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Entries for January 2016

“We don’t use scientists as a propaganda machine”

“We don’t use scientists as a propaganda machine”

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht professors are untraceable in the top ten ‘professors in the Dutch online news’. It is the professors from the Randstad, and then mainly those with an economic background, who were frequently approached by newspapers Trouw, NRC and de Volkskrant in 2015. This is the outcome of an anal...
”You speak differently at the doctor’s than at a party”

”You speak differently at the doctor’s than at a party”

“William Labov, everyone calls him Bill, is the founding father of sociolinguistics, my field of specialisation,” says professor Leonie Cornips. “Before Labov, American scientists studied the language as a mental construct. They analysed sentences and decided intuitively whether a sentence like ‘I see a bird in the garden&rs...

Fasos: Third reader thesis AC will disappear

MAASTRICHT. The phenomenon of the third supervisor, who now springs into action when the final thesis of a bachelor’s student from Arts and Culture (Dutch and English track) scores a 6 or 6.5, will disappear. The faculty board of Arts and Social Sciences decided so.
My Spanish evening experience

My Spanish evening experience

I’ve been to dozens of tapas bars, also in Spain, and I’ve seen the concept degrade into restaurants serving lots of mediocre dishes on small plates – the equivalent of having five or six starters – for a lot of money. The tapas on the menu of Tapas Y Mas are what you can expect from a Tapas restaurant, nothing special, it w...

Jetlag

Jetlag

My first intercontinental trip was quite an overwhelming experience, as likely it is for many people. I went to the United States for a conference, and I can still remember clearly the emotions of being on a long flight, and arriving in a country so different from what I was used to. Everything was exciting, even little things like turning on the T...

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“Every paedophile in a TV series is a calculated child molester”

“Every paedophile in a TV series is a calculated child molester”

MAASTRICHT. “Imagine having your sexual preference always portrayed as criminal.” It’s Thursday evening, Gabriel overlooks the Maastrichtzaal where four hundred students have gathered for the lecture on paedophilia, organised by UM students. Gabriel – a pseudonym – is a non-active paedophile. He just told his life stor...
Vrow Wielemösj is back in town

Vrow Wielemösj is back in town

MAASTRICHT. Prince Bastiaan 1st and his Tempeleers put Vrow Wielemösj on the stage at Student Services last Thursday. In doing so, the landlady from the Platielstraat, the symbol of student Carnival, is back where she belongs. For the past two or three years she had remained in storage with the Maastricht Carnival Association, because the annu...

University Council students against selection for masters

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht students have also signed the recent ‘pressing letter’ from the Interstedelijk Studentenoverleg ISO (national student union) to the education minister and university association VSNU. That is, some of the students - those representing Dope, the party that is linked to ISO.
A TV series come to life

A TV series come to life

Favourite spot of: Sophie Martens, 5th grade of Dutch High School and intern at the Observant. "There is this place at the St. Bernardusstraat that was often captured in my favourite Dutch TV series: Flikken Maastricht. It is a about two detectives, Floris Wolfs and Eva van Dongen, who work for the Maastricht police. Every episode they have...

‘Arab Nobel Prize’ for genetics

‘Arab Nobel Prize’ for genetics

MAASTRICHT. Professors Han Brunner and Joris Veltman have won the King Faisal Prize in the category of Medicine, referred to by some as the ‘Arab Nobel Prize’. The researchers, who play a leading role in clinical genetics, will travel to Saudi Arabia to receive the prize from the king in March.
Dutch police may soon patrol public spaces with submachine guns

Dutch police may soon patrol public spaces with submachine guns

THE NETHERLANDS. Heavily armed police will soon be able to patrol Dutch shopping centres, railway stations and other busy public places, the AD said on Tuesday.
Making definite plans helps

Making definite plans helps

Thomas (24): “In order to complete my study, I have to write a thesis. I have had trouble getting started with it for months now. I keep telling myself that I will get started, but I can’t seem to put pen to paper. Do I need a good kick up the butt?” Ingrid: Deferment behaviour. It is imperfect, but completely human behaviour, ...

Advisory group drops plea to start English lessons at four

THE NETHERLANDS. A government advisory body on education has backtracked on its initial report which said children should start learning English as soon as they begin at a Dutch primary school at the age of four.
Ban all booze! Or not?

Ban all booze! Or not?

Eloquent, erudite, but also arrogant. These are the characteristics of British psychiatrist Griffith Edwards (1928-2012), an authority in the field of alcohol addiction. Edwards would have liked to have banned all alcohol, says addiction specialist Paul Lemmens, but when you met him at home, port flowed liberally.
“I know what Wilders’ rhetoric can lead to”

“I know what Wilders’ rhetoric can lead to”

There are also refugees, or children of refugees, working at the UM. In this Observant series, a number of them tell their stories. About their flight, about their lives before and after, about the Netherlands, about the refugee crisis, and about the debate on this issue. This week we talk to Bakir Bulić from Bosnia-Herzegovina: “I thought lo...
Valorisation is “outstanding, number of top publications limited”

Valorisation is “outstanding, number of top publications limited”

MAASTRICHT. Grants and top publications are somewhat lacking, but all in all economic and business administration research at SBE is of a high level. Just like in the rest of the Netherlands, according to the latest QANU assessment report. But faculties that want to be at the top, must pay higher salaries.
No time to cook? Fresh Cooked is the solution

No time to cook? Fresh Cooked is the solution

While I love eating out, cooking and choosing what to make at home is sometimes a struggle. And hitting the supermarket after a busy day at work is probably close to the top of everyone’s list of least favourite activities. If you have a similar problem, Fresh Cooked could be the answer. This tiny takeaway on the Brusselsestraat, with its han...

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Goodbye Istanbul, See You!

Goodbye Istanbul, See You!

In between writing exams, meeting my friends who I would not see anymore and doing the residual sightseeing, I did not really find proper time to say goodbye to Istanbul. In short, my last days in Istanbul were very eventful. Shortly after New Year’s Eve I arrived back in Istanbul and had to study for three days and three nights to make it th...

German and Dutch cities form alliance against Tihange

German and Dutch cities form alliance against Tihange

MAASTRICHT. The city of Maastricht, several other municipalities in South Limburg and the German city of Aachen want to take legal steps against the antiquated Tihange nuclear power station in Belgium, just 36 kilometres from the Dutch border. Last week, a majority of political parties in Maastricht supported the motion raised by GroenLinks, the p...

Good resolutions

Good resolutions

I’m not a person particularly inclined to take part into the annual round of New Year’s Good Resolutions. By the way: I guess resolutions are always good? Or are there persons out there intentionally thinking: “Well this year, I’m going to do my very best to annoy (choose the applicable):  my boss/my parents/my friends/...

"All the options are driving me crazy"

"All the options are driving me crazy"

MAASTRICHT. How many people are they expecting tonight? Luc van den Akker, coordinator of the International Desk and refugees contact person at Maastricht University, isn’t sure. But that’s precisely the purpose of this first information evening organised jointly by Maastricht University and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences at the Ma...
UM 14th in THE ranking of Most International Universities

UM 14th in THE ranking of Most International Universities

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University is the highest Dutch university on the latest Most International Universities ranking, published last week. The British Times Higher Education (THE) journal places Maastricht in fourteenth position – last year it was in 88th place. THE bases its ranking on the percentage of foreign students and employees and...

Rabobank ordered to compensate phishing victims

Rabobank ordered to compensate phishing victims

THE NETHERLANDS. Rabobank has been ordered to compensate two customers who lost their savings in separate phone scams in 2013.
Focus on your own business

Focus on your own business

Eline (18): “For the past few months, I have been living and studying in Maastricht. My parents expect me to come home every weekend. I feel less and less inclined to do so, but I don’t want to disappoint them. What should I do?” Ingrid: We force ourselves into all kinds of situations in order to avoid that others get disappoin...

Human traffickers operate near refugee centres, target young girls

THE NETHERLANDS. There are clear signs that human traffickers are active close to refugee centres in the Netherlands and attempting to recruit young women as prostitutes, the Volkskrant said at the weekend.
Dies: in celebration of adventure

Dies: in celebration of adventure

MAASTRICHT. With the columns and the vaulted ceiling lit up in show-stopping bright purple, you couldn’t help but sense that this Dies Natalis – the celebration of Maastricht University’s 40th anniversary at the St Janskerk on Monday afternoon – was going to be different. Not least because of the liberal use of websites like...
The study of a mysterious phenomenon

The study of a mysterious phenomenon

MAASTRICHT. Certainly, he is elated and grateful for the Thesis Prize that he was awarded during the founding day celebrations. But neuroscientist Tom de Graaf also has some mixed feelings, because many of his colleagues produce interesting work too. The day after, De Graaf is at home sick. He wasn’t feeling great during the session, but of c...

Passion-Based Learning

Passion-Based Learning

Jonathan van Tilburg, senior lecturer at Human Biology and Movement Sciences feels that everyone should see the TED talks by Sir Ken Robinson, emeritus professor of Didactics at the University of Warwick. “I can’t imagine anyone not getting inspired.”
Praise for medical anthropologist Krumeich

Praise for medical anthropologist Krumeich

MAASTRICHT. It is already seven years ago since the winner of the Wynand Wijnen Education Prize came from Randwyck. At that time, it was Gerard Majoor and Ton de Goeij who were put in the limelight. Monday afternoon, during the celebrations of the 40th anniversary, senior lecturer Anja Krumeich received full praise from rector Luc Soete for he...
I notice that …

I notice that …

I was watching TV with my husband when he turned to me and said, “Actually, it wouldn’t be all that easy to kill you.” “Pardon?” It was the word actually that struck me. As though it was a rejoinder to a conversation about the difficulty or otherwise of doing me in that had been going on for some time. In his hea...

“We are a rainbow-like community”

“We are a rainbow-like community”

It all started in 2002 with four people who started living in the squatted former grain storage facility at the Biesenwal 3 in Maastricht. Nowadays, the Landbouwbelang is home to fifteen people, a ‘free zone’ for art, music and culture and the set of many a festival, play and exhibition. Sina Maghami, a third-year Science Programme stud...
Mindly

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Career measures for female PhDs

Career measures for female PhDs

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board is considering special measures to prevent women quitting after they have completed their PhD. Rector Soete feels that something has to be done, also because it is even more difficult for a peripheral university to recruit women. A remarkable number of researchers completed a PhD in Maastricht in 2015 – many mo...
Completely ruined

Completely ruined

MAASTRICHT. Holocene, Pleistocene, Palaeocene. All well known, but have you ever heard of Anthropocene? According to Christian Schwägerl, we are in the middle of that right now. The German biologist and journalist claims that there is actually no single place on earth that has not been ‘ruined’ by man. Schwägerl will give a Studium Gene...
“Don’t fall in love with the theory”

“Don’t fall in love with the theory”

MAASTRICHT. Monday morning, 11 January, Tongersestraat 53. Members of staff from the School of Business take their seats in an intimate setting for a lecture by professor Paul De Grauwe (Ukkel, 1946), the international economic authority who will be appointed honorary doctor at Maastricht University this afternoon. He will not speak about his hobby...
Umami: the fifth taste

Umami: the fifth taste

Waiting for a late train on a wet, foggy afternoon is not a pleasant experience. So I decided to delay my trip and enjoy lunch at Umami, the place I cycle past every day and wonder what is hidden behind those large windows. I was surprised to discover black wooden walls, a light, shiny floor and an arched bamboo bridge on the ceiling supporting num...

Four MPs target parliamentary chairman’s job

Four MPs target parliamentary chairman’s job

THE NETHERLANDS. Four MPs are hoping to become the lower house of parliament’s new chairman in Wednesday’s vote: Ton Elias of the ruling VVD; Martin Bosma (PVV), Khadija Arib (PvdA) and Madeleine van Toorenburg (CDA).
Limited opening hours

Limited opening hours

Hilde (20): “I am always there with a listening ear for my roommates and friends. And so they often come to me with their problems. Lately, I have noticed that it is costing me more and more energy. And when I have a problem, it seems as if there is no one to listen to me. What can I do to change this?” Ingrid: I recently attended th...

‘No’ vote in Dutch Ukraine referendum could lead to crisis: Juncker

‘No’ vote in Dutch Ukraine referendum could lead to crisis: Juncker

THE NETHERLANDS. A no vote in the Dutch referendum on a key treaty between Ukraine and the EU could lead the way to a ‘major continental crisis’, European Commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker has told the NRC.
“He is like a fatherly friend to me”

“He is like a fatherly friend to me”

Biochemist and former rector Coen Hemker was a member of the ‘Gang of Seven’ that prepared for the arrival of the Maastricht Faculty of Medicine at the beginning of the nineteen-seventies. Hemker became a hotshot in the field of thrombosis. Who was his inspiration? A world-famous Scottish haematologist who could polish Japanese swords w...
Every bit of this is true

Every bit of this is true

MAASTRICHT. A lecturer at the School of Business and Economics made his debut on national television just after 2000, in a controversial sex programme, surrounded by beautiful naked women in a bubble bath. Much earlier, in the first years of the university, a furious dean of Medicine switched off the lights during a meeting and left. A jurist who m...
Dutch only

Dutch only

MAASTRICHT. They were some of the first foreign students to attend Maastricht University. They have at least two things in common: they learned Dutch in no time and they took to Problem-Based Learning like ducks to water. 
Get me to the Gym

Get me to the Gym

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Day at the Office

Day at the Office

"Is it really that bad, Dave?" came the reply. My well-rehearsed attempt at telephonically conveying illness was bamboozled by the supervisor's snappy retort, a line plucked, unadulterated, from the HR management handbook. So I picked up my crutches and hobbled off for another day taking calls at the electronic sweatshop, stopping bri...

Homemade or not, the Preuverij’s zuurvlees is delicious

Homemade or not, the Preuverij’s zuurvlees is delicious

Wandering off the beaten track somewhat in the university area of the old town, you might stumble across this tiny Maastricht bar serving traditional local specialties. Eetcafé De Preuverij offers a wide range of dishes, from soups – I would recommend the onion soup with lots and lots of cheese on top – to sate, lasagne, salads, schnit...

Maastricht firework attack suspects will get compensation

THE NETHERLANDS. Two people from Maastricht, arrested on New Year’s Eve in connection with an alleged plot to launch a terror attack in Rotterdam during the official fireworks display, are to receive compensation, the public prosecution department has said.
Don’t rescue, try to help

Don’t rescue, try to help

Noa (22): “My mother is very dispirited lately. She spends a lot of time lying on the sofa and not taking care of herself or her house. I tidy up regularly, do her shopping and cook for her. She seems to be getting worse. I made an appointment for her with the GP, but she didn’t turn up. What can I do?” Ingrid: Despite the help...

Ministers consider merging state job centres and social insurance bank

THE NETHERLANDS. The cabinet is looking into merging the state job centre UVW with the social insurance bank SVB as an efficiency measure, Trouw reports on Monday.