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Entries for June 2009

Which cooking books do you need?

How many cooking books do you have? In his hilarious The Pedant in the Kitchen, novelist Julian Barnes suggests that the correct answer is a) 'not enough' and b) 'too many' in equal measure. (If you answered c) just enough, you are either disqualified for lying or for not being interested in food.) I tend to agree. By now, I have a small collection...

“Maybe you’re not aware of it, but we study now and then”

Flying to America, camping in France or hiking in Britain. Most students are preparing for their holidays. But why should they get to enjoy the Spanish sun or book a three-week stay in Greece? Students don’t need to go on holiday because student life is one big vacation. Right or wrong?
I couldn't stay with my parents the entire summer

I couldn't stay with my parents the entire summer

As the academic year comes to an end and the last papers, skills projects and resits are being overcome, most students are preparing for a few weeks away from Maastricht. Summer plans come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from internships, language courses, adventurous backpacking trips or relaxation at the family home while being cooked for and pa...

MusicalKoor

MusicalKoor

‘A brand new day: There is a new choir in town’. This is the name of the concert that the recently established MusicalKoor Maastricht, conducted by Jacqueline Nelissen, will perform on Saturday 27 June. The choir, which was founded in September 2008, already has a lovely programme on offer. Famous songs like ‘A brand new day’, ‘Little shop of horro...

FEBA wants Germans with an international attitude

FEBA wants Germans with an international attitude

Figures from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration show that a large part of the new batch of International Business students will be first-years from Germany. The student council members, who have been asking for a more diverse student population for quite some time, are shocked.

The Independent jubilant about the UM

A jubilant article about Maastricht University in the respectable British newspaper The Independent: it is an achievement that the ‘UK country team’, responsible for ideas to get more British students to come to the UM, can be proud of.

300 per cent growth

If all students who have enrolled for a study at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, actually show up, there will be a problem. Words to that effect were spoken last week during the faculty council meeting. In the worst-case scenario, a thousand first-year students will be ready to start European Studies in August, three times as many as this ...

Wateriness is the enemy of spinach

I know that it is a commonplace in popular culture that children supposedly don't like spinach, but I have to say, I don't buy it. I always liked spinach, in fact I adore it, not only due to Popeye the Sailor. My hypothesis is that if you don't like spinach, you've probably only tried it in a badly prepared way. There is one very important rule: d...

Hope to see you soon

Hope to see you soon

She was born in the north of the Netherlands, went to high school in Great Britain, is now studying at University College Maastricht and has just left for the United States. Marie Zwetsloot loves living in an international environment, but finds it difficult to leave her friends and family again and again. She asked herself and other students: what...

“Ahmadinejad is not my president”

Iranian students and employees at Maastricht University seem eager to voice their opinions on the Iranian elections last week. Many have emailed Observant links to websites with photos and videos of the police beating protesters. So did Ahmadinejad tamper with the votes or not? As one student alleges, “Ahmadinejad and his group hijacked our country...
Immigration country? No thanks!

Immigration country? No thanks!

As recently as last week, the Dutch minister for Integration, Eberhard van der Laan, said that he wanted to restrict the “constant” influx of import brides. Family reunification has always been a delicate topic in the Netherlands, as appeared in the Maastricht thesis by Arts and Social Sciences student Saskia Bonjour.

Student helps steal cars

A student from Rotterdam helped his father steal six cars. He provided the software that enabled the thieves to disable the immobiliser systems. The 22-year-old student confessed in a Rotterdam court on Thursday, reported daily newspaper Algemeen Dagblad. The student had a computer programme on his laptop that is used by mechanics for Seat, Audi an...

Best recruiter

Best recruiter

This year, many more Belgians (250) enrolled for a study at Maastricht University than last year (150). This was all thanks to the efforts of the Belgium Team, which was acclaimed the best countries’ team. Best recruiter was Chantalle Berghmans, who works at the department of communication and customer relations management. The award ceremony was ...

UM popular

Warning: the pre-enrolment figures are no guarantee for the actual enrolments next September. Some school-leavers apply for several studies at the same university, others register with the UM as well as a few other institutes. Despite all the ifs and buts, latest figures (dating from 8 June) look good for Maastricht University: 4,842 enrolments for...

Awkward men in shorts

“I like to bring some French bread, cheese and grapes – it’s simple and easy to share”, one student says. Her friend adds, “It goes well with the red wine”, as she slyly sips it out of a reused tetra-pack. It’s one of the first actual sunny evenings this week and, as expected, Maastricht’s parks are crowded with sun-hungry and outdoor-loving peopl...

Coup Maastricht

Coup Maastricht

Coup Maastricht, a joint venture of graduating students in theatre, music, architecture, art and design, is soon to take place for the 15th time. From Friday 26 June to Monday 5 July, the young artists will showcase their work in concerts, presentations and exhibitions. The Timmerfabriek, for example, will host an exhibition by students of autonom...

“In our days we read literature”

Maastricht wants to become a book city. Not least because surveys tell us it is home to the best bookshop in the Netherlands – De Tribune in the Kapoenstraat – and the most beautiful bookshop in the world – Selexyz in the Dominicanerkerkstraat 1. But what about the students, who make up a large proportion of Maastricht’s consumers? Are they true re...

A fruit based beer is good for aperitif

One peculiar little detail I found in a book about traditional Belgian cooking was that as many pages were devoted to beer as to wine. Belgian beer culture is truly special, and thanks Maastricht's location, it shows here as well. Of course, other countries also have elaborate traditions of brewing, and Dutch brands like Gulpener and Brand are...

Always online

Maastricht University and the city council have advanced plans to set up a wireless network in the city centre. Students and staff would then be able to log onto the Internet free of charge from outdoor cafes. A pilot is scheduled to start soon. The total cost has been estimated at 7.5 million. The university considers this network an additional f...

Inkom should bring all nationalities together

Jazz singer Sabrina Stark will be one of the opening acts at the Inkom in August. This is one of the details revealed by the working group last Tuesday during a drink at the Kruithuis. More importantly: this will be the first Inkom with mixed groups. The aim is to improve integration between nationalities. Student associations are not entirely plea...
Summer Deejays

Summer Deejays

After a few weeks of great weather, the amount of sun has decreased and precipitation increased. With some wishful thinking, the weather should shift by 19 June, when the Summer Deejays festival will take place.  This biggest outdoor dance event for students in Maastricht starts at 15.00 and lasts till 22.00, which should give you plenty of t...

iPod touch winner

It seemed like a piece of cake, but the little Observant competition, organised to mark the launching of the new Observant website, proved quite tough for many. Almost two thirds of the 92 participants did not get all the answers correct.

I felt weird just throwing everything into one bin here

In recent months the talk about sustainability seems to have increased. This is partly due to most political parties making it a point of focus in their campaigns; after all, Green sells! One possibility to live more sustainably is to recycle. The City of Maastricht seems to have hopped on the wagon and now offers its citizens the possibility to re...

How to survive Maastricht

How to survive Maastricht

Suppose you were born and bred in India, China, Mexico or Germany, and you choose to study at Maastricht University. You find yourself suddenly dealing with a different culture, language and study environment. The culture shock is often quite intense. The language centre has developed a Survival Skills for the PBL classroom and beyond course, espec...

Poster Ouranos (2)

In a recent letter, published in this section under the title Poster Ourasnos, an exchange student at the Faculty of Law complained that an image used in a debate poster offended her religious sensibilities. While I do not question the sincerity of Saiqa Riaz, I feel compelled to respond to what read like an implicit threat to violence in her lette...

Poster Ouranos (3)

Dear Saiqa, Did it ever come to your devoted mind that the cartoon concerned, save for the opinion of a marginal artist, rather embodies a much wider issue that is thought provoking enough to hold countless discussions? To be more precise, it is the symbol for a course of action that commenced with a simple drawing and for some reason escalated in...

In Belgium there are posters everywhere

In Belgium there are posters everywhere

“In Belgium, there are posters everywhere, but the only ones I’ve seen here are the ones on the billboard at the Koningin Emmaplein”, comments a German businessperson who lives in Maastricht about the apparent lack of political campaigning in the Netherlands. Although the posters she saw were mainly for the regional elections in Belgium, she makes ...

Dutch for Germans

What is the difference between Dutch mogen and German verb mögen, and what is a table in Dutch and in German? These are tough questions for Germans who are trying to get to grips with the Dutch language. Henny Taks and Katja Verbruggen, both working at the Language Centre, wrote ‘Op weg naar de eindstreep’, a textbook for Germans that prepares them...

New Observant website live

Since a week the new Observant website is gone live. With a complete makeover, lots of photographs and illustrations, the latest news, respond options, and four bloggers who tell about their lives at Maastricht University every week. Inkom chairman Jelmer van de Mortel, for example, talks about their new site, with its clock that nervously tic...

“It’s too late to make a lot of fuss”

Is your rent too high? Not sure? Check via www.huurcommissie.nl and in five minutes you will know if your landlord is honest and fair. If it turns out that you’re paying too much, will you complain? Or is a good and steady relationship with your landlord more important?