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Entries for December 2016

“The EU is like Noah’s ark. You can jump out, but you’ll drown”

“The EU is like Noah’s ark. You can jump out, but you’ll drown”

Twenty five years later, a number of the key players are back. On 9 and 10 December 1991, the Maastricht MECC hosted the European summit that led to the signing of Maastricht Treaty and, ten years after that, the introduction of the euro. The commemorative celebrations took place last Friday, with mixed feelings – but mostly the urge to fight...

Dutch bachelor’s of Arts and Social Sciences discontinued

MAASTRICHT. The Dutch programme of the bachelor’s of Arts and Social Sciences is to be discontinued. As of September 2017, students will only be able to choose the English variant of Arts and Culture. Although the language used during the course is English, Dutch students can choose to do their exams in Dutch, just like their papers and these...
A good cause and music: “It’s magic”

A good cause and music: “It’s magic”

MAASTRICHT. An intimate crowd gathers inside the Innbetween, which is decorated with warm lighting and a traditional Christmas tree, for the Unicef Charity Concert Thursday night. People chat and eat Mexican milk cake before the concert begins, which raises funds for children afflicted by the Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. An array of talented arti...

“The guys are ruined after six months. They can take their pick of the women"

“The guys are ruined after six months. They can take their pick of the women"

“You get the best piece”, says medical student Laura Oostewechel proudly as she places an enormous portion of vegetable quiche in front of Mathieu Segers, dean of University College Maastricht. “I don’t know if you’re allergic to anything?” And then, before waiting for the professor’s reply, “If so, t...

Looking for a facile pen?

Looking for a facile pen?

Would you like to learn how to be a better writer or get a taste of journalism? Observant is organising four writing workshop in March and April 2017, both in English and Dutch. The workshops can be taken separately and are given by professional journalists. We work in small groups of a maximum of 10 participants (minimum 6). Participants will...

Dutch overestimate size of the Netherlands’ Muslim population

THE NETHERLANDS. Members of the public in the Netherlands and other European states widely overestimate the size of their Muslim populations, according to an Ipsos Mori poll.

Separate train between Central station and Randwyck following transition chaos

MAASTRICHT – A separate train will be transporting passengers between Maastricht central station and Maastricht Randwyck at least until the next week. The additional train departs four times per hour in both directions. Public transporter Arriva will announce when the regular schedule will be continued. The takeover of public transpor...

“If you want to change politics, hell, don’t wait for an invitation, get organised”

“If you want to change politics, hell, don’t wait for an invitation, get organised”

“A European patriot loves his country and the values our societies are based on; a nationalist is someone who hates other countries. Let’s become European patriots.” In a packed Bonbonnière on the eve of the anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, a passionate Frans Timmermans, first vice president of the European Commission, debate...

Congestion and delays as commuters adjust to new train timetable

THE NETHERLANDS. Rail passengers are getting used to the most wide-ranging overhaul of the national train timetable in nearly 10 years, with 98% of commuters facing a change to their routine.

Dutch to ban cyclists from using mobile phones, apart from hands-free

THE NETHERLANDS. Transport minister Melanie Schultz is to introduce new legislation banning cyclists from using their mobile phones unless they telephone hands-free and using headphones.
The dog days are over?

The dog days are over?

In Serbia, it is generally believed that animals in western countries have more rights than the average Serbian. The well-dressed and happy looking pets I’ve seen in the Netherlands, and the fact that the Dutch even have an animal rights party in the parliament make me think that the Serbian wisdom is true. Statistics show that about 40% o...

Spanish Europe

Spanish Europe

“You guys in Europe are different. You have a different way of seeing the world. I like Europe - everything is very well organized and there are a lot of opportunities.” My Blablacar-driver, just back from visiting his girlfriend in Southern England, surprises me. Not because he talks about the level of organization in other countries -...

How to cope with the workload and find Cato by Cato

How to cope with the workload and find Cato by Cato

MAASTRICHT. “You meet new people and learn more about the university yourself, it’s a win-win situation”, that’s how the buddies of the International Student Ambassador Programme described their time showing new international students around. Last Wednesday, Maastricht University invited them to the Lumière to reward th...

Making the world a little cleaner in Chemelot

Making the world a little cleaner in Chemelot

In a few years’ time you might find yourself sleeping under a blanket of sustainable plastic; plastic so refined and ‘natural’ it can be used to make textiles. Or perhaps your smartphone cover will be plastic made from sugar beets. At the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM), research is underway on the devel...

Debate on teaching load dies away in numerical mess

MAASTRICHT. Where is the extra staff meant to relieve the pressure of work but especially ‘teaching load’ for academic staff? Members of the University Council are racking their brains over the continually changing figures and are bickering with the Executive Board about ‘standard hours’ and ‘task loads’. A workg...
“In four years’ time, I want to be a Doctor and a doctor”

“In four years’ time, I want to be a Doctor and a doctor”

Nousjka Vranken (25), first-year physician and clinical researcher, can’t really say there was a special moment when she thought: ‘I want to be a researcher,’ but by now everything is pointing in that direction. For four years, she has worked part-time as a research assistant at MUMC+’s department of Heart Surgery, two years...
Fewer Dutch students choose a UM programme

Fewer Dutch students choose a UM programme

MAASTRICHT. For the first time in the history of Maastricht University, fewer than half of the students are from the Netherlands (48.2 per cent). The number of Dutch students coming here for the first time to study, is even lower than that: 35.5 per cent. In particular Dutch bachelor students are less inclined to choose the South Limburg university...
Observant Christmas tree in Guesthouse

Observant Christmas tree in Guesthouse

MAASTRICHT. They were busy preparing for their Secret Santa – drawing lots and planning ‘pakjesavond’ as one does for the Dutch Sinterklaas – when the group of exchange students on the fourth floor of the Guesthouse on the Brouwersweg suddenly felt the need for a real Christmas tree. Priyanka Kanthan, Ilesha Bapat (both from...

Access to wireless internet is a basic necessity: Dutch minister

THE NETHERLANDS. Access to wireless internet is a basic necessity for everyone in the Netherlands, according to Dutch economic affairs minister Henk Kamp.
“Irritating, students who clap after a lecture”

“Irritating, students who clap after a lecture”

First, the name: why on earth would a korfball club call itself De Hippo’s? And where did that mischievous hippopotamus in the logo come from? According to president Yvonne Simons, the women who founded the club 25 years ago were not exactly skin and bones. What’s more, they all lived in the Heugemerveld district, which is dotted with t...

Ministers want more controls on foreign funding of foundations

THE NETHERLANDS. The cabinet wants to bring in new rules about foreign finance for foundations, following concerns about the source of some cash sent to mosques and other Islamic institutions.
We went to the beach

We went to the beach

We did our homework in the sun. We despaired over the rain: “Can I go out in my flip-flops today?” We despaired over the workload. We rejoiced when we got good grades.  We slunk off and got a Gingerbread Latte in the café across from the bookstore for comfort if our grades were not so good.  We wanted to join all the clubs ...

Dutch prime minister says migrant boats should be sent back to Africa

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte has called for migrant boats intercepted off the coast of Italy to be towed back to safe countries in northern Africa.

Dutch foreign minister ‘will argue’ for a freeze on accession talks with Turkey

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders has told parliament he is prepared to argue in favour of temporarily suspending talks with Turkey about EU membership following pressure from MPs.