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Entries for March 2017

Integration

Integration

Exactly one year ago, I was terrified by what I thought were KKK-soldiers invading my town with burning torches as their only weaponry. Semana Santa (holy week before Eastern) in Granada was not only an exercise in ‘how to effectively find your way through a crowd without being robbed and/or feeling like your private space is violated’,...

Shelter City programme to be continued

Shelter City programme to be continued

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht intends to continue the Shelter City programme. This was decided by the city council after a trial period of two years. This initiative by Justice and Peace Netherlands enables foreign human rights defenders to recover for a period of three months, to work and study in a Dutch city. At the moment, eight cities are participati...

Myth: International organisations have too much power

Myth: International organisations have too much power

International organisations such as NATO and the United Nations were founded after the Second World War, just like the predecessor to the European Union, the European Coal and Steel Community. Some people feel that they are too powerful and that too much money is spent on them. But is that in fact the case? Yes, international organisations have be...

Playing in the museum during Museum Night

Playing in the museum during Museum Night

MAASTRICHT. Swooshing down a slide in the Bonnefanten Museum, lip-syncing to Elvis, or dancing to night-time sounds of nature. All of these are possible during the Maastricht Museum Night on Friday 7 April. Thirteen art institutions will open their doors for the evening. Visitors can go to the Muziekgieterij after 1 o'clock for the after-party....
Ringing the doorbell in case of noise

Ringing the doorbell in case of noise

MAASTRICHT. During the next six months, the city of Maastricht will send enforcers out at night every week, to deal with noise disturbance. Student buildings will be their targets.
It all started with a box of bananas

It all started with a box of bananas

MAASTRICHT. One day FASoS student Klara Strecker saw a catering employee throw bananas away at closing time in the university library. “She had to, because of regulations, but they were perfectly all right.” Someone has to do something about this, she thought. Last Friday Food Sharing Maastricht won the Student Idea Competitio...
Slow information for busy FASoS students

Slow information for busy FASoS students

MAASTRICHT. As of two weeks ago, FASoS students can find not only freshly brewed coffee and carrot cake at Banditos, but also a new shelf on the left dedicated to newspapers. The faculty agreed to pay a total of €1,049 per year for student subscriptions to The New York Times, Die Zeit, The Economist and Le Monde Diplomatique.
On the brain, emergency surgery and intubation

On the brain, emergency surgery and intubation

They don’t have obnoxious traditions, they’re not braggarts and, with the exception of a stray biomedical scientist, they all study medicine. Hence the fraternity name e Causa Ignota, which means ‘of unknown origin’. Or in other words: “You’re sick and we have absolutely no idea why.” Take a deep breath, be...

Dutch amusement parks, museums to ban smoking while you wait

THE NETHERLANDS. In total, 21 Dutch tourist attractions and amusement parks are to ban visitors from smoking while they queue up, Dutch media reported on Tuesday.
Much more than hitting a small ball really hard

Much more than hitting a small ball really hard

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: squash.

Schippers ‘to stay on to lead coalition talks’

THE NETHERLANDS. Departing health minister Edith Schippers is set to continue in her role co-ordinating talks to form a new Dutch government, sources have told the Telegraaf.
Motherhood: The job not everybody has to apply for

Motherhood: The job not everybody has to apply for

I recently read that great article: “By the way, you do not have to breed”. It addresses the issue of women who choose not to become mothers. In fact, it provides strong support for them. Usually, only childless women themselves understand and support other child-free women. But this fine piece was written by a mother of two! Hey, final...

Halal and vegan on the way

Complaints work, concludes student member of the University Council, Thomas Vaessen. Last December, he held a minisurvey among students and employees on the selection of products offered in the university restaurants and the other catering ‘concepts’ by caterer Albron. Respondents’ wishes included more variation, more halal, more ...

FASoS: proposal submitted and immediately brushed aside

MAASTRICHT. Would it not be a good idea if student council members were to receive ECTS credits for their work? This idea was proposed by some of the student members during the last council meeting at the Faculty of Arts and Culture. This was not for their own benefit, but to make council membership more attractive in the future, they said. After a...

Myth-busting a myth busting

Myth-busting a myth busting

“Many ME-patients suffer from tremendous exhaustion for days after exercise, the so-called post-exertional malaise, or PEM. There were doubts as to whether the large British PACE trial was correct,” said professor of Internal Medicine and Immunology Jan Willem Cohen Tervaert, a couple of weeks ago in the Myth Busters- series of Observan...
‘Digital Transformations’ to be the third FASoS bachelor's

‘Digital Transformations’ to be the third FASoS bachelor's

MAASTRICHT. Digital Transformations will be the third bachelor's programme at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, opening its door - if everything goes according to plan - in 2019. This is a “working title”, emphasises dean Sophie Vanhoonacker, for an interdisciplinary programme aimed at providing insight into a variety of...

Unemployment among UM graduates drops, but not for all

MAASTRICHT. Things are looking up for graduates of this university: unemployment among them is dropping steadily, although Psychology and especially Law graduates are lagging behind considerably. The latter faculty is surprised at the results.  
“My oldest would have liked to come tonight”

“My oldest would have liked to come tonight”

“Wait, wasn’t my bike right here?” Your reporter looks around in surprise. It’s 10:30 pm; the dinner in the flat at the Bourgogneplein went late. All that’s left of the bike is a broken chain lock. “Is yours still here, Jean-Jacques?” Professor Herings, the guest of honour, spots his bike still parked a lit...

How to pick a mandrake without being killed

How to pick a mandrake without being killed

MAASTRICHT. A beetroot up your nose will do wonders for a cold, tobacco improves a sore throat and mandrakes should always be picked by a dog. Folklore abounds in the historic herbal books on display at Realm of Herbs (Kruidenrijk), three mini-exhibitions curated by students and spread around Maastricht: Centre Céramique, the University Library and...
“It’s difficult not to envy others”

“It’s difficult not to envy others”

To most students, life feels awash with possibility. The vast array of opportunities and choices leaves many overwhelmed. Confronted with everything on offer, they struggle to choose and commit. But that doesn’t go for all students. “I don’t want to say you’re spoiled, but you are highly privileged.”
"I had to keep repeating: this is really reality"

"I had to keep repeating: this is really reality"

On Friday night, March 17th, all chairs are filled in the InnBetween, in anticipation of hearing Samar Yazbek talk about her two books, Woman in the Crossfire and the Crossing. Yazbek is originally a novelist but her desire to cover the Syrian conflict has lead her two books to hover half-way between journalism and fiction. They cover her experienc...

Discrimination complaints soar, people ‘unaware’ of stereotype impact

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch human rights council College voor de Rechten van de Mens received 3,143 complaints about discrimination last year, a rise of almost 1,000 on 2015
 Steps with their own pace

Steps with their own pace

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: modern dance.
Rutte seeks ‘stable’ coalition of four parties for next cabinet

Rutte seeks ‘stable’ coalition of four parties for next cabinet

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte is looking to put together a ‘stable’ coalition of four parties following last week’s election.

Start practising your lobbying-skills

MAASTRICHT. Hundreds of students from all over the world will get a taste of what it is like to be a country’s delegate at an international conference during EuroMUN, 26-30 April in the MECC. They will form thirteen committees which will think about and come up with solutions for global issues during this simulation event. 
Maastricht, slow it down

Maastricht, slow it down

“We can go out tomorrow?” – “No, sorry, have a deadline the next day, need to work on it.” – “No problem. What about next Monday then?” – “Not possible, my student association meeting is on this day.” – “Alright. But are you joining for the party next Thursday?” &nd...

Act normal

Act normal

Nothing about global politics over the last year has felt ordinary, but that didn’t stop the prime minister, Mark Rutte, from calling for more “normal” a few weeks prior to yesterday’s election. “Sometimes it seems as though nobody behaves normally any more,” he wrote in an open letter to the Dutch people. In ...

VVD wins 33 seats but coalition partner Labour is hammered

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte claimed victory in the Dutch general election on Wednesday night and with 93% of the votes counted, is set to win 33 seats in the 150 seat lower house of parliament.

Executive Board does not convince SJP students

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht department of the Students for Justice in Palestine organisation says that they are “extremely disappointed” with the viewpoint and the argumentation given by the Executive Board regarding SJP’s proposed boycott of IT company Hewlett-Packard.
"You can't make a Dutchman from a Chinese"

"You can't make a Dutchman from a Chinese"

To what extent is the behaviour of managers influenced by culture? Former UM professor Geert Hofstede was the first to ask that question and in doing so became world-famous. His book Culture’s Consequences (1980) has been quoted more than 80 thousand times. American research is doubtful about his conclusions, claiming that it is in particular...
Eating cakes and dancing for a good cause

Eating cakes and dancing for a good cause

MAASTRICHT. Is there anyone here with salsa experience? Two hands are raised. “Great, there is a lot of work to be done,” concludes instructor Saiyd Sinlae, who is leading this Rag Week workshop on behalf of student dancing association Let’s Dance. He divides the group of people who have gathered here at Dancing Centre Bernaards o...

Inkom theme: Legends of Tomorrow

Follow your heart and your intuition, said Apple founder Steve Jobs in the trailer for the Inkom 2017 theme. “They somehow already know what you truely want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Harry Potter writer JK Rowling reminds us that the world doesn't need magic to change something. “We carry all the power we ...

Kissed? That’s an understatement. “They were wrapped around one another”

Kissed? That’s an understatement. “They were wrapped around one another”

They’re wrecked, the four students from the independent sorority Schanulleke. Last night they partied the night away during the annual Chic Sat Club Night at the Mondial club in Beek. Myrthe Bovendeaard even kissed “a very nice someone”. Kissed? That’s an understatement, according to Dana Vervloet. “They were wrapped a...

“If you hear someone call out, never turn your head around”

“If you hear someone call out, never turn your head around”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Fencing.

General election 2017: The Netherlands goes to the polls as Europe watches

THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands goes to the polls on Wednesday to elect 150 members for the lower house of parliament and a new government.

Turkey suspends high level contacts with the Netherlands as dispute escalates

THE NETHERLANDS. Turkey has suspended high level contacts with the Netherlands as the diplomatic row between the two countries continues to escalate.

Dutch diplomatic row with Turkey simmers

THE NETHERLANDS. The war of words between the Netherlands and Turkey has deepened as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the international community to impose sanctions on the Netherlands.
I want to be happy

I want to be happy

What I really want is to be happy. I would love to have a small family of four. A daughter and a son, living somewhere scenic where the children can go play outside safely. Yes, sure I would like to have enough money to be able to enjoy life, but I am definitely not aspiring to be filthy rich. I do not see the point. This is the typical respons...

About birds, dogs, cactuses and cows

About birds, dogs, cactuses and cows

Name: Marion Meyers, first year Knowledge Engineering Room size: around 16 m² Area: city center Monthly rent: 490 euros

No boycott on HP computers

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University will not participate in a boycott on Hewlett-Packard (or HP) products, including computers. The Executive Board denies that HP is guilty of violating human rights. This is what president Martin Paul wrote in an elaborate answer to the question raised by Michael Dijkstra, former student member of the University Coun...

Myth: ME is a mental illness

Myth: ME is a mental illness

Patients are not just a little bit tired, but are permanently exhausted. Sleeping doesn't help much - if they can sleep properly at all - and they usually pay a high price for any physical exertion: remaining even more tired than they were, for days on end. According to the present medical state of affairs, patients suffering from the chroni...

“I have a better future than TTIP”

“I have a better future than TTIP”

MAASTRICHT. The Aula at the Minderbroedersberg is filled on Tuesday evening with students on a mission: they are preparing to sound out Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, on the current political climate in a question-and-answer session as part of the Ambassador’s Lecture Series. Minister Koende...
“If you’re not going to vote, you have no right to say anything”

“If you’re not going to vote, you have no right to say anything”

Almost all of the 56 Maastricht students who participated in a survey conducted by Observant were planning on voting in the election on 15 March. A large number had consulted the Stemwijzer and other tools, but haven’t yet decided who to vote for. For many it’s a toss-up between D66 and the VVD. GroenLinks was mentioned frequently as we...
A licence to kill ... and to hug

A licence to kill ... and to hug

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics now has communities of sixty students, pools in which tutors collaborate and a new set of research themes. The “strategic renewal” will reach into every corner of the faculty – and it is already in full swing.
“Please, don't compare Majid Abdullah with Cruijff”

“Please, don't compare Majid Abdullah with Cruijff”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: indoor football.

Eight master's programmes absolutely top notch, one or two below par

MAASTRICHT. Eight Maastricht master's programmes belong to the absolute top ranks in the Netherlands, says the Keuzegids Masters 2017, which was published last week and investigated 42 of the 51 Maastricht master's. One or two UM programmes score below average. Maastricht University as a whole is in second place in the category of ‘ge...
“We have a drink together every Tuesday evening. Chocomel”

“We have a drink together every Tuesday evening. Chocomel”

“Can we do anything?” Bas van de Valk asks Thara van der Borgh and Ilse van de Wijgert, who are busy in the kitchen. “No, everything’s ready, go sit down. Do you guys want a beer?” says Van de Wijgert, the host of the evening. Van der Borgh laughs: “We have a traditional division of labour tonight. Not deliberate...

Afghan, Iranian children lead the pack, says study of 1990s refugee wave

THE NETHERLANDS. Children among the 96,000 refugees who came to the Netherlands from Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s are well integrated into Dutch society, according to a justice ministry report.

Election steps up a gear as Rutte joins rivals in TV debate

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte entered the debating arena for the first time in the election campaign as eight party leaders went head-to-head in Amsterdam’s Carré Theatre.