hang on to the past glories of their birthplace. The...

Flags half mast as the investigation into Utrecht tram shooting continues

THE NETHERLANDS. Three people are in custody in the investigation into Monday’s tram shooting in Utrecht which left three people dead and five people injured, three seriously.
March - week 2

March - week 2

      

Water board charges rise by 9% over four years

THE NETHERLANDS. Taxes to fund the water board have increased by an average of 9% in the last four years, according to the statistics agency CBS.
Marching On for Change

Marching On for Change

Whenever I see sustainability initiatives around our university, it makes me wonder: Is this actually doing something? We replaced garbage bins with recycling stations. We got rid of plastic cups from our coffee machines. We implemented Warm Sweater Days by lowering the temperature of our buildings by 1°C. I see these measures and think, well s...

We don't want to be an exclusive club, but be open to everyone in Europe”

We don't want to be an exclusive club, but be open to everyone in Europe”

MAASTRICHT. Open, not elitist but inclusive, concerned with society, innovative, focussed on the future, with and for students, and - last but not least – working together towards a better Europe. These are a handful of the ‘core values’ of the YUFE alliance (Young Universities for the Future of Europe); a European University...
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 – Erman Atak from Turkey – preferred not to be interviewed.
First climate march in Maastricht

First climate march in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. After Brussels, Berlin and Amsterdam, the climate march has come to Maastricht. On Friday 15 March the protesters will start their march on the Vrijthof at 11.00 hrs. “We think you should protest where you live. Changes have to be made on every level,” says Arthur Bribosia, UCM student and member of Students 4 Climate, which...
UM and Groningen best general universities of the Netherlands

UM and Groningen best general universities of the Netherlands

MAASTRICHT. According to the Keuzegids Masters 2019, Maastricht University, together with Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, is the best general Dutch university. Eight Maastricht study programmes received the award Top Rated Programme. What's more, the master's of Learning and Development in Organisations at the School of Business and Economics ...
University Council: chairman Van Tilburg had to resign

University Council: chairman Van Tilburg had to resign

MAASTRICHT. Chairman of the University Council, Jonathan van Tilburg, has stepped down as of 1 March. The University Council had asked him the day before “to reconsider his position”. The reason for his departure is unclear.
Open letter to all students and staff: "We need to act"

Open letter to all students and staff: "We need to act"

On March 15th the entire Dutch education sector will go on strike. The chances are that you’ve heard something about this, since the initiative is supported by the Executive Board of our university. However, we can imagine that many of you are thinking: a strike? Is that really relevant to Maastricht University? Is that something I should sup...
March - week 1

March - week 1

    

Provinces set to miss wind power targets as opposition to energy plans heats up

THE NETHERLANDS. Most Dutch provinces are set to miss their target for wind energy by the end of next year as a result of legal delays and resistance by political parties.
Science in the cafe

Science in the cafe

It is around seven in the evening and the Lumiere café is teeming with people who are here to celebrate the launch of the Pint of Science festival, which will take place in May. This was one of the four venues where the events were happening simultaneously in different café’s around Maastricht. The festival started in 2012 by two research sci...
“Does anyone have an injury? Is anyone pregnant?”

“Does anyone have an injury? Is anyone pregnant?”

Hannah Lou Kings/ second-year student of Arts and Culture/ teaches 1 weekly one-hour BodyBalance class at fitness centre MAC Maastricht/ earning 13.50 gross per hour

40,000 attend climate march as scepticism about climate change drops sharply

THE NETHERLANDS. Up to 40,000 people packed into Amsterdam in pouring rain on Sunday for what is being described as the biggest pro-climate march ever to take place in the Netherlands.
Laptop and Lattes

Laptop and Lattes

In almost any coffee shop you set foot into, you see someone crammed behind a laptop or stack of papers getting some work done. Why are people choosing to work in cafés these days? Is it just the hip thing to do? Fact is that technology has made the current working generation a lot more mobile. As most jobs don't require much more than a plu...

Health promotion research with an iPhone

Health promotion research with an iPhone

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Professor Rik Crutzen would like to know more about the mindset of people who follow an exercise programme. One that is based on data collected on mobile phones.
On plants and cancer, healthy eating and the nerve system of a caterpillar

On plants and cancer, healthy eating and the nerve system of a caterpillar

A more interactive programme with input from the audience – that’s the aim of Studium Generale’s new segment: Ask the Scientist. Over the past few months, people could send in their burning questions about life, the world, the universe. Last Tuesday, three scientists answered a selection of them in the Auditorium on the Minderbroe...
Two Japanese students at the Friday fish market

Two Japanese students at the Friday fish market

The cornerstone of the Friday market in Maastricht is the fish market. It’s a Catholic tradition to eat in moderation on the day of the week on which Jesus was crucified. In practice, this meant people ate fish on Fridays instead of meat – if they could afford to do so, that is. As a result, the demand for fish in the Catholic south of ...

Students criticise the UM Economics education

Students criticise the UM Economics education

MAASTRICHT. UM students have published an open letter in which they criticise the education at the School of Business and Economics (SBE), especially regarding some theories on banking. The letter went “viral” on Twitter and was supported by a few leading economists. The students hope that SBE will adjust the curriculum.
“Some are unfamiliar with the concept of a coaster brake”

“Some are unfamiliar with the concept of a coaster brake”

Luc Joosten/ 22/ fourth-year student of Medicine/ works on average 100 hours per month/ earning €10.59 net per hour

Britain is sleepwalking towards a no-deal Brexit, says Dutch prime minister

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has renewed his call to Britain to reach agreement on Brexit, describing the current British position as ‘unacceptable’.

Housing agencies are still charging tenants fees, despite court ruling

THE NETHERLANDS. Some 70% of rental housing agencies are still charging new tenants fees even though this is not allowed by law, broadcaster NOS said at the weekend, quoting the Dutch competition authority ACM.
Temporary homes; City Council discusses plans

Temporary homes; City Council discusses plans

MAASTRICHT. Stackable tiny houses or converted offices? Large-scale or preferably small-scale campus style locations? In Randwijck? The Maastricht City Council doesn't want to say anything yet about the proposals submitted for temporary accommodation. But plans are being discussed with four of the 26 initiators. Their plans can be executed befo...
The spark of joy

The spark of joy

Recently there has been a quiet revolution growing, and no, I am not talking about the women’s marches in the US, or the Brexit protests in the UK, or even the rallies against climate change across Europe. No. What I am referring to is the revolution against clutter: the Marie Kondo effect (I did tell you it was a quiet revolution). For those...

UM requests full unedited version Rambam

UM requests full unedited version Rambam

MAASTRICHT. Rianne Letschert, rector of Maastricht University has no doubts about the integrity of the Maastricht professors Fred Brouns and Rob Markus. But she does want an explanation and that is why she has requested the raw footage of the TV programme Rambam. In the broadcast of 24 January it appears as if the two UM scientists would be prepare...
On the renaissance of psychology

On the renaissance of psychology

MAASTRICHT. The famous American psychologist Steve Lindsay, who’s spending a few months in the Netherlands, recently contacted the legal psychologists at UM with a question. Was there any chance he could come for a visit? Of course, this wasn’t entirely random – Lindsay has co-authored several articles with UM researchers in the p...

The new engineer is about to arrive

The new engineer is about to arrive

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) wants to train a new kind of engineer. One who doesn't necessarily design the best product at the drawing table, but does take the footprint of things into account. This is the idea behind Circular Engineering, just one of the new study programmes that the faculty is planning.
Foretaste of Pint of Science

Foretaste of Pint of Science

MAASTRICHT. The idea originated in London a few years ago: put some scientists in a pub, let them talk about a certain topic and thus provide the broader public with an easy way of becoming acquainted with scientific research. That is what Pint of Science is: a three-day worldwide festival held in May. This year, for the first time, it will also be...
“People had no idea what they were voting for”

“People had no idea what they were voting for”

The big screen above the stage in the lecture room at UCM displays the question “Do people deserve a second chance?” . “Yes,” say fourteen people in the room. “No,” says the one other participant. And how about the British? Do they deserve a second chance? “Yes”: seven votes; “No”: eight v...

“I’ve lost my room key”

“I’ve lost my room key”

Mark van Slobbe/ 21 /second-year student of Dutch Law / works on average 10 hours per week/ earns 10,85 gross per hour

With one month to go, the provincial election campaigns kick off

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands goes to the polls in a month’s time to elect 570 new members for the 12 provincial councils and campaigning is now beginning in earnest.
Golden walls and high ceilings

Golden walls and high ceilings

Sophie van Leeuwen (Dutch, 22), student of Interdisciplinary Art, an autonomous programme of the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts, pays 550 Euros for a 35m2 room across the street from SBE on the Tongersestraat.  
 “My phrasing there is clumsy, unfortunate”

“My phrasing there is clumsy, unfortunate”

A researcher selling his soul to industry. That’s how Rob Markus, who holds an endowed chair at Maastricht University, was portrayed – unsuccessfully blurred out – in a broadcast of the Dutch television programme Rambam on Thursday, 24 January. He was quite willing to discuss the possibility of ‘guiding’ research ...
Early mornings

Early mornings

It’s quiet when I slowly wake up and carefully open my eyes. The big road that runs behind my house is still peaceful. Thoughts about life, things to do and so much more are racing through my mind. Is it late? Or is it so late that it’s already early again? It takes me a moment or two to completely orient myself. I can’t sleep. My...

Two UM-profs feel they were tricked in TV-programme

Two UM-profs feel they were tricked in TV-programme

MAASTRICHT. They were disguised but still recognisable: two Maastricht scientists who took part in the TV programme Rambam and portrayed as being prepared to provide positive research results for a charge. It concerned Chinese energy drinks. But the two, professors Fred Brouns and Rob Markus, feel that they were tricked. According to them...
Majority of staff is satisfied; assistant professors experience most work pressure

Majority of staff is satisfied; assistant professors experience most work pressure

MAASTRICHT. Most employees of Maastricht University are satisfied about their work and feel they have the qualities required to perform in their jobs properly. This is one of the outcomes of the Sustainable Availability Monitor that more than 2,800 employees completed last autumn.
“My patient wouldn’t do that”, most therapists think

“My patient wouldn’t do that”, most therapists think

Pretending that you suffer from an illness or disorder, for example in order to pocket compensation for damages. It happens more often than you would think. How do you separate the con artists from the patients? But also, how widespread is it? A Maastricht experiment showed that 94 per cent of the students would be inclined to do it.
Less harmony, more discussion

Less harmony, more discussion

MAASTRICHT. BridgeEurope, a European organisation that promotes discussion among as diverse a public as possible, feels that people agree with each other far too much and that is not a good thing. A Maastricht branch was set up a month ago.

School pupil climate protestors to meet prime minister on Tuesday

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte is to meet the initiators of last week’s school pupil climate demonstration on Tuesday afternoon. Economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes will also be at the talks, which are taking place outside school hours, Dutch media reported.
“Would you like to learn how to do a backflip?”

“Would you like to learn how to do a backflip?”

Emilie Wildschutz / 22 / third-year student in the Maastricht Science Programme / earns 9.84 euros gross per hour

Dutch in top five of most-quoted scientists, says new Dutch study

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands is in the top five countries whose scientists are most often quoted by their peers, Dutch scientific institute Rathenau has found.
Shake, kiss, hug

Shake, kiss, hug

I’ve lived in the Netherlands for almost 20 years, and still struggle with some aspects of Dutch culture. When do you shake hands? The moment of introduction is clear – both parties extend their right hands and shake, with a more or less firm and sweaty palm. But what about your colleagues? Should you shake their hands every time you se...

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 o...

Green light for FPN's quality agreements

MAASTRICHT. The University Council endorsed the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences' quality agreements last week. All faculties have now been given the go-ahead.
Getting people into the right mood

Getting people into the right mood

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Professor Bernadette Jansma would like to know what happens in the brain when people understand each other. Are they literally on the same (brain) wavelength?
Head of UM Sports leaves after eight months

Head of UM Sports leaves after eight months

MAASTRICHT. The head of UM Sports, Nico Freriks, has handed in his notice as of 1 February. He had the position since mid-June 2018. A difference of opinion concerning the “expectations, vision and future” of UM Sports was supposedly the underlying reason, says Pascal Breuls, director of Student Services Centre and Freriks' imm...
The best chips in town

The best chips in town

We’re about halfway through the Carnival season, which means beer consumption is increasing by the week. And is there anything better after drinking beer than having a generous serving of chips with a delicious topping? In other words, this is the perfect time for a chips test. It’s a Dutch cliché to eat chips with Belgians, but I&rs...

Executive Board supports WOinActie

Executive Board supports WOinActie

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board supports the protest movement WOinActie and will arrange transport in the case of sufficient interest. Rector Rianne Letschert said so last week during a plenary meeting of the University Council. This was to the dissatisfaction of the student fraction.
“Your wife isn’t pregnant?”

“Your wife isn’t pregnant?”

Luc van Galen/ 23/ fourth-year student of Medicine/ works about eight hours per week/ earning 11.35 euros per hour excluding evening and weekend surcharges

Cancer cases double in 30 years, skin cancer still on the rise

THE NETHERLANDS. In total, 116,000 people in the Netherlands were diagnosed with cancer last year and the number of skin cancer cases has gone up sharply in the last few years, the Dutch cancer institute IKNL said on Monday.  
Pause, not cancel

Pause, not cancel

MAASTRICHT. The 24-hour opening trial of the University Library (UB) will still take place, but it has been postponed for the time being. A number of neighbourhood nuisances must be dealt with first.
 “I feel so at home here”

“I feel so at home here”

Just before Christmas, Fabienne Crombach received an e-mail from rector Rianne Letschert telling her that she had been nominated for the Wynand Wijnen education prize. “Really nice, but I never actually expected to win. With my background as a student from a university of applied sciences, I was competing against scientists with doctorates an...
Flying tax for researchers

Flying tax for researchers

MAASTRICHT. As of January, researchers from the UNU-Merit institute pay a flying tax when they book a domestic flight or a flight abroad. The tax is deducted from the project budget. “I was slightly apprehensive for the reactions,” says director Bart Verspagen, “but the plan went down well.”

Experiment with pass/fail assessment at FPN

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences are going to experiment with a pass/fail assessment. In the upcoming second-year block of Man and Machine, students will not receive a grade for their exam, but just a pass or a fail. Block co-ordinator Herco Fonteijn, initiator of the experiment, hopes that because of this students will ...
A catalogue of failures

A catalogue of failures

It’s a fun fact that the acronym for the ‘Fuckup Nights’ is FUN. But what are the Fuckup Nights, you ask? An event series where entrepreneurs share their stories of professional failure. A global movement akin to the ‘CV of Failures’ published by one Princeton professor: a list of jobs he didn’t get, papers turne...

Tackling corruption the soft way

Tackling corruption the soft way

Hortense Jongen hopped on an airplane in Gothenburg last Thursday to pay an ultra-short visit to her hometown Maastricht. And with good reason: to accept the dissertation prize during the university’s founding day ceremony. Jongen researched how one could combat corruption on an international level using ‘soft governance’. The top...
‘Don’t take academic freedom for granted’

‘Don’t take academic freedom for granted’

MAASTRICHT. Whether it was about the approaching Brexit, climate change, the school children demonstrating in Brussels, or the attack on the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest: never has Maastricht University's founding day celebration - the theme this time being Global Challenges - been so full of political statements.
Painful knees and superintelligence

Painful knees and superintelligence

Topics varied from the influence of European democracy on civilian participation in Africa to the optimal income tax system, but the common factor of all theses that were rewarded with a Student Award last  Friday was they were the best of their year. Seventeen bachelor's and nine master's students received their prizes during the foun...
“I can’t remember one pro-EU story in the media”

“I can’t remember one pro-EU story in the media”

MAASTRICHT. The impending Brexit, whether it’ll be a hard or a soft Brexit, will come with a lot of uncertainty and misery. This was one of the conclusions drawn during Bridges over Brexit, the morning programme of the Dies Natalis celebration held in the Feestzaal (Bouillonstraat) last Friday. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom...
York President: “It prevents us from darkness”

York President: “It prevents us from darkness”

MAASTRICHT. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is increasing, which is precisely the reason why Maastricht University has started a close collaboration with the University of York. The two universities will jointly invest more than three million euros in research and postgraduate education over the next three years. This ‘Maastricht Treaty&rs...

Cabinet tensions rise ahead of key debate on child refugee amnesty

THE NETHERLANDS. The four coalition parties have still not found a solution for the child refugee amnesty crisis, which is threatening to cause a serious division in the coalition.
Appearing in court

Appearing in court

Sanne Schauwaert/ 21/ recently completed a bachelor’s degree in Dutch Law/ works about two to three days per week/ earning 130 euros per session
UM professors examine ‘parking policy'

UM professors examine ‘parking policy'

MAASTRICHT. After the University Council had returned the mobility plan - commonly referred to as ‘parking policy’ - back to the drawing board last autumn, a large opinion poll will now be held within Maastricht University: what do people think when it comes to cycling, public transport, cars, parking spaces, or a cycling bonus? Three b...

Man rescued from under rubble after gas explosion in The Hague

THE NETHERLANDS. A man trapped in the rubble of an apartment building after a gas explosion in The Hague on Sunday afternoon was finally freed by rescue workers shortly before midnight.
Hobbies

Hobbies

Why does my employer care about my hobbies?, was my reaction after doing a CV workshop offered by the university. Apparently, it’s quite common in the Netherlands. In fact, it might be negative if you don’t. Because, as I was explained, employers want to know that you are someone, that you have your edges, a profile, that you are an act...

Jules blamed for not returning deposits

Jules blamed for not returning deposits

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht students have been complaining on Facebook about unreturned or partially unreturned deposits by student services agency Jules Maastricht. With more and more houses under their management and an administration that for a long time was carried out manually, it couldn't but go wrong. The tenants are the victims. Karin van de...
Honorary doctorate for two idealists

Honorary doctorate for two idealists

The one is devoted to freedom and democracy, the other seeks a genuine climate policy. This characterises the two laureates who will receive honorary doctorates during the university’s foundation day ceremony. Michael Ignatieff has been active in particular as rector of the Central European University (CEU) in the last few years, while writer...
Chakula Uponya: T-shirts for hospital meals

Chakula Uponya: T-shirts for hospital meals

MAASTRICHT. Two years ago, Victoria von Salmuth - currently a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences - won the Student Award for the Shirati Food Programme when she was a student of Medicine. She set up this initiative in Tanzania, which supplies meals for patients in the Shirati hospital, as they themselves don't ha...
“The hardest part isn’t the coffee, but getting the milk foam right”

“The hardest part isn’t the coffee, but getting the milk foam right”

Gemma van der Elsen/ 20/ third-year student of Medicine/ works 5-12 hours per week/ earning about 9 euros per hour

NS reduces train services due to snow forecast, three centimetres expected

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch railway company NS is running fewer services on Tuesday to head off problems with the forecast snow, even though no more than three centimetres is expected.

Coalition split as CDA, D66, ChristenUnie call for change to child refugee amnesty

THE NETHERLANDS. Three of the four Dutch coalition parties are now in favour of changes to the amnesty for well-rooted child refugees, saying the current situation is ‘untenable’.
Happy New Year - You survived the Dutch “tradition”!

Happy New Year - You survived the Dutch “tradition”!

This was my second New Year in the Netherlands. Last year was a shock, followed by the terror and misbelief that World War III had started. I thought that this time I would be better prepared for the unreasonable, unpredictable, and-- simply put-- ignorant, Dutch celebration. But this year Dutchies brought it to the next level. Paradoxically, as a ...

British students keep their rights after ‘hard’ Brexit

British students keep their rights after ‘hard’ Brexit

If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal, British students studying in the Netherlands need not worry. They can continue their studies under the same conditions. Chances of a ‘hard’ Brexit have increased, after a big majority of the British parliament voted against prime minister Theresa May’s proposal on ...

Fight against nonsense statistics

Fight against nonsense statistics

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Stephan Smeekes, data scientist at the School of Business and Economics, would like to investigate why computer programmes often find ‘nonsensical connections’ in big data. This wouldn't require large investments; it would ...
Smoking ban at Health Campus from 2021

Smoking ban at Health Campus from 2021

MAASTRICHT. As of 1 January 2021, smoking will no longer be permitted throughout the Health Campus in Randwijck. Smoking will not be allowed in and around the hospital from as early as 2020. Those are the aims, at least. The UM supports the hospital's plans, says President of Maastricht University Martin Paul, and the Executive Board will soon ...
Weekly deployment of student investigating officers to stop

Weekly deployment of student investigating officers to stop

MAASTRICHT. The structural deployment of student investigating officers (in Dutch buitengewone opsporingsambtenaren or boa’s), who have been riding around Maastricht dealing with student disturbances two evenings a week since March 2017 until July 2018, will stop. Instead, residents and students will first have to try and solve...
“This isn’t a sales pitch, it’s just the truth”

“This isn’t a sales pitch, it’s just the truth”

Quinten Eitjes/ 20/ second-year student of Arts and Culture/ works sixteen hours per week/ earning 10.50 euros net per hour
When a revolutionary invention gets in the wrong hands: A CRISPR catastrophe

When a revolutionary invention gets in the wrong hands: A CRISPR catastrophe

Science Fiction. In 2018, the first genome-edited baby will be born. Reality. It’s 2018, the first genome-edited twins were born. In November 2018, the world woke up to the news that the world’s first genome-edited babies were born. The Chinese scientist He Jiankui who lead this work, released the news in the most controversial wa...

More refugee families with children disappear from deportation centres

THE NETHERLANDS. Last year, 360 asylum seekers disappeared from family refugee accommodation in the Netherlands, of whom 210 were children, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.
Shorter waiting times UM psychologists, emphasis on prevention

Shorter waiting times UM psychologists, emphasis on prevention

MAASTRICHT. Not more psychologists, initially, but shorter waiting times of a maximum of four weeks. How does the team of student supervisors at Maastricht University plan on managing that? Among others by focussing more on prevention, says the new plan for student well-being. The magic word is communication about what the UM has to offer for stude...

Election campaign heats up as coalition leaders clash over climate change deal

THE NETHERLANDS. Coalition parties VVD and D66 have clashed over the government’s plans to cut carbon emissions, with both sides warning that they are prepared to bring down the coalition over the issue.
Drawing without borders

Drawing without borders

Last Spring, I participated in a one-hour workshop at a medical humanities conference attended by sociologists, clinicians, researchers, healthcare leaders, or a hybrid thereof. The workshop leader, a nurse and cartoonist, provided crayons and paper, and asked us to bring our creativity and open minds. Our only rule to follow was that there was no ...

Bringing order into the jungle of small-scale studies

Bringing order into the jungle of small-scale studies

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Molecular biologist Manon van Engeland would like to set up a study to collect all biomarker cancer research projects in a database. Why? To enable patients to benefit as quickly as possible from the detection of the early signs of cancer....
Global Surgery: surgery for everyone

Global Surgery: surgery for everyone

Five billion people worldwide have no access to affordable and safe surgery and anaesthesia. That must change, says Incision (International Student Surgical Network), a worldwide student organisation that is dedicated to making surgery accessible to everyone. Sixth-year medical student, Darja Sempf, is in the process of setting up a Maastricht bran...

FPN: plugging the gap is unrealistic

MAASTRICHT. Both the board and the Faculty Council of Psychology and Neurosciences were completely taken aback when the University Council did not approve their quality agreements. The University Council could not look past the gap of 1.8 million euro between the income and expenses for education. But this deficit has always been there and never be...

University Council gives go-ahead for quality agreements, except for Psychology

MAASTRICHT. The University Council did not approve the quality agreements for the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences in its last meeting before Christmas. The controversial issue was the fact that Psychology would not actually spend all their funds for education on education. All other faculties were given the go-ahead, even if it was a strugg...
The Middle East in Maastricht

The Middle East in Maastricht

For decades now, life in Maastricht has been enriched by butchers, bakers and grocers from the Middle East. First-class lamb meat, Turkish and Lebanese bread and an abundance of herbs have vastly improved the quality of life, or at least my life.
The mysterious disappearance of the meds

The mysterious disappearance of the meds

Danny Steijvers/ 27/ sixth-year student of Medicine/ works 25 to 30 hours per week/ earning about 11 euros net per hour (excluding evening and weekend surcharges)

More people switch health insurer in year end transfer window

THE NETHERLANDS. Some 1.1 million people have switched health insurance company during the most recent transfer window, according to preliminary figures from health insurer association ZN.

Fundamentalist Protestants under fire over anti-gay rights statement

THE NETHERLANDS. Some 250 Protestant ministers in the Netherlands have signed a Dutch version of the Nashville Statement – a controversial document originating in the US which has been slammed for promoting homophobia, transphobia and misogyny.

Dutch population to hit 18 million in 10 years, says CBS

THE NETHERLANDS. Some 3.5 million people in the Netherlands are likely to live alone by 2030, a rise of 400,000 on the current total, national statistics agency CBS says in its new population forecasts.

Rutte turns Brexit into ‘parable of the fragile vase’ in pre-election missive

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte has invoked the ‘chaos’ of Brexit as a cautionary tale of what could happen to the Netherlands if it neglects its political traditions of coalitions and compromise.
Making Alcohol-Free Beer Fun

Making Alcohol-Free Beer Fun

I recently gave up drinking, so when I saw the Observant report last week about the Wageningen research claiming that drinking alcohol-free beer is “just as much fun” as imbibing normal beer, I was intrigued (and quite sceptical). The research in question conducted fMRI scans on 21 drinkers and concluded that so long as the participants...

UM budget: more students, more buildings, fewer reserves

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University is going to spend 2.2 million more next year than it receives. This has to do with previously planned investments in faculties and sustainability measures at Tapijn. Money has already been set-aside for this (designated reserves).
"Once again we have blood on our hands"

"Once again we have blood on our hands"

First: Do we still want to keep the European Union? And second: What will it take? These are two very important questions for the upcoming years, says Mathieu Segers, professor of Contemporary European History and European Integration. He gave his inaugural lecture in the St. Janskerk last week.

University Council is critical, quality agreements not a formality

MAASTRICHT. The quality agreements, which were on the University Council's agenda yesterday afternoon after Observant had gone to press, are not likely to be approved without a struggle. This was apparent last week during the joint meeting of two University Council committees.
“I am a big fan of the morning shifts”

“I am a big fan of the morning shifts”

Kristel Zaal/ 22/ third-year student of Psychology/ works on average 7.5 hours per week/ earns €10.95 per hour
“There is a lack of political awareness and solidarity among staff and students”

“There is a lack of political awareness and solidarity among staff and students”

MAASTRICHT. Has structural underfunding brought higher education in the Netherlands to a breaking point? That was the question of the panel discussion organised by the New University Maastricht and PINE Maastricht (Pluralism in Economics) last Monday in the Statenzaal at the Faculty of Law. Looking at the small audience of twenty people who attende...

Girls more likely to do better at school than teachers suggest

THE NETHERLANDS. Girls are much more likely than boys to take school leaving exams at a higher level than recommended by their primary school, national statistics office CBS said on Tuesday.

Average energy bill predicted to soar past €2000 mark in 2019

THE NEThERLANDS. The average household energy bill is expected to rise by more than €300 next year, according to an analysis by price comparison sites reported in the Telegraaf.
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 scre...
Trump Jokes

Trump Jokes

When things get tough, sometimes the best way to cope is to find the humor in whatever you are dealing with. A good joke boosts your mood. But more importantly, it can change your perspective and even allow you to look past or live with whatever issue. That other people share this coping strategy is reflected by the current ratings of American t...

“This is not just any project, it takes top priority for me”

“This is not just any project, it takes top priority for me”

MAASTRICHT. Quality above quantity, a clear path for teaching careers, and last but not least, team science instead of the age-old hierarchical structure. If it is up to rector Rianne Letschert, there is about to be a revolution within the world of academia. The assessment of researchers is about to be changed. The toughest hurdle is convincing Eur...
Seven intensive contact hours is pressure point

Seven intensive contact hours is pressure point

Maastricht University will receive millions of euros - money becoming available from the abolishing of the basic grant system - to improve the quality of education. The first faculty plans are on the agenda of next week's University Council meeting. For approval. The plans include items such as small tutorial groups, a mentor programme (lecture...
Teaching political scientists a lesson

Teaching political scientists a lesson

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Political scientist Arjan Schakel would like to prove that many social researchers take the wrong approach in their research into voting behaviour. To do so, he needs tens of millions. 
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.”
University Library only for the UM from 1 January

University Library only for the UM from 1 January

MAASTRICHT. From 1 January, the University Library will only be open to UM card holders. Turnstiles will be installed in spring of 2019. Until that time, users will be checked manually.
Meet Selke, your guest happiness server

Meet Selke, your guest happiness server

Selke Ruijssenaars / 22/ master’s student of Human Decision Science/ works about 16 hours per week/ earning 10 euros net per hour

Dutch showman loses case to become officially 20 years younger

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch showman and motivational guru Emile Ratelband has lost his bid to have his age officially cut from 69 to 49.

Alcohol-free beer is just as much fun to drink, claim researchers

THE NETHERLANDS. Alcohol-free beer has the same effect on the brain’s pleasure centres as the genuine article, researchers at Wageningen University have found.
A Shoe for Every Foot

A Shoe for Every Foot

I have grown up with a very idealised notion of love. I lay part of the blame at Disney’s door. Whilst there was not exactly an abundance (read: none) of gay Disney romances, it does have this tendency to perpetuate the idea that true love is out there and that all you have to do is wait and it will find you (ideally accompanied by a few misc...

Faculty Councils and University Council: more often ‘conversationalist council’ than a monitoring body

Faculty Councils and University Council: more often ‘conversationalist council’ than a monitoring body

MAASTRICHT. More and more items on the University Council’s and Faculty Councils’ agendas are confidential. Usually at the request of the board that wants to brainstorm about new plans in seclusion for fear of rumours and unrest. Occasionally, a council closes the doors because there is no pressure from the people they represent (&...

Walloon students in a fix

MAASTRICHT. The number of Walloon students at Maastricht University has grown explosively over the past years. This has given rise to additional problems because the Walloons cannot produce their secondary school diplomas on time. The UM now settles for a provisional declaration.
Assessment of scientists to change

Assessment of scientists to change

MAASTRICHT. Impact factors, h-indexes, individual subsidies. If it’s up to the universities and research financers in the Netherlands, these aspects will become less important. The assessment and funding systems for researchers must change fundamentally. Maastricht rector Rianne Letschert may be seen as the force behind this. She plead for a ...
“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. Violence and other violations of human rights are an everyday occurrence in the Gaza Strip. That’s ...

"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. 

"All the spices used come directly from India"

Imagine having various authentic international dishes being cooked by chefs right in front of you. Imagine interacting with the chefs and getting to know more about their culture. With those sentences, the organisers of the International Food Festival 2018 announced the second edition of the event on their Facebook page. The entrance is free and it...

Students fined €95 for drunken high jinks on 50m crane

THE NETHERLANDS. Two students have been fined €95 each after they were rescued from a 50 metre tall crane by the fire service in a drunken prank.
With two small clay hedgehogs in the playground

With two small clay hedgehogs in the playground

Bella van Langen/ 22/ fourth-year student of Medicine/ works 2-3 afternoons per week/ earning 11 euros per hour

Brexit deal is ‘best we can get’ says Dutch prime minister

THE NETHERLANDS. The deal signed by EU ministers on Sunday which paves the way for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU is the ‘best we can get,’ Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said after the meeting.
Randwyck sandwiches

Randwyck sandwiches

It may seem obvious that universities need cafeterias, but it isn’t. An important part of a healthy lifestyle is regular physical activity, and a short walk from the faculty to a nearby eatery fits in perfectly. So while eating in your building is convenient, it’s not necessarily good for you. Admittedly, this applies more to those o...

“This is where my life is”

“This is where my life is”

Louisa Stupp (22, German), master's student European Studies on Society, Science and Technology, pays 295 euro per month for a 16m2 room near Scharneweg
What depression feels like

What depression feels like

My alarm goes off. I don’t feel like going to university today. I don’t feel like chatting with my classmates. I don’t feel like leaving my bed at all. My head feels like it’s full of clouds, my body heavy under my duvet. I try to get up, but the depression wins for a moment. Second attempt. I can barely stand upright, every...

Better understanding of the risk factors for heart failure

Better understanding of the risk factors for heart failure

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Professor Blanche Schroen wants to get a better understanding of the risk factors of heart failure in order to develop more effective medication.
A world behind reality

A world behind reality

MAASTRICHT. As iconic as his films (Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks) have become, his visual artwork has remained all the more obscure. This is one of the reasons why Bonnefanten museum has set up a retrospective of David Lynch. But why has he earned so little appreciation as an artist? An interview with Bonnefanten director Stijn Huijts.
International student club has to move out of Timmerfabriek

International student club has to move out of Timmerfabriek

MAASTRICHT. Kaleido, the international student club that has its base in the Muziekgieterij in the Timmerfabriek, will urgently need to look for a new location. This decision was taken by Maastricht University and the city council. The reason is the fear that the two will get in each other's way too much, with the possibility of a financial blo...
Students find themselves more settled

Students find themselves more settled

MAASTRICHT. On 1 September, when about two hundred foreign students moved into their new rooms at the Annadal complex, it turned out that the renovations had not yet been completed. Students found themselves in a mess. How are things three months on? The list of complaints has now reached “normal proportions,” they say at the Guesthouse...
“Two hundred kilos of ice on a busy night”

“Two hundred kilos of ice on a busy night”

Niek Cleyndert/ 23/ has just completed his master’s degree in Dutch Tax Law; is starting a master’s degree in Fiscal Economics in February/ depending on experience, employees earn between 10 and 13 euros net per hour, excluding tips (between 5 and 20 euros per evening)

IND overhauls Brexit information, says it will get in touch with all Brits

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch immigration service IND has totally overhauled the Brexit information section of its website, and now tells British nationals the government will provide ‘a decent solution’ even in the case of a no deal.

Amnesty International, MPs call on PM to condemn pro-Piet violence

THE NETHERLANDS. Amnesty International, the national ombudsman and the director of the Centre for Public Order and Security have condemned the way police and local mayors dealt with the violence targeted at this weekend’s anti-Zwarte Piet demonstrations.
"Having my dad to help was a blessing"

"Having my dad to help was a blessing"

Ada Garcia-Gesto Lopez (18, Spanish), first-year European Law, pays €445 per month for a 18m2 room close to Central Station

Translation of rent information in English

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch House of Representatives feels that foreign students should be able to contest high rents more easily. That is why information by the rent tribunal should be partially translated into English.
Discovering pre-industrial Maastricht

Discovering pre-industrial Maastricht

It’s a drizzling Saturday morning on the 10th of November,  when Meet Maastricht offers the L’Art Pour Elkaar// Post-industrial Maastricht Free Tour. The “miezerige” weather adds to the historical atmosphere of the city. About 10 participants from all over the globe, from  North Holland and Italy to Kyrgyzstan and ...
“Everyone thinks Maastricht is far away, even farther away than Germany”

“Everyone thinks Maastricht is far away, even farther away than Germany”

Gwynne Janssen/ 19/ second-year bachelor’s student at University College Maastricht/ works a varying number of hours per month/ earning about 9.50 euros net per hour
What (not) to wear

What (not) to wear

We like to think that universities are places for freedom of expression, not only of ideas but also of how to dress. Compared with many other workplaces, we have a lot of choice. Some people who work in shops, hospitals or on public transport must wear a uniform. There are rigidly imposed and internalised clothing norms amongst those who work in fi...

Breaking the trend in South Limburg

Breaking the trend in South Limburg

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Professor Maria Jansen dreams of having ten million euro to carry out a study into the poor state of health in South Limburg. She would focus on the hereditary nature of unhealthiness, passing from one generation to the next. 
Keuzegids 2019: University Colleges score much better than other UM bachelor’s

Keuzegids 2019: University Colleges score much better than other UM bachelor’s

MAASTRICHT. Just like last year, the three young, broad bachelor's programmes at Maastricht - University College Maastricht, University College Venlo and the Science Program - are a cut above the rest of the UM bachelor's. Their resounding results, all eight plus, cast a shadow on the fives, sixes and the odd seven of the rest.
Opinion: Maajid Nawaz’s Ode to Despair

Opinion: Maajid Nawaz’s Ode to Despair

Tans lecture speaker Maajid Nawaz needs to get his facts straight, says Lana Sirri, assistant professor at the Centre for Gender and Diversity. In this opinion piece she fact-checks some claims he made during his lecture and warns for the dangers of downplaying Islamophobia.
“Let women speak first and men hold their tongues for a minute”

“Let women speak first and men hold their tongues for a minute”

Female Empowerment, or FEM for short. The name of this new network at Maastricht University – which was launched with a panel discussion and workshops at the Jan van Eyck Academie last Tuesday – is criticized by many in the audience. By women as well as men. While the first say, “it is setting us apart”, the latter feel &ldq...
Opinion: Is America becoming less democratic?

Opinion: Is America becoming less democratic?

After last week’s midterm elections in the United States, the Democrats were able to take back the House of Representatives while the Republicans held on to the Senate. The results of the election further emphasized the divisions in the U.S. electorate, with the country dividing itself up into blue Democratic parts versus red Republican ...
Sharing food, sharing cultures

Sharing food, sharing cultures

MAASTRICHT. Food brings people together. This is not only the theme of the Week of the International Student that is taking place this week, but also the motto of Supratip Nag, co-founder of HomeHandi, a delivery service for home-cooked meals. This is why he, together with, amongst others, the United Nations Student Association, has organized an In...

Immigration service pays over €1m in refugee compensation claims

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch immigration service has paid refugees more than €1m in compensation over the past year because officials took too long to make decisions, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.

More low income families in NL, as refugees risk poverty

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of low income households in the Netherlands has gone up for the first time in four years, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.
World citizen looking for a home

World citizen looking for a home

Monique Bren (19, Spanish/Dutch), a second year Liberal Arts and Sciences, pays 570 euro per month for an 18 m2 room near the Markt
Open kitchen science

Open kitchen science

It’s that time of year again: grant-writing season! Marie Curie, ERC, NWO, you name it: academics everywhere are labouring feverishly over their applications in the hope of landing a big bag of research dough. Almost all these people will miss out. Many of them will end up feeling disillusioned with academia and their place in it. To them ...

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 ...
‘Parking policy’ postponed, further investigation among staff and students required

‘Parking policy’ postponed, further investigation among staff and students required

MAASTRICHT. The introduction of the UM’s new mobility policy, also referred to as ‘parking policy’, has been postponed. The University Council and the local consultative body have advised the Executive Board to first consult a larger group of employees and students. “We want a solid plan that creates more support among those...
30 days in bed

30 days in bed

MAASTRICHT. The Chinese Yiyun Chen doesn't go outside anymore and has no direct contact with people. She lives in a special bedroom in Eindhoven and does everything from her bed. It sounds like a terminally ill patient, but Chen is an artist. She has chosen this temporary, ascetic life, to find out what it does to a person to spend so long in b...

Led by the hand or trip and fall

Led by the hand or trip and fall

A single educational institution with six faculties, all of which pride themselves in the same education system. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is Maastricht University's showpiece. In tutorial groups, twelve to fifteen students discuss a case from actual practice in order to get to grips with the subject matter. For a successful debate with diff...
“A little macabre? On the contrary, it’s very rewarding work”

“A little macabre? On the contrary, it’s very rewarding work”

Thomas Diemel/ 24/ master’s student of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/ works approximately three shifts (ten hours) per week/ earning 10 euros per hour

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. 

Lawyer for woman acquitted of blasphemy in Pakistan flees to NL

THE NETHERLANDS. The lawyer for a Pakistani woman who was acquitted of blasphemy, sparking protests by religions fundamentalists, has fled to the Netherlands.  

Big Dutch banks join forces to develop yellow ATM network

THE NETHERLANDS. The three big Dutch banks are introducing a new, uniform ATM system which will replace current ING, ABN Amro and Rabobank cash machines nationwide.
"In China we invite new friends to our home and cook for them"

"In China we invite new friends to our home and cook for them"

Hu Siqi, but everybody calls him Roy, (22, Chinese), master’s student International Law/ M2: 20/ Rent: 200 euros/ Area : Statenkwartier
“I’m not very popular for 45 minutes”

“I’m not very popular for 45 minutes”

Tom Phillips/ 25/is from Great Britain and currently learning Dutch to be able to continue with the master’s in Medicine/ works on average 10 hours per week/ earns sixteen euros per hour
Classic Vietnamese cuisine

Classic Vietnamese cuisine

I ate my first ever Vietnamese meal a long time ago in Lomé, the capital of Togo. My friend from secondary school and I were to spend a month mountain biking in West Africa. After a long flight in a rickety Aeroflot Tupolev, Gerard and I were getting our bearings at a guest house run by an older Vietnamese lady, awaiting the arrival of our mountain...

Standing places in lecture halls and bowls of fruit in all buildings

Standing places in lecture halls and bowls of fruit in all buildings

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Professor Stef Kremers would set up a large-scale experiment at the UM in an attempt to promote the health of students and employees.
Ignorance

Ignorance

Germany stops exporting arms to Saudi Arabia, due to the murder of regime critic Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey. Instead of relief or happiness, I felt a stitch of bitterness. Why now? Why not after all the other countless human rights violations, why not after Saudi Arabia bombed the only 2.5 per cent of land usable for agr...

“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 background...
Good, good, and good again

Good, good, and good again

MAASTRICHT. “Do you know what the committee said: ‘If we were eighteen now, we would all want to study at Maastricht University’.” Rector Rianne Letschert repeats with a broad grin the words of the chairman of the NVAO committee that investigated the education, quality agreements and internationalisation at the UM last week....
A six is good enough

A six is good enough

MAASTRICHT. ‘When I do something, I want it to be perfect’. It seems like a good characteristic, but if it is up to Anita Jansen, dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, we need to rid ourselves of this as soon as possible. In extreme cases, perfectionism can lead to death. Within the framework of Well-being Week – an ...

Launching Women's network

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has another network: Female Empowerment, or FEM for short. The starting signal will be given during a launch event in the Jan van Eyck Academie on Tuesday, 13 November.

Electric wagon maker files for bankruptcy in wake of fatal crash

THE NETHERLANDS. The company which makes the electric wagons used by thousands of childcare groups to move children from place to place has filed for bankruptcy in the wake of last month’s fatal crash.
Getting lost in some of the greatest mysteries of our time

Getting lost in some of the greatest mysteries of our time

Ruben Hanenbergh (22, Dutch), master’s student Human Decision Science/ Rent: 280 euros/ M2: 16/ Area: Heer
Tutorials: Rules of engagement

Tutorials: Rules of engagement

It has been two months since I started teaching much more than I used to before, and I noticed some issues that need to be addressed. Before we begin, no worries, your names were changed. So, let’s start: Tutorial is not a hostage situation. Stop looking at me with those big scared eyes, Lindsay. It’s uncomfortable. Besides, you w...

Form is no longer sacred, but the philosophy behind PBL is

Form is no longer sacred, but the philosophy behind PBL is

MAASTRICHT. The Problem-based Learning system of the future is flexible, adapted to individual study programmes, and with room for lecturers' personal interpretation. The inescapable seven-step approach is no longer sacred, but there is a framework within which everyone at Maastricht University must work.
Change the patent system for medicine

Change the patent system for medicine

The patent system for medicine should be reviewed, so that pharmaceutical companies cannot use loopholes anymore to keep their patent – and therefore their monopoly – on medicine forever, says Universities Allied for Essential Medicine, a student-led global movement for access to medicine, in this opinion article in the light of Access ...
“No one excels at everything”

“No one excels at everything”

Roel Niemark/ 26/ third-year student of Law/ works about eight hours per week/ earning approximately 11 euros per hour
Digital reproduction or preferably the original?

Digital reproduction or preferably the original?

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Cultural scientist Vivian van Saaze would look into how digitisation of art would influence our appreciation of the authentic object.

German students are finding their way to UM again

MAASTRICHT. The number of first-years who started a bachelors' or master's in Maastricht after the summer has risen by 3.8 per cent to a total of 7,396. In addition, another 103 pre-master's (bridging programme students) also started their studies, increasing the total number of newcomers by 5.3 per cent. This is the outcome of the...
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.

PBL 2.0 is on its way: flexible, creative and tailor-made

MAASTRICHT. It is time for a flexible PBL system, one that provides room for creativity, a personal interpretation by lecturers, and one that may differ per study programme. Those were the most important outcomes of the EDview project. Rector Rianne Letschert announced last Tuesday that a steering group would now implement the recommendations in th...
A gift voucher helps people stop smoking

A gift voucher helps people stop smoking

Employees doing training at work to quit smoking are more likely to stay the course if they are given a reward, showed a study by the Maastricht institute Caphri. The results were published in The Lancet Public Health. Employees who participated in the study, funded by the Dutch Cancer Society, (KWF Kankerbestrijding), could earn a total of...

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 four years in prison, he changes course, distances himself from Hizb ut Tahrir, and turns against Is...

Amsterdam University student denied entry to UK for conference

THE NETHERLANDS. Legal experts have denounced the decision to refuse an Amsterdam University student from Bosnia entry to the UK to attend an academic conference as ‘irrational’ and ‘nonsensical’.

Former prime minister Wim Kok dies: ‘a man of total integrity’

THE NETHERLANDS. Former Dutch prime minister and Labour party leader Wim Kok has died in hospital at the age of 80 after a short illness.
"I don’t miss South Africa as much as I did in the first semester"

"I don’t miss South Africa as much as I did in the first semester"

Emily Burger (21, South African), second-year Arts and Culture Rent/m2: 465 euro, around 18 m2 General Area: Close to FaSoS, central
Response very low: 7,3 percent

Response very low: 7,3 percent

MAASTRICHT. More study spaces at the faculties, better information systems and better catering.  That is what Maastricht University needs to work on, according to the annual student monitor. On the other hand, students are satisfied with UM Sports and the Studium Generale programme.
Why do our healers need to be healed?

Why do our healers need to be healed?

A recent survey of young physicians in the Netherlands reported that one in five (19%) participants self-reported symptoms of burnout, according to De Jonge Specialist, an association of young physicians. Compared to the U.S., where I trained and worked as a physician, the rates are similar, despite differing medical education systems and financing...

"In the past 25 years, a lot of voters have turned into morons, apparently"

"In the past 25 years, a lot of voters have turned into morons, apparently"

A former left-wing sociologist, who, in his latest book, defends populism in Hungary and Poland. The auditorium at the Minderbroedersberg was packed on Tuesday evening when Frank Furedi (1947, Hungary) gave his lecture 'Taking democracy seriously: a defence of populism', organised by Studium Generale.
FSE faculty to be split

FSE faculty to be split

MAASTRICHT. The department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE) will remain part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), but the ICIS institute and the School of Governance will be incorporated in the School of Business and Economics. That is, if the tentative talks go down well. And the three Colleges? Their future place i...
Depressed because of clogged veins

Depressed because of clogged veins

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Thomas van Sloten would like to test a pill that would improve the tiniest veins in the brains of older patients. There is just one problem: that pill doesn't exist yet.
24/7 opening library quashed after protests

24/7 opening library quashed after protests

MAASTRICHT. The 24-hour opening of the university library during the exam period in October has been cancelled after protests by local residents. Whether the scheduled pilot projects during the other XXL weeks will go ahead, is not certain yet.

Maastricht students slightly less positive about their studies

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht students are a little less positive about their study programmes than last years. This is one of the outcomes of the Dutch National Student Survey, held at the beginning of this year. Despite the drop, the UM still scores above the national average.

More and more international students leave after graduation

THE NETHERLANDS. Once they have received their diploma, many foreign students leave the Netherlands. But even then thousands remain here.
Don't put a coat hanger in your mouth

Don't put a coat hanger in your mouth

Lara Gil Jung/ 23/ master’s student of Forensics, Criminology and Law/ works on average 16 hours per week/ earning 9.63 euro per hour (double on Sunday) plus 8 percent holiday bonus

Dutch to boost presence at 51 diplomatic missions by 2021

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch embassies, consulates and business support offices in 51 countries will be strengthened over the coming three years, foreign minister Stef Blok has told MPs in a briefing.
“I’m bored of trans and other gender issues to be put under feminism”

“I’m bored of trans and other gender issues to be put under feminism”

Erick Jackaman (20, half British, half American), Liberal Arts and Sciences student Size of room: 20m2 Rent: 450 Euros Location: Jekerdal

Alexander Pechtold quits as D66 leader, after 12 years at the top

THE NETHERLANDS. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold is standing down as head of the party and will quit as an MP on Tuesday, he told delegates to the party congress on Saturday.
Viva España

Viva España

My colleague Juan Francisco Palacios Temprano has a large family in Asturias, Northern Spain. This region boasts a rich tradition of making cured meats from a famous Spanish breed of pig. Every winter, when the weather is forecast to be cold and dry, the men in the family slaughter a pig after having spent more than six months raising it with love ...

The Strength Behind the Smile

The Strength Behind the Smile

Albert Mhangami has an infectious, radiating smile. Yet, as a black student living in Maastricht, he is regularly confronted by racism. For example, once as he was cycling home, a group of drunks threw apples at him, calling him a nigger. As his teacher (and as a human being), I am infuriated, but as a minority living in Maastricht myself, I am not...

Integration Maastricht School of Management and UM: sixth attempt

Integration Maastricht School of Management and UM: sixth attempt

MAASTRICHT. Another attempt is being made to integrate the Maastricht School of Management (MSM) into Maastricht University. For the sixth time since the turn of the century. The last fiasco dates from three years ago. It was MSM that pulled out of the deal at the last minute. And that when they had never been so close to an agreement, said Philip ...
The new humanitarian aid: export of business philosophy

The new humanitarian aid: export of business philosophy

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Elsje Fourie, researcher at Fasos, would like to do fieldwork in one of the many Ethiopian businesses that are currently so taken in by the Japanese business philosophy of Kaizen. What does that entail?
UPDATE: CANCELLED library open 24 hours a day

UPDATE: CANCELLED library open 24 hours a day

MAASTRICHT. The university library in the city centre will be open 24 hours a day from this Saturday. It concerns a pilot project during the so-called XXL weeks, the weeks before and during the exam week.
 “I’m not allowed to gamble, imagine if I won!”

“I’m not allowed to gamble, imagine if I won!”

Julia Olislagers/ 20/ second-year student of Medicine/ works about eight hours per week/ earning on average 400 euro per month
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 proje...
Sustainable Employability Monitor participation rate so far: 43 %

Sustainable Employability Monitor participation rate so far: 43 %

MAASTRICHT. The UM Sustainable Employability Monitor went online on Monday, 24 September. After one and a half weeks, 43 per cent of the employees have completed the survey. The organisers had hoped beforehand for a response rate of 60 per cent. This appears not to be impossible with another week and a half to go.
Paywalls: Taking science backwards

Paywalls: Taking science backwards

It was a Wednesday afternoon, dark skies, cold feet and nothing to postpone tomorrow’s deadline. I was supposed to write a research proposal and give a short presentation about it. Working last minute, as usual, my literature search was going nowhere. Every time I found THE paper that would save me, that would have all the answers to my quest...

Ryanair to close Eindhoven base but says most flights won’t be hit

THE NETHERLANDS. Irish budget airline Ryanair said on Monday it is closing its Eindhoven base, which currently operates four planes, but said ‘most routes to and from Eindhoven will continue on overseas based aircraft’.

Dutch still lax on cyber crime, over half don’t have anti-virus software

THE NETHERLANDS. Despite the increasing prevalence of cyber crime in the Netherlands, 57% of computer users have still not installed anti-virus software and less than one third have made their passwords more complex, according to new research for the justice ministry and counter terrorism unit NCTV.
Maastricht drops in new THE Rankings

Maastricht drops in new THE Rankings

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has dropped 25 places - to 128 - in the 2019 Times Higher Education Top 200 World University Rankings. Other Dutch universities have also seen their positions go down in the rankings.  
Eco-friendliness

Eco-friendliness

This summer a friend and I traveled through Norway. Due to our slight lack of planning we resorted to hitchhiking here and there. While doing so the large share of electric cars took us by surprise. Though we never actually managed to ride with one of the many Tesla’s we spotted, we were told that buying an electric car in Norway gets you a 2...

Exploitation Kaleido will be in hands of new student association

Exploitation Kaleido will be in hands of new student association

MAASTRICHT. It’s finally clear who is going to manage international student club Kaleido. There is going to be a foundation with two fixed employees overseeing an association that is in charge of the day-to-day management. The role of Maastricht University is still unclear.
Catering system reviewed – ideas invited

Catering system reviewed – ideas invited

MAASTRICHT. What is Maastricht University's catering going to look like in the future? Will  there be lots of small and large university restaurants, will local businesses be given an opportunity, will you still be able to buy a ' kroket ' or will the selection be purely vegetarian or even vegan; these types of questions were ...
“We’re essentially standing in a giant fish cemetery”

“We’re essentially standing in a giant fish cemetery”

Hannah Vleugels/ 23/ third-year student of Arts and Culture/ gives three tours per week on average/ earning a little over 11 euros per hour

The Netherlands: 70 thousand foreign students by 2023

NETHERLANDS. The number of university students is going to rise considerably in the coming years, says the Ministry of Education in its latest forecasts. The ministry looks ahead as far as the end of 2060
Language proficiency not up to scratch? Then take a course

Language proficiency not up to scratch? Then take a course

MAASTRICHT. To what extent academic and support staff have mastered the required languages will be mapped out in the coming months. Anyone who does not meet the required English and/or Dutch language skills level will have to start working to improve.

Fewer people are victims of crime, but youngsters top the list

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of people reporting they were victims of a crime has gone down 25% since 2012, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.

ING told to bring bond, currency traders back to European mainland

THE NETHERLANDS. The European Central Bank has ordered Dutch banking group ING to reverse part of a recent move of some units to London, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday.
The Battle of the Bakeries

The Battle of the Bakeries

German students in the Netherlands are homesick for two things: Mutti und Brot. The German bread they grew up with has texture, crusts, and distinctive flavours. By comparison, Dutch bread resembles ‘cotton wool' and it all tastes about the same. This is especially true for supermarket bread, but most bakeries don’t fare much better...
(New) Same Year, New Me

(New) Same Year, New Me

I recently found myself being invited to celebrate the Jewish New Year, which continues to be a novelty for me as someone who until very recently could not tell you the difference between schvitzing and kvetching (and if you have not taken the module 1.0 in Yiddish expressions, they refer to sweating and complaining respectively). It was during thi...

Young European Federalists make own version of Bella Ciao

Young European Federalists make own version of Bella Ciao

Bella Ciao – thanks to the Netflix series La Casa de Papel, this very old song was the summer hit of 2018. Since there are no copyrights to the song, hundreds of different versions have been made all over Europe. The Young European Federalists Maastricht – amongst them many students – decided to make their own version:&n...
On a mini-expedition to South Siberia

On a mini-expedition to South Siberia

When he is at a birthday party and he tells people that he carries out research into thermoregulation - or to be more precise, the regulation of the body's temperature - he is told story after story. About how women always feel colder than men, about older people who constantly have the heating on 25 degrees, in short, about the indoor climate....

“You wouldn't believe how often children are not wearing armbands”

“You wouldn't believe how often children are not wearing armbands”

Teun Verhagen/ 19/ second-year student of Fiscal Law/ works 18, 20 hours per week, more during the summer months/ earns €10.34 per hour
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.
Why do you (not) come to work with a spring in your step?

Why do you (not) come to work with a spring in your step?

MAASTRICHT. Why do you (not) come to work with a spring in your step? We feel that the balance between private life and work is important: tell us how that is for you! The UM is international, but is it also inclusive? This is a small selection of questions from the new sustainable employability monitor that will go online on Monday, 24 September. ...

Fewer students study Dutch in the Netherlands, but abroad it is popular

THE NETHERLANDS. Just 700 students signed up for a bachelor’s degree in Dutch at a university in the Netherlands last year, but outside the country, an estimated 14,000 students are studying the language and literature, the Volkskrant reported on Monday.

Budget leaks: Economic growth to hit 2.6% next year, Brexit and trade conflicts a risk

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch economy is forecast to grow 2.6% next year, but the finance minister believes Brexit and trade conflicts pose a considerable risk, according to the latest leaked budget documents.
Quadrangular plastic objects

Quadrangular plastic objects

While waiting for a friend, I sit down on a bench in the city centre. Looking around me, I see a lot of people pass by; it’s a busy day. I see a lot of people, but I also see a lot of people staring at their smartphones. They don’t pay attention to the beauty of the city, or to the people around them. They only have eyes for their smart...

President Martin Paul renews contract for another four years

President Martin Paul renews contract for another four years

MAASTRICHT. The President of Maastricht University, Professor Martin Paul (1958), will remain the highest university official until 2023. By then, he will have been President for a total of twelve years, while eight years is the standard.
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 dus...
“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 would see on a campsite. Lois Lane is blaring in the stairwell, dust is settling everywhere. The clean...

“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 w...
“I wouldn't have been conned if I'd had a buddy”

“I wouldn't have been conned if I'd had a buddy”

MAASTRICHT. What is the best place for students to open a bank account? ING Bank, “because they have a free account for students,” says Grace Marshall from student platform  MyMaastricht . The fact that this bank was in the news regarding a major money laundering scandal this week doesn't seem to bother her. She was the third s...
Collecting data during a bloody hot summer

Collecting data during a bloody hot summer

Joedith López Cuello/ 28/ master’s student of Work and Organisational Psychology/ works 10 to 16 hours per week as a student assistant on a Student Employability Initiative and Internationalisation project/ earning 13 euros per hour

Dutch happy with their lot, says new report

THE NETHERLANDS. The economy is up, and so are the Dutch. A new report into social conditions in the Netherlands reveals that Dutch people continue to rate their lives at 7.8 out of 10.
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.

Howick and Lili given last-minute reprieve: ‘Now we hope our mother can join us’

THE NETHERLANDS. Two Armenian children who were given a last-minute reprieve from deportation by junior justice minister Mark Harbers at the weekend say they hope their mother will be allowed to rejoin them in the Netherlands.
Autonomous robots

Autonomous robots

During my holiday, I observed an autonomous vehicle in action. H and I rented part of a lovely house in the Thuringian Forest with a garden. We often sat outside to enjoy the view. The garden was four metres by 12, edged with flower beds, sometimes curved. All edges were marked by small paving stones. Halfway along one side, a squat orange and blac...

Student Award 2018: “I really want to help those at the bottom”

Student Award 2018: “I really want to help those at the bottom”

Until she was nineteen, Julie Ann Goodfellow slept on the floor in a slum area in the Philippines. When there was high tide, the house filled with water from the stinking river into which the slaughterhouse dumped its refuse. “Then we slept on a plastic chair. When I did eventually get a bed, I slept on the floor. I thought the bed was too so...
“Students, learn Frans Timmermans’ speech by heart”

“Students, learn Frans Timmermans’ speech by heart”

MAASTRICHT. Five lecturers, a quiz, a brief panel discussion, two awards, an appeal to participate in the Green Impact competition, videos, vegan biscuits and a lot of beautiful music by the Famara Quartet. This is the overfull programme of the Opening of the Academic Year in the Mecc last Monday. “Sorry that it took so long,” said Pres...
Launched: Green Impact

Launched: Green Impact

MAASTRICHT. Green Impact, launched by the Green Office during the Opening of the Academic Year last Monday, is a change and engagement programme that awards university teams for sustainability efforts at the workplace. It’s already being implemented in several Dutch universities. Now Maastricht University is one of them. Encourage your team ...

A mother of nine thousand leaders

A mother of nine thousand leaders

Students who say that they will ‘do their best and have a good time’ at university make her very angry. “Do your best?” emphasizes Kate Robertson in her speech during the Opening of the Academic Year. “Doing your best means something. Not a sloppy, middle-of-the-road ‘it’s okay’. See it as a joy and a...
Ensuring accessibility for everyone

Ensuring accessibility for everyone

MAASTRICHT. Riding a bus, using a tablet, accessing a public building; most people perform these activities without even thinking about it. For people with disabilities, though, they may be obstacles that are impossible to overcome.  As of 2008, United Nations law establishes the right to accessibility. But what does this mean in practice? Wha...
"Either the box is too small or the eggs are too large"

"Either the box is too small or the eggs are too large"

Emmy Maas/ 21/ third-year student of Medicine/ sales assistant at the weekly market in Maastricht, works varying hours on Friday mornings/ earning up to 60 euros per day
Carrot or stick

Carrot or stick

Most attempts to change behaviour fail, like the UM's unsuccessful measures to separate waste into three bins. That is what Gerjo Kok, UM professor of Applied Psychology, said in a debate during the morning symposium in the auditorium, organised by the Green Office.

Prize puts Dutch scientist in ‘Champions League’ of astronomy

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch astronomer Ewine van Dishoeck has won the prestigious Kavli award for astrophysics for her work on the origin of stars and planets. She will receive the gold medal and €1m prize money from the hands of King Harald V of Norway on Tuesday.
Relax, take it easy

Relax, take it easy

You may have heard on the news that many students feel pressured, stressed or anxious. Are you afraid that will happen to you too? Don’t panic! We have laid out a plan – follow these tips and you will be one relaxed first-year student. 

Parliament resumes after the summer with a packed autumn agenda

THE NETHERLANDS. Parliament will hold its first public session since the recess on Tuesday, as MPs return to a packed agenda in the run up to both the budget and the end of the year.

Psychological pressure on first-year students: minister takes action

THE NETHERLANDS. Education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven is to introduce a limit to the amount of ‘points’ universities and colleges can demand first year students to earn in order to proceed to the second year of their course.
The happy news

The happy news

In case you live under a rock and missed all the world-changing things that happened this summer, here’s a brief recap. In politics, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a baby while in office, then turned down her annual pay rise, saying the NZ$ 470,000 she receives is quite enough, thank you, even with nappies to buy. Across the...

Large influx for bachelor's of Data Sciences

Large influx for bachelor's of Data Sciences

MAASTRICHT. With 150 first-year students, the interest in the bachelor's of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering is so great that an additional building was needed at Tapijn barracks. Introducing enrolment restrictions, as some universities have done, is not yet the case in Maastricht.
Meet the freshmen of 2018

Meet the freshmen of 2018

Why did they come to Maastricht, how did they like the Inkom and was it easy to find a room? Observant wandered around the Inkom and asked the first-years all about it.
From wrongly convicted prisoner to motivational speaker

From wrongly convicted prisoner to motivational speaker

There is a rare moment of intense silence during the Inkom in the lecture hall of Business and Economics when author and motivational speaker Joseph Oubelkas shows pictures of a Moroccan jail. It’s not unlike the one he spent 1,637 days in after being unjustly convicted for smuggling drugs. Men are sleeping on the floor of a dirty cell &ndash...
Sorrow, mourning, empathy, feelings animals are all to familiar with

Sorrow, mourning, empathy, feelings animals are all to familiar with

Suppose you’re a scientist and you get a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Pim Martens, professor of Sustainability, would like to put dogs in an MRI scanner.
Maastricht student accommodation shortages appear less than anticipated

Maastricht student accommodation shortages appear less than anticipated

MAASTRICHT. The shortage of rooms in Maastricht appears to be less than it was around the same time last year, says Maurice Evers, department head of Student Housing, “but we are not out of the woods yet”. The 217 additional rooms at the Annadal complex on the Brouwersweg, which will be handed over on 1 September, have almost all been r...
Do it yourself!

Do it yourself!

You recently finished high school. The diploma in your hands, you’re ready to tackle your next academic challenge. Or you just came back from your jaw-dropping, horizon-widening volunteering experience in South America. Either way, a new chapter starts. Friends and family are full of well-meant advice on how to make the most of your universit...

A hint in exchange for the Macarena

A hint in exchange for the Macarena

Michelle van Kleef/ 21/  third-year student of Fiscal Economics/ staff member Room Escape Maastricht, works varying shifts and hours/  earns on average 600 euros per month

Discrimination of MBO trainees: minister announces measures

THE NETHERLANDS. Education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (D66) has called on schools, institutions and companies to end the discrimination of MBO vocational school students who apply for traineeships.
No longer a pupil but a student

No longer a pupil but a student

You no longer have a teacher urging you on and without self-discipline an exam is a tough hurdle. What is the biggest difference between secondary school and studying at a university, Observant asked employees and senior students. Read their answers and use them for your benefit.

Nicky Verstappen murder suspect arrested in isolated area in Spain

THE NETHERLANDS. Jos Brech, the man wanted for the murder of 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen over 20 years ago, has been arrested in Spain and will be extradited to the Netherlands.
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 language, after learning French and English in high school. He also got accepted in Tilburg, but he di...

“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 to go study in Maastricht. Well, not all the way from India, because for the last two years he and h...

Dancing next to the paintings

Dancing next to the paintings

“This is, like, classism or something?” Some students can talk more knowledgeable about the art in the Bonnefanten Museum than others, but talk about it they do. It’s Night at the Museum on the third day of the Inkom and all around the Bonnefanten exhibition halls, you can hear chatter about compositions, light, the use of colour ...

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 Dutch word for an Italian girl as a memory of her stay in a country where Spanish is the predominant lan...

Settling in Maastricht after a year of traveling

Settling in Maastricht after a year of traveling

Actually, German Katharina Meyes-Landrut (18) is still not completely sure what to study. That’s why she chose University College. “I like that you can figure out what you want to do along the way. In Germany there is nothing really like this.” Maastricht is not new to her, although it had been a long time since her last visit. &l...

Enjoying the games and the international atmosphere

Enjoying the games and the international atmosphere

“Relaxed” is how Maxim Scholma (17) from Alphen aan de Rijn describes his Inkom up until now. The biomedical sciences student particularly enjoyed the Ozon Festival on Tuesday. “I tried out all those games they had, I especially liked the one where you got a bungee jump cord around your waist and had to pull as hard as possible.&r...

Left in the park

Left in the park

Sure, journalism still has her interest, but German Marijke Eissing (19) chose European Studies instead. The reason? Her gap year in which she worked as a volunteer in Dublin with homeless people. When she came across the European Commission’s project European Voluntary Service, she decided to leave her family for twelve months to dedicate he...

Drinking tea, thinking of Lithuania

Drinking tea, thinking of Lithuania

Sitting on a bench in the garden of her faculty – the School of Business and Economics – newbie Aleksandra Stasyté is waiting for the keynote speech of a motivational speaker who spent 1637 days in a Moroccan jail while innocent. Within an hour, he will have the floor. This so-called ‘College Tour’ has the interest of the 19...

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 switch to a bicycle as soon as possible. I will get the key of my room the first of September. It&r...

Kicking Inkom off with guilty pleasure medleys

Kicking Inkom off with guilty pleasure medleys

MAASTRICHT. Where do you see people in doctor’s’ coats drinking beer, devil’s horns in front of  fire  (on the stage) and balloons in all  colours  floating away? At the opening of the Inkom 2018, Monday evening at the Market. Here freshmen and their mentors from different sororities, fraternities and sports as...
Again a record number of participants for Inkom

Again a record number of participants for Inkom

MAASTRICHT. The Inkom of 2018 has been more popular than any previous edition. With a whopping three thousand participants – the maximum, this introductory week is ‘sold out’ – it is the most visited Inkom ever. Last year the record was also broken with 2900 registrations.

Close to Düsseldorf

Close to Düsseldorf

“I have only been once in Maastricht before. I like it. It’s a pretty city; I like the architecture, the size.” Florian Bergs (24) from Germany, is a master student Human Decision Science.  He chose Maastricht because of the program, but that’s not the only reason. “I did my bachelors in the United States (Charlot...

“I’m going to miss the people from high school”

“I’m going to miss the people from high school”

For 18-year-old Amber Rerimassie, Maastricht is already a familiar place. She lives in the nearby city of Heerlen, she tells during the Welcome to Maastricht market. “That’s why I’ll keep living with my parents for now. It’s only thirty minutes by train. When I get the feeling that I’m missing out on the real student l...

Student Radio Maastricht

Students talking about their bachelor thesis, travelling or culture in Maastricht - it can be found on Student Radio Maastricht, a podcast platform for interested students from Maastricht University & Zuyd Hogeschool to produce high-quality audio podcasts as easily as possible.
That one topic

That one topic

There’s this one topic I don’t like to talk about. Okay, there are more, but this particular topic seems so boring and unnecessary that I avoid talking about it whenever I can. Except for today. Today I want to talk about that one subject that drives me crazy: the weather. You know those people who constantly tell you, “Oh, loo...

Students blackmail, threaten and put pressure on lecturers

Students blackmail, threaten and put pressure on lecturers

MAASTRICHT. The misconduct by students at the School of Business and Economics hit a wrong chord with two lecturers: partly because of this, one has left and the other is considering to leave the faculty. It also appeared recently that SBE students complain in an organised fashion after an exam and go in search of questions that could lead to ...
Herbs from Limburg, forgotten vegetables and medieval potsherds

Herbs from Limburg, forgotten vegetables and medieval potsherds

MAASTRICHT. A colourful oasis in an endless plain of mud. That is how one could describe the Tapijn Garden, the way it stands out in the corner of the churned-up barracks grounds. The “city vegetable garden” itself looks very well cared for, except perhaps for the section where everything is growing together. “That looks like a me...

Psychology dean: BON foreman Verbrugge is a “Scary Man”

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. After years of columns and debates, the association 'Beter Onderwijs Nederland (BON, or Better Education Netherlands)' has filed a lawsuit to stop the advance of English in higher education: the association feels that no other study programmes should be allowed to be taught in English until more thought has been ...
“Okay, take off your pants first”

“Okay, take off your pants first”

Yuri Meesen (27), from Brunssum, is a junior journalist at Observant. He wrote the previous 18 instalments in our tattoo series. He has three tattoos himself, the most recent on his thigh. “My friends were shocked by the size of it.” Okay, take off your pants first. Good Lord. His right thigh is entirely covered. He got it on King&r...

“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...

Local man turns himself into Amsterdam police after Pinkpop fatal crash

THE NETHERLANDS. The 34-year-old driver of a van which ploughed into a group of people leaving the Pinkpop music festival in the early hours of Monday, killing one, has turned himself over to the police.

One dead, three injured after white van hits festival goers at Pinkpop

THE NETHERLANDS. One person has been killed and three seriously injured in an incident involving a van at the Pinkpop music festival in Landgraaf.
OPINION: Transgenerational diseases: are you to blame?

OPINION: Transgenerational diseases: are you to blame?

Epigenetics is the study of environmental effects, including lifestyle habits, on an organism’s underlying genomic material or DNA. The underlying epigenetic mechanisms, are modifications to the DNA that dictate whether a certain gene will be turned on or off, carrying its own consequences on health and development. Many diseases such as c...

Being Earnest (and Maybe Happy)

Being Earnest (and Maybe Happy)

“If you’re going to try, go all the way,” Bukowski once wrote. Do so even if it means you alienate yourself from loved ones, lose your mind, and end up in jail because going all the way is “the only good fight there is.” There is indeed a certain sense of idolization awarded to people who are capable of mustering su...

Former top volleyball player head of UM Sports

Former top volleyball player head of UM Sports

MAASTRICHT. He played as many as 347 times for the Dutch national volleyball team, including at the 2004 Olympic Games. At the moment he is putting the finishing touches to his thesis for the executive MBA Sports Management at the Maastricht School of Management. Nico Freriks (36) started as the new head of UM Sports last Monday.
“In Brighton, yellow mohawks, tattoos, piercings and brightly coloured clothing are the rule rather than the exception”

“In Brighton, yellow mohawks, tattoos, piercings and brightly coloured clothing are the rule rather than the exception”

Last autumn Esmee Halmans (21), a third-year student at University College Maastricht, traded in the familiar Maastricht for Brighton, England, where she went on exchange for a semester. To commemorate the experience, she got a tattoo of a wave on the inside of her left ankle. “Moving to Brighton was a big step for me. It was the first tim...

25 years of knowledge engineering: time to look ahead

25 years of knowledge engineering: time to look ahead

The Knowledge Engineering programme has wind in its sails. It is ranked as a ‘top programme’ in the Keuzegids (the Dutch guide to higher education), is increasingly called on by other faculties, and is benefiting from the current popularity of data science. Still, recruiting new staff remains difficult.
Sounds from the Central African Republic in a classroom in Heerlen

Sounds from the Central African Republic in a classroom in Heerlen

Bang! Playwright Daniel van den Broeke beats on an old-fashioned school desk with a  chicotte , a whip made from wood and several strands of rubber, used in schools in the Central African Republic (CAR). The three VWO4 pupils from Sintermeertencollege in Heerlen who are sitting at the desk jump with fright. With their classmates, they will be ...

The Netherlands must remain welcoming to migrant workers: employers

THE NETHERLANDS. People from central and eastern Europe filled almost 5% of Dutch jobs in 2016, according to new research carried out for the employment agency umbrella organisation ABU.

Police warn about use of replica weapons following string of incidents

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch police dealt with 350 incidents involving fake weapons in the first five months of this year, the AD said on Monday. This is a ‘slight rise’ compared with last year, according to a police press release.
A critical journalist retires

A critical journalist retires

Wammes Bos (1952, Dordrecht)/ senior editor at Observant since 1986/ married to editor-in-chief Riki Janssen; daughters Maaike and Geesje (twins, 41) from previous marriage, three grandchildren (Cato, Berend, Rick)/ lives in Haccourt, Belgium

WANTED: Critical students and employees

The editorial council of Observant is looking for UM employees and students who want to join the council for a minimum of 1 to 2 years.
Can I talk?

Can I talk?

Can a man voice his opinion on the #MeToo movement? How if he could never have experienced the specific sexism that women face daily? And can a person, ethnically belonging to a majority, use cultural items of a minority? Would this not mock the decades of forced assimilationist policies and degradation of this minority culture put forward by major...

Myth: physical proximity is crucial for a family

Myth: physical proximity is crucial for a family

Dutch migration laws in the nineteen-eighties included a rule that family members should not be separated for longer than two years. After such a period, the family connection was broken and migrants lost the right to family reunification. “This undoubtedly played a role in the reduction of the number of residence permits in those days,&rdquo...

Five Vidi grants for Maastricht

Five Vidi grants for Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. It doesn't happen very often, but the majority of the five Vidi subsidies from research financer NWO will go to the city centre: two to the School of Business and Economics (Annelies Renders, Caroline Goukens) and one to Arts and Social Sciences (Tamar Sharon). Two will go to the other side of the Maas, to the Faculty of Health, Med...

Commuting by car if you live close by? Higher parking rates

Commuting by car if you live close by? Higher parking rates

MAASTRICHT. The UM is going to introduce paid parking for UM parking spaces, albeit differently than outlined in the plan presented in January. The new proposal will abolish the 15-kilometre limit, so everyone can come by car. Only, the closer by you live the higher the rate you pay.
“Just cut it out in the editing”

“Just cut it out in the editing”

MAASTRICHT. Two microphones and a recording device are set up in a corner of the Kruithuis at the School of Business and Economics on this warm Thursday afternoon. The recording of an episode of Maastricht Cultured is about to start. It’s one of the podcast series on the new Student Radio Maastricht platform.
“If I keep on moving, a second sleeve will be unavoidable”

“If I keep on moving, a second sleeve will be unavoidable”

Second-year psychology student Anne Friesacher (21) is Austrian, but she has never lived there. For every country she has lived in, she has a symbol on her sleeve: a tattoo that covers her entire left arm. “My father works for Shell, and our family moved all over the world. I’ve always gone to international schools. Constantly changi...

Citizenship to have key role in Dutch schools: ‘children are not born democratic’

THE NETHERLANDS. All Dutch schools are to be required by law to give lessons in ‘citizenship’ so that children learn the ‘basic values of the democratic rule of law’.

English at university is fine, says minister, as long as standards don’t suffer

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch higher education system can continue to offer more courses and degrees in English, as long as it leads to an improvement in standards and that Dutch students are not forced out, education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven said on Monday.
GDPR imposes more careful attention

GDPR imposes more careful attention

MAASTRICHT. “No need to panic, but make sure that you are prepared.” This is what Raoul Winkens, the mandatory data protection officer says about the consequences of the introduction of the new European data protection regulation at Maastricht University, on the 25th May.
Should we ban the books?

Should we ban the books?

In a recent issue of Ad Valvas, the Observant equivalent from VU University Amsterdam, there was a piece written by a student, stressing the importance of students getting involved in university governance by taking part in programme committees, faculty councils and university councils. Academic staff need to know what students think, in order to b...

Myth on Looted Art: what was stolen, remains stolen

Myth on Looted Art: what was stolen, remains stolen

You take something from me without my consent, so logically I want it back. Whether it is a piece of jewellery, a bicycle, a car or a pen. It is the same with art. Even if it was stolen eighty years ago or maybe even longer and I can prove that the object is mine. In reality, it appears not to be so black-and-white, says Lars van Vliet, Assistant ...

“Baby girls get circumcised with a used razorblade or a piece of glass”

“Baby girls get circumcised with a used razorblade or a piece of glass”

“When a woman is not circumcised, it always itches,” says the woman who cut off Jaha Dukureh’s clitoris when she was a week old, probably with a razorblade or a piece of glass. “If the thing underneath is not removed, the hand will always be down there scratching.” 
Dope again the big winner in university elections

Dope again the big winner in university elections

MAASTRICHT. As was the case in the past three years, Dope came out of the university elections - this year only for students and service councils - as the big winner. The party lost a seat, but with a total of 22 seats in the faculty councils and the University Council, it is the largest.
Inkom 2018 artists: Maastricht talent kicks off on the Markt, Partysquad provides the closing act

Inkom 2018 artists: Maastricht talent kicks off on the Markt, Partysquad provides the closing act

MAASTRICHT. It will be 'Helemaal naar de klote' and 'rampeneren' to the beat during the 2018 Inkom. Partysquad will perform as the final act for Inkom 2018 in the MECC. This was announced last Thursday and met with loud applause in the Kruithuis at the School of Business and Economics. Furthermore, Inko...

‘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.

Adult wins case to have Dutch birth certificate changed to ‘undetermined gender’

THE NETHERLANDS. A court in Limburg has ruled that an adult who feels neither male or female can be issued a new birth certificate stating that they are of ‘no determined sex’.

The Dutch are more likely to trust each other and Dutch institutions: CBS

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch developed more trust in both institutions and each other over the past year but the church remains bottom of the list, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.  
“The feedback was that my accent was ‘too ghetto’”

“The feedback was that my accent was ‘too ghetto’”

Ridwan ‘Rid’ Babalola (24), master’s student in Economics from the UK, has a tattoo of the word ‘Free’ on his ribs. “After I finished my bachelor’s degree in 2015 I worked for a while as a recruiter in London. Before I started there I had to do several workshops and the trainer gave us feedback on things...

No UM-wide resit policy

MAASTRICHT. Resits: one faculty organises them one way, another faculty some other way. A single extra chance, or more often. Or no resits at all. The setup may even differ within faculties. The University Council discussed the question whether the policy on resits could be harmonised across the university. Rector Rianne Letschert promised to inves...

A visit home

A visit home

A month ago, I took my boyfriend to my home country, Serbia. This was the first time for him to visit, and while he was super excited, I have to admit to being a bit nervous before the trip. As the trip drew closer, I started recalling all the things that I have said over the years about my country, and how, to be honest, they don’t paint a n...

“Was I the only one who felt so rotten?”

“Was I the only one who felt so rotten?”

They have to perform. Be the very best. Do a great internship, get high marks, graduate cum laude. Oh, and sit on a student board if at all possible. Little wonder that students are crumbling under the pressure and end up depressed. Walking around like zombies, if we’re to believe the newspapers. Are things in Maastricht, too, all that bad? T...

Meet Maastricht: from vlaai to Bonnefanten Museum

MAASTRICHT. Discovering the mysteries of Maastricht – those places off the beaten tourist track – learning how to bake a vlaai at the Bisschopsmolen or exploring the  neighbouring  caves. Every week, Meet Maastricht organizes an activity for foreign students and expats to discover the local culture. This weekend &nda...

Dutch bike total tops 22.7 million, or 1.3 bikes per person

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch bike fleet is probably over 22.7 million by now – and that means 1.3 bikes for every man, woman and child, roads lobby group Bovag said on Wednesday.
Myth: Being unhappy with your body encourages healthier behaviour

Myth: Being unhappy with your body encourages healthier behaviour

A picture of a fat baby, accompanied by the text ‘When you realize it’s almost summer, and your winter body has gotten out of control’. This is the introduction to one of the latest UM Sports newsletters, urging readers to get “beach body ready”. Nothing wrong with this message. Or is there? “I was disappointed ...

Professor Heringa: lawsuit against the UM for anglicisation “stands no chance”

MAASTRICHT. The lawsuit filed by the association 'Beter Onderwijs Nederland (BON, or Better Education Netherlands)' against the education inspectorate and the universities of Maastricht and Twente, seems to “stand no reasonable chance”, according to Professor of Public Law, Aalt-Willem Heringa. The UM's Executive Board has a...
Culture clash

Culture clash

“Saeed, wake up! We need to go to the hospital quickly. Your uncle is undergoing surgery. We are not sure what the problem is. You could probably explain it better”, said my father to me the very next day after my arrival back home in Saudi Arabia. Great, here we go again! The rumors are true, I have become the unintended family phys...

Minimum of €15,000 for Refugee Project Maastricht

Minimum of €15,000 for Refugee Project Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Ten thousand yellow plastic ducks floated along the Jeker in the Stadspark during the annual Duck Race last Sunday, which was opened by André Rieu. For the first time in history, all ducks – the proceeds of which go to two different charities every year – were sold. The Refugee Project Maastricht by the University Chaplaincy...

Higher education wants more foreign students

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities and schools of higher professional education are looking forward to welcoming a lot more students from abroad. But for this they want more money and to be able to select their students better.
Additional rooms on Annadal Campus

Additional rooms on Annadal Campus

MAASTRICHT. There will be 329 temporary student rooms  realised  at the  Annadal  complex on the Brouwersweg. This is to prevent students from still searching for decent and affordable accommodation weeks after their studies have started, as happened last year. With the choice falling on  Annadal , the alternative - contain...
“Things get blown up quickly, you always have to keep that in mind”

“Things get blown up quickly, you always have to keep that in mind”

Songs about ‘sluts’ and ‘whores’ in Utrecht. First-year students who are made to sleep with rancid fish. A bad Carnival joke by students from Eindhoven: de wil van de vrouw doet er #nietoo (roughly, ‘what women want doesn’t matter’, where #nietoo rhymes with #metoo). And very recently, Vindicat in Groningen...
“All of a sudden DJ Hardwell showed up”

“All of a sudden DJ Hardwell showed up”

Dayten Crijns (19) is a first-year student of International Business. One year ago he had the name of his brother and the logo and motto of his own company tattooed on his chest. “Three years ago I started an event agency, Intensss Events. It’s already brought me so much that I wanted to have that reflected on my body somehow. When I...

‘Dutch universities reach deal to limit (foreign) student numbers’

THE NETHERLANDS. The 13 Dutch universities have reached agreement on braking the growth in student numbers, particularly from abroad, the NRC said on Friday.

“Especially the process is important for students”

How can we improve relations between Eastern and Western Europe? Also, how can we prevent extremism and radicalisation in the European Union? These were two of the four topics that were discussed at the new UM campus in Brussels last week during the Student Forum Maastricht (SFM), a recurrent annual symposium where students brainstorm. At the en...

More in common with each other than we think”

More in common with each other than we think”

MAASTRICHT. On Sunday 13 May, thousands of adopted plastic ducks - 5 euro apiece - will be set loose in the Jeker river for the annual Duck Race. Proceeds from the race will go to, among others, Refugee Project Maastricht (RPM), which is run by UM students.

A food court or allow students to cook for students?

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University needs a new caterer or caterers in 2020. The project team behind the tender is using roadshows to gather input from the entire university community. Observant is following the project closely. In this second edition, the project team is operating on both sides of the Maas – in Randwyck and at the Sc...
Smile and pay

Smile and pay

The last time my mom visited we took a longer way back home after dinner. On our stroll we passed by a small corner store not far from the Volksplein. An antique hanging scale and eet meer fruit handwritten on a wooden board caught our eyes. While we were inspecting some old-fashioned Easter eggs and bunnies sitting among fruit boxes in the window,...

Stricter language policy

MAASTRICHT. As of next September, lecturers will have to pass a test to prove that they are highly fluent (level C1) in the foreign language in which they teach. In addition, Dutch students can do a course in academic writing, in Dutch. These are a few elements that catch the eye in the new language policy. If this policy doesn't get off the gr...
Hungarian university under fire: fight or flight

Hungarian university under fire: fight or flight

Things are getting tense: will business magnate George Soros’s Central European University weather the storm in Budapest, or be chased off by the right-wing, nationalist government of Viktor Orbán? The university’s rector Michael Ignatieff may be able to shed some light on the matter: in early May, at the invitation of Studium Generale,...
Playing badminton and enjoying food from home

Playing badminton and enjoying food from home

Once a year, Indonesian students from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany come together to play badminton – the most popular sport in their home country. At this year’s Maastricht Cup - last Saturday - fifty players competed for the prizes – while other visitors enjoyed the bazaar with authentic Indonesian food that’s ...

Learning to think about the impact of your research

Learning to think about the impact of your research

MAASTRICHT. Neuroethics – all ethical questions concerning brain research – is a field of study that is becoming more and more important with all the technological and other developments. The more we know about the brain, the more we should think about what we are going to do with that information. What are the consequences for research...
Loud people, interesting smells, vivid colors and tasty food

Loud people, interesting smells, vivid colors and tasty food

I have always liked the atmosphere in markets: loud people, interesting smells, vivid colors and tasty food. Quito’s market answers to all these characteristics, but also has some things that make it unique. The first thing that stroke me is the fruit variety. There are so many fruits I had never seen before, with funny shapes and colors. So ...

Rutte does U-turn and pledges to release documents on dividend tax

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte has promised to publish all memos relating to the government’s controversial plan to scrap dividend tax.
“The jam jar reminds me of my grandmother”

“The jam jar reminds me of my grandmother”

Phil Blades (23, UK), a second-year student of Arts and Culture, already has quite a collection of tattoos, even on his fingers. One of the most recent is on the inside of his upper arm: a jar of jam and the words ‘No more bad days’, a song by the American band This Wild Life. “My family lives on a farm in the middle of Yorkshi...

Pressure mounts on Rutte to publish memos on scrapping dividend tax

THE NETHERLANDS. The cabinet is coming under pressure to disclose which organisations lobbied for the abolition of dividend tax after it emerged last week that secret memos had been submitted to the parties during last year’s coalition talks.
Students desert Run Against Waste

Students desert Run Against Waste

MAASTRICHT. An enthusiastic organisation, a number of registrations via e-mail, lots of reactions on social media, two journalists, two photographers, but no participants. Last Tuesday, students massively gave the slip on the Run Against Waste: plogging, an event that was part of the Maastricht University Green Office’s Sustainabili...
Second edition Ladyfest in Maastricht

Second edition Ladyfest in Maastricht

Celebrating feminist, women, trans and gender-non conforming people – that’s what Ladyfest all about. This worldwide concept of a festival created within the community came to Maastricht for the first time last year. Now, the second edition takes place in the Mandril Cultural and Political Centre on 5 and 6 May. The programme is dive...

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 includes writers Priya Basil and Olumide Popoola, a short lecture about the documentary Bueys by film criti...

Guess Who?!

Guess Who?!

Who am I? The great existential question of the times – well actually the great existential question of the times for many people is more likely to be, ‘do I want soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, no milk, in my low-fat-no-fat-all-fat grande macchiato?’ But for those of us more inclined towards introspection, the ‘who am ...

Brussels calling

Brussels calling

The metro stop is a stone’s throw away. By car you’re there before you know it. There are several good restaurants within walking distance and a bronze statue of Field Marshal Montgomery stands guard by the door. Not far away is the city’s European Quarter. The new premises of UM Campus Brussels could not be better located.

Combatting stress with yoga and workshops

MAASTRICHT. The Educational Programme Committee of the Maastricht Science Programme was wondering how stressed their students actually are. A survey among 129 MSP students showed that the situation was more  favourable  than anticipated. It is true that they are practically all stressed at some time – especially during exam periods ...
Client Consultation Competition: a piano, cheap aeroplanes and synchronized watches

Client Consultation Competition: a piano, cheap aeroplanes and synchronized watches

MAASTRICHT. A pianist starts playing at the official opening of the International Client Consultation Competition (ICCC), hosted last Wednesday by the Maastricht Faculty of Law. All of a sudden a tenor stands up from the audience and starts to sing, as three others join him in performing the satirical composition So You Want to Write a Fugue? That&...

Complicated integration system is failing refugees, says new report

THE NETHERLANDS. The current system of integration courses and lessons for refugees is so complicated that many cannot find their way and the government needs to step in, according to new research by the Verwey-Jonker institute.
“The tattoo took seven sessions of three hours each”

“The tattoo took seven sessions of three hours each”

In 2013 Nadine Hillwig (25, Germany), a third-year psychology student, took a life-changing trip to India. To make sure she never forgot it, she got a ‘backpiece’: a tattoo of an elephant covering her entire back. “My then boyfriend and I had booked a trip to India. Two days before we were due to leave, he sent me a text messag...

Cost of shutting off Groningen gas mounts, minister in dispute with Shell, Exxon

THE NETHERLANDS. Economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes is embroiled in a dispute with Shell and ExxonMobil about the bill for closing the gas taps in Groningen, broadcaster NOS said on Friday.

First UM-wide bachelor’s programme being created

MAASTRICHT. If all goes as planned, the first real university-wide bachelor's programme will open its doors in September 2019. It is called Global Studies and is developed and produced by all of Maastricht University’s six faculties. The plan is about to be put before the University Council, after which the education minister will also ha...
Groene Loper

Groene Loper

On a cold April Saturday as a sad-eyed woman lets me in to see the flat she is giving up to move back in with her parents, leaving only advertising brochures for baby furniture behind, I spot a metal bridge over my shoulder at the end of the street. It’s doing the everyday things that pedestrian bridges do: holding up a sign announcing Praxis...

UM passwords leaked

UM passwords leaked

MAASTRICHT. Passwords for hundreds of UM e-mail addresses have possibly found their way out into the open. This was discovered through www.gotcha.pw, a search engine with leaked passwords. A hacker, going by the name of d0gberry, posted these online last week.
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 doors, but will also put on all kinds of performances and activities. For example, the Museum of Natur...

Majority researchers are guilty of sloppy science

Majority researchers are guilty of sloppy science

How sloppy is our science? Ninety per cent of the almost six hundred researchers in a survey admits to having crossed the line at least once. Mistake number one: mentioning an author who in practice hardly contributed to your research at all. This was one of the outcomes of a recent study by Erik Driessen, professor in Medical Education at Maastric...
“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.
Venezuela in Ecuador

Venezuela in Ecuador

A few weeks into my stay in Quito I find myself on a bus ride where a young man is holding a box of chocolate in one hand and in the other a big stack of bills. For every chocolate you buy, he gives you an additional Venezuelan bill of your choice. I choose the nice-looking 100 Bolivares note, which in 2017 has lost 96% of its value. Venezuela i...

Councils may get the power to impose local firework bans, AD says

THE NETHERLANDS. Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus is working plans which would allow local authorities to ban fireworks throughout the area they cover, rather than just bring in firework-free zones.
“Life seems very bleak and I don’t see the joy in anything”

“Life seems very bleak and I don’t see the joy in anything”

Marta Rusakiewicz (20, Poland), second-year student of European Law, got a tattoo of a compass rose on her ribs when she was 18. It was something she felt she ‘had’ to do. “I’ve been a sad person my whole life; my brain doesn’t produce happy hormones. Life seems very bleak and I don’t see the joy in anything. ...

Dutch councils use algorithms to identify potential social security fraudsters

THE NETHERLANDS. Several Dutch local authorities are using algorithms to predict if welfare benefit claimants are likely to be committing fraud, the NRC reported on Monday.

‘Unethical’ Dutch health insurers invest in expensive pharma firms

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch health insurance companies are investing millions of euros in pharmaceutical companies which charge extremely high prices for their drugs, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.

Finance minister plans tighter rules on bankers’ pay

THE NETHERLANDS. Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra is planning to tighten the rules on bankers’ pay in the wake of the row that blew up over ING’s proposal to raise its chief executive’s salary by 50%.
The Janus face of writing

The Janus face of writing

I'm supposed to be doing laundry, but I can't tear myself from my computer. I should be making the baby’s breakfast, but I'm writing. I ought to be heading out to vote – but I'm writing. For writers, writing is a necessity, like breathing or (in my case) eating double-caramel Magnums. And by writers I don’t mean...

Unacceptable behaviour: 240 employees suffered from it in 2017

MAASTRICHT. At least 240 employees at this university encountered an instance of ‘unacceptable  behaviour’ at least once last year. Approximately 50 of them can call themselves victims of repeated improper treatment. The Executive Board feels “every case is one too many”.
XXL weeks at University Library

XXL weeks at University Library

MAASTRICHT. It is time for the XXL weeks at the University Library again. This means that the library is bursting at its seams with students studying. Elise Abraham, second-year student of Economics from Belgium and Mimi Ahlsrog, second-year student of International Business from Finland, can be found at the Inner-City University Library every day....

Psychology awarding grants again

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences is going to award seven scholarships annually to bachelor's students. Three of those will be for Dutch students, three for students from within the EU and one for a student from outside the EU. They will either be exempt from paying tuition fees for three years or will be reimbursed.
“What would put you on cloud nine when it comes to food at UM?”

“What would put you on cloud nine when it comes to food at UM?”

MAASTRICHT. The contract with Maastricht University’s current caterer  Albron  will expire in 2020. A new tendering process would usually involve project teams and steering groups, but this time Facility Services want to take a different approach. The entire university community will get to have its say during ‘roadshows&rsquo...

Dutch diplomat recalled from Turkey after spying allegations in local press

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch diplomat outed as a spy in Turkish newspapers has been brought back to the Netherlands for his own safety, broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday.
Not one missed Dutch Springsteen concert since 1985

Not one missed Dutch Springsteen concert since 1985

Philip Kalisvaart (57) is process coordinator for collection management at the University Library and, in his own words, an “extreme fan” of Bruce Springsteen. In 2016 he had the words of two of Springsteen’s songs tattooed on his upper arms: ‘Thunder road’ on the right and ‘Two hearts’ on the left. &ldq...

Cheaper parking for green cars among plans to cut air pollution

THE NETHERLANDS. Parking charges could be cut for drivers of eco-friendly cars as part of the government’s plans to meet pollution targets.
Why we still don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s

Why we still don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s

After oncology, most research money goes to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Among people over 80 years of age, dementia prevalence exceeds 20%. Paradoxically though, our knowledge of the brain has increased more than ever in the past decades, yet this is not yielding more new medi...
New Party M:OED earns two seats in city council

New Party M:OED earns two seats in city council

MAASTRICHT. M:OED (MAASTRICHT: Open Honest Democratic), the new party in Maastricht which mainly concentrates on the interests of students and entrepreneurs, has earned two seats in the city council in the local elections last Wednesday. The turnout in Maastricht was a little higher this year (48.1 per cent) than in 2014 (46.9 per cent).
A letter

A letter

Coming home after grocery shopping, I realize I haven’t opened my letterbox in a few days. I’m not expecting much, aside from some adverts, one or two bills maybe. With my groceries under my arms, I slowly open the box. But as I pull out a bunch of papers, I see I got lucky today. I’ve been sent a letter. From a friend, maybe, or ...

“Vote, and don’t shut up”

“Vote, and don’t shut up”

MAASTRICHT “The name of the party tonight is ‘SHUT UP and VOTE’, but I prefer to say: ‘Vote, and don’t shut up’.” With these words, UM president Martin Paul opened Maastricht’s first polling station, on the first floor of the Muziekgieterij, shortly before midnight.
Greener Maastricht

Greener Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. There should be more nature in Maastricht and the university could play a major role in this. Rob Jansen from Stadsnatuur Maastricht, a volunteer collective that dedicates itself to creating more green in the city, advocates this idea.
Library of Things wins Student Idea Competition

Library of Things wins Student Idea Competition

MAASTRICHT. The Library of Things has won the Student Idea Competition 2018, the annual contest organised by the Student Project Team. Five teams pitched their ideas to improve student life at Maastricht University in the Student Service Centre (SSC) last Monday. A jury selected three winners. The Library of Things – where people can borrow t...
SCRUM Club: use open source software for your research

SCRUM Club: use open source software for your research

MAASTRICHT. When it comes to Open Access, most people’s minds go directly to the availability of research articles for everybody. But there’s more to it, for instance the software that researchers use to analyse their data. The Scientific Computing and Research @ UM Club (SCRUM Club) feels that using a licensed programme like SPSS alway...
“They thought it was a subcutaneous worm"

“They thought it was a subcutaneous worm"

Thomas Fuller (41), PhD candidate in the Department of Clinical Psychological Science at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, has on his side a tattoo of a bird’s-eye view of the River Thames and several London parks. It is done entirely in white ink. “I was a social worker in London from the age of 24 to 26. I’m from Au...

Dutch company bike scheme is too complicated, says tax minister

THE NETHERLANDS. The government is to simplify the rules surrounding the use of company bikes – e-bikes in particular – in an effort to make the the corporate perk more attractive.
UPDATE: Eleven Maastricht master's programmes in the top ranks

UPDATE: Eleven Maastricht master's programmes in the top ranks

MAASTRICHT. Eleven Maastricht master's courses are among the very best in the Netherlands, is the opinion of the Keuzegids Masters 2018, which took a close look at 43 UM master's. The research master's programme of European Studies with a grade of nine is the very best. At the very bottom are Movement Sciences and Epidemiology. Tho...

Patients to get ‘more control’ over health records and who sees what

THE NETHERLANDS. From next year, people will be able to ‘manage’ their own medical records on their computer or mobile phone and decide who should have access to what information, health minister Bruno Bruins has told the Volkskrant.  
About the challenges of a young tutor

About the challenges of a young tutor

Three actors play a short scene for the audience. We see a female student who is waiting for her friend in a pub. In the meantime, a young man offers her a drink. She declines. ‘Ah, don't be like that,’ he says, and before she knows it, a beer has been put in front of her. She takes it without looking at him. She goes onto the dance...
Advocating for Procrastination

Advocating for Procrastination

An old Army buddy of mine once joked that procrastination is like masturbation, it feels good until you realize you just screwed yourself. Rather than postponing things, just get it done. Action – as he would say – is the best cure for anxiety. But then there are those that believe that if you wait until the last minute, it only takes a...

Myth: It’s easy to change the behaviour of a group

Myth: It’s easy to change the behaviour of a group

Making sure employees switch off the lights before they leave the office, convincing all youngsters to only have safe sex, and making people choose the healthiest products. Organisations and governments regularly feel that they should change the behaviour of a group. “They often approach this rather optimistically,” says Phil Brüll, app...

Greater absenteeism during blocks leads to lower grades

MAASTRICHT. First-year students who faithfully attend all tutorial group meetings, perform considerably better than those who just about meet the attendance standard. This was one of the outcomes of a survey carried out by Patrick Bijsmans and Arjan Schakel among first-year students of European Studies, which was recently published in Higher E...
“I hear there are some communists in the room”

“I hear there are some communists in the room”

“Why did Napoleon never attack Geneva? Napoleon: ‘Geneva? Why would I attack Geneva? Everybody speaks English there.’”, according to ringmaster Teun Dekker, using these words to present the introductory video that accompanies the evening’s fourth proposition: ‘The city council should offer free Dutch courses to e...

Age is often forgotten when we speak about diversity

Age is often forgotten when we speak about diversity

A student who is 48, a professor who is eighteen and someone defending his or her thesis at 70 years of age. Intuitively we know what ‘fits’ with what age. So age is much more than the actual years on a calendar, there are numerous cultural connotations attached. “It is not just what you are (four, sixteen, fifty or eighty), but a...
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 – from the awkwardness of family gatherings to finding a new family far away from home. Di...

Navigation tools and works of art

Navigation tools and works of art

MAASTRICHT. Throughout the centuries, atlases have been more than just navigation tools. They can also be works of art, tell a story about how the world was depicted at that time, and hint at the opinions of the cartographer. Jonathan Stockhorst, master’s student of Art, Literature and Society, spent the last few months researching the 9...

ING withdraws 50% pay rise for CEO after ‘underestimating public response’

THE NETHERLANDS. ING’s supervisory board has withdrawn the proposed 50% pay rise for chief executive Ralph Hamers, saying it had ‘underestimated the public response in the Netherlands on this clearly sensitive matter’.
“Good parents to me, but horrible to each other”

“Good parents to me, but horrible to each other”

Greek-Italian Rita Platanos (19), a first-year student of International Business, always wanted a tattoo. She took the plunge when she moved out. On her left upper arm she has a traditional-style tattoo of an open hand encircled by a snake. “My parents divorced when I was less than a year old and have had a bad relationship for as long as ...

Cabinet to lobby Brussels to abolish ‘fake news’ watchdog

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch politicians are to call for the EU to take down its website for monitoring ‘fake news’, arguing that government agencies should not police freedom of speech.

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.
One city, two worlds

One city, two worlds

Outside of the majestic walls of our faculties, there is a world that many of my UM peers are not fully aware of – a Maastricht outside Maastricht University. Some have a faint notion that it is out there. For instance, there is Zuyd, the regional university of applied sciences, and its students - a lot of them, around 13.000. Then again you ...

“Without the university we would still be a sleepy provincial town”

“Without the university we would still be a sleepy provincial town”

MAASTRICHT. Flags along the boulevard and along the Kennedy Bridge to welcome the new students during Inkom or Open Days? Just like with Tefaf. No, there won't be any flags. And the names ‘Maastricht University’ or ‘university city’ on the signs at the city borders? “I think that is a very creative idea, I'...
Martin Paul in bed with director of The Student Hotel

Martin Paul in bed with director of The Student Hotel

 “It is an honour to wear them,” says president of Maastricht University Martin Paul, pointing to his new red Bed Talk socks. He is a fan of the Red Socks, Boston's baseball team. During the opening of The Student Hotel Maastricht last Friday he jumped into bed with Frank Uffen, one of the directors of The Student Hotel. &ld...

UM researcher had to choose: ERC grant or Vidi grant

UM researcher had to choose: ERC grant or Vidi grant

MAASTRICHT. Researcher Vera Schrauwen-Hinderling received two first prizes last year: a Vidi grant from NWO and an ERC grant from Brussels. She did so with similar research proposals. ERC and NWO do not agree with this. An attempt to give the Vidi project a different angle, did not work.
‘No,’ my father answered, ‘I have a strong daughter’

‘No,’ my father answered, ‘I have a strong daughter’

Annemarie Penn-te Strake (Helmond, 1953)/ mayor of Maastricht since 1 June 2015/ married to Olaf Penn, four sons (35, 33, 32, 30) from a previous marriage/ lives in Maastricht

Maastricht students join together for charity

MAASTRICHT. This year’s Maastricht Ragweek - the annual charity week in which students collect money for a national and regional good cause - will be in aid of 113 Zelfmoordpreventie (Suicide Prevention) and the Wigwam Foundation. As of tomorrow, various activities will be organised until 14 March. Both charities will receive half of the...
 "I was surprised we were still alive"

"I was surprised we were still alive"

Johan Strijckers (48), project leader of programmes and new media at the Maastricht city council, got his first tattoo in 2001. Today, they cover a big part of his chest, back and both his arms. His right forearm, both top and bottom, is filled with the image of a broken hourglass, the Death card of the Tarot deck pierced by a dagger, a pair of win...

Dutch tax inspectors get powers to go undercover and tap phones

THE NETHERLANDS. New rules giving tax inspectors and special government departments the power to tap phone conversations and carry out undercover operations have been passed in parliament with little fuss, the Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.
“I’d rather have been called Chief Happiness Officer”

“I’d rather have been called Chief Happiness Officer”

She studied at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS), completed her PhD there too, was a lecturer there and now, at 33, she has become Diversity Officer at Maastricht University. But Constance Sommerey would have preferred a different title. Something with happiness in it.

Troubleshooter Stef Blok returns to cabinet following Zijlstra’s fall

THE NETHERLANDS. Five months after quitting politics, Stef Blok has returned to the Dutch cabinet to replace Halbe Zijlstra as foreign affairs minister.  
Having a laugh

Having a laugh

I´ve been teaching since 1980. More than 35 years later, I completed my BKO (basic teaching qualification). That included preparing a personal SWOT analysis – identifying my strengths and weaknesses (in relation to teaching – it´s not a general exercise in personal reflection), and external opportunities and threats affectin...

Heart for language

Heart for language

In 1992, we moved to Spain. To Madrid, to be precise. I had taken a two-week crash course in Spanish at the Language Centre and felt reasonably equipped for a talk with the Spanish landlord and the grocer. They would appreciate my well-intended efforts in Spanish, help me when I stumbled or was lost for words. With hands (and even feet) we would ma...

New SBE dean: “I won't be a bull in a china shop”

New SBE dean: “I won't be a bull in a china shop”

MAASTRICHT. The 54-year-old Danish economist Peter Møllgaard is to become the new dean of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) on 1 April. For the past three years Møllgaard has been ‘research dean’ at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS).
SBE needs to find data scientists

SBE needs to find data scientists

Professor Jos Lemmink thinks that the School of Business and Economics should appoint fifteen data scientists in the next two years. It is high time to make way for smart technology in the curriculum. He will give a presentation to the Faculty Board next week.
A lounge for SBE lecturers

A lounge for SBE lecturers

The students have had one for quite some time. Then the lecturers from the School of Business and Economics thought: we want one too! Sometimes life is just that simple. By now the lecturers’ lounge - on the ground floor, near the restaurant - is a fact. Elegant sofas, stylish gold-coloured lamps and an enormous TV screen. Anyone who teaches,...

Genetic editing: The principles of evolution, redefined

Genetic editing: The principles of evolution, redefined

The principle of evolution is a theory that justifies the diversity seen in this world, from unicellular organisms to plants, animals, and even humans. Evolution explains questions like how come apes are our closest relatives? Why do giraffes have long necks? It is true that living things change over time and that is due to several factors includin...

The modern hunt

The modern hunt

As I had a few days off for carnival, I decided to take a trip to the Amazon Forest, which is only four hours by bus from the city of Quito. I arrived at the city of Tena, which is right at the border with the Amazon forest. On the second day there, together with a friend, we decided to take one of the boats that ride you further down the forest, t...

Student funding body to close digital access point for a month for upgrade

THE NETHERLANDS. Students will be unable to access details of their funding online for a month while the service provider upgrades its user portal.
“Getting high marks isn’t everything in life”

“Getting high marks isn’t everything in life”

Erik Kikas, second-year student of Psychology and Neuroscience from Estonia, is just 21, but he already has an impressive collection of tattoos. The second one he had done runs from his shoulder halfway down his right arm: an owl with a clock and the words ‘Enjoy every moment’. “When I was thirteen and fourteen I was so stresse...

MPs branded ‘traitors’ by Turkish newspaper after genocide vote

THE NETHERLANDS. Turkish newspaper Sabah has accused five members of the Dutch parliament of ‘betrayal’ after they voted to recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915.
FHS faculty to split, the question is how

FHS faculty to split, the question is how

MAASTRICHT. One thing is clear: The Faculty of Humanities and Sciences (FHS) is going to be split up. The science side will form a new Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), the sections that cannot be included, will go their own way.
Choose your f*cks wisely

Choose your f*cks wisely

Recently, I read a book: The subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson. I strongly recommend it. Manson openly admits that there is no such thing as not giving a f*ck in life. However, in order to truly not give a f*ck about something, we need to give extreme f*ck for something else. And those “f*ck-worthy” things are those that...

UM Sports cafe reopens at the beginning of March

UM Sports cafe reopens at the beginning of March

MAASTRICHT. At the beginning of March, the sport's cafe in the UM Sports complex will reopen its doors. Rivazza, which is the new name, will be the first tramezzini shop (small Italian rolls) in Maastricht. For the time being, it will be open every day from 10:00 to 20:00 hrs.

Minister wants to discuss internationalisation with lecturers and students

NETHERLANDS. The newspapers are filled with opinions and analyses about foreign students and the use of English in higher education. But education minister Van Engelshoven is taking the time before she puts forward her vision. First of all, some working visits.
Customers hunting for a bargain are less friendly

Customers hunting for a bargain are less friendly

Customers are more likely to behave unseemly towards employees of low-budget companies than towards employees of reputable companies. This discovery was made by Alexander Henkel, researcher at the BISS institute in Heerlen.

Police ‘mole’ who leaked case files to underworld gets five-year jail term

THE NETHERLANDS. A police officer has been given a five-year jail sentence for leaking confidential information to contacts in the criminal underworld.
“My mom and I always fight, but when she’s not here, I miss her terribly.”

“My mom and I always fight, but when she’s not here, I miss her terribly.”

On the upper left arm of Elif Erkul (20), third-year Economics and Business Economics student from Turkey, is an image of a crescent moon with a pair of arrows pointing to two sets of coordinates: those of Maastricht and of Ankara. “When my mother and I are around one another, we always fight. But when she’s not here, I miss her terr...

Netherlands to hire at least 750 extra customs officers for Brexit

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch government is recruiting up to 900 extra customs officers to strengthen border controls after Brexit.
The dying language of the ancestors

The dying language of the ancestors

When a Spanish person wakes up with a hangover, he has la Resaca. But not Ecuadorians, they are Chuchaqui. This is only an example of the many words that make Ecuadorian slang so unique, differentiating it from the Spanish spoken in other Latin American countries. Ecuadorian Spanish is influenced by Quechua, a very old language, which used to be sp...

OPINION: Fashion feminism

OPINION: Fashion feminism

“The future is female” and “Girls run the world” are current statements printed on shirts which are striking my eyes while walking through an H&M store. Songs are shouting that girls are fighters and Hollywood embodies the principle of feminism at its best at the moment: Stars and artists are setting a symbol with the #m...
Missing

Missing

Maastricht University prides itself on its problem-based learning approach in education – a system which has been adopted by almost all Dutch universities and many others around the globe. The edge that Maastricht once had no longer exists. Therefore, the university must remedy the situation. Otherwise, the university might struggle to attrac...

Up to their eyeballs in teaching duties

Up to their eyeballs in teaching duties

MAASTRICHT. They are exhausted, feel under-valued and miss the support of colleagues. These are some of the complaints by UM lecturers who suffer under their workload. The problem appears to be more multifaceted and complicated than thought, as appears from the report by the Taskforce Educational Workload.
Annadal Campus or Randwyck

Annadal Campus or Randwyck

MAASTRICHT. On Tuesday evening, Maastricht University presented to the city council a second solution for the shortage of affordable student rooms: expansion of the Annadal Campus. In December, the university already argued in favour of 250 container units in Randwyck. Asked which option was preferable, Nick Bos, vice-president of the UM’s Ex...
Student associations dissatisfied with city accommodation policy

Student associations dissatisfied with city accommodation policy

MAASTRICHT. The present Maastricht city accommodation policy is useless. Students are too often depicted as a necessary evil. The three large Maastricht student associations Circumflex, Tragos and Koko have written a letter to the city council this week to express their discontent. In doing so, they are involving themselves in the discussion about ...
OPINION: Modern Frankenstein fears

OPINION: Modern Frankenstein fears

With the rapid pace of technological and scientific developments, it’s high time to have a thorough, wide-ranging discussion of their ethical consequences, says Katherine Bassil in this opinion article.
“A labour of love”

“A labour of love”

MAASTRICHT. A wonderful example of consensus decision-making in science. That is how professor Sally Wyatt describes the success of national research school WTMC (Wetenschap, Techniek & Moderne Cultuur (Science, Technology and Modern Culture)) of which, until recently, Maastricht ran the secretaryship. “The willingness of the ten Dutch un...
“It wouldn’t do for them to confuse me in court for the suspect”

“It wouldn’t do for them to confuse me in court for the suspect”

Legal psychologist and researcher dr. Henry Otgaar (34) has no shortage of tattoos, the most meaningful of which covers his entire chest. When he leaves his top two buttons open, it can be seen peeking out from his shirt: a tiger head with a kris – a traditional Indonesian dagger – and a pair of crossed machetes. “I’ve be...

Student loan group can access private info about student travel

THE NETHERLANDS. Student loan group Duo can ask for information about the movement of students suspected of committing fraud by pretending to live at home, the highest Dutch administrative court said on Monday.

Ollongren calls on Baudet to debate racism in parliament, not police station

THE NETHERLANDS. Interior minister Kajsa Ollongren has urged Thierry Baudet to air his grievances in a public debate after the Forum voor Democratie (FvD) leader filed a police complaint against her claim that he was failing to tackle racism in his party.
“I never knew there was a chance I was in for it”

“I never knew there was a chance I was in for it”

MAASTRICHT. His enthusiastic co-operation with researchers, the quality of his thesis, and his contribution towards better treatments for cancer patients, were three reasons why the Dissertation Prize 2017 went to Dr Mark Podesta, postdoc at MAASTRO clinic, last Friday. The faculty deans nominated a total of five theses, but Time dependen...
Supermarket Culture

Supermarket Culture

As a Master's student of Health Food Innovation Management, I love going to the grocery store. This love started when I was a kid. A trip to the supermarket often ended with my parents buying me a chocolate chip cookie. I grew up in the U.S. and remember those cookies were literally the size of my face. Cookie dimensions are just one example of...

New language policy: (good) English where necessary, Dutch must improve

New language policy: (good) English where necessary, Dutch must improve

MAASTRICHT. The choice of English or Dutch in classrooms should depend on the content and the objective of the study programme. If it is for the international labour market, English should prevail. Dutch students should also pay more attention to their proficiency in Dutch. Foreign staff should also learn to speak Dutch.
Smooth, amusing, and things to be learned too

Smooth, amusing, and things to be learned too

MAASTRICHT. An education prize, a dissertation prize, a series of student prizes for master’s theses, a couple of honorary doctorates, as well as the speeches and the music that are all part and parcel of the anniversary celebrations: the programme was overloaded, but last Friday's session in the St. Janskerk ran more smoothly than ever b...
Nynke de Jong: for all your questions on technical innovations

Nynke de Jong: for all your questions on technical innovations

MAASTRICHT. The Wynand Wijnen Education Prize 2017 was awarded to Nynke de Jong during the anniversary celebration last Friday. She is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, the faculty with an extraordinary number of nominees this year. A coincidence. De Jong won, being praised by the jury as a “decisive...
Myth: Transparency is an all-embracing cure

Myth: Transparency is an all-embracing cure

“Let me emphasise,” says Vigjilenca Abazi, assistant professor of European law. “Transparency is an important precondition for a good democratic society, for being able to hold people and institutions accountable, for public debates and for the free press to do its work. But that doesn’t mean it’s the sole fixer for ev...

From tax benefit to the secret of charisma

From tax benefit to the secret of charisma

MAASTRICHT. 24 Student Prizes were awarded this year for the best master’s (9) and bachelor’s (15) theses. Observant asked two of the winners to tell us more about their research. 

Do’s, don’ts and don’t knows of PBL

MAASTRICHT. Is Problem-Based Learning the best methodology that exists in the field of education? Or should we return to the classic system with lectures in which the lecturer is able to elaborate uninhibitedly about his research? The EDview project is looking for the PBL system of the future and hopes that the entire UM will think along.
Petition to make UM fossil free

Petition to make UM fossil free

MAASTRICHT. Fossil Free Maastricht has started an online petition to ask the Executive Board to commit to a fossil-free and ethical financial strategy. So far they have gathered 185 signatures.

No evidence of academic brain drain in the Netherlands, says top science body

THE NETHERLANDS. There is no evidence that more top scientific researchers are leaving the Netherlands than arriving here, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) says in a new report.
"By cutting myself, at least I felt something"

"By cutting myself, at least I felt something"

Raneesha De Silva (24) is a master’s student of Forensic Psychology. On the inside of her left wrist is a tattoo of an infinity symbol and a semicolon covering a number of scars. She started cutting herself when she was fifteen. “People tend to think this kind of self-harm comes from mental disorders, depression or stress; that wasn&...

Scrapping grants has not stopped poorer pupils going to university: CBS

THE NETHERLANDS. The government’s decision to scrap student grants in 2015 has not led to a reduction in the number of children from poorer backgrounds going to college and university but has led to fewer students moving away from home to study, the nationals statistics agency CBS said on Thursday.
UM Star Lectures

UM Star Lectures

MAASTRICHT. Thirteen cities, four countries and 900 alumni. In order to maintain the relationship with former students, Maastricht University (UM) will organize the fourth annual UM Star Lectures on 1 February.
Another man’s shoes

Another man’s shoes

Picture the scene: you have arrived to meet your friend in a nearby café, ready to fill them in on the juicy details of your date last night. It is fair to say it was one of the worst dates you’ve been on. They did not look their photo. They had all the charisma of a block of cheese. The music was too loud. They were too quiet. As you enterta...

Pioneers in digital technology

Pioneers in digital technology

Two honorary doctorates are being awarded during the university's anniversary celebration. They are going to two women who won their spurs in the field of digital technology. American anthropologist Lucy Suchman works with robots in warzones and nursing homes. British computer scientist Carole Goble creates software that allows scientists to wo...
Extra student rooms: UM is waiting on the city council

Extra student rooms: UM is waiting on the city council

MAASTRICHT. Before the start of the next academic year, Maastricht University want to place 250 renovated container dwellings for students on their own premises in Randwyck, where once the Calatrava campus should have been built. The units previously stood in Amsterdam, but need to be removed after a designated period of ten years. The UM sees it a...
Exchange students also allowed to vote

Exchange students also allowed to vote

MAASTRICHT. In an attempt to motivate students to vote in the upcoming city council elections, Maas X - a collective of local youth organisations, including the Maastricht student council - organised an information evening last Monday. One of the subjects discussed was the divide between people from Maastricht and (international) students.
Frisbee: more than a game

Frisbee: more than a game

MAASTRICHT. Five Ultimate Frisbee men's teams from the Netherlands came to Maastricht on Sunday to compete against each other. It was the third day of competitions (of a total of four) in the third division, in which Maastricht's own Ultimaas competes. For those who only know Frisbee as a holiday pastime: in the winter, Ultimate Frisbee is ...

The local elections are looming – and you may well be able to vote

THE NETHERLANDS. On March 21, voters in the Netherlands will elect the members of some 380 local councils. As well as Dutch nationals, an estimated 450,000 foreigners will also be able to vote – and that could include you.
A metal arm, 32 stitches, and a body full of bruises

A metal arm, 32 stitches, and a body full of bruises

George Srouji (19), a first-year psychology student from Greece, was a hooligan of the AEK Athens football club during his early teens. On his left arm he has a tattoo of a lion’s head. “After matches we’d fight the supporters of rival teams or arrange to meet in quiet places to have a brawl. For the adrenaline and for fun. If ...

University challenge: more students squash into Dutch lecture theatres

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of teaching staff at Dutch universities rose by 6% between 2012 and 2016 but the number of students rose 11% over the same period, the Dutch students union LSVB has told the NRC.

Discouraging cars, encouraging bicycles

MAASTRICHT. Paid parking everywhere; cyclists receive a bonus; public transport paid for by the university. The UM's ‘mobility policy’ is to undergo a change. Reactions to the proposed plan are being invited. A University Council committee found little to criticise.
Kersenvlaai and carambole

Kersenvlaai and carambole

Months pass. When you are a solitary big-city escapee riding the city’s streets on a rattling Gazelle, you find yourself becoming more patient, more observant. In return, Maastricht starts revealing its mysteries. Their existence, anyway, if not their secrets, like a hand of cards in a complicated old Limburg game. The hidden-in-plain-sigh...

SBE revitalises education for professionals

SBE revitalises education for professionals

MAASTRICHT. A new faculty status, a new portfolio, a new brochure, and a new building. The School of Business and Economics (SBE) has revitalised education for professionals. It also has a new name: UMIO.
How to avoid terrible labs

How to avoid terrible labs

The importance of your mentor, choosing a good lab, and ageing. Three of the topics in the career interview with TEFAF professor Jan Hoeijmakers, organised by research school GROW. One thing is clear: Hoeijmakers is no fan of the US.
“It is time for a new generation of politicians”

“It is time for a new generation of politicians”

​MAASTRICHT. M:OED (Maastricht: Open Eerlijk Democratisch, (Maastricht: Open Honest Democratic)) is the youngest Maastricht political party to participate in the upcoming council elections. They organised their first public debate on Thursday evening, 12 January, on the future and the digitalisation of politics: Engineering Democracy.
Myth: Suspects are regularly set free on a technicality

Myth: Suspects are regularly set free on a technicality

“I remember a case in which the suspect lodged a complaint because his title – Doctor – was not present on the summons,” says Joep Simmelink, professor occupying the endowed chair of Criminal Law and Criminology at the Faculty of Law.  “He argued: the summons was not sent to me, so I do not need to appear. The jud...

My first bus ride in Ecuador

My first bus ride in Ecuador

Standing in the heat on the side of the road, I kill boredom by observing the other people waiting for the bus that will take us to Quito. Just as I am losing my hopes of ever seeing the bus arrive, there it is! The bus rides with its doors open, and if there are not that many people at the stop, it doesn’t even fully break: people have to ju...

Brits in the Netherlands go to court to fight for European citizenship

THE NETHERLANDS. Several British nationals in the Netherlands are going to court in an effort to keep their European citizenship, despite Britain’s plans to pull out of the EU.
"Every time I look at my tattoo I think of the life lessons I learnt in Africa"

"Every time I look at my tattoo I think of the life lessons I learnt in Africa"

Marieke Hopman (28), PhD candidate at the law faculty, has a tattoo on the inside of her left wrist, the size of a euro coin, of the silhouette of a bird of prey. “In 2016, I went to the Central African Republic (CAR) twice to do fieldwork for my research on children’s rights, the right to education in particular. One time I was talk...

Call for energy drink ban amid concern about impact on teenagers’ health

THE NETHERLANDS. Doctors have called for under-18s to be banned from buying energy drinks amid concerns that they are damaging teenagers’ health.
It’s the flu, actually

It’s the flu, actually

In late December some twelve thousand people in the Netherlands had the flu, two of them under our roof. Our baby son started showing the signs on Christmas Eve, signalling his discomfort as best he could, which is to say with indiscriminate shrieking. We are hoping that by this time next year he will be capable of simply announcing ‘Listen, ...

Myth: hardly anyone understands the general theory of relativity

Myth: hardly anyone understands the general theory of relativity

It's 1916. Albert Einstein has just published the general theory of relativity, which describes the curvature of light influenced by mass. “Which means,” says theoretic physicist Gideon Koekoek, “that the light from a star is curved by the sun, and looking from earth is in a different place than you would think.” Even...

No more student rooms in another sixteen streets

No more student rooms in another sixteen streets

Last year, the city council ‘locked down’ 71 streets, meaning that in those areas the number of student rooms could not be increased. This week, another sixteen streets have been added to the list. This now concerns a total of 6 per cent of all Maastricht streets.
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 read Richard's story. Just like those of Nigerian activist Judith (see photo) and journalist...

UM sounds alarm about shortage of affordable student rooms

UM sounds alarm about shortage of affordable student rooms

MAASTRICHT. Great concerns in Maastricht about the shortage of affordable student rooms. Both Maastricht University and the Maastricht Association of Living Accommodation Letters (Vereniging Verhuurders Woonruimtes Maastricht, or VVWM) sounded the alarm in a letter to the city council before Christmas. The UM proposed some solutions – expansi...

Amsterdam university rector ‘calls for action on foreign student numbers’

THE NETHERLANDS. The University of Amsterdam is concerned about the rise in the number of foreign students and has asked education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven for help in managing the flow, the Parool reported on Tuesday.

Over 300 reports of quake damage, minister to cut gas production

THE NETHERLANDS. Over 300 official reports of damage have been made following Monday’s earthquake in Groningen province, which centred on the village of Zeerijp, website Nu.nl reported.  
Brothers on the karate mat

Brothers on the karate mat

Greed. Brian: “I’m not affected by it. I don’t care much about clothes or other things. If my phone’s worn out, I’ll buy a new one, but it doesn’t have to be the latest iPhone. I’m mainly focused on the sport. My karate things have to be in good order. Often you have to replace protective gear like shi...

Rising rivers cause widespread flooding but water authorities say no cause for alarm

THE NETHERLANDS. Nearly 200 cows and horses had to be rescued on Monday from meadows that were on the brink of being flooded by rising rivers.
Leçons 15- Il n´est jamais trop tard pour apprendre

Leçons 15- Il n´est jamais trop tard pour apprendre

Grenoble- you have been good. But now it is time to leave behind the breathtaking Alpine scenery and return to my beloved, flat Maastricht which I have learned to appreciate in manners, I did not image I ever would. Four months, to the day, I have lived in Grenoble- a beautiful city in the heart of the Alps. Over the past 16 weeks, I have been a...

British researchers and students keep the same rights after Brexit

EUROPE. It looks as if British students and researchers - for the time being - may continue to participate in European programmes such as Erasmus+ and Horizon2020 after the Brexit.   
Beethoven

Beethoven

Sitting in the train, I listen calmly to the first tones of Beethoven’s 5th symphony: da-da-da-dum! Calm is not quite the right word though. It’s loud and very dramatic. As it should be. This symphony has helped me through the roughest times. I can get lost in the power of the first part, the softness of the second movement, the hope of...

UM sixth on national ranking of female professors

UM sixth on national ranking of female professors

MAASTRICHT. A year ago, 19.3 per cent of all professors in the Netherlands was female. A rise of 1.2 per cent compared to 2015, according to the Female Professors Monitor that was presented last Tuesday. Conclusion: if developments continue at this pace, a balanced division between male and female professors will not be reached until 2051.
Doubts about professor Frans Leeuw's scientific integrity

Doubts about professor Frans Leeuw's scientific integrity

MAASTRICHT. Professor Frans Leeuw's position at Maastricht University could probably come under pressure after reports that he is guilty of violating scientific integrity. This was in his position at the Ministry of Justice. Neither law faculty dean Smits, nor rector Letschert intend to undertake any steps at the moment: they are waiting for th...

UM budget 2018: no concern, room for investment

MAASTRICHT. Next year, Maastricht University intends to spend 3.9 million more than it will receive. This is according to plan and has everything to do with investments in educational innovation, research facilities and the improvement of the employability and supervision of students. The extra expenses will be paid from the reserves.