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Entries for September 2011

Moody PhD students

I have friends who are close to submitting their PhD dissertations. They are tired, moody and stressed out. “You’ll be so happy when it’s all over!”, people keep telling them. But that’s not the problem, my friends say. They are moody and stressed precisely because it’s nearly over. These are four years that you’ll never have again. Four years of y...

BodyTalks, Windmill day and Breakfest

BodyTalks From Friday 30 September until Sunday 23 October the exhibition BodyTalks – Video Art & Cinedans in Public Space will be held in the inner city of Maastricht. Every night 23 video artworks and dance films will be shown from shop windows, empty offices and homes, making BodyTalks the largest video art exhibition in Europe. Parallel to...

Tuna festival

Tuna festival

Tunas from all over the world came to Maastricht

Maastricht’s little Italy

Entering the Kiwi restaurant on Tuesday night was like embarking on a cruise trip to Italy. Accents from Tuscany, Milan, Bologna, Rome and Naples filled the air while almost forty chatty Italian students got to know each other, exchanging life stories and, of course, some of Mamma’s secret recipes. The Italian reunion at Kiwi was the first event of...

Student cop wants to be mediator

Paul Vermin, 'student cop' since last May, wants to be a mediator between students and the city. He thinks there is a lot of room for improvement in the relationship between the students and Maastricht. “At the moment, it is still often we –the people from Maastricht – and they – the students.” As far as he is concerned, the key word is discussion....

University Council wants better public transport to Aachen and Liege

University Council wants better public transport to Aachen and Liege

A faster connection between Maastricht and Aachen, a good train connection with Liege, a public transport season ticket that is valid (in the Veolia bus) all the way to Aachen, travelling expenses for German students, and Maastricht Randwijck station renamed into Health Campus Maastricht.  

UCM will ask a € 1,200 extra fee

University College Maastricht wants to raise lecture fees by 1,200 euros. This means that UCM students will have to pay almost 3,000 euros, unless they can prove that the extra amount is an insurmountable obstacle. The University Council is wondering who will and who won’t be eligible for dispensation (waiver).  

Little interest in cheap student parking

Foreign students make very little use of the free parking facility in Randwijck and only a small number of them applied for a student parking permit (5 euros per month, residents pay 3.50) for districts around the city centre.
"I miss the milkman"

"I miss the milkman"

Jitka Staworowska, 27, from Brno, Czech Republic, studied in London for her bachelor’s degree, and is now doing UM’s Master in Media Culture.
Learn to live with uncertainty

Learn to live with uncertainty

How to deal with potential risks of technological and scientific innovations?

5th time slot voluntary, provided that…

It was with whining and gnashing teeth, but then finally there was a compromise between the University Council - or at least a council committee - and the Executive Board on the introduction of regular evening classes at the UM. This so-called fifth time slot will become reality, probably from as early as January onwards, and initially on a volunta...

Looking hungry

When tuition fees are hiked up here and people start to fret about affordability, it always takes me back to my undergrad days in Sydney. Tuition fees there run into the tens of thousands of dollars and my university used to offer a free breakfast to poor students. ‘Poor’ seemed to be defined as anyone who showed up early enough, looking hungry eno...

Lost in Maastricht

Lost in Maastricht

Lost in the city centre of Maastricht, searching for a parking place, and wasting hours photocopying pages and pages. Every new start has its own difficulties. Claudia Costa (26) is newly arrived in Maastricht for the master’s in Media Culture. She comes from Milan, Italy, and tells us about her experiences in the first weeks of this new academic y...
A Barbie shoe

A Barbie shoe

Sandrinne Antony, 19, born and raised in London, second-year bachelor’s student of European Law School.

Europe: more united than we might realise

Will we soon live in the ‘united states of Europe?

Popronde, cross over music and beach club

Popronde There’ll be music all over town in Maastricht this weekend. Along with the Tuna festival, the Popronde (pop music round) will also take place, with dozens of bands playing at various cafés and clubs on Friday 23 September. The Popronde is a travelling festival that gives upcoming bands a chance to play for a bigger audience; well-known ba...

No automatic student grants for EU trainees

Students from EU countries who want to claim Dutch student grants, must work at least 32 hours per month. In principle, traineeship hours do not count. Labour party MP Tanja Jadnanansing had asked state secretary Zijlstra to make trainees exempt from this compulsory work requirement, but the latter is against the idea. European students in the Ne...

2011 Day of the Queen’s Speech: tighten your belts

Less money for research: not the current one billion euros, but a drop to nine hundred million in 2012, and a little more than eight hundred million in 2016. State secretary Zijlstra will even go as far as dividing up seven per cent of the existing budget for tertiary education among universities and schools of higher professional education that fu...

Balcony serenades and many traditions

Balcony serenades and many traditions

Men in mediaeval costumes serenading the beautiful ladies with their romantic Spanish music. That is what Maastricht can expect during the Tuna festival on 23, 24 and 25 September, when Tunas from around the world come to this city. The festival is organised by the Maastricht University Tuna association. “We have been to many such festivals in Spa...

TV doctors

I’ve talked about my celebrity academic crushes before. Here’s how not to leave a lasting, intelligent impression. Ben Goldacre writes a column in the Guardian called Bad Science (and published a book with the same name). Each week, he targets topical examples of science gone bad (e.g. all things homeopathy, or those ‘TV doctors’ who get their qual...

Miss Netherlands, no Miss Universe

Miss Netherlands, no Miss Universe

The recently graduated Maastricht psychology student Kelly Weekers did not win the Miss Universe 2011 title in Brazil last Monday. Her fellow-contestant from Angola, Leila Lopes, carried off the palm.
Successful Green Office barbecue

Successful Green Office barbecue

Over 400 meals were served at the vegetarian barbecue and info market organised by the Green Office at the Landbouwbelang last Friday night. The Green Office is an agency that coordinates and initiates ecological, social and economic sustainability projects at Maastricht University (UM) by empowering students and staff members. The event was organi...

Musica Sacra, Shaun Gladwell and CineAc

Musica Sacra The theme of the 29th Musica Sacra Festival is The Joy of the Law. From Thursday 15 until Sunday 18 September, various historical locations in the Maastricht inner city will form the setting for many concerts and performances – most of them free of charge – all related to this theme. For the full programme and information on where to ...

The vibe of a big city

Dominika Partyga, 19, born in Bergen, Norway and raised in Warsaw, Poland, second-year student at the University College Maastricht

Village mentality

How do national cultural identities change with time?

Fee increase for foreign students delayed

Pressure from the universities (including Maastricht University) and schools of higher professional education has resulted in Minister Leers postponing the fee increase for non-EU students until 1 September. The legal action taken by VSNU and the HBO Council has been called off.

Circus Renz, Notorious IBE and Parcours

The Parcours As usual, this year’s cultural season in Maastricht will kick off with the Parcours. On Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September, 168 performances and concerts will be held all over town, free of charge. At the same time, Heritage Day will also take place. On 11 September, various historical buildings and sites around Maastricht will be op...

Mad at cowardly politicians

Mad at cowardly politicians

Maastricht University is to have a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, the aim of which is to promote research on Europe and to further public debate. The latter, in particular, would be no luxury.
Four weddings and a funeral

Four weddings and a funeral

Confident about its own capabilities, firmly rooted in the province of Limburg, international (but with 50 per cent Dutch students), closely co-operating with institutes and businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. Professor Martin Paul, President of the Executive Board, outlined the future of ‘his’ Maastricht University in a glowing speech – not ...

Richard Dawkins

Don’t give me Brad Pitt or Matt Damon (well, ok, maybe Matt Damon). All my celebrity crushes are on big-name academics. A friend and I once saw Richard Dawkins on the street and started squealing like schoolgirls. Another friend is now heading to CERN in Geneva for a year’s worth of PhD research, and I am green with envy. Why? Professor Brian Cox, ...

UM climbs two places in QS ranking

Maastricht University is in 109th place in the World University Rankings. The UM has climbed two places compared to last year and is preceded by five Dutch universities. Highest in the ranking is the University of Amsterdam, in 63rd place.
Chaos is no chaos

Chaos is no chaos

What can we say about the future of a chaotic system? 

'Learning Dutch is crucial'

In last week’s Observant, local students advise new international students to learn Dutch. Learning the Dutch language will help these new students to better integrate into their new Maastricht study and living environment. It is said that students learn very well from each other. The university also puts great value on both formal and informal in...

Shut down

From this week, the University Library has a new procedure: computer workstations will be automatically shut down after 30 minutes of no activity.
“We share a love of Harry Potter”

“We share a love of Harry Potter”

Catriona O’Sullivan, a first-year UCM student from Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Bruis, Cultura Nova and local food

Festival Bruis Loads of upcoming bands, a food circus, exciting theatre performances and the band De Staat, which has already found quite some fame in the Netherlands. You’ll get all this and more at Bruis, a free festival held on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September at the Tapijnkazerne sports fields. For the full programme, please visit www.bruisma...

Play bridge in Maastricht

Every university city in the Netherlands has a student bridge club. Except Maastricht. This is about to change, however, because Koos Vrieze, former professor of Maastricht University, is starting a course in the upstairs room of Ma van Sloun pub on the Tongersestraat, on Tuesday 27 September. Free of charge.
“Learning Dutch is crucial”

“Learning Dutch is crucial”

Whether it helped much, only time will tell, but at least an attempt was made during this Inkom to inform foreign students in a separate meeting about Maastricht student life, with the aim of involving them more. In particular in the many associations and organisations that this university has. Maastricht University may claim to be an international...

New in Observant

New in Observant this academic year is the English-language column by Australian Alison Edwards, every week on the front page. Also new is our series on the main research topics in the Dutch research agenda. Every week, a different Maastricht researcher will talk about one of these themes. And finally: what’s the most precious or funny thing you br...

Maastricht-Brussels Express discontinued

The direct Maastricht-Liege-Brussels train connection ends on 11 December 2011. Travellers from Maastricht bound for Brussels will then need to change trains and incur longer travelling times. The reasons for the decision by the Belgian Railway (NMBS) to discontinue the service were general cutbacks as well as the many delays on this line. Petitio...

Record participants Inkom 2011

Record participants Inkom 2011

Inkom 2011 had more participants than ever: 2,250. Moreover, the weather gods were favourably disposed towards the students. With the exception of the film on Friday evening, all open-air events could take place as planned. Observant took a look, among others at the Culture Valley in the City Park on Thursday evening.
Tafelstraat 13 may have to move

Tafelstraat 13 may have to move

Is there actually going to be an end to Tafelstraat 13? The university wants to economise to such an extent that the building may have to be vacated. The ecumenical chaplaincy would have to move to office spaces in the student services centre.

Illegal parking

Enough is enough for the residents of Mariaberg. According to local citizen Mirjam Stax, they have started “an offensive” against German students who park their cars illegally, in particular five meters from a crossing. We notify the police each time. Stax claims that quite a number of traffic fines have already been issued. The reason for their a...

Join a group!

If I could give new students in Maastricht one suggestion, it would be to join a group. It doesn’t matter what group: capoeira, chess, debating ... The point is that this is where you’ll make friends with likeminded people, and it’s what will save your social life (and sanity) if you discover you don’t like your classmates. Of course, if your passi...