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Entries for February 2019

Laptop and Lattes

Laptop and Lattes

In almost any coffee shop you set foot into, you see someone crammed behind a laptop or stack of papers getting some work done. Why are people choosing to work in cafés these days? Is it just the hip thing to do? Fact is that technology has made the current working generation a lot more mobile. As most jobs don't require much more than a plu...

Health promotion research with an iPhone

Health promotion research with an iPhone

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Professor Rik Crutzen would like to know more about the mindset of people who follow an exercise programme. One that is based on data collected on mobile phones.
On plants and cancer, healthy eating and the nerve system of a caterpillar

On plants and cancer, healthy eating and the nerve system of a caterpillar

A more interactive programme with input from the audience – that’s the aim of Studium Generale’s new segment: Ask the Scientist. Over the past few months, people could send in their burning questions about life, the world, the universe. Last Tuesday, three scientists answered a selection of them in the Auditorium on the Minderbroe...
Two Japanese students at the Friday fish market

Two Japanese students at the Friday fish market

The cornerstone of the Friday market in Maastricht is the fish market. It’s a Catholic tradition to eat in moderation on the day of the week on which Jesus was crucified. In practice, this meant people ate fish on Fridays instead of meat – if they could afford to do so, that is. As a result, the demand for fish in the Catholic south of ...

Students criticise the UM Economics education

Students criticise the UM Economics education

MAASTRICHT. UM students have published an open letter in which they criticise the education at the School of Business and Economics (SBE), especially regarding some theories on banking. The letter went “viral” on Twitter and was supported by a few leading economists. The students hope that SBE will adjust the curriculum.
“Some are unfamiliar with the concept of a coaster brake”

“Some are unfamiliar with the concept of a coaster brake”

Luc Joosten/ 22/ fourth-year student of Medicine/ works on average 100 hours per month/ earning €10.59 net per hour

Britain is sleepwalking towards a no-deal Brexit, says Dutch prime minister

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has renewed his call to Britain to reach agreement on Brexit, describing the current British position as ‘unacceptable’.

Housing agencies are still charging tenants fees, despite court ruling

THE NETHERLANDS. Some 70% of rental housing agencies are still charging new tenants fees even though this is not allowed by law, broadcaster NOS said at the weekend, quoting the Dutch competition authority ACM.
Temporary homes; City Council discusses plans

Temporary homes; City Council discusses plans

MAASTRICHT. Stackable tiny houses or converted offices? Large-scale or preferably small-scale campus style locations? In Randwijck? The Maastricht City Council doesn't want to say anything yet about the proposals submitted for temporary accommodation. But plans are being discussed with four of the 26 initiators. Their plans can be executed befo...
The spark of joy

The spark of joy

Recently there has been a quiet revolution growing, and no, I am not talking about the women’s marches in the US, or the Brexit protests in the UK, or even the rallies against climate change across Europe. No. What I am referring to is the revolution against clutter: the Marie Kondo effect (I did tell you it was a quiet revolution). For those...

UM requests full unedited version Rambam

UM requests full unedited version Rambam

MAASTRICHT. Rianne Letschert, rector of Maastricht University has no doubts about the integrity of the Maastricht professors Fred Brouns and Rob Markus. But she does want an explanation and that is why she has requested the raw footage of the TV programme Rambam. In the broadcast of 24 January it appears as if the two UM scientists would be prepare...
On the renaissance of psychology

On the renaissance of psychology

MAASTRICHT. The famous American psychologist Steve Lindsay, who’s spending a few months in the Netherlands, recently contacted the legal psychologists at UM with a question. Was there any chance he could come for a visit? Of course, this wasn’t entirely random – Lindsay has co-authored several articles with UM researchers in the p...

The new engineer is about to arrive

The new engineer is about to arrive

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) wants to train a new kind of engineer. One who doesn't necessarily design the best product at the drawing table, but does take the footprint of things into account. This is the idea behind Circular Engineering, just one of the new study programmes that the faculty is planning.
Foretaste of Pint of Science

Foretaste of Pint of Science

MAASTRICHT. The idea originated in London a few years ago: put some scientists in a pub, let them talk about a certain topic and thus provide the broader public with an easy way of becoming acquainted with scientific research. That is what Pint of Science is: a three-day worldwide festival held in May. This year, for the first time, it will also be...
“People had no idea what they were voting for”

“People had no idea what they were voting for”

The big screen above the stage in the lecture room at UCM displays the question “Do people deserve a second chance?” . “Yes,” say fourteen people in the room. “No,” says the one other participant. And how about the British? Do they deserve a second chance? “Yes”: seven votes; “No”: eight v...

“I’ve lost my room key”

“I’ve lost my room key”

Mark van Slobbe/ 21 /second-year student of Dutch Law / works on average 10 hours per week/ earns 10,85 gross per hour

With one month to go, the provincial election campaigns kick off

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands goes to the polls in a month’s time to elect 570 new members for the 12 provincial councils and campaigning is now beginning in earnest.
Golden walls and high ceilings

Golden walls and high ceilings

Sophie van Leeuwen (Dutch, 22), student of Interdisciplinary Art, an autonomous programme of the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts, pays 550 Euros for a 35m2 room across the street from SBE on the Tongersestraat.  
 “My phrasing there is clumsy, unfortunate”

“My phrasing there is clumsy, unfortunate”

A researcher selling his soul to industry. That’s how Rob Markus, who holds an endowed chair at Maastricht University, was portrayed – unsuccessfully blurred out – in a broadcast of the Dutch television programme Rambam on Thursday, 24 January. He was quite willing to discuss the possibility of ‘guiding’ research ...
Early mornings

Early mornings

It’s quiet when I slowly wake up and carefully open my eyes. The big road that runs behind my house is still peaceful. Thoughts about life, things to do and so much more are racing through my mind. Is it late? Or is it so late that it’s already early again? It takes me a moment or two to completely orient myself. I can’t sleep. My...

Two UM-profs feel they were tricked in TV-programme

Two UM-profs feel they were tricked in TV-programme

MAASTRICHT. They were disguised but still recognisable: two Maastricht scientists who took part in the TV programme Rambam and portrayed as being prepared to provide positive research results for a charge. It concerned Chinese energy drinks. But the two, professors Fred Brouns and Rob Markus, feel that they were tricked. According to them...
Majority of staff is satisfied; assistant professors experience most work pressure

Majority of staff is satisfied; assistant professors experience most work pressure

MAASTRICHT. Most employees of Maastricht University are satisfied about their work and feel they have the qualities required to perform in their jobs properly. This is one of the outcomes of the Sustainable Availability Monitor that more than 2,800 employees completed last autumn.
“My patient wouldn’t do that”, most therapists think

“My patient wouldn’t do that”, most therapists think

Pretending that you suffer from an illness or disorder, for example in order to pocket compensation for damages. It happens more often than you would think. How do you separate the con artists from the patients? But also, how widespread is it? A Maastricht experiment showed that 94 per cent of the students would be inclined to do it.
Less harmony, more discussion

Less harmony, more discussion

MAASTRICHT. BridgeEurope, a European organisation that promotes discussion among as diverse a public as possible, feels that people agree with each other far too much and that is not a good thing. A Maastricht branch was set up a month ago.

School pupil climate protestors to meet prime minister on Tuesday

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte is to meet the initiators of last week’s school pupil climate demonstration on Tuesday afternoon. Economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes will also be at the talks, which are taking place outside school hours, Dutch media reported.
“Would you like to learn how to do a backflip?”

“Would you like to learn how to do a backflip?”

Emilie Wildschutz / 22 / third-year student in the Maastricht Science Programme / earns 9.84 euros gross per hour

Dutch in top five of most-quoted scientists, says new Dutch study

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands is in the top five countries whose scientists are most often quoted by their peers, Dutch scientific institute Rathenau has found.
Shake, kiss, hug

Shake, kiss, hug

I’ve lived in the Netherlands for almost 20 years, and still struggle with some aspects of Dutch culture. When do you shake hands? The moment of introduction is clear – both parties extend their right hands and shake, with a more or less firm and sweaty palm. But what about your colleagues? Should you shake their hands every time you se...

Becoming more democratic through the Liberal Arts

Becoming more democratic through the Liberal Arts

To prepare students to be good citizens in a democratic society is the central concern of education for Teun Dekker, recently made first professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Europe. Dekker intended his inaugural lecture on Thursday, the 31st of January, to be a “celebration of Liberal Arts education” and hence introduced his idea o...

Green light for FPN's quality agreements

MAASTRICHT. The University Council endorsed the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences' quality agreements last week. All faculties have now been given the go-ahead.
Getting people into the right mood

Getting people into the right mood

Imagine you, a researcher, are given a bag of money, unlimited time and personnel. What research would you do? Professor Bernadette Jansma would like to know what happens in the brain when people understand each other. Are they literally on the same (brain) wavelength?
Head of UM Sports leaves after eight months

Head of UM Sports leaves after eight months

MAASTRICHT. The head of UM Sports, Nico Freriks, has handed in his notice as of 1 February. He had the position since mid-June 2018. A difference of opinion concerning the “expectations, vision and future” of UM Sports was supposedly the underlying reason, says Pascal Breuls, director of Student Services Centre and Freriks' imm...
The best chips in town

The best chips in town

We’re about halfway through the Carnival season, which means beer consumption is increasing by the week. And is there anything better after drinking beer than having a generous serving of chips with a delicious topping? In other words, this is the perfect time for a chips test. It’s a Dutch cliché to eat chips with Belgians, but I&rs...

Executive Board supports WOinActie

Executive Board supports WOinActie

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board supports the protest movement WOinActie and will arrange transport in the case of sufficient interest. Rector Rianne Letschert said so last week during a plenary meeting of the University Council. This was to the dissatisfaction of the student fraction.
“Your wife isn’t pregnant?”

“Your wife isn’t pregnant?”

Luc van Galen/ 23/ fourth-year student of Medicine/ works about eight hours per week/ earning 11.35 euros per hour excluding evening and weekend surcharges

Cancer cases double in 30 years, skin cancer still on the rise

THE NETHERLANDS. In total, 116,000 people in the Netherlands were diagnosed with cancer last year and the number of skin cancer cases has gone up sharply in the last few years, the Dutch cancer institute IKNL said on Monday.  
Pause, not cancel

Pause, not cancel

MAASTRICHT. The 24-hour opening trial of the University Library (UB) will still take place, but it has been postponed for the time being. A number of neighbourhood nuisances must be dealt with first.