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Entries for November 2015

Overcrowded trains attract record number of complaints

Overcrowded trains attract record number of complaints

THE NETHERLANDS. Record numbers of rail travellers have complained about overcrowded trains in the past month, passengers’ organisation Rover said.
Digital detox

Digital detox

Maurits (24): “I use WhatsApp a lot and am also active on Facebook. I follow what others are doing and I regularly post messages myself. Obviously I constantly check my mobile telephone to see how many people like or react to my messages. It is taking up more and more of my time. Should I do something about it?” Ingrid: WhatsApp has ...

Bonuses maybe made public

MAASTRICHT. The highest bonus was awarded to an employee at the ‘Berg’ last year. And most of the bonuses went to the Finance department. The topic of bonuses – who, what, to be made public or not – is on the agenda again.
 UM lecturer wins Polish Person of the Year election

UM lecturer wins Polish Person of the Year election

MAASTRICHT. Kasia Czabanowska, senior lecturer of Health Sciences, was declared Polish Person of the Year 2015 in the category Science and Technology during a gala in a TV studio in Hilversum last Saturday. The gala was organised by the Polonus Foundation and the Polish embassy in the Netherlands. Polonus is a foundation that wants to boost the ima...

UM opens its doors at 40th anniversary next year

MAASTRICHT. A jubilee that focuses on the city of Maastricht and the surrounding region. That is the idea behind the festivities next year, in celebration of the fortieth anniversary of this university. “After that,” said President Martin Paul during a press conference on the jubilee this week, “we hope that we have put an end to ...

Innovation Challenge: How to raise money for UNICEF

MAASTRICHT. A sign saying ‘No girls allowed’ at the School of Business and Economics. A sign saying ‘No water’ at the sports centre and ‘No toilet’ at the faculty. “It’s all about awareness for the living conditions of refugee children. People need disruptive reminders to know what it is like to have ...

Appointment angst

Appointment angst

It’s that time of year when universities around the country are swamped with kids trying to figure out where to go study. I say kids, but many of them are not much younger than I was when I started teaching in Maastricht, almost ten years ago. I don’t say that to show off. In fact, at 23, I was a relatively old graduate by Australian...

Avoid high-heeled shoes at a standing table

Avoid high-heeled shoes at a standing table

A standing tutorial: is it healthier, better for group dynamics and learning? Experiments are being carried out at University College Maastricht and in the Maastricht Science Programme. “Sometimes I have classes from eight to half past six in the evening. Standing between sessions keeps me awake.” A tip: kick high-heeled shoes under the...
“He made me a real scientist; someone who creates lasting knowledge”

“He made me a real scientist; someone who creates lasting knowledge”

“Dad, can you clear up some questions I have about NO?” Harald Schmidt’s son, who is studying Medicine in Southampton, recently asked through Skype. Little did he know that Schmidt, professor of Pharmacology & Personalised Medicine, had actually co-discovered the molecule NO, while working with the man who made it famous: Amer...
Torchlight procession for Serious Request

Torchlight procession for Serious Request

MAASTRICHT. Walking nine kilometres for a good cause. On Tuesday 8 December at 18:30hrs., a torchlight procession for employees and students will start from the Minderbroedersberg. The procession will pass the Sint Pietersberg and continue on to the Cannerberg and Louwberg, pausing for hot chocolate and glühwein in the courtyard of Chateau Neercann...

Splendid food, horrible service

Splendid food, horrible service

Sashimi, located on the ground and underground floor of an unmarked building, is a hidden treasure, just next to the Albert Heijn by the Vrijthof. With its authentic Asian atmosphere, you feel as though you could be in the middle of Tokyo. The sushi was, in a word, delicious. The fish was extremely fresh – a prerequisite – and the sush...

FASoS: no more than one exam a day

FASoS: no more than one exam a day

MAASTRICHT. At the moment, there are often too many exams and resits in one week, says the student fraction of the faculty council of Arts and Social Sciences. Sometimes there are even two in one day, a situation that requires a solution.
EU gives foreign students nine months to find a job

EU gives foreign students nine months to find a job

THE NETHERLANDS. Americans, Chinese or Kenyans who have graduated in Europe, will be given the time to look for a job within the European Union. The European Students Union is satisfied, but had hoped for more time.
A quarter of foreign students find jobs

A quarter of foreign students find jobs

THE NETHERLANDS. Foreign students often remain in the Netherlands to work after they have graduated. More than one in four has a job five years later, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports.
Mixology

Mixology

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Arbo Unie contract under pressure

MAASTRICHT. The contract with Arbo Unie, which provides company medical care for the UM, will only be extended for one year. Arbo Unie started in 2012 and the contract was until 1 January 2016, with an option of an extension of two years before a public call for tenders would be issued again. The UM directors, however, felt that this period was too...
More children live in families which rely on welfare benefits

More children live in families which rely on welfare benefits

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of children growing up in families which rely on welfare benefits (bijstand) rose to 223,000 last year, according to the national statistics office CBS.
Pressure of suffering

Pressure of suffering

Julian (24): “I have made various attempts to stop smoking. All without success. After only a day, I am lighting up again. Certainly if I go out with friends, before I know it, I have a cigarette butt in my hand. How can I stop smoking for good?” Ingrid: Last year, I got myself a trial subscription at the gym. Nothing wrong with tigh...

Shut all Dutch coal-fired power stations, say professors

Shut all Dutch coal-fired power stations, say professors

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands should close down all 11 coal-fired power stations in a clear signal of commitment to combating climate change, 64 professors - six from University Maastricht - say in an open letter in Monday’s Trouw.

External advisor to bring peace back to Facility Services

MAASTRICHT. An intended plan to organise the reception services differently at this university has led to upheaval within the General and Technical Services. The Executive Board has now hired an external advisor to map out the situation within the department “objectively and with the proper degree of subtlety”.

Wanted: student members of the editorial council

Would you like to discuss the content of Observant? We're looking for students who want to become members of our editorial council (redactieraad). Members should be able to read Dutch - speaking is not necessary. For more information, please e-mail riki.janssen@maastrichtuniversity.nl

‘Yes’ to The Student Hotel

‘Yes’ to The Student Hotel

MAASTRICHT. Tuesday evening, the Maastricht city council said ‘yes’ to the plans for the establishment of The Student Hotel in the Eiffel building at the top of the Boschstraat. The following morning, Gerdo van Grootheest, the alderman concerned, twittered that he was “very happy”. He had a tough time these past few weeks. ...

Well-known among LSD lovers: Bicycle day

Well-known among LSD lovers: Bicycle day

It is not really a book that is popular among teenagers, but Vera Schrauwen (42), born in Zurich, became fascinated by it at the age of fifteen: LSD - Mein Sorgenkind (1979) by the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann. It is also written in a style that is dry as dust, says the lecturer at Radiology. The subject itself, however, is interesti...
Questions about BISS education

Questions about BISS education

MAASTRICHT. The technical universities of Twente and Eindhoven have raised concerns about the study programmes at the BISS institute Business Intelligence and Smart Services (BISS) institute in Heerlen. The institute, established by the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and partners, will focus on transforming big data into services. The techn...

“Supporting France doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the rest of the world”

“Supporting France doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the rest of the world”

MAASTRICHT. “The attacks on the Russian aeroplane, or Beirut last week, are just as barbaric as the one in Paris last Friday. But I know the neighbourhood in the French capital where it happened, I lived in Paris for a number of years when I was young, and I was there for UNESCO only last week. It is difficult to find words for the pain you f...
Human border for refugees

Human border for refugees

MAASTRICHT. Sunday 15th marked Amnesty International Maastricht Students (AIMS) creating a small scale blockade on the Sint Servaasbrug. The goal? To raise awareness about the difficulties refugees face on their way to a safer life in Europe.
The Swarm

The Swarm

Recently I was tasked with booking a room for the annual gathering of the Bitter Humanists Association.  Being a student, my Humanist overlords surmised I had prime access to hundreds of square metres of ivory-themed real estate, a fair assumption, although the process was not as straightforward as expected. “It was always the rule that ...

NYT VR

NYT VR

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Istanbul Contemporary

Istanbul Contemporary

Past weekend I was surrounded by neon writing 3D pictures and interesting, funky photographs — the art fair “Istanbul Contemporary” was taking place at Istanbul Congress Center. The tickets were given to me as a present by a friend, whose art gallery ‘Art 350’ was exhibiting as well. It was quite an overwhelming exp...

Peekaboo wins Local Hero Award

Peekaboo wins Local Hero Award

MAASTRICHT. Nine months until you can hold your baby in your arms – for some parents the wait is unbearable. Enter Peekaboo, a startup that aims to convert ultrasound scans into virtual reality so soon-to-be parents can have a 360 degree look at their baby and even ‘hold’ it. Yesterday, they won the Local Hero Award and received 1...

A hot tip for Thai lovers

A hot tip for Thai lovers

Thai food is known for its heat. Taking out the chillies is akin to the line in the classic film Amadeus when Mozart is told that his work is good, except there are too many notes. “Just cut a few,” instructs the emperor*, “and it will be perfect.” But like the F sharps and B flats in Mozart’s masterpiece, the chillies...

Rearranging money and powers

Rearranging money and powers

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics (SBE) has changed course: future decisions on education will be made not by the departments, but by special project teams. Powers will be transferred from the departments to these teams, and the departments will be expected to invest their ample savings. These changes should remove major barriers to ...
Strong interest from Dutch pupils

Strong interest from Dutch pupils

MAASTRICHT. Last Saturday saw the busiest Bachelor’s Open Day in Maastricht University’s history, with as many as 3100 school students descending on the city. In November 2012, which previously held the record for the busiest Open Day, UM welcomed under 2800 prospective students. A large number of this year’s pupils (almost 2100) ...

A record 90,000 foreign students are studying in the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. Almost 90,000 foreign students are studying in the Netherlands this year, of whom 23,000 come from outside Europe, according to international education body EP-Nuffic.
“Photography is the best way to bring about emotion in people”

“Photography is the best way to bring about emotion in people”

MAASTRICHT. The image of two male lovers bathed in the teal-tinged light of a bedroom confronts the visitor when entering the Centre Céramique. With this image, Danish photographer Mads Nissen won the prize of Photo of the Year. It is part of the World Press Photo exhibition, which Céramique hosted until the 15th of November.
Orange frog

Orange frog

Niek (23): “I have a lot of negative thoughts about myself. I often think I am not clever enough to pass my exams, that I’m not a nice flatmate or not a great member of the student association. How do I get rid of these thoughts?” Ingrid: Before you continue reading, do the following: get a pen and paper and for two minutes do ...

The Netherlands holds a minute’s silence for Paris attack victims

The Netherlands holds a minute’s silence for Paris attack victims

THE NETHERLANDS. One minute’s silence for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks will be held across the Netherlands on Monday as part of a Europe-wide memorial for the dead.
A wonderful career choice

A wonderful career choice

So Karl Andree, the Briton sentenced to public flogging in Saudi Arabia for alcohol possession, has been released. I’m reminded of a lecture I attended years back in Sydney, by a journalist who’d likewise just been released from a Saudi jail. It was the only lecture I enjoyed of my entire degree. Looking back, my choice for jour...

Opposites

Opposites

The experiences I have had with the Turkish people here are really twofold. On one hand, you are always told to be careful, watch your bags, take care that you do not get ripped off, which I can relate to in many situations. For instance, a friend of mine was threatened with a knife and some guys made him give them all of his money. However, the...

Few foreign graduates work in Limburg

Few foreign graduates work in Limburg

MAASTRICHT. A platform – Limburg Magnet! - that brings businesses in Limburg and students in contact with each other, and the UM project KnowledgeEngineering@Work that links local IT businesses to knowledge engineering students. Two initiatives that aim to recruit foreign graduates for the Dutch labour market. Last Friday, during a regional m...
“A dainty woman with more power than a hundred people”

“A dainty woman with more power than a hundred people”

Stefania Tuinder was studying to be a plastic surgeon when she met professor Grazia Salimbeni at a congress: a plastic surgeon who has world-wide esteem because of her pioneering work in the field of facial paralysis. She was immediately sold on the idea.

Website delay

MAASTRICHT. The launch of the new Maastricht University website has been delayed. The site will not go live in December, as Manon Gorissen, head of digital communication, reported a month ago in Observant, but after New Year. No new date has been fixed yet.
“Somaliland’s constitution is beautiful, but mostly theoretical”

“Somaliland’s constitution is beautiful, but mostly theoretical”

MAASTRICHT. What is more important: targeting poverty or human rights? This is the question that occupied Guleid, chairman of the Somali Human Rights Centre and participant in Maastricht’s Shelter Programme, at the Somaliland Human Rights Info Night last Tuesday. Leonie Eilers, a first-year student of European Public Health, heard about th...

New FHS dean: “Deans aren’t all that important”

New FHS dean: “Deans aren’t all that important”

From incumbent dean of one faculty to dean of another: this type of transfer is virtually unheard of. Not at UM, though. What inspired Professor Bernadette Jansma to trade in the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences (FPN) for the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences (FHS) as of mid-2016?

Prize for Maastricht Green Office model

MAASTRICHT. RootAbility, the organisation behind the Maastricht Green Office movement, last week received the UNESCO–Japan Prize for education in sustainable development. This is the first time the prize has been awarded. The $50,000 award will be used to further spread the Green Office model and strengthen the Green Office movement...

Faculty of Law goes to Aruba

Faculty of Law goes to Aruba

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht Faculty of Law is going to work together with the University of Aruba. From the next academic year, they hope to welcome the first students for the double degree programme, an American Specialisation, within the existing master’s programme of International and European Tax Law. Eventually, the participants will...

Jansma appointed dean of FHS

MAASTRICHT. Professor Bernadette Jansma (50) will be the new dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences (FHS). Currently dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences (FPN), she will take up the new role in mid-2016. Professor Franz Palm will remain in place as interim dean until then.
AirBrush Best Selfie Editor

AirBrush Best Selfie Editor

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Time for a Fresh new start

Time for a Fresh new start

Fresh is an all-out fiasco in terms of both service and food. This is a fully refurbished establishment on the former site of the well-known student restaurant Kiwi. But the food, to put it bluntly, is worse. Just a few steps from the Student Services Centre and the Maastricht University Library, the restaurant seems like the perfect place for even...

Police investigate leak in parliament’s top security committee

THE NETHERLANDS. The police are investing a potential leak in parliament which led to secret information about national security issues being leaked to a journalist, the Telegraaf says on Tuesday.
Empty words

Empty words

Isa (26): “Because I don’t always feel a hundred per cent, I regularly get advice from others. I should let go of things more, make contact with the earth and embrace myself. I can’t do anything with that. ” Ingrid: A friend made an announcement on Facebook of an upcoming course ‘Coming home to yourself’. If y...

Prime minister cuts short Japan mission for EU refugee summit

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte is cutting short his visit to Japan as part of a trade mission to attend a European summit on the refugee crisis, the Volkskrant says on Monday.
Underground Scene in Istanbul

Underground Scene in Istanbul

Erasmus students are always dragged from one Erasmus party to another, where you mingle with the other internationals, get really badly drunk and dance to current chart hits. Those parties were highly promoted when we had our introduction week. One Erasmus boat party fulfilled all clichés. I met some other Maastricht students who spend their semest...

Bryson’s books are food for thought

Bryson’s books are food for thought

What use is Nienke van Atteveldt to society? A good question and one that this Maastricht neuroscientist (who works primarily as a lecturer at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) has asked herself several times during her career. A few years ago, she decided to share her knowledge with the rest of the Netherlands. How? By writing a book about the world o...
“Apes can control themselves for about 20 minutes”

“Apes can control themselves for about 20 minutes”

Do chimpanzees have free will? What can we learn from apes? Last Tuesday, psychology students gathered for a masterclass by the world-renowned primatologist Frans de Waal. As it turns out, not everyone is a fan of De Waal – there are chimpanzees that throw rocks at him.
Six FASoS yellow cards most likely dropped

Six FASoS yellow cards most likely dropped

MAASTRICHT. Five of the programmes at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences that were issued a ‘yellow card’ by quality watchdog NVAO in 2013, seem to have received the go-ahead. The Qanu committees that assess the quality for NVAO, are satisfied with the changes that have been implemented. This means that the ‘yellow ca...

A dancing pumpkin

A dancing pumpkin

MAASTRICHT. Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, witches, mind-blowing costumes, trick-or-treating, ringing doorbells, candy, chocolate, caramel apples, parties, late October… It is Halloween . Fuelled by an unbridled Halloween obsession, enthusiasm for choosing original costumers and desire to experience something out-of-the-ordinary, Maastricht is a v...

Choices

Choices

Some time ago I accidentally happened to watch a YouTube video clip titled “this drummer is at the wrong gig”. It was an excerpt from a concert of a semi-professional American band, where the drummer offers a performance beyond any words in terms of talent. His name is Steve Moore, also known as “the mad drummer”, for a g...

Hooked

Hooked

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“Engage Wilders’ supporters with questions that will make them think”

“Engage Wilders’ supporters with questions that will make them think”

MAASTRICHT. “Moral courage means doing the right thing in the face of your fears”, says the Canadian professor Irshad Manji (1968), who will give this year’s Tans Lecture. She is an author, documentary maker, Muslim, independent thinker and well-known critic of traditional mainstream Islam. She is also the founder and preside...
The unsurprising dish of the day at Basilica

The unsurprising dish of the day at Basilica

As you enter the Vrijthof, one of the most beautiful squares in the Netherlands, the first thing you see is the carmine red St John’s Tower and the impressive Basilica of Saint Servatius. Directly opposite its namesake lies the restaurant and bar Basilica. There is a cheerful atmosphere in the restaurant, and a sense that most of the people a...

Action-reaction

Action-reaction

Sander (31): “My boss gives me assignments and then tells me how to implement them. He is hardly ever interested in my opinion. We clash regularly. What can I do to improve our working relationship?” Ingrid: Human behaviour is predictable. If you call out to your colleague ‘hey, could you get me a cup of coffee,’ chances ...

A fortress wall, ducks and dark and leafy trees

A fortress wall, ducks and dark and leafy trees

Favourite spot of: Jordan Mullins, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts   “There is a path between University College Maastricht and the School of Business and Economics building that cuts through Monseigneur Nolenspark. I usually cross it on my bike in between cycling to and from class. “There are lots of things about th...

Keuzegids 2016: High praise for University College

Keuzegids 2016: High praise for University College

MAASTRICHT. University College Maastricht once again received high praise in the latest edition of the Keuzegids guide to higher education. With a final score of 9.4, UCM left the sixteen other Maastricht programmes included in the ranking far behind, and can rightly call itself the best bachelor’s programme in the Netherlands. Knowledge Engi...
VVD senator quits over home nursing firm bankruptcy report

VVD senator quits over home nursing firm bankruptcy report

THE NETHERLANDS. VVD senator Loek Hermans resigned on Monday after the bankruptcy of a massive home nursing group was partly blamed on his failings.
Dutch government initiates animal-free testing fund

Dutch government initiates animal-free testing fund

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch government wants to set up a new investment fund which will put money into developing animal-free research.