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Entries for November 2009

“The punishment should be related to the crime”

Last week, a 14-year-old Dutch boy was murdered in a small village in the Netherlands called Urk. Three other boys, the oldest being 15, are suspects. What should the judge do if they are proven guilty? Treat them as adults and send them to prison for a very long time, given the severity of the crime? Or stick to the law concerning minors?

UM Card blocked for non-payment

The UM Card for students who have not yet paid their lecture fees or handed in a passport photograph or visa, will be blocked this week. This means that they will no longer have access to Eleum, the university library, and other facilities. This way, Maastricht University is hoping to quickly discover how many of these 816 ‘temporary enrolments’ ar...

Sneeuwduister

With temperatures of more than 10ºC and bright sunshine in Maastricht, many people are finding it difficult to get that “Christmas feeling”, despite it already being late November. Perhaps Sneeuwduister by the Toneelgroep Maastricht will help get you in the mood. In this theatre performance, choreographer/theatre director Jan van Opstal recreates t...

Maybe I stay here

Maybe I stay here

“I love this country; the people are so friendly and open. Total strangers sometimes greet me. Once, when I wasn’t sure of the right direction and looked at a map of Maastricht, a man stopped straight away and came over to help me. And I love the bikes – you can reach almost every corner of the city by bike.” Hannah Wegner (20), a first-year Health...

Arrogance as an armour

The man is vain. He doesn’t have the slightest idea about self-reflection. He has not a grain of modesty. These descriptions of the Dutch writer Harry Mulisch appear in the media regularly and underline my idea that, in most cases, it is better to know as little as possible about an artist’s character. It’s not easy to enjoy someone’s work (be it a...

Master of Gender and Diversity superfluous

The Ministry of Education believes that a masters study of Gender and Diversity at the Maastricht Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is superfluous. There is already a two-year research masters of Gender and Ethnicity at Utrecht University and hence the minister – advised by a special committee on efficiency in higher education – thinks that a Maa...

Mix & Mingle, Winter Jingle

Mix & Mingle, Winter Jingle

Music is booming from the speakers, people are going round with refreshments and the guests are being welcomed by the organisers. “Could you write your name and country on the badge please?” It’s the second international get-together, baptised the Mix & Mingle Winter Jingle, organised and financed by Maastricht University and held at Fort St Pi...

World Press Photo Exhibition 2009

Some of the pictures are deeply disturbing; others make you want to break out with laughter. One thing is for sure: you cannot remain indifferent towards what you will see in the Centre Céramique. The World Press Photo Exhibition shows them all: from Georgian women crying over murdered family members and the heavily wounded victims of Brazilian gan...

New online platform

A platform where students and Maastricht residents can exchange views and information on both global and local issues – that’s what www.maas-media.org is all about. The website, which is in English, is an initiative by twelve young people, eleven of them students at Maastricht University. Their aim is to gather ideas from different professionals ar...

“I don’t really have a plan B”

The number of students registering for programmes at Dutch universities has risen significantly this year, according to the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). The most apparent reason seems to be the feelings of insecurity that the current economic crisis has brought about. Instead of going on a world trip after graduating, many...
Are Germans always digging holes?

Are Germans always digging holes?

He loves jogging and likes singing, and that’s why Hannes Datta (25), a second-year master’s student of Business Research, speaks Dutch fluently. What? Datta laughs. “I have a talenknobbel. I love learning languages. In September 2008 I arrived in Maastricht and started jogging with a Dutch friend who spoke Dutch to me. During the first few weeks i...

Being a man for eighteen months

Philosopher Thomas Nagel wrote a famous essay titled "What is it like to be a bat?", where he argued that, even if we understand a bat's brain, we can never know what it’s like to be one. We can't experience the subjective aspect of a bat's consciousness. Similarly, journalist Norah Vincent thus decided that theory is not enough to understand the m...

More money

A committee of educational experts within UM has concluded that more money is probably required to maintain the quality of the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) system. Led by Professor Wim Gijselaers, the committee was asked by rector Gerard Mols to advise on new financial incentives to foster educational quality and innovation. The committee now cauti...

‘Copper’ campus: disappointment and reproach

‘Copper’ campus: disappointment and reproach

Housing association Servatius has dropped the curtain on the ‘copper’ campus designed by Spanish architect Calatrava. But the dismissed director still sees possibilities. UM management seriously criticises Servatius and the choice of the architect, although initially, the design was applauded.

Dropouts at UM

One in four students throws in the towel after their first year. Approximately thirty per cent of those who continue fail to graduate within four years. Before the summer, the Education Inspectorate stated that far too few students receive their diplomas in tertiary education in the Netherlands. The main reasons are that students choose the wrong ...

Final curtain for ‘copper’ campus

The ‘copper’ campus by the Spanish architect Calatrava was cancelled yesterday. Social building society Servatius faces new deficits up to €60 million over the calculated costs of €165 million. In an emotional press release, the company stated that it would not be able to finance this. “The bleeding has to stop”, director Paul Driever says. Maastri...

The madness of the story mimics that of the city

If you thought Maastricht–Amsterdam was a hell of a commute, try this for a long-distance relationship: Chase Insteadman’s fiancée Janice is an astronaut and her spaceship, unmoored somehow, is stuck in space. Chase, a onetime childhood actor living off the revenue of his erstwhile career, wanders around Manhattan collecting sympathetic smiles and...

“What do you know of Polish poetry?”

A big screen shows citizens of the DDR passing the German border, delirious with joy. The next shot captures a crowd in Czechoslovakia during the peaceful Velvet Revolution in 1989. Then there’s the riot in Romania which put an end to Ceauceşcu’s regime. “So many walls came down in the eighties”, a voiceover says. “It was a magnificent decade for d...

Speaking German with a Dutch accent

Speaking German with a Dutch accent

He loves pindakaas on his bread, his favourite supermarket is the “Appie”, and he often watches De Wereld Draait Door on Dutch television. But the anchor, Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, isn’t his cup of tea. “He’s a bit irritating; I think he’s too fond of himself.” Stefan Flörkemeier – 24 years old, born and raised in Herford, not far from Bielefeld, and...

“Why is Zwarte Piet not white?”

This Saturday, Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten will arrive in Maastricht by boat. This holy bishop, who lives in Spain, is the greatest friend of all Dutch children. On his birthday, 5 December, his black servants climb the rooves of every house and throw presents through the chimneys. Is Sinterklaas just a nice Dutch tradition, or should we prev...

The entrance of Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas. At the sound of his name, Dutch students take a trip down memory lane to a time of great expectations, red cheeks and long wish lists. The Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus visits the Netherlands every year from mid-November until 6 December, the day after his birthday on 5 December, when he gives presents and candy to all sweet children...

Enjoy poverty

Hear this: 70 to 90 percent of the development aid for Congo eventually returns to the donor countries. It’s not only the development organisations but also the media and the UN employees that lose face in the documentary Enjoy Poverty, by artist Renzo Martens. The film will be shown at the upcoming Maastricht Debates meeting next week, which centr...

Bike theft

Last Monday night, three Maastricht University students were arrested. They had kicked a couple of bikes, broke the stand of one and smashed the lock of another, then taken this bicycle with them. One of the control cameras in the inner city recorded the incident, which took place at the bike shed at the Sint Servaasbrug. A police officer saw the r...

“Everybody cheats the system when they can”

The ethics of today’s young people are declining. This is the conclusion of a study conducted a few weeks ago by global accountancy firm KPMG. As a recent example, the food-delivery service Just-Eat suffered a loss of €30,000 after students discovered a loophole in the money-transfer system IDEAL, which turned out to be an ideal way to save some mo...

Clash of the Cover Bands

Can’t stand house music anymore? Have the impression that there’s only one CD circulating through all the pubs and clubs in Maastricht? Then this event is what you were waiting for – you can look forward to a night with bands like U2, Nirvana, Oasis and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Unfortunately, they’re not coming themselves, but there will be band...

“Is it embarrassing not to know who he is?"

“Is it embarrassing not to know who he is?"

Ever heard of Jo Ritzen? Svenja Wolter, a first-year student at the University College, looks puzzled. “Is it embarrassing not to know who he is? Oh, is he the president of the Maastricht University board? At least I know who our dean is: Harm, uh, Hospers!” The pronunciation of Hospers is not that easy, she says, and tries again. Laughing: “Ospe...

High scores for economics and psychology in German ranking

High scores for economics and psychology in German ranking

The Maastricht faculties of Psychology and Neurosciences and the School of Business and Economics have done well in the latest ‘excellence ranking’ by the German Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung (CHE).

Confidential student data less protected

Students who visit the study advisor to talk about personal problems, want the report of their talk to remain confidential and inaccessible for others. That was the case, until now. But since the implementation of the new automation system MUSL, such data can now also be accessed - and even changed - from other faculties.