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Entries for January 2017

The Inaugural

The Inaugural

On the 20th of January, Americans around the world sat in grim silence as Donald Trump, now the 45th President of the United States, took his oath of office. Despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million, he stood before that podium, placed his hand on Lincoln’s Bible, and swore an oath that he was in violation of. This charade was soon...

University students more likely to opt for applied sciences

THE NETHERLANDS. Students at Dutch universities are increasingly opting for applied sciences, with technical subjects, natural sciences and agriculture the fastest growing sectors in the last five years.
“I see people hanging on the wall like clowns”

“I see people hanging on the wall like clowns”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Boulder introduction lesson.

Iranian families, students hit by US entry ban are waiting at Schiphol

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch airline KLM on Sunday again refused to fly passengers from seven Muslim countries who were heading for the US because of US president Donald Trump’s entry ban.
So how many diseases do you have?

So how many diseases do you have?

The arrival of the film Arrival in movie theatres recently was the biggest event of the year in the linguists’ cinematic calendar, if that's a thing. It's not often linguistics meets Hollywood. In the film, the linguist Dr Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams – who is clearly hot but, thankfully, not too unrealistically hot) is ...

FHML wants a binding contract with Kuwait about students

MAASTRICHT. From now on, the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences wants binding, and in particular signed, contracts with foreign governments concerning organised groups of incoming students. They want no more surprises like the one in September, when a batch of Kuwaitis simply left.
Myth: COPD is an incurable disease

Myth: COPD is an incurable disease

“An incurable disease? We are inclined to think that it leads to death.” Nothing could be farther from the truth in the case of the lung disease COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), says Annemie Schols, professor of Nutrition and Metabolism in Chronic Diseases and director of research school Nutrim. Many COPD patients - whose l...

Recorded lectures; students do it themselves

MAASTRICHT. Policies concerning whether filming of lectures is or should be allowed or not, are unclear. In the meantime, students themselves have been recording lectures. Sometimes even distributing them.
Wanted: non-sports lovers

Wanted: non-sports lovers

MAASTRICHT. How do you get students (and staff) up from their armchairs? How do you get them to do sports? This is going to be investigated by sixteen European universities from seven countries, including the UM, TU Eindhoven, RWTH Aachen (coordinator), and Imperial College London. The kick-off for this so-called Active Campus Europe Project in the...
UM site was unprotected for two years

UM site was unprotected for two years

MAASTRICHT.The UM website Book a room, where students can reserve a room (for group work) using their login credentials, was unprotected for almost two years. A master's student at the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences made this discovery. A mistake, according to ICTS, who took immediate action. Chances of damage are so small...
Hire me … please?

Hire me … please?

MSV Incognito’s Business Day, ELSA workshops, SBE’s Maastricht Business Days – the list goes on. Study associations at UM are gearing up in response to a volatile job market with visions of enhancing student employability. But are they actually filling niches left open by the university, wonders Amira Eid. And are their – se...
“We’re not those boorish, antisocial alpha males with their hair slicked back”

“We’re not those boorish, antisocial alpha males with their hair slicked back”

“We see one another in extreme circumstances: very drunk or very emotional. We share everything, including when someone’s going through a difficult time”, Lars Vreuls is explaining when the doorbell rings around 18.30 in the student flat on the Burgemeester Lespinassestraat 1C03. It is Professor Klaartje Peters, frozen with cold a...

Only politics can save us

Only politics can save us

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

Integration process new style a flop, says audit office

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of people passing the compulsory integration test within three years has plunged by 50% since new rules were introduced in 2013, the national audit office said in a damning report on Tuesday.
“Squatting is like sitting on a dirty toilet without touching the seat”

“Squatting is like sitting on a dirty toilet without touching the seat”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today it’s ClubPower.

One in five doctors gives drugs away to poor patients: research

THE NETHERLANDS. One in five family doctors has given medicine away to people who are unable to afford it, the AD said on Monday.
An Ode to White, Blue and Cookies

An Ode to White, Blue and Cookies

“Sorry, I haven’t vacuumed in a week. My mom would probably freak out!” Liza Hazenberg, the present ‘day in the life of’ student room candidate apologetically opens the door to her 18m2 territory. Her mom, she jokingly declares, “can be a real piece of work“ and worries a lot. It is rather unclear why, thou...

Dutchies and their diaries

Dutchies and their diaries

Yesterday, I asked a Dutch friend of mine: “Shall we go to the cinema tomorrow?” “Yes”, he replied enthusiastically. I saw the excitement beaming from his eyes – it was a movie he was keen on watching. But all that zest went down the drain when he said: “Oh wait, I have to check my diary.” I realized we wil...

More variety and halal in university restaurants

MAASTRICHT. The university restaurants should offer halal food as well as a greater selection of healthy options. These were two of the outcomes of a small survey carried out by student and University Council member for Novum, Thomas Vaessen (third-year medical student, third-year Dutch Law, master's student of Neuroscience). The survey was hel...

Myth: Sex is a natural urge

Myth: Sex is a natural urge

“Many people think that sex has to be spontaneous, that it is artificial if you agree on a time in your schedule. Nonsense,” says Marieke Dewitte, psychologist and sexologist at Maastricht University. In her own practice, she sees couples who have been having problems for years and who have doubts about their relationship and sex life. ...

Uncensored stories from and about China

Uncensored stories from and about China

Visitors of the story festival China, Secret Stories, organised by Story-Line Maastricht in the Bonnefanten museum on Sunday 22 January, will receive a red envelope. The Chinese give these to family and friends at New Year and they usually contain money and some good advice. The visitors to the festival won't find that inside the envelope, but ...

How to deal with the US in the coming years

MAASTRICHT. Dutch university campuses in Silicon Valley and Boston (near Harvard), a more European – and less US-dependent – approach to NATO, and an emphasis on the economic benefits of climate measures to US partners. These ideas should be part of the Dutch policy approach to the US, according to students at Maastricht University.

‘Pure’ web shops outpace those with physical presence

THE NETHERLANDS. Sales at internet web shops without the backing of a brick and mortar presence are growing at a faster clip than web shops which have a physical presence, according to the government statistics office CBS.
“So were you lured in?"

“So were you lured in?"

Jos Lemmink actually thought it would be fun to cook with the students. Not because he lacked faith in their culinary skills, but for nostalgic reasons. He once lived in a student house in Groningen, and still recalls the communal act of chopping and stir-frying vegetables. Which is not to say this always resulted in Michelin-star delights: “...

Confusing love

Confusing love

MAASTRICHT. One play, four separate scenes, the connecting theme being love and how people deal with it. That is Confusions, written by Alan Ayckbourn, played on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January by the Maastricht PhD Academy, directed by John Ramaekers. De PhD Academy organises various activities for PhD students at Maastricht University, from ...

The musty smell of sprouts

The musty smell of sprouts

Where is the student perspective in the anniversary book The Maastricht Experiment? That’s what Evelyne de Leeuw who studied and worked in Maastricht between 1981 and 2000, wants to know. It looks like students have been a hindrance rather than a necessity.

The Netherlands joins battle for European medicines agency EMA

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands has decided to join the race to attract the European medicines agency EMA, which will leave London after Britain quits the EU.
Unresolved mysteries

Unresolved mysteries

On my way back to Granada - for the last time - after Christmas holidays at home, I am flying with Vueling, a Spanish airline, which means I’ll be surrounded by Spanish! Right after boarding, however, my excitement quickly dissolves, as I am suddenly reminded of one of the Great Spanish Mysteries my stay in Holland had made me forget about. ...

“You cannot look at the world freely with a bent, stressed posture”

“You cannot look at the world freely with a bent, stressed posture”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Yoga walk-in class.

First Dutch test of ankle bracelet to check drinking bans

THE NETHERLANDS. An ankle bracelet designed to enforce drinking bans imposed by the courts is being tried out in the Netherlands from Monday.
Time for time out

Time for time out

I like Christmas and Christmas holidays, I always have. It’s a magical period which brings some relief from the greyness and cold of winter, and fresh oxygen to start with motivation the new year to come. To me it’s the right moment to slow down, relax, spend time with family, enjoy all the food I normally try to avoid during the year, ...

Work pressure too high for academics

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. A Dutch Trades Union Congress (FNV) survey shows that six in ten university employees are so busy that they develop physical and mental complaints. The Executive Board and the University Council have been crossing swords for some time over the issue of work pressure at the UM.
On secret plans and the love of dachshunds

On secret plans and the love of dachshunds

MAASTRICHT. That Maastricht has a university at all, let alone one with a fairly solid reputation, is often said to be a miracle. For much of its history the Rijksuniversiteit Limburg (RL) (later Maastricht University, UM) was fighting an uphill battle, as the anniversary book given to all employees this week testifies once again.
Noise is the greatest irritation

Noise is the greatest irritation

MAASTRICHT. More than half of the one hundred students questioned find the noise made by others in the Maastricht University Library, troublesome. Unnecessarily keeping seats in the workspaces reserved, is the greatest annoyance for approximately a quarter. What would they like to see happen? Silence and concentration. The library is valued as a me...

University Choir’s anniversary concerts

MAASTRICHT. The University Choir is celebrating its fortieth anniversary in 2017 with a series of special concerts. The first is on Saturday, 14 January in the Sint Janskerk and is entitled Stars. In addition to the composition of the same name by Norwegian born Ola Gjeilo, there will also be two evening serenades from nineteenth-century Germany an...

‘Use less. Recycle the rest’

‘Use less. Recycle the rest’

At the end of March, thousands of waste bins will disappear from UM offices, corridors and classrooms. They will be replaced by 875 centrally located bins, spread across 33 university buildings. The objective is to stimulate waste recycling, in order to become a more sustainable university. The motto is: ‘Use less. Recycle the rest.’ ...

Most PVV parliamentary candidates have another political job

THE NETHERLANDS. Nearly all the 50 parliamentary hopefuls on the PVV’s election list have another political job, according to research by the Volkskrant.
“Is the button shop still here?”

“Is the button shop still here?”

Psychiatry professor Jim van Os enters the room carrying a basket wrapped in cellophane. It contains several bottles of wine, truffle dressing, mustard, spaghetti and more. Quite a fancy gift, especially compared to what other professors typically bring to these dinners. “I have to admit I was given it myself this morning. There was a nationa...

 FASoS: compulsory attendance for 2nd and 3rd year bachelor’s students to be abolished

FASoS: compulsory attendance for 2nd and 3rd year bachelor’s students to be abolished

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is going to abolish compulsory attendance for second- and third-year students. For present students, everything will remain the same, but students starting in September 2017 will only have to deal with compulsory attendance in their first year.
“It’s comforting that the instructor has a spare tire too”

“It’s comforting that the instructor has a spare tire too”

UM Sports opened the doors to the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions. Today it is the Employee Workout Mix.

Pressure mounts on university lecturers as student numbers rise

THE NETHERLANDS. Almost seven in 10 university academic staff say they have to work under a lot of pressure and 70% do at least six hours overtime a week, according to a survey by trade union federation FNV.

Eating out is in as young generation embraces conspicuous consumption

THE NETHERLANDS. Dining out is the latest word in conspicuous consumption, according to a survey that shows spending in cafes and restaurants increased by 4.5% in 2016.