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Entries for January 2018

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.