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Entries for May 2017

“Banning corruption won’t happen”

“Banning corruption won’t happen”

Money laundering, match-fixing, nepotism, bribery. Corruption is business as usual at football clubs as well as at the highest governing bodies, such as FIFA. Last week, four law students organized a symposium on corruption and football. “Sports is a world of its own.”
UM neuroscientist nominated for Wetenschapstalent

UM neuroscientist nominated for Wetenschapstalent

MAASTRICHT. UM neuroscientist Michelle Moerel, researcher at the Centre for Systems Biology MaCSBio, has been nominated for the Wetenschapstalent 2017 competition. Moerel, who carries out research on the human hearing, is one of the 25 young scientists from the Netherlands and Belgium who were selected by the non-specialist journal New Scientist. ...

Dope is the largest student party again

MAASTRICHT. With a total of 23 seats - spread out over various councils - Dope is again the largest student party in Maastricht, while Novum, with fourteen seats, takes second place. The new party WE R SBE acquired two seats in the School of Business and Economics council, but was left empty-handed when it comes to the University Council. The seats...
End-of-Year Event

End-of-Year Event

MAASTRICHT. Sun, music by the Tuna guys, drinks, and a brand-new issue of Mosaïek, otherwise known as the interdisciplinary cultural magazine of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, which seemed to be defunct for a while, but has now been restored to life by a group of students. The first copy was presented to dean Sophie Vanhoonacker during th...

“My goodness, I'm learning a lot, I had such a naive view of the student world”

“My goodness, I'm learning a lot, I had such a naive view of the student world”

“This is great man, what a party! I am a little overwhelmed. Can I give six stars?” Professor Piet Eichholtz looks at his dessert with pleasure: a large brownie filled with (warm) raspberries, vanilla ice cream and a glass of Licor 43 Cuarenta, a Spanish liqueur. He was not only bowled over by the cooking skills of the board members of ...

“An open discussion about sexuality is taboo”

“An open discussion about sexuality is taboo”

Her life is at risk in Nigeria, because Judith (whose surname will be withheld for privacy reasons) is quite open about her sexual orientation in her home country. She is a lesbian, living and working as a human rights activist and who is now in Maastricht for three months. The Faculty of Law will take care of her as part of the Shelter City Progra...

Research at Law “very good”

MAASTRICHT. The unique profile claimed by the Maastricht Faculty of Law – international, multi- and interdisciplinary – that should distinguish this faculty from the other ones in the Netherlands, is no longer all that unique. All law faculties in the Netherlands now have the same ambition, emphasised an external committee that investig...

Edith Schippers hands over cabinet talks to new chief negotiator

THE NETHERLANDS. Efforts to form a new Dutch cabinet took a new turn on Monday when Edith Schippers, who has led the talks so far, said she wanted to hand the job over to a new negotiator.
A friend with a framework

A friend with a framework

MAASTRICHT. Imagine you’re a first-year who is feeling a bit lonely. You’d like to make more friends, but don’t know where to start. This is where the new peer support system that the student guidance team at the Student Service Centre is developing comes in. Student volunteers will be trained to help their peers in various ways, ...
“Free your body”

“Free your body”

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: capoeira. 
Getting inspired by Frida Kahlo, Dorothee Parker and microscopic slides

Getting inspired by Frida Kahlo, Dorothee Parker and microscopic slides

Name: Catalina Dutta, first year Research Master in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience (track Fundamental Neuroscience) Room size: 18 m2 (terrace: 10 m2) Monthly rent: 580 euros

Cyclist Tom Dumoulin is first Dutchman to win Giro D’Italia

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Former Maastricht university student Tom Dumoulin has won the 100th Giro d’Italia in Milan – becoming the first Dutchman ever to win the round Italy cycle race.

Dutch coalition talks reach stalemate as D66 picks up some of the blame

THE NETHERLANDS. Cabinet negotiator Edith Schippers has to go back to the drawing board in her efforts to form a stable coalition government after a second effort failed to win enough support.
Feeling four years all over again

Feeling four years all over again

Let me tell you, biking in Maastricht is a dangerous venture. One sunny evening, I was on my way to UM Sports. I packed my things and hopped on my bike. Little did I know that the alight would be anything but elegant. I cycled up Tongersestraat, entered the roundabout, enjoyed the sun, observed the people that were driving home from work, hit the b...

Coalition with ChristenUnie is the only option, chief negotiator says

THE NETHERLANDS. MPs from the Liberal democratic party D66 and the minor Christian party ChristenUnie will meet on Tuesday to discuss forming a coalition with the ruling VVD and the Christian Democrats.

The empty promise of social mobility

‘Social mobility’, ‘equality’ and ‘same chances for everyone’ are concepts which we hear quite often in Western Europe today. Everyone can climb the social latter nowadays. Attending a university does not indicate anymore that your parents are necessarily academics as well, or that your family is wealthy. Thes...

Big investors oppose Dutch minister’s 12-month ‘time out’ ahead of a takeover

THE NETHERLANDS. Large investors are rejecting the Dutch caretaker government’s proposal to allow a one-year ‘time out’ period before a takeover is completed.
May nature be on your side

May nature be on your side

I have been sick for a few days now and it just reminded me of all the things I simply hate about the Dutch healthcare system. It is expensive, slow, and not helpful, yet surrounded by white coats who will defend it until the last man standing. Actually, I think that doctors here spent the main part of their training learning how to defend their lo...

Myth: Dyslexics have an imbalance between the left and right hemisphere

Myth: Dyslexics have an imbalance between the left and right hemisphere

Rope-skipping, practising motor skills, ‘reading’ plastic letters with your fingers, or ‘flashing’ letters and words in the left or right visual field. These are all methods of treatment that are regularly offered to children suffering from dyslexia. But they don't help. “The idea behind them is that the left and r...

Start check-up of 40 student houses

Start check-up of 40 student houses

MAASTRICHT. The attaching of the small shield stating ‘Keurmerk Prettig Wonen’ (Enjoyable Living Quality Mark) to the façade of the student building on the Maastrichter Heidenstraat 7, last Friday, marked the starting signal for the check-up of forty student houses. It is a trial project and a unique event in the Netherlands.
"This is a unique drama"

"This is a unique drama"

Carré, a former cigar factory, was transformed into a student complex last summer. Studios with your own shower, partly furnished, supermarket on the ground floor, the city centre within walking distance, and 24-hour service: that was the marketing pitch. It sounded great, and pricey with a monthly rent of more than 700 euro. But since the first st...
Discover cultural Maastricht

Discover cultural Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. What does Maastricht have to offer in the cultural field? Young international people living in Maastricht can discover the city’s ‘hidden treasures’ at the new Meet Maastricht Festival from 26 until 28 May. There are over twenty activities, from meeting professional sustainable bee keepers to getting a guided tour thro...

Regulations adapted, rector may now be an outsider

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University’s internal regulations will be adapted in such a way that the rector no longer needs to be one of the UM’s professors. This intention is expressed in a proposal submitted to the University Council by the Executive Board this week. In the case of the appointment of deans, however, the rules remain unchan...
MERLN launches stem cell bank

MERLN launches stem cell bank

MAASTRICHT. When you see the photograph on the side, you don't immediately think: oh right, that is a piece of human brain. That is because the photograph was taken with the aid of a microscope. Moreover, the cells have been dyed blue to make them easier to see for studying purposes. The ‘piece of brain’ – removed post mo...

Spanish wine, Italian pasta, and cake on the deck

Spanish wine, Italian pasta, and cake on the deck

It's raining cats and dogs, so everyone arrives somewhat bedraggled at Sophie van Rijnbach's studio. Zjuul Bartels takes the biscuit, but fortunately he has the solution in his bag: a set of dry clothes. He puts on his bow tie just in the nick of time for him to rush downstairs to greet Ellen Blaak, professor of Physiology of Fat Metabolism...

Party leaders to meet to discuss next steps after Dutch coalition talks flop

THE NETHERLANDS. MPs from all parties will meet parliamentary chairwoman Khadija Arib on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the next stage in the cabinet coalition process, following the collapse of talks on Monday evening.
Me too kool

Me too kool

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: dancehall walk-in.

Dutch ministers vote for two-year ban on lobbying their own ministry

THE NETHERLANDS. The caretaker Dutch cabinet has approved new rules to try to stop former ministers taking up new jobs as lobbyists in a similar field.
Slow Academia

Slow Academia

You’ve heard of the Slow Food movement. Now there’s Slow Academia as well. Slow Academia is a response to the university as anxiety machine. To a creeping, aggressive brand of academic capitalism, characterised by rampant managerialism and an insidious audit culture. Resisting the neoliberal university, proponents say, means embracin...

From a non-insulated factory building to luxury student rooms

From a non-insulated factory building to luxury student rooms

MAASTRICHT. “And this is where the lobby will be. Imagine students with laptops and pizzas.” The guide giving the tour through the Sphinx building, points around him. At the moment, it is a construction site with wooden planks, dust, and cement everywhere. The only thing that is recognisable, is the lift shaft. In just over three months...

Europe, it’s all about peace

Europe, it’s all about peace

Are things getting better again with Europe? After his victory, Emmanuel Macron is accompanied by the tones of what we in Europe have come to refer to as the European hymn – Beethoven’s Ode an die Freude; Alle Menschen werden Brüder – when he walks towards his supporters. Better? That remains to be seen, because recent European hi...
“In Leuven, academic staff man the bar during a student party”

“In Leuven, academic staff man the bar during a student party”

“I found the house more quickly than I thought,” says Mien Segers, professor of Corporate Learning, as she enters Inge Tielen's apartment. “The address was a white stain on Google Maps. And Belgians always lose their way in the Netherlands.” Another fact about the Belgians: they never come empty-handed. Segers hands a ba...

New student party at SBE

New student party at SBE

MAASTRICHT. Totalling 44, more lists than ever before have been submitted for the university elections, to be held from 15 to 18 May. This means that employees and students have a wide choice. A new student party has actually been set up at the School of Business and Economics: WE R SBE. The party advocates better preparation for the labour market,...

BMJ editor-in-chief's lecture on sloppy science

BMJ editor-in-chief's lecture on sloppy science

MAASTRICHT. It is the first time that an editor-in-chief of a top scientific journal is appointed as a professor at the UM. Fiona Godlee, from BMJ (British Medical Journal), will give her inaugural speech ‘Better evidence for better health’, next week.
Teaching a computer about harmony

Teaching a computer about harmony

MAASTRICHT. What do Grammy winner Jacob Collier, food trucks, and Maastricht University researchers have in common? They are all part of Cross Currents, a new festival held in the Sphinxkwartier on Saturday 13 May, and organised by Jazz Maastricht. Four art and science collaborations will be presented at the festival, which combines music performan...
A bicycle that goes nowhere

A bicycle that goes nowhere

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.
Tackling gender stereotypes at the Maastricht Open debating competition

Tackling gender stereotypes at the Maastricht Open debating competition

MAASTRICHT. “These people have been unemployed for more than 15 years!”, was one of the participants’ motion during the discussion of gender stereotypes in the workplace and measures to break them. This was the topic discussed during the first round of the Maastricht Open, an international debating event organized by the Maastrich...
OPINION: The window is open but the curtains are closed

OPINION: The window is open but the curtains are closed

The University Council is transparent in theory, but a lot could be done on the practical points, says UCM student Sophie Silverstein in this opinion article.

Don’t pose for selfies on railway tracks, Dutch rail operator urges

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch rail company ProRail has launched an urgent appeal to people not to take selfies of themselves posing on or next to railway tracks.

Government awards €113m in subsidies for scientific research

THE NETHERLANDS. Six teams of scientists have been awarded a total of €112.8 million to carry out research into a range of disciplines from quantum computers to ancient Greek and Roman history.
‘Anti-Zionist event’ in UM building cancelled

‘Anti-Zionist event’ in UM building cancelled

MAASTRICHT. A meeting planned by Students for Justice in Palestine on 4 May in the Faculty of Law building, has been cancelled. The dean of the faculty, professor Hildegard Schneider, called it off on Tuesday. “One shouldn't organise political meetings in any of our buildings on 4 May.” Rector Rianne Letschert stated that she suppor...
“Randwyck? That is the dark side”

“Randwyck? That is the dark side”

Annelot Pannekoek makes her way up the stairs with difficulty. Someone stood on her toe yesterday; it was completely blue this morning. “Maybe even broken, but it appears that they can't do anything about that, so it would be useless to go to the doctor. I taped it myself.” She is the host today, but the last one to arrive – s...

Letter to the Dutchies

Letter to the Dutchies

Every time I talk to my supervisor I feel a bit guilty. It was and still is a struggle to address him on a first-name basis. Back home in Saudi Arabia you are expected to address people formally unless you are very good friends. In fact, if someone is older than you, you would always find an appropriate term for them. Now keep in mind that my super...

Guaranteed a room in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. New students who are unsure as to whether they will be able to find a room in Maastricht on time, may - as a one-off - use the so-called 'room guarantee arrangement'. The action is an initiative of the Executive Board. Two-hundred-and-fifty rooms have been reserved at the Guesthouse between 15 April and 15 June.
Oxford University Press journals behind a paywall

Oxford University Press journals behind a paywall

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Dutch scientists are soon to lose access to Oxford University Press journals, now that the negotiations with the association of universities VSNU on open access have failed.
Global Challenges: Nuclear Warfare and Extension Cords

Global Challenges: Nuclear Warfare and Extension Cords

MAASTRICHT. It is Friday morning 28 April in Maastricht, and the infamous MECC is buzzing with life. 512 student delegates, sitting in 13 regional, UN, and European simulation bodies are in session at the convention centre for EuroMUN, the annual Model United Nations. This year’s theme: Global Challenges – Pursuing Integration. This yea...
Along hissing swans and cursing loitering teens

Along hissing swans and cursing loitering teens

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: start running.

Rabobank posts security guards at ATMs to curb use of explosives

THE NETHERLANDS. Rabobank is posting security guards near some of their ATMs at night to protect them from aggressive thieves who use explosives to break them open. The bank said 79 ATMs were hit by explosives last year, Algemeen Dagblad reported on Wednesday.

Schippers under fire for plan to let police grab medical DNA records

THE NETHERLANDS. Privacy campaigners have attacked departing health minister Edith Schippers for reviving a plan to use DNA samples taken by medical staff in criminal investigations.

Students claim breakthrough with biodegradable car

THE NETHERLANDS. A team of students at Eindhoven’s Technical University have built the world’s first fully biodegradable car using flax fibres.