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Entries for September 2012

Hopelessly in love

Who: Carolien Martijn, social psychologist at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences Book: Enduring Love, by Ian McEwan Target: psychology students

Hopelessly in love

  Who: Carolien Martijn, social psychologist at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences Book: Enduring Love, by Ian McEwan Target: psychology students

Immigration minister to disappear in next cabinet

The next government will not include a specialist minister for immigration and asylum affairs, sources close to the coalition talks have told Nos television. The job, currently done by Gerd Leers, will disappear in the new cabinet line-up. In order to keep the number of ministers at 12, immigration will be replaced by foreign trade or development ...

The Starbucketeers

The Starbucketeers

Onetallchocomochasoyextrashotvanillaskinnydoublefrappelattechinotogo. And hold the whip. And the ceremony begins. Speedy baristas steaming and whipping, banging and frothing in a self-important manner. My wallet sighs with relief. It is lighter by about five pound coins. That’s probably around five regular coffees from the substantially less...

Quantum geekdom

My brain exploded this week. Two words: quantum computing. I learnt about it in Simon Singh’s The code book: The secret history of codes and code-breaking, a goldmine of geekdom. In quantum mechanics, when we don’t know what a particle is doing, it can be doing everything possible simultaneously, and only when we observe it directly doe...

Student tutors evaluated better than staff

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) uses a lot of student tutors in the first two years of its study programmes. The former student members of the SBE Faculty Council were not sure whether this is a good idea. Are student tutors really as good as staff tutors? Yes, so it appeared in the council meeting last Tuesday. Associate dean Harold Ha...

Savages

The story: In the sun-drenched Laguna Beach, Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) share a luxurious apartment with the delectable blonde, Ophelia (Blake Lively). They bankroll their hedonistic lifestyles by growing the best weed in California. But when Ben and Chon refuse a joint venture with a Mexican drug cartel, the Mexicans abduct Ophel...

Performance contract “very good”

At the moment, 18 per cent of all students fail to pass first year. By 2015, this must be reduced to 15 per cent. The quality of lecturers at Maastricht University must also improve, and the number of students who take more time to complete their studies should be reduced even further. These are some of the items specified in the performance contra...

“Africa is still a magnet”

“Africa is still a magnet”

Celeste van Rinsum (22), a Dutch master’s student of Health Education and Promotion who has seen 5 per cent of the world. “In between my bachelor's and my master's, I spent two months in Kenya. I had always wanted to go to Africa. The first month, I did voluntary work and the second month I travelled around the country. I was g...

Sint-Pietersberg run weekend

Sint-Pietersberg run weekend

During the Maastrichts Mooiste Sint-Pietersberg Run Weekend, four different running competitions will be held. On Saturday, 29, and Sunday, 30 september, participants will get to run through Dutch and Belgian Limburg and even parts the Belgian province Liège. Besides the sports, runners will experience some of the most diverse sides of the Euregio....

Opposition grows to limit on temporary staff sick pay

Unions and employers are opposed to cabinet plans to cut the sick pay entitlement of staff on flexible contracts from two years to three months, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday. ‘It is right to take measures to reduce absenteeism, but if flexible staff are going to be treated differently to people on permanent contracts, that will increase...

Cycling to knowledge

Cycling to knowledge

Cycling for about 11,000 kilometres with 40 other students, visiting 8 universities, travelling through  7 countries – from Istanbul to Beijing along the Silk Road – in 5.5 months. This is The Study Road, a project invented by UM graduate Joya van Hout which should kick off in March 2013. The initial idea for The Study Road popped...

Spell your name

In this weekly column A dash of Dutch by the Language Centre you will learn more about the Dutch language and culture through video, audio and practicing yourself. This week: the alphabet in Dutch. After this column you can spell your name in Dutch.

34 arrests after Project X Haren viral party degenerates into a riot

Some 34 people were arrested as the Project X Haren viral party generated into a riot as a ‘small group of youths’ went on the rampage on Friday evening, Dutch media report. The smart Groningen commuter suburb has been left in chaos. ‘The whole village is littered with bottles and cans, street furniture, bikes and fences have bee...

What I haven’t done

Summer’s gone, as are all my hopes for it. Run a half marathon. Clean my room from top to bottom. Learn to cook something involving an intact piece of meat (I can cook, but specialise in curries. Steaks and roasts terrify me.) Prepare a presentation and work on a journal article. Get more sleep. Watch the latest season of Flikken Maastricht, ...

Laurence Anyways

The story: Literature professor Laurence (Melvin Poupaud) has a close relationship with his girlfriend Fred (short for Frédérique), but on his 30th birthday he makes a confession that will change their lives forever: he wants to be a woman. Fred’s initial response is sceptical, but so intimate is her bond with Laurence that she decides to sup...

Green power will hurt government finances: advice group

The switch from fossil fuels to green power and declining income from natural gas sales will cost the government billions of euros in lost income, according to the national energy council AER. 'Fossil fuels currently generate over €35bn for the state a year. We estimate that will be down by €5bn within five years,' AER board memb...

Yeah that thing is a Pineapple

Yeah that thing is a Pineapple

Dutch people have a funny knack of being fantastically fluent in almost any language you happen to name. English? Yep. French? Of course. German? Well duh, it's easy for us Dutch people! Swedish? Yeah why not? Ancient Greek? Sure! Albanian? Naturally... But something that really struck me when I first came to the Netherlands is the confidence ...

Vegetarian butcher can keep selling 'chicken' and 'meat balls'

The food standards authority VWA has decided not to take any action against a shop in The Hague which sells meat replacement products under the names ‘chicken bits’, ‘meat balls’ and ‘bacon cubes’, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday. The paper says the VWA had received several complaints from people protesting ...

An earthquake, hurricane Irene and Barack Obama

An earthquake, hurricane Irene and Barack Obama

Cecile Wolfs (21), a master’s student of Operation Research from the Netherlands saw president Obama speeching at the university of Richmond.
Become a better, more fluent and more accessible writer

Become a better, more fluent and more accessible writer

Sign up for one or more of Observant's "Effective writing" workshops. Develop a facile pen, learn to focus your angle of approach and improve the structure of your writing. The six workshops are also a great introduction to journalism.   For information and registration, please contact riki.janssen@maastrichtuniversity.nl or 04...

“This garden is like a statement”

“This garden is like a statement”

“The idea was to turn every kind of wasteland-area into an edible garden.” When Iris Kühnlein (a UCM student) saw the secluded garden in the FASoS courtyard, she wrote a proposal wanting to turn it into a community herbal garden. In March, the FASoS board told her to go right ahead. Now, the Town House Garden is a well-loved spot. &ldq...

Spending power to fall 0.75% as economy grows same amount

Spending power is set to fall an average 0.75% next year, Nos television reports on Tuesday, ahead of this afternoon's budget presentation. The drop is due to higher healthcare and pension premiums, the increase in value-added tax and higher alcohol and tobacco duties. According to the Telegraaf, healthcare premiums will go up an average 10%....

Sustainability – made in Maastricht

Sustainability – made in Maastricht

Footprint films, eco-map, teaching, consultation, discussions, a recycling system for bikes of exchange students, joint order of biological food, 'green' parties... the list goes on and on. The student organisations at the Sustainability BBQ at the Landbouwbelang Friday night presented many different ideas. What they all had in common: they...

Greetings

In this weekly column A dash of Dutch by the Language Centre you will learn more about the Dutch language and culture through video, audio and practicing yourself. This week: How do you greet and say goodbye in Dutch? Watch, listen and practice!

Dutch student exodus to Belgium under fire

There is mounting criticism in Belgium of the number of Dutch students opting to go to cheaper Belgian universities, news agency ANP reports on Monday. 'Some EU countries are making higher education so expensive in their own lands that others are having to carry the costs,’ a senior education official says in Monday’s De Standaard....

Breakfest

Breakfest

Pop band Major Tom, rapper Kraantje Pappie and rockband Destine, known for their hit single Stars, will perform at festival Breakfest, which will be held on Saturday 22 September at the Megaland area in Landgraaf. In addition to the music, there'll be clinics rollerderby, free running, mountainbiking, freeline and surfing, creative worksho...

My night in Amby’s polling station

My night in Amby’s polling station

Two and a half hours, that is how long most students expected to be spending on counting votes for the Dutch elections yesterday night.  Reality looked different: It took some of the volunteers five hours to evaluate the result of the elections in Maastricht. Amby, voting district 44, is an example. Here, a group of eight enthusiastic citizen...

À Perdre La Raison

The story: This is a loose interpretation of the story of Geneviève Lhermitte, the Belgian woman who murdered her five children with a butcher’s knife. It centres on the love triangle between Mounir (Tahar Rahim), Murielle (Émilie Dequenne) and the older doctor Pinget (Niels Arestrup). When Mounir and Murielle get married, they go to live tog...

Massive win for VVD, Labour close second

The right-wing VVD and prime minister Mark Rutte emerged the winners of Wednesday's general election, with a revitalised Labour party a strong second, making a coalition between the two in some form almost inevitable. The VVD has 41 seats and Labour 39, giving them a combined 80 seats in the 150-seat parliament.'No one saw this enormous vic...

Tribute to fantasy

Tribute to fantasy

Who: Teun Dekker, philosopher at University College Maastricht (UCM) Book: From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Jules Verne Target: UCM students
Decisions

Decisions

Since I started this column I have been getting many suggestions from friends about what my next one should be about. Most of my friends wanted me to write a personal column about them – but I think that might be a little boring for the greater Maastricht University public. (No offense). Some suggested that I have a ‘Finnish student of...

Students swindled by rooms-for-rent sites

The Maastricht police are warning against rooms-for-rent sites offering rooms that they do not actually have. The swindlers ask potential tenants to transfer a deposit and are subsequently never heard from again. Most of the victims are foreign students. The police reported seven cases in the first week of September.
New guest house at Pieter Willemsstraat has special history

New guest house at Pieter Willemsstraat has special history

A plaque at the gate commemorates the deportation of hundreds of Limburg Jews from the old school during the Second World War. The school has now been rebuilt as a guest house for students.

Take inspiration from Le petit prince

“Tips for books, trips and videos to find new answers in new times”, reads the subheading of the Inspiration Booklet, compiled by University College student Dirk Janssen, Youth Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations. He has collected tips from people who are a part of Worldconnectors, a platform of opinion leaders in th...

Maastricht Summer School: not busy, but good

Maastricht Summer School: not busy, but good

They had hoped for a hundred participants, they got 89. Nevertheless, the organisers of the Maastricht Summer School  - from 9 July until 17 August  - are pleased. “We could only start recruiting at a late stage, but the students who came, were full of praise.” The participants of the first Summer School at Maastricht Univers...

“If you get to know us you’ll see we’re very friendly”

“If you get to know us you’ll see we’re very friendly”

Madeleine Borgh, 23, from Sweden, doing an internship at CRISP/UM and Hogeschool Zuyd No, she’s not blonde, but she is from Sweden. Madeleine Borgh arrived in Maastricht two and half weeks ago and will stay for three months. An Occupational Therapy student, she is doing an internship at the Centre for Research Innovation, Support and Policy ...

"I would vote for a centre-left party"

Today, the Dutch go to the polls. What do international students think about the Dutch elections? Observant asked three of them. What does Mungo McKoen, a student at UCM from Great Britain have to say about it?
"I'm curious how Geert Wilders will fare in these elections"

"I'm curious how Geert Wilders will fare in these elections"

Today, the Dutch go to the polls. What do international students think about the Dutch elections? Observant asked three of them. What does Nethal Hashin, a Strategic Marketing student from Oman have to say about it?

A thousand little pieces

My dissertation is in a thousand little pieces. Chopped up in bits scattered all over the floor, in a state of massive restructuring. I read notes that I took two years ago which seemed vitally important then, that now aren’t even in my field. (Psycholinguistics? What was I thinking!) I move the introduction down, bring the conclusion up, tur...

"In the beginning, it was difficult not to confuse the different parties"

"In the beginning, it was difficult not to confuse the different parties"

Today, the Dutch go to the polls. What do international students think about the Dutch elections? Observant asked three of them. First up is Lukas Bagin, a UCM-student from Slovakia.

Election: campaign nears climax, parties emphasise divisions

With just two days to go before the Netherlands elects a new 150-seat lower house of parliament, and polls suggesting a two-way race for the prime minister's job, party leaders are again out in force to get their message across. Opinion polls show the right-wing VVD and Labour party PvdA are now neck and neck and pundits suggest a centre '...

Dutch Paralympics team finish 10th with 39 medals

The Dutch team at this year's Paralympic Games in London netted a total of 39 medals - 10 gold, 10 silver and 19 bronze - and came 10th in the medals table overall. Among the highlights of the Dutch team's performance were the clean sweep in the women's wheelchair tennis by Esther Vergeer, Aniek van Koot and Jiske Griffioen and sprinte...

Uncertainty is good

Uncertainty is good

Who: Rob de Vries, lecturer at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences Book: Hamlet of William Shakespeare Targeted: psychology students

How to order?

In this weekly column A dash of Dutch by the Language Centre you will learn more about the Dutch language and culture through video, audio and practicing yourself. This week: How do you order in Dutch in a café and count to three ? Watch, listen and try yourself!
Maastricht 4 Haiti

Maastricht 4 Haiti

Sun Garden (funk-rock), B Fresh (electro lounge), pianist Rik Verkruijssen (jazz gospel) and singer songwriter Matthew M.Miller (acoustic folk rock) will perform at this benefit concert for Haiti in D'n Hiemel on Saturday 15 September. The money raised with the entrance tickets, will be donated to support a project for the realization...

More enrolments at UCM despite surcharge

The new batch of students at University College, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this week, will have to pay a surcharge of 1,200 euros on top of their tuition fees as from this September. The total amount due is therefore almost 3,000 euros. However, this has not led to a drop in enrolments, on the contrary, there were more than ever: six h...

Immigration minister says no to amnesty for child refugees

Efforts to win residency permits for several hundred child refugees who have lived in the Netherlands for at least eight years took another knock on Thursday when immigration minister Gerd Leers said he would continue to say 'no'. 'I am going to say no, not with my heart but with my head,' the minister said. He was speaking after r...

Your Sister’s Sister

The story: A year after his brother’s death, Jack is still an emotional wreck. Hi good friend Iris takes pity on him and invites him to spend a weekend alone in a secluded cottage belonging to her father, on an island off the coast of Seattle. Jack takes up the offer, but on arrival unexpectedly finds Iris’s attractive lesbian sister al...

Not in Kansas anymore

Not in Kansas anymore

Pakistan, USA, Iceland, Poland, China, Australia, Switzerland, Brasil, India... it’s a colourful group at the Mix and Mingle event – an international student get-together that took place Tuesday night in the garden of the Law Faculty. “We want to bring all the international students together who do not join student associations li...

“Can my daughter get a job later on?” “Yes of course”

“Can my daughter get a job later on?” “Yes of course”

University College Maastricht is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Following in Utrecht’s footsteps, Maastricht University started its own Liberal Arts programme in 2002, a broad bachelor's programme with a lot of freedom for students to determine their own course, with academic advisors who assist – and steer – students in t...

Israeli Wine

Israeli Wine

This evening I was at one of my friends’ houses and we were having one of our regular ‘wine&chat’ sessions (which is usually more of a ‘wine&moan’ about [insert topic such as: studying/bureaucracy /Germans/money/bad 50cent coffee/ politics/lady gaga haters]). With the two smokers’ heads poking half-way o...

“I had to watch out in case they tried to poison me”

“I had to watch out in case they tried to poison me”

In Far away eyes students and staff talk about their travels; the countries, the people, the experiences. This week PhD candidate Miranda Poeze who has visited all continents. Well, except Antarctica.

Labour voters like purple, D66 says no to the Socialists

Labour voters would have no objection to their party joining forces with the two Liberal parties - the VVD and D66 - to form a new coalition cabinet after the September 12 general election, according to an Ipsos Synovate poll. While the Socialists, D66 and left-wing greens GroenLinks are Labour voters' favourite coalition partners, 26% have no...

The switch

A driver is taking a famous professor to an important lecture. ‘I’m sick of this lark’, says the professor. ‘You’ve been at all my lectures. How about you give this one?’ And so the driver climbs on stage, clears his throat, takes a breath, and knocks the socks right off that lecture. Now for question time. Up ge...

Energy-efficient lighting for UCM

Energy-efficient lighting for UCM

Maastricht University’s General and Technical Services will take measures developed by the Green Office to increase energy efficiency at UCM. Conventional lights will be replaced with energy efficient LEDs in the corridors and parts of the common room, and movement detectors and ambient light detectors will be installed in corridors, the com...

“I don’t want to end up in a group of only Germans"

“I don’t want to end up in a group of only Germans"

Andreas Tometten (19), a student at the University College of Maastricht from Germany   Why Maastricht? "In March, I was more or less dragged along to an experience day by a friend – but in the end I was truly impressed by the beautiful town and by UCM itself. I particularly liked the international character and the open curriculu...

Taskforce QRS wins Student Award

The Taskforce QRS (Qualitative Resuscitation by Students) containing of Hesam Amin, Ali Ghossein, Janieke Geerling, Marjan Klinkert, Frank Körver and Gideon Bookelman has won the Student Award 2012.   

Introducing yourself

In this weekly column A dash of Dutch by the Language Centre you will learn more about the Dutch language and culture through video, audio and practicing yourself. This week: Do you know how to introduce yourself in Dutch? Watch and learn yourself!
"I'm not a heavy partyer or drinker"

"I'm not a heavy partyer or drinker"

Sanne Thijssen (18), a European Public Health student from Kenya/the Netherlands Why Maastricht? “It is international. There is a possibility to go on exchange and the teachers here come from different backgrounds.” What do you expect out of your time here? “I expect the education to be good. The university takes a new approach ...