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Entries for December 2015

Passionate, open and transparent

Passionate, open and transparent

It was her very first job, the department of Epidemiology, at the beginning of the nineteen-nineties. An inspiring and stimulating environment, says Silvia Evers, professor of Public Health Technology Assessment. She is not the only one; about one third of the group climbed the ranks and became professor. The department chairman at the time played ...
“Suddenly I realised: I belong to a group. I’m a refugee too”

“Suddenly I realised: I belong to a group. I’m a refugee too”

Among the ranks of UM staff are a number of refugees or children of refugees. In this new Observant series, they talk about their lives before and after their flight from their home country, their views on the Netherlands, and their take on the debate about the refugee crisis. This week we kick off with medical doctor Chahinda Ghossein-Doha from Le...
“We take education for granted”

“We take education for granted”

MAASTRICHT. “The alarm wakes me up. Bah, I have to go to university today.” This is how Amnesty International Maastricht Students (AIMS) started their presentation last Thursday during the first Maastricht Human Rights Prize competition. Installed by former mayor Onno Hoes as a farewell present, the competition aims to get young people ...

Sooothai so delicious

Sooothai so delicious

The precise balance between sweet and hot elements is key to Thai cuisine. And it’s not an easy tightrope to walk, but when it works, it comes together on the plate gloriously. Sooothai, right opposite the gate of the School of Business and Economics (SBE), manages to get this delicate balance just right. They cook some of the best Thai food ...

Vocab Blunders from Down Under

Vocab Blunders from Down Under

“How’s 4:30 this arvo?” I’ve received a text from a friend because she wants to know what time we should meet in the UCM common room. I’m in class, so I’ve quickly written back. After class I see she still hasn’t responded. A little while later she finally does: “...avocado?” Thus begin...

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From sticky rice cake to latkes

From sticky rice cake to latkes

Christmas is hardly the only holiday celebrated at the end of the year, nor is turkey the main festive food on everyone’s table. Observant asked four students about their holiday food traditions.
Housing corporations sound alarm over ‘care in the community’

Housing corporations sound alarm over ‘care in the community’

THE NETHERLANDS. One in three housing corporations say they are experiencing more problems with difficult or troubled tenants since the government began decentralising mental health services and encouraging ‘care in the community’.
Where is Christmas?

Where is Christmas?

Usually, I celebrate Christmas like crazy. I start listening to Christmas music in the middle of November, I think about the presents I want, basically all year long and start buying presents for my friends and family in summer, already. And I love the atmosphere of cosiness, Christmas cookies and everybody looking forward to it when you stroll thr...

MPs call for flexible approach to funding degrees

THE NETHERLANDS. MPs from the ruling VVD and Labour coalition say students should be allowed to pay tuition fees for their university or college degree on a subject-by-subject basis.
Not knowing

Not knowing

Marcel (21): “I study Medicine. It regularly happens that, having studied a disease, I am convinced that I suffer from it myself. Despite my symptoms, my doctor keeps telling me that there is nothing wrong. But my worries remain. What can I do?”   Ingrid: About one in every three medical students experience physical symptoms ...

Deal between Elsevier and universities after all

Deal between Elsevier and universities after all

THE NETHERLANDS. The Association of Universities (VSNU) and publisher Reed Elsevier have reached an agreement in principle. At the very last minute. Because if no agreement had been reached by 31 December on the renewal of subscriptions and open access – free access to articles written on the basis of research financed by public funding ...

Pharmaceutical companies keep the price high, but medicines don’t need to be so expensive

Pharmaceutical companies keep the price high, but medicines don’t need to be so expensive

MAASTRICHT. It is about time that everyone has access to the right medicines, whether you live in America, Europe or Africa. At the moment the pharmaceutical industry has so much power that they can keep prices high. The UM wants to do something about this and signed the Socially Responsible Research and Licensing Policy this week. Ellen ...

Psychology maintains numerus clausus

MAASTRICHT. From the next academic year, seven of the ten university bachelor’s programmes in Psychology will no longer have a numerus clausus. Maastricht University will maintain the restriction because of the huge number of applications and the wish to provide the small-scale education. The universities of Leiden and Groningen are still dis...
At the top as well as very friendly and personal

At the top as well as very friendly and personal

Lisa Brüggen, senior lecturer of Marketing, knew that it had to be a woman if it was about her academic hero. “There are plenty of men who inspire me, but a woman at the top stimulates just that little bit more.” The choice was Mary Jo Bitner, professor of Service Marketing at Arizona State University.

The Netherlands scores many starting grants again, one for the UM

MAASTRICHT. The Netherlands secured no less than 32 European starting grants for young researchers this year. Only the United Kingdom and Germany received more. Maastricht obtained one grant; this will go to Dr. Anna Harris, who works at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The starting grants that the European Research Council (ERC) issues ...

Identities

Identities

Some time ago I was asked whether I consider myself a poet. My reply was quite an instantaneous "no". Writing poems does not make me feel necessarily a poet. Moreover, I don’t think it’s up to me to decide if I am a poet or not but rather to those who end up reading my writing and then go on to generate an opinion about it. On...

Running for resuscitation training

Running for resuscitation training

MAASTRICHT. Resuscitation training for secondary-school pupils is what UM runners will be sweating for on 17 January during the ‘Zweit veur Leid’ run. It is the third time that the University Fund/SWOL participates in a sponsored run with their own good cause. “It fits in well with our knowledge institute,” says Charlotte Gr...

Lustrum with three honorary doctors

Lustrum with three honorary doctors

MAASTRICHT. On the occasion of its fortieth anniversary, the UM is awarding three honorary doctorates during the foundation day celebrations. One goes to German pharmacologist Detlev Ganten, who has lectured his critics on more than one occasion. Another to American legal and political scientist Susan Rose-Ackerman, who is so versatile that almost ...
Science students win NWO competition

Science students win NWO competition

MAASTRICHT. Three students from the Maastricht Science Programme won the NWO Top Sector Chemistry Student Competition last week. Onno Akkermans, Mitch Spronck and Pegah Keshaniyan went home with one thousand euro each. They created a bit with a built-in miniature sensor that detects awake bruxism. In layman’s terms: teeth gnashing during wake...

Walking 9 km for the kids

Walking 9 km for the kids

MAASTRICHT. ‘The next generation’ is the theme of this year’s Serious Request event, during which three popular radio DJs are locked up for six days in a small, temporary studio. Donations will go to children in conflict areas. “The university just had to be involved”, said Ellen Breevoort of the UM working group, who ...

Arts and Culture

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The Netherlands scores many starting grants again, one for the UM

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands secured no less than 32 European starting grants for young researchers this year. Only the United Kingdom and Germany received more. Maastricht obtained one grant; this will go to Dr. Anna Harris, who works at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Donatello’s true Italian dishes – except for its tiramisu

Donatello’s true Italian dishes – except for its tiramisu

For those of you looking for some exciting, authentic Italian food in Maastricht, you’ll find Donatello’s restaurant at the very top of my list. Its menu features Italian favourites including bruschetta, garlic pizza crust, antipasti, a wide range of delicious pizzas, seafood and pasta and some of the finest meat dishes available. The p...

"Will I be able to correctly play that high bar in the Schubert piece?"

MAASTRICHT. On December 6th the Maastricht University Orchestra performed at Maastricht’s Christmas celebration ‘Magisch Maastricht’. Leading up to this, Sophie Silverstein, second violist and second year UCM-student, kept a diary.
Truffle pasta with 0.0006 truffle nominated for food con of the year

Truffle pasta with 0.0006 truffle nominated for food con of the year

THE NETHERLANDS. Aldi’s ‘richly filled” truffle pasta containing 0.0006% truffle and orange juice that has been made less sweet by adding water are just two of this year’s nominations for misleading food product of the year.
Practice what you preach

Practice what you preach

Tara (21): “I want to be the best student of my year and I am prepared to make sacrifices to achieve my goal. I study a lot and in doing so I regularly turn my friends away. Even though things are going pretty well – I get very good grades – I am very troubled when every once in a while my efforts don’t pay off. How can I de...

Youngsters more likely to earn minimum wage

Youngsters more likely to earn minimum wage

THE NETHERLANDS. At least 80% of Dutch workers earn more than the minimum wage but the under-23s are more likely to work for rock-bottom rates, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS.
A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

I’ve recently had the privilege to talk to two gentlemen closely involved in the nearing end-of-the-year fever. They have both given me two carols to convey to you, which I’m happy to share in this Observant issue. To each their own, and I’m sure everyone will recognize their own personal version of the Christmas madness that is a...

Belgium: a failed state?  Well…

Belgium: a failed state? Well…

‘Belgistan’ is a failed state, the media say and that is why it is having so much trouble curbing the jihad reign of terror. But in this analysis people are not seeing the whole picture, argues Georgi Verbeeck, Belgian, senior lecturer of History at FASoS and part-time professor at KU Leuven.
Jasper van Dijk (SP): “Too much English in higher education”

Jasper van Dijk (SP): “Too much English in higher education”

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Again the advance of English in higher education is a topic of discussion in Dutch parliament. Political parties SP (Socialist Party) and CDA (Christian Democrats) are worried and their education spokespersons have therefore organised a hearing on 10 December. One of those invited is Maastricht President of the Executive...
The terror of GDR athletes

The terror of GDR athletes

Cell biologist Werner Franke is a broad-shouldered, charismatic, very present man. It was this former head of the German cancer research institute who played a formative role in the career of UM professor Frans Ramaekers.
“Young researchers aren’t panicking – that came as a surprise”

“Young researchers aren’t panicking – that came as a surprise”

Twenty-eight days to go. Will the Dutch universities manage by 31 December to reach an agreement with the publisher Reed Elsevier? The arduous negotiations have been going on for months. Universities are only prepared to keep their wagons hitched to the publisher if it takes steps towards open access, making academic articles freely accessible. &ld...
The creative but noisy Ipanema

The creative but noisy Ipanema

Tucked away under the oak trees in the Charles Eyck park, right next to the river Maas, this charming café is perched in the far corner of the Bonnefanten Museum. Approaching from the museum’s front entrance, you could be forgiven for not even realising there’s a restaurant hidden in this beautiful round building.   Although the...

Creating a play from individual scenes

Creating a play from individual scenes

MAASTRICHT. The American Dream was their point of departure: what is it in fact, why does everyone want it? The students from drama association Alles is Drama subsequently improvised and elaborated on the theme. This resulted in a mix of made-up scenes and a new interpretation of existing monologues and pieces of music: Day/Dream. The show, directe...

Who does education, who does research; the board wants to know

MAASTRICHT. “Let the faculty councils put pressure on their boards to come up with the figures. We are waiting on the figures too.” It was not a radical student party that launched this appeal last week during the University Council meeting, nor a dissatisfied employees’ collective; remarkably, it was the Executive Board.
Snapimals

Snapimals

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Sinterklaas user guide: from steamboat to sweets

Sinterklaas user guide: from steamboat to sweets

The Dutch pop band Het Goede Doel sang Sinterklaas, wie kent hem niet, (Sinterklaas, who doesn’t know him) in 1982. But this saintly man is not so well known outside the Netherlands and Belgium. In various parts of Europe, a children’s party is celebrated in or around the day of Saint Nicolas’s death (6 December), but often a lot ...
Countless tables laden with books

Countless tables laden with books

MAASTRICHT. Every year the Boekenfestijn, a travelling event selling books at reduced prices that failed to be sold in stores, makes a stop in Maastricht. From November 26-29 the fair took place in the MECC, its yearly reoccurring venue.
Unfair treatment of misfortunes?

Unfair treatment of misfortunes?

The political situation in the world is heating up. It feels like there is always coming more. The last major shock shattering Europe was for many people the Paris attacks, which remain all over the news. What I feel and experience, being here in Istanbul, is that many people feel offended by the exaggerated news coverage of major events that shock...

A peaceful and pleasant atmosphere

A peaceful and pleasant atmosphere

Favourite spot of: Paula Echeverría, law student “Did you know that Maastricht used to be a much-desired position along the Meuse? For centuries, the Dutch and French kings fought over the town and its surrounding landscape. As a consequence, Fort Sint Pieter was built between 1701 and 1702. It was built by the French and then overtaken by...

100,000 bikes in Dutch council depots are never reclaimed

100,000 bikes in Dutch council depots are never reclaimed

THE NETHERLANDS. Of the 161,000 bikes confiscated by officials in the Netherlands’ biggest 20 cities last year, over 100,000 were never picked up by their owners, the AD said on Tuesday.