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Entries for November 2017

Turn on your bicycle light!

Turn on your bicycle light!

MAASTRICHT. No lighting on your bike? Very dangerous, say Maastricht Bereikbaar and Regionaal Orgaan Verkeersveiligheid Limburg (ROVL). Today, Thursday the 30th of November, they start the bicycle lighting campaign ‘Light it up!’.
A little instability

A little instability

Mutti (Mommy in English) is a common nickname we Germans use for our chancellor. It incorporates this warm, soft feeling of security and that everything will be fine since Mutti knows what she is doing. You might not really understand her reasoning, but you know that she knows what she is doing. Why do we need a Mutti? Well, uncertainty is one o...

Record number of visitors at open day

Record number of visitors at open day

MAASTRICHT. The bachelor’s open day last Saturday saw more visitors than ever, with at least 3,600 school students – a new record – finding their way to Maastricht University. That figure was around 3,100 in November 2015 and 2016. Between them the visitors managed to drink some 1,540 litres of coffee and 345 litres of tea.
What do mums and dads do at an Open Day?

What do mums and dads do at an Open Day?

Last Saturday, the Maastricht faculties opened their doors to school students – and their mums and dads. There were special information sessions and parent cafes, and tips and tricks from a real parent information officer. Observant did the rounds and asked parents whether they were meddling or merely involved.  
Erasmus Prize winner on diversity: “Universities should dare to make a statement”

Erasmus Prize winner on diversity: “Universities should dare to make a statement”

“It's time for more flexibility in PhD and career tracks, taking into account that people have or want to start a family.” Only then can you achieve diversity at the university. This statement comes from Harvard professor Michèle Lamont, who carries out research into diversity in areas such as science. The King presented the Erasmus...
Thanksgiving in Maastricht

Thanksgiving in Maastricht

Big turkeys, yams, pumpkin pies and pecan pies – all the traditional staples of a Thanksgiving dinner were present at the Tapijnkazerne last Thursday. Over a hundred American students gathered to spend this family holiday together. It was the first time that the Centre for European Studies organized a Thanksgiving get-together on such a large...

“Nothing but football in your head is not good”

“Nothing but football in your head is not good”

Greed. During a match, you can show that you’re up to the task: coaching my defenders, giving them faith that they can play the ball back, stopping attackers. So I want to play as much as possible. When it comes to my outfit, I prefer not to have black boots. That used to be the norm, but brightly coloured shoes are much more noticeable. They...

Dutch internet providers told to make speed estimates more realistic

THE NETHERLANDS. Internet providers in the Netherlands have been told they must be more accurate about the speed of internet connections they are selling from January 1 next year.
Leçon 12: Car l'amour est partout

Leçon 12: Car l'amour est partout

One easily earns the impression that we live in a time of hostility, hate and indifference. In the news, we learn about yet another attack here, a violent crime there and overall acts of vulgarity. People are portrayed as egoistic utility maximizers that are indifferent to their surroundings and interpersonal encounters. But that is not true. Becau...

Groningen fraternity member gets community service for initiation ritual violence

THE NETHERLANDS. A 24-year-old member of an undergraduate society in Groningen has been given 240 hours community service for his role in an initiation ceremony that left a fellow student with a serious head injury.
Maastricht’s not-so-dead Poets Society

Maastricht’s not-so-dead Poets Society

As the meek face of morning Peered, winking generously Over the woken earth Came a lonely boat, Slaving to the tide Soothing solemnly by As a sailing thought  Slowly making its way  Across the pallid waters  Of my liquid mind. (Alfie Marsden-Smedley)
“I eat around 4500 calories a day”

“I eat around 4500 calories a day”

  Greed. I’m not materialistic. I only need the essentials; a belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, weightlifting shoes for squats, and a singlet for competitions. In powerlifting there are two big brands; SBD and Titan, but with shoes I want Nike. They provide the most stability. I am greedy when it comes to making progress, though: I ...

Can´t believe we´re still protesting this sh**

Can´t believe we´re still protesting this sh**

The fact that sexual harassment and assault are features of many workplaces hit the headlines again recently. The reports were greeted with surprise, ´how did we not know?´ But it was in the news not so long ago, during the US presidential campaign when the winning candidate boasted about assaulting women and getting away with it. Maybe...

Students take to the Feesfebrik or stay at home

Students take to the Feesfebrik or stay at home

MAASTRICHT. With the closure of Club Alla, Maastricht has lost a popular place of entertainment. The night pub was liked especially by students because of the very long opening hours. They now largely take to the Feesfebrik or stay at home. Observant carried out a small random check.
“I still believe there’s room to get it right, a culture of law instead of revenge”

“I still believe there’s room to get it right, a culture of law instead of revenge”

After studying law in England, Anuol Deng decided to return to his native soil in South Sudan. He was determined that, as a lawyer, he could make a contribution in his war-ravaged country. The Dutch sisters Femke and Ilse van Velzen trailed him for months, filming a documentary called A Haunting History. This Thursday afternoon, Deng will deliver t...

Network to help foreign graduates find a job

THE NETHERLANDS. How to make sure that international alumni don't leave the Netherlands after graduating? The Holland Alumni Network, launched today, aims to help them build up a network. Good for their job opportunities and for the economy. 
Psychology students and board clash about switching tutorial groups

Psychology students and board clash about switching tutorial groups

MAASTRICHT. Psychology students do not agree with the measure taken by the Faculty Board to prohibit students from joining a different tutorial group. The student fraction brought the issue up during the latest faculty council meeting.
PhD jams on the Minderbroedersberg

PhD jams on the Minderbroedersberg

MAASTRICHT. It is an impressive list; not as many as two years ago, says beadle Len Cuppens, but still, 61 researchers will defend their theses in December. “Sometimes, that is literally running from one hall to another, because we only have one official rod. One minute there is the ‘hora est’ in one hall, the next minute you ente...

Amsterdam wins race to host the European Medicines Agency

THE NETHERLANDS. Amsterdam has succeeded in its bid to host the European Medicines Agency when the organisation leaves London following Brexit.  
Leçon 11: La France- une nation en grève

Leçon 11: La France- une nation en grève

I always thought that Germans liked to go on strike, but being in France has proven me otherwise. Since my arrival in August, I have been victim to the French right to go on strike five times. I kicked my heels when waiting for the bus stop to go to class or did not know how to get home after dinner with friends because the trams simply stopped wor...

English proficiency test puts Dutch first, but is it true? The Volkskrant has doubts

THE NETHERLANDS. Are the Dutch the European champions when it comes to proficiency in English? The Dutch have come first for the second year running in the English Proficiency Index (EPI), a survey by language course provider Education First (EF). The Volkskrant had its doubts and thought it was time to take a closer look.
“Sacrifice one submarine to move forward in regenerative medicine”

“Sacrifice one submarine to move forward in regenerative medicine”

“He is not only an idol, he is my hero!”, were Professor Clemens van Blitterswijk’s words leaving the curious audience tempted to learn about the identity of this mystery man. His talk was one of the many that were given during TEDx Maastricht’s 5th anniversary, which took place this year at the MECC forum. This year’s...
Debate: Speed up diversity policy, please

Debate: Speed up diversity policy, please

MAASTRICHT. Take the board of governors of Duke University, a top American university. It now includes women, but they are a minority. The point is that the conference table is too small, so a second row has been created, against the wall. That is where the women usually sit.
Drugs and Ph.D.

Drugs and Ph.D.

So I went to this talk of Marc Lewis, a now retired psychology professor. It was about why addiction is not a “brain disease”, even though many “healing-oriented” parties passionately claim it is. Their agenda is obvious: the “disease” part is crucial in the selling-a-cure schem. Lewis made some good points in...

Myth: Investing in shares is a matter of buying cheaply and selling expensively

Myth: Investing in shares is a matter of buying cheaply and selling expensively

At parties, people often ask professor Jean-Jacques Herings for investment advice. One tip that Herings will not give them is: you have to buy cheaply and sell expensively. In theory, this is the best strategy, but in practice it is impossible to execute, he says. “It is an illusion to think that you can predict share prices. It is worthless ...

“I’ve had to learn to stand up for myself”

“I’ve had to learn to stand up for myself”

Greed. I need my equipment to be in good order. I always want a new grip and the strings on my racket done before a match or a tournament. My shoes are always Nike, and I like having a Nike top, shorts and socks on as well. Outside the sport I’m not greedy at all; only when it comes to sneakers. People sometimes ask me if I have the whole Nik...

“Try and take the stairs this week”

“Try and take the stairs this week”

Of course, you should exercise regularly, but actually getting down to doing so, is another story. Within the framework of Active Campus Europe – a two-year collaboration project of sixteen European universities to stimulate sports among students and employees – UM Sports will motivate ‘inactive’ students until the beginning...
Keuzegids 2018: University Colleges UM extraordinarily good

Keuzegids 2018: University Colleges UM extraordinarily good

MAASTRICHT. The real Maastricht toppers in the Keuzegids 2018 are the broad bachelor's programmes University College Maastricht, University College Venlo, and the Maastricht Science Programme. They may call themselves 2018 Top Programmes. There was also a lot of praise for the quality of the English used by the Maastricht lecturers. They receiv...

Rich, richer, richest

MAASTRICHT. If you want to earn a lot of money later, you would be best off by studying Dentistry (€5,330 gross), International Business (€3,260 gross), Medicine (€3,140), Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (€2,950), or for example Fiscal and Notarial Law (€2,970). A study in the fields of Arts and Culture is not a...
Borrowing is the new buying

Borrowing is the new buying

MAASTRICHT. “See, this is a perfect example.” Elisa Etrary, second-year student of European Studies, picks up a crème brûlée burner. “Unless you make crème brûlée every Sunday, you’ll only need it once or twice a year.” So why spend money on it? This is the idea behind the Library of Things: reduce consumerism by lendi...

Russia is trying to influence Dutch public opinion with fake news: minister

THE NETHERLANDS. The Russian security services are trying to influence public opinion in the Netherlands by spreading fake news, home affairs minister Kasja Ollongren has said in a briefing to MPs.
Leçon 10- Sometimes, you need to take a break from France

Leçon 10- Sometimes, you need to take a break from France

Unlike most of my Erasmus friends, who spent our week off from university in the South of France or Paris, I decided to go north to visit my boyfriend who is currently doing his Erasmus in Helsinki. After all, love takes you places, right? As I have never been further north than Groningen or the North Sea Islands, I was very much looking forward to...

Omtzigt faces calls to quit over ‘fake witness’ who spoke at MH17 meeting

THE NETHERLANDS. Christian Democrat MP Pieter Omtzigt has come under fire over claims that he helped a fake witness to the MH17 disaster over Ukraine infiltrate a briefing attended by victims’ relatives.
The biased shift: from bench to bedside

The biased shift: from bench to bedside

The day I applied for my Research Master at Maastricht University, my hope was to get accepted into the Fundamental Neuroscience track. But what is Fundamental Neurosciences, and why was that the track of my choice amongst the other equally interesting tracks? By definition, fundamental or basic neuroscience is research looking into the underlyi...

Recruitment of foreign students: more and more rivals in the field

MAASTRICHT. The influx of foreign students at Maastricht University is still the highest in the Netherlands, but there are more and more rivals, not just in the Netherlands, but also abroad. This was shown by the latest figures from Marketing & Communicatie.
Powerless

Powerless

“Please take a seat!” This is how we start the family meeting, my very first one with a doomsday scenario. We need to discuss the treatment options, although we do not foresee recovery; the patient’s health is worsening. The family wants answers that we cannot provide. They are desperate and shattered. Their father came in with a ...

Myth: Fascism ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis in World War II

Myth: Fascism ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis in World War II

This weekend, thousands of neo-fascists demonstrated in Rome to “take back the streets from the intruders”. Right hands were raised and slogans like “Italy for Italians; stop immigration, stop illegals, throw out all intruders” were shouted. Still, many people think that the fascist ideology ceased to exist after World War I...

UM researcher secures both a Vidi and an EU grant

UM researcher secures both a Vidi and an EU grant

MAASTRICHT. It has never happened before in Maastricht: a researcher who manages to obtain a Vidi grant from NWO and at the same time an ERC grant from Brussels, and that with a similar research proposal. It happened to Vera Schrauwen-Hinderling, researcher at Radiology and Human Biology. The question now is: will NWO withdraw the Vidi grant?
"In my country everyone wants to be right; here we agree to disagree"

"In my country everyone wants to be right; here we agree to disagree"

More than fifteen nationalities in a single study programme? For a number of Maastricht master’s programmes, such as Media Culture, Public Policy & Human Development and International & European Tax Law, this has become the norm. Observant looks inside one of the ‘international classrooms’ that do justice to the name: the ...
Trapped in a mind set

Trapped in a mind set

MAASTRICHT. The idea was conceived seven years ago and has been popular at universities ever since: train alumni to prepare students for or assist them on the labour market. The alumni, themselves already well-established in their fields, receive a crash course on how to get students thinking about their talents, their dreams and how they can turn ...

“Before I go to bed I always have a nice sandwich”

“Before I go to bed I always have a nice sandwich”

  Greed. Greed is important in football. It’s a team sport, but you definitely have to think of yourself. You’re assessed on your own merits. If you want to reach the top, you have to stand out. That’s especially hard for defenders. You can’t always just pass the ball on; you have to take the initiative yourself n...

Dutch councils queue up for regulated marijuana project

THE NETHERLANDS. So far 25 of the Netherlands’ 380 local authorities have come forward to say they wish to take part in trials to regulate marijuana production, broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday.
Leçon 9: Faire la bise – n´est pas si simple comme bonjour

Leçon 9: Faire la bise – n´est pas si simple comme bonjour

Whereas people in Germany (or the Netherlands) shake hands, wave hello or hug (depending on the level of intimacy), French people kiss. La bise is the French way to say hello, to say goodbye, to say thank you. In France, the handshake as a greeting, is seemingly reserved for formal encounters. It comes as no surprise then, that people your age will...

The Netherlands most common couple – two people with degrees

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch couples are now more likely to be made up of two people with a college or university degree, as women overtake men in the graduate stakes, according to new research from national statistics office CBS.
Connecting through mistakes

Connecting through mistakes

Being the new kid in school is often a challenge. At 10 years old, with little to no English vocabulary, I fully came to grips with that challenge when my family moved from Germany to the US. In the first weeks of school I not only had a lot of practice in keeping a straight face amidst a complete lack of understanding, but I also learned most thin...

Myth: Evidence-based healthcare treatments are automatically transferable to specific situations

Myth: Evidence-based healthcare treatments are automatically transferable to specific situations

How to decide which treatment, prevention programme or health policy to choose? For many doctors and policymakers the answer seems simple. You look at high-quality scientific studies and take the intervention that has proven to be the most effective. “This has its origins in medicine”, says Tamara Schloemer, researcher at the Department...

Not for profit, but for people

​MAASTRICHT. Make medicines for people, not for profit. That is the message from Universities Allied for Essential Medicine (UAEM), the worldwide organisation that also has a Maastricht department. For next week, these students have organised Access to Medicine (A2M) Week.
UM starts a physics group with a view to the Einstein Telescope

UM starts a physics group with a view to the Einstein Telescope

MAASTRICHT. A year or two ago, the Executive Board was hardly interested in the idea, but that has changed. There are no doubts anymore about the usefulness of a Maastricht Physics Group, studying gravitational waves. Moreover, it increases the chances of the Einstein Telescope coming to the South of Limburg in 2020.
"The best innovation is to stop all innovation"

"The best innovation is to stop all innovation"

MAASTRICHT. “You're a rebel. You argue against innovation, but we can't just leave everything as it was in education. It is all about holding on to what is good and getting rid of the ‘trendy stuff’, as you call it.”