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Entries for April 2018

A food court or allow students to cook for students?

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University needs a new caterer or caterers in 2020. The project team behind the tender is using roadshows to gather input from the entire university community. Observant is following the project closely. In this second edition, the project team is operating on both sides of the Maas – in Randwyck and at the Sc...
Smile and pay

Smile and pay

The last time my mom visited we took a longer way back home after dinner. On our stroll we passed by a small corner store not far from the Volksplein. An antique hanging scale and eet meer fruit handwritten on a wooden board caught our eyes. While we were inspecting some old-fashioned Easter eggs and bunnies sitting among fruit boxes in the window,...

Stricter language policy

MAASTRICHT. As of next September, lecturers will have to pass a test to prove that they are highly fluent (level C1) in the foreign language in which they teach. In addition, Dutch students can do a course in academic writing, in Dutch. These are a few elements that catch the eye in the new language policy. If this policy doesn't get off the gr...
Hungarian university under fire: fight or flight

Hungarian university under fire: fight or flight

Things are getting tense: will business magnate George Soros’s Central European University weather the storm in Budapest, or be chased off by the right-wing, nationalist government of Viktor Orbán? The university’s rector Michael Ignatieff may be able to shed some light on the matter: in early May, at the invitation of Studium Generale,...
Playing badminton and enjoying food from home

Playing badminton and enjoying food from home

Once a year, Indonesian students from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany come together to play badminton – the most popular sport in their home country. At this year’s Maastricht Cup - last Saturday - fifty players competed for the prizes – while other visitors enjoyed the bazaar with authentic Indonesian food that’s ...

Learning to think about the impact of your research

Learning to think about the impact of your research

MAASTRICHT. Neuroethics – all ethical questions concerning brain research – is a field of study that is becoming more and more important with all the technological and other developments. The more we know about the brain, the more we should think about what we are going to do with that information. What are the consequences for research...
Loud people, interesting smells, vivid colors and tasty food

Loud people, interesting smells, vivid colors and tasty food

I have always liked the atmosphere in markets: loud people, interesting smells, vivid colors and tasty food. Quito’s market answers to all these characteristics, but also has some things that make it unique. The first thing that stroke me is the fruit variety. There are so many fruits I had never seen before, with funny shapes and colors. So ...

Rutte does U-turn and pledges to release documents on dividend tax

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte has promised to publish all memos relating to the government’s controversial plan to scrap dividend tax.
“The jam jar reminds me of my grandmother”

“The jam jar reminds me of my grandmother”

Phil Blades (23, UK), a second-year student of Arts and Culture, already has quite a collection of tattoos, even on his fingers. One of the most recent is on the inside of his upper arm: a jar of jam and the words ‘No more bad days’, a song by the American band This Wild Life. “My family lives on a farm in the middle of Yorkshi...

Pressure mounts on Rutte to publish memos on scrapping dividend tax

THE NETHERLANDS. The cabinet is coming under pressure to disclose which organisations lobbied for the abolition of dividend tax after it emerged last week that secret memos had been submitted to the parties during last year’s coalition talks.
Students desert Run Against Waste

Students desert Run Against Waste

MAASTRICHT. An enthusiastic organisation, a number of registrations via e-mail, lots of reactions on social media, two journalists, two photographers, but no participants. Last Tuesday, students massively gave the slip on the Run Against Waste: plogging, an event that was part of the Maastricht University Green Office’s Sustainabili...
Second edition Ladyfest in Maastricht

Second edition Ladyfest in Maastricht

Celebrating feminist, women, trans and gender-non conforming people – that’s what Ladyfest all about. This worldwide concept of a festival created within the community came to Maastricht for the first time last year. Now, the second edition takes place in the Mandril Cultural and Political Centre on 5 and 6 May. The programme is dive...

When storytellers become activists

When storytellers become activists

MAASTRICHT. How do storytellers relate to current pressing issues? When and why do writers, filmmakers and artists become activists? That’s the theme of the fourth Story-Line event, this Saturday in Lumiere Cinama. The English programme includes writers Priya Basil and Olumide Popoola, a short lecture about the documentary Bueys by film criti...

Guess Who?!

Guess Who?!

Who am I? The great existential question of the times – well actually the great existential question of the times for many people is more likely to be, ‘do I want soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, no milk, in my low-fat-no-fat-all-fat grande macchiato?’ But for those of us more inclined towards introspection, the ‘who am ...

Brussels calling

Brussels calling

The metro stop is a stone’s throw away. By car you’re there before you know it. There are several good restaurants within walking distance and a bronze statue of Field Marshal Montgomery stands guard by the door. Not far away is the city’s European Quarter. The new premises of UM Campus Brussels could not be better located.

Combatting stress with yoga and workshops

MAASTRICHT. The Educational Programme Committee of the Maastricht Science Programme was wondering how stressed their students actually are. A survey among 129 MSP students showed that the situation was more  favourable  than anticipated. It is true that they are practically all stressed at some time – especially during exam periods ...
Client Consultation Competition: a piano, cheap aeroplanes and synchronized watches

Client Consultation Competition: a piano, cheap aeroplanes and synchronized watches

MAASTRICHT. A pianist starts playing at the official opening of the International Client Consultation Competition (ICCC), hosted last Wednesday by the Maastricht Faculty of Law. All of a sudden a tenor stands up from the audience and starts to sing, as three others join him in performing the satirical composition So You Want to Write a Fugue? That&...

Complicated integration system is failing refugees, says new report

THE NETHERLANDS. The current system of integration courses and lessons for refugees is so complicated that many cannot find their way and the government needs to step in, according to new research by the Verwey-Jonker institute.
“The tattoo took seven sessions of three hours each”

“The tattoo took seven sessions of three hours each”

In 2013 Nadine Hillwig (25, Germany), a third-year psychology student, took a life-changing trip to India. To make sure she never forgot it, she got a ‘backpiece’: a tattoo of an elephant covering her entire back. “My then boyfriend and I had booked a trip to India. Two days before we were due to leave, he sent me a text messag...

Cost of shutting off Groningen gas mounts, minister in dispute with Shell, Exxon

THE NETHERLANDS. Economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes is embroiled in a dispute with Shell and ExxonMobil about the bill for closing the gas taps in Groningen, broadcaster NOS said on Friday.

First UM-wide bachelor’s programme being created

MAASTRICHT. If all goes as planned, the first real university-wide bachelor's programme will open its doors in September 2019. It is called Global Studies and is developed and produced by all of Maastricht University’s six faculties. The plan is about to be put before the University Council, after which the education minister will also ha...
Groene Loper

Groene Loper

On a cold April Saturday as a sad-eyed woman lets me in to see the flat she is giving up to move back in with her parents, leaving only advertising brochures for baby furniture behind, I spot a metal bridge over my shoulder at the end of the street. It’s doing the everyday things that pedestrian bridges do: holding up a sign announcing Praxis...

UM passwords leaked

UM passwords leaked

MAASTRICHT. Passwords for hundreds of UM e-mail addresses have possibly found their way out into the open. This was discovered through www.gotcha.pw, a search engine with leaked passwords. A hacker, going by the name of d0gberry, posted these online last week.
Tropical tunes, a maze and obscure stories

Tropical tunes, a maze and obscure stories

MAASTRICHT. For one night, Marres will be transformed into a jungle, Bonnefanten Museum into a maze, and the Dominicanen bookstore into a trendy club. During the Maastricht Museum Night on 13 April, thirteen art institutes will not only open their doors, but will also put on all kinds of performances and activities. For example, the Museum of Natur...

Majority researchers are guilty of sloppy science

Majority researchers are guilty of sloppy science

How sloppy is our science? Ninety per cent of the almost six hundred researchers in a survey admits to having crossed the line at least once. Mistake number one: mentioning an author who in practice hardly contributed to your research at all. This was one of the outcomes of a recent study by Erik Driessen, professor in Medical Education at Maastric...
“Researchers don’t have a clue about deadlines and word counts”

“Researchers don’t have a clue about deadlines and word counts”

Academics have an ethical obligation to write articles for a broad audience, partly to counter others who are less than expert in the material or who wish to manipulate us. This is the standpoint of the Melbourne-based guest lecturer Simon Clews, who is giving writing workshops all week at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Venezuela in Ecuador

Venezuela in Ecuador

A few weeks into my stay in Quito I find myself on a bus ride where a young man is holding a box of chocolate in one hand and in the other a big stack of bills. For every chocolate you buy, he gives you an additional Venezuelan bill of your choice. I choose the nice-looking 100 Bolivares note, which in 2017 has lost 96% of its value. Venezuela i...

Councils may get the power to impose local firework bans, AD says

THE NETHERLANDS. Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus is working plans which would allow local authorities to ban fireworks throughout the area they cover, rather than just bring in firework-free zones.
“Life seems very bleak and I don’t see the joy in anything”

“Life seems very bleak and I don’t see the joy in anything”

Marta Rusakiewicz (20, Poland), second-year student of European Law, got a tattoo of a compass rose on her ribs when she was 18. It was something she felt she ‘had’ to do. “I’ve been a sad person my whole life; my brain doesn’t produce happy hormones. Life seems very bleak and I don’t see the joy in anything. ...

Dutch councils use algorithms to identify potential social security fraudsters

THE NETHERLANDS. Several Dutch local authorities are using algorithms to predict if welfare benefit claimants are likely to be committing fraud, the NRC reported on Monday.

‘Unethical’ Dutch health insurers invest in expensive pharma firms

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch health insurance companies are investing millions of euros in pharmaceutical companies which charge extremely high prices for their drugs, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.

Finance minister plans tighter rules on bankers’ pay

THE NETHERLANDS. Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra is planning to tighten the rules on bankers’ pay in the wake of the row that blew up over ING’s proposal to raise its chief executive’s salary by 50%.