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Entries for October 2017

“If I notice I’ve lost weight, it’s party time”

“If I notice I’ve lost weight, it’s party time”

Greed. I always want the puck. If you’ve got possession, you can leave your mark on the match. I’ve got a pretty decent trophy collection at home. But success always leaves you wanting more. The ones I cherish most are the medals for the (youth) world cups in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016, and the watch I was given for most valuable player ...

“The real heroes of war are women”

“The real heroes of war are women”

MAASTRICHT. She has been ambushed by the Taliban, abducted by Pakistan’s ISI, narrowly escaped the suicide bombing of a hotel and was on Benazir Bhutto’s bus when it was blown up. In the Tans lecture, bestselling author Christina Lamb will talk about her work as a female war correspondent.

Amnesty report slams inhuman conditions at Dutch jail terrorist units

THE NETHERLANDS. Conditions in the Netherlands’ high security terrorist TA units at two jails are inhuman and violate human rights, Amnesty International and the Open Society Justice Initiative said in a joint report on Tuesday.
Leçon 8- Le bonheur, c’est une bonne marche au milieu de belles montagnes inconnues

Leçon 8- Le bonheur, c’est une bonne marche au milieu de belles montagnes inconnues

Who doesn´t recognize this feeling of being caught up in our everyday responsibilities? Too often, we are occupied with ticking off our to-do list or busy running from one appointment to another. In the haste of moments like this, we too easily oversee the beauty of life that hides behind the most mundane and quotidian things. I had initia...

New cabinet will ignore Big Brother law referendum result: CDA leader

THE NETHERLANDS. The new government will ignore the results of a referendum on a new law giving greater powers to the security services to tap phone and internet connections, CDA leader Sybrand Buma said at the weekened.
Housing crisis seems to be averted

Housing crisis seems to be averted

MAASTRICHT. Where a handful of ‘homeless’ students were protesting in front of the Student Services Centre in Maastricht at the beginning of September, under the heading #MaastrichtHousingCrisis, there has been no activity for weeks on the Facebook page of the same name. Maurice Evers, managing director of Student & Staff Housing a...

New SBE dean: women are not jumping at the chance

MAASTRICHT. Of the approximately fifty regular professors at the School of Business and Economics (SBE), only five are female. At this moment, the faculty (or rather, an external headhunting agency commissioned by the Executive Board) is searching for a new dean, both within and outside the UM. Will it be a woman? It is going to be exciting.
The Members Only Club for Privileged Migrants

The Members Only Club for Privileged Migrants

The other day I found myself correcting a friend of mine who referred to himself as a member of the ‘expat community’ (he has been working in Rwanda for several months). I explained that what he should be saying was ‘migrant community’, but the trouble with this term is it rarely resonates with white Europeans – you on...

Well-being Week: Yoga in between classes

Well-being Week: Yoga in between classes

MAASTRICHT. Student life involves a lot of changes: a university study, living by yourself, and new friends. During the Well-being Week by University College Maastricht (UCM), the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (FPN) and the Student Service Centre (SSC), students will get tips to become healthier and more resilient.

UM buildings appear safe

MAASTRICHT. Are Maastricht University buildings safe? This question has arisen as both Erasmus University in Rotterdam and Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in Zwolle have each closed a relatively new building for being possibly unsafe.
Food Truck as temporary help for UM Sports

Food Truck as temporary help for UM Sports

MAASTRICHT. Sports cafe Time Out having gone bankrupt, Food Truck Formidable is temporarily going to do the catering for UM Sports. From Monday onwards, the old Citroen bus, which will be parked outside the sports complex, will be available for coffee, tea, rolls, soup, pancakes and other snacks.
“Learn to forgive yourself”

“Learn to forgive yourself”

Marihuana, LSD, heroin. Ex-junkie Marc Lewis devoured it all, preferably in high doses. He stole medicine from medical practices, was arrested on several occasions, and received a suspended prison sentence. Later on, Lewis - by now a professor of Neurosciences - wrote a book about his former life as an addict. He will give a lecture, organised by S...
Fake it till you make it

Fake it till you make it

Greed. To be quite clear: Latin dance is not ballroom dancing [just so that we know what we are talking about, Zef Orbons laughs. He dances the rumba, samba, jive, cha-cha and paso doble]. I have always wanted to look beautiful and I love stylishness. So, if you were to explain greed in terms of clothing, as more beautiful than beautiful, then I wo...

Breakfast with Baguettes, Dinner with Wine and University without literature?

Breakfast with Baguettes, Dinner with Wine and University without literature?

The title might already reveal that I am talking about France, the country of red wine, l’amour and enlightenment. For almost five months I am switching Maastricht’s bikes, its hagelslag, and our beloved (irony off) PBL system with Bordeaux’ Tram coordination, its amazing variation of wine and an education system which couldn&rsqu...

Geert Wilders’ appeal against inciting discrimination starts at high security court

THE NETHERLANDS. Geert Wilders’ appeal against his conviction for inciting discrimination kicks off at the high security court at Schiphol airport on Tuesday with a pre-trial hearing.
Leçon 7- Les sept commandements du pain français

Leçon 7- Les sept commandements du pain français

There admittedly exists this stereotype of French people surviving on nothing but baguette, fromage et vin rouge. Baguette has established itself as a symbol of French culture next to the Tour Eiffel. It is quintessentially French and doubtlessly indispensable for the French cusine. After a couple of months in l´Hexagon, I have come to und...

Meet our big boys and girls

Meet our big boys and girls

We all know the stereotypes about ‘he-men’ and ‘she-women’: they eat chicken all day long, their IQs barely crack 100 and they drop their weights hard enough to make the floor shake. In the run-up to the Dutch Student Nationals Powerlifting Classic, Observant asked five gym buffs about these stereotypes, their motivation, di...

About time

About time

It’s about time. In a new place – and Maastricht is my new place, fresh out of Brexit London – there’s always a fresh awareness of the clock. The four minutes (five in the rain) it takes to get to the SSC for a bakkie koffie. The stomach-rumbling time it takes Delibelge to snap an elastic band on your paper-wrapped broodj...

Myth: Companies are only after maximizing their profits

Myth: Companies are only after maximizing their profits

Over a thousand deaths to regret and more than two thousand people injured. These were the sad consequences of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh on 24 April 2013. The day before, cracks were discovered in the walls of the eight-story building. Although the shops and bank at the lower floors were immediately closed, the garment workers in the va...

More first-year UM students

MAASTRICHT. The preliminary figures indicate that the number of first-year bachelor's and master's students has risen by 4.7 per cent to a total of 7,114, after a minor dip last year. Almost all faculties have contributed to this increase, except for Psychology and Neurosciences (minus 2.4 per cent).

1,000-euro discount for first-year students

THE NETHERLANDS. In the hot-from-the-press Dutch coalition agreement, political parties have agreed that first-year students will receive a 1,000-euro tuition fee reduction. Will universities have to pick up the tab?
Swapping clothes while eating leftovers

Swapping clothes while eating leftovers

MAASTRICHT. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. This could have been the theme of the Sustainability Day gathering, organised by the study association of the master's programme of Sustainability, Science and Policy (ASAP) and Food Sharing Maastricht at the Kapoenstraat 2 last Tuesday. There was a clothing swap, food pre...

"Without sexy master’s programmes, it’s going to be difficult"

"Without sexy master’s programmes, it’s going to be difficult"

SBE dean Philip Vergauwen himself agrees that he is leaving prematurely. The strategic overhaul of his faculty is still in full swing. But the offer from the Solvay business school in Brussels was, he says, simply too good to turn down. Observant talks with him about his toughest moments as dean, SBE as an outsider, and the ‘selling...
Why we should talk more about the ethics of Neurosciences

Why we should talk more about the ethics of Neurosciences

Neuroscience affects everyone. That is why the long-term ethical questions it raises, should be discussed more broadly, says Neuroscience master student Katherine Bassil.

300,000 back bid for referendum on Big Brother phone tap law

THE NETHERLANDS. Over 300,000 people have signed a petition calling for a referendum on the new Dutch law on telephone tapping, described by its opponents as a charter for Big Brother.
“I sit in class with wet hair”

“I sit in class with wet hair”

Greed. I’d rather call myself eager. I always want to win. In daily life I’m not greedy at all. I can be very happy with the little things. My gear has to be good, not expensive or beautiful; that’s the way I was raised. My sunglasses don’t have to be from Oakley. Triathlon is an expensive sport. You need a wetsuit, a bike, ...

Leçon 6- Arrêtez de procrastiner

Leçon 6- Arrêtez de procrastiner

We all have one, either randomly collected in our head or neatly jotted down in a little notebook. A bucket list- a list of achievements or experiences we hope to accomplish during our lifetime. I belong to category number two. I possess a little book in which I scribble down notes, ideas, poems or things I simply want to remember. And within th...

One day to go, and leaks about the new cabinet’s plans keep on coming

THE NETHERLANDS. One day before the official presentation of the new government’s plans, the Dutch newspapers are again full of leaks about elements of the coalition agreement.

Tackling teachers’ workload with a game

MAASTRICHT. Who is your research interesting for, and why? This is the question that the researchers participating in the first Maastricht University Impact Course have tried to answer in recent months. Last Tuesday five of them presented their proposals for making a bigger impact with their research to a jury at the Brandweer Kantine, in the hopes...

University Council sends public away during debate on hazing

MAASTRICHT. Last week, the University Council decided to ask the Executive Board questions about sanctions against two student associations - Tragos and Circumflex - but would do so without an audience. Only then would the Executive Board give true answers, was their idea.
A word of advice

A word of advice

If you're a new student in Maastricht, you'll have received lots of advice already. Some of it contradictory. Focus on your studies. No, enjoy student life – you’ll never have this time again. Knuckle down and finish as soon as you can. No, take the time to explore, find out what you’re really interested in. Most important...

Double myth: The contraceptive pill is harmless / The contraceptive pill causes thrombosis

Double myth: The contraceptive pill is harmless / The contraceptive pill causes thrombosis

“I don't want to scare you,” says Hugo ten Cate, professor of Clinical Thrombosis and Haemostasis, every time he gives a lecture on the relation between the contraceptive pill and thrombosis to third-year medical students. “About 70 per cent of our students are female, the majority of whom are on the pill. It is not just ...

Rubbish Coach makes a clean sweep of Mariaberg

Rubbish Coach makes a clean sweep of Mariaberg

MAASTRICHT. To tackle the rubbish problems in the surroundings of the waste separation station on the Volksplein in the Mariaberg area, the Maastricht city council has come up with the trial project called the Rubbish Coach. Until February, Rubbish Coach Dennis Wilhelmus will be ready two days a week, eight hours a day, to advise residents - willin...
New formula for monthly expat gathering

New formula for monthly expat gathering

MAASTRICHT. About 150 people came to the first Let’s Catch Up event last Thursday in Centre Céramique. This meet-up in English is for foreign employees of Maastricht University and other expats in South Limburg and replaces the monthly Meet&Greet.
Who is coming out to play?

Who is coming out to play?

Imagine you have a couple of hours off this afternoon and you fancy a game of table tennis. It’s just, who to play with? Maybe you are new to Maastricht and don't know a lot of people. Or you do have friends here, but they don't have the day off. That is where the new Activitree app can offer a solution. Activitree was created by U...

UM students (very) satisfied with study programmes

UM students (very) satisfied with study programmes

MAASTRICHT. Compared to students from institutes elsewhere in the country, Maastricht students are satisfied to very satisfied with their study programmes at Maastricht University. This is one of the outcomes of the National Student Survey (held in spring 2017), processed by the Centre for Higher Education Information (Centrum voor Hoger Onderwijs ...

New coalition plans income tax overhaul, boost to middle incomes

THE NETHERLANDS. The new coalition plans to shake up the income tax system by cutting the number of tax bands to two from 2019, according to broadcaster NOS.
Leçon 5: Il n´y a pas de place pour remplacer chez-soi

Leçon 5: Il n´y a pas de place pour remplacer chez-soi

I would lie if I said that my time so far in Grenoble has been a succession of picture-perfect memories and unforgettable days of intercultural exchange. After a couple of weeks in l´Hexagon, I admit that the rose-colored glasses have slipped slightly and reality has found its way into what is supposed to be ‘the semester of a lifetime&...

Primary school teachers press ahead with strike, plan more action

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch primary school teachers are pressing ahead with Thursday’s planned strike, despite the government’s commitment to spending an extra €250m on boosting salaries and reducing the pressure of work.
“When you don’t have to try hard, it’s easy to slack off”

“When you don’t have to try hard, it’s easy to slack off”

Greed. Handball has taken me to many places around the world: Brazil, Qatar, Denmark, Turkey, Sweden. I want more, but my parents say it’s been great already and I’d do better to concentrate fully on my studies. I want to show everyone that I can accomplish anything I want. A year from now I want to be playing in a top handball country ...