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Entries for September 2015

“He is a Harvard star but not a prima donna”

“He is a Harvard star but not a prima donna”

It’s a bit silly, the format of this series, says Prof. Kiran Klaus Patel with a smile. He holds the Jean Monnet chair of European and Global History and from January 2016, he will be vice dean of Research at the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “I grew up in an academic tradition - in Germany - where we say: ‘When you see a m...
University library considers installing turnstiles

University library considers installing turnstiles

MAASTRICHT. Again students are complaining about the over-crowded library in the city centre. This time, they did so in the Law Faculty Council meeting last Wednesday, in which the idea of the university library to install turnstiles again was discussed.
“Evidence”

“Evidence”

I have never been the target of an attack by journalists, but one day it is bound to happen. I do research in a controversial area: forensic psychology. I’m the guy who claims that psychopaths can be treated. I’ve spent the past ten years of my life doing research to prove it. I’ve rarely sought media attention, but that can&rsquo...

“For years the Netherlands has had its back to Germany”

“For years the Netherlands has had its back to Germany”

MAASTRICHT. Five thousand German students in Maastricht, against three hundred Dutch students in Aachen. Where does this difference come from? This was the theme of a discussion held in the Feestzaal at the Faculty of Law last Monday.
MOOC UM about to start

MOOC UM about to start

MAASTRICHT. Next Monday will see the start of the Maastricht University’s first MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). A internal pilot project was run in May. This course is unique in its set-up: where MOOCs are normally set up according to a traditional education model, this is the first one to apply problem-based learning – which is also...

Students want more video recordings

Students want more video recordings

​MAASTRICHT. Law students want more lectures to be made available digitally. They argued for this during the Faculty Council meeting last Wednesday. Especially in the bachelor’s and master’s of Tax Law most lectures are not recorded. “It is an easy way to make education more effective and eventually improve test results,&rdqu...
Pick-up-your-permit day

Pick-up-your-permit day

MAASTRICHT. Whether they had come to Maastricht for a semester, a year or a full three-year study programme, all non-EU students stood in line last Tuesday at the Student Service Centre to collect their residence permits. Since 2010 the Maastricht University Visa Office has organised a centralised pick-up-your-permit-day twice a year. On Tuesday, a...

Glitz and glamour at the Law Ball

Glitz and glamour at the Law Ball

MAASTRICHT. The Annual Faculty of Law Ball contained all the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood red carpet event. It was sold out already weeks before the event and held at Maastricht's Ipanema venue. A range of different music genres were played to suit everyone's taste; a smooth concoction of jazz to help people glide into the celebratory s...

iSing

iSing

iSing Karaoke – Sing&Record Party/music/friends Free iOS, Android
Telegraaf publishes secret ProRail reports

Telegraaf publishes secret ProRail reports

THE NETHERLANDS. The Telegraaf newspaper on Tuesday published confidential transport ministry documents about railway operator ProRail which junior transport minister Wilma Mansveld had refused to hand over to parliament.
Like a salad boss

Like a salad boss

Once outside temperatures start to drop below 15 degrees, healthy summer snacks like those on offer at the Salad Bar are not quite the warm and cosy meal that might first come to mind. Still, it’s certainly worth trying out this newly established eatery. The humorous names on the menu, such as ‘Winner-Winner, Chicken Dinner’ or &l...

Vulnerability

Vulnerability

Jurre (24): “Other people say that I don’t show enough of myself. I admit that I always act as if everything is great and therefore I don’t have many real friends. What can I do to change that?” Ingrid: Last winter, the Netherlands was watching another episode of Boer zoekt vrouw (Farmer looking for a wife). We saw how th...

Over 440,000 Dutch call for referendum on Ukraine EU treaty

Over 440,000 Dutch call for referendum on Ukraine EU treaty

THE NETHERLANDS. A Dutch citizens’ initiative to force a non-binding referendum on a far-reaching treaty between Brussels and Ukraine had gathered 446,000 signatures by early Sunday evening.
Like a child

Like a child

One year ago at this time I was working on what would have become my first column in Observant. Since then, a few other columns have followed over the course of the past academic year. It’s been a beautiful experience so far, at the same time inspiring and instructing. Coming up with a column every so many months has required me to spend some...

NIP wants to talk with Maastricht psychologists

NIP wants to talk with Maastricht psychologists

The Dutch Institute for Psychologists (NIP), which recently reprimanded Prof. Corine de Ruiter, wants to speak about this with UM psychologists. The Executive Board states that they have “complete faith” in De Ruiter. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences has created a committee of “eminent persons” to investigate the ...
“She still sends me a card when I return from a congress”

“She still sends me a card when I return from a congress”

Can someone who had to start working after primary school influence an academic career? Certainly, says Gaby Odekerken, scientific director of the Service Science Factory and professor at the department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management. “My grandmother still inspires me every day.”

500 euro to work on yourself

MAASTRICHT. Fewer temporary staff, better career policies, fewer differences between the faculties. These are a few of the outlines of Maastricht University’s new human resources policy. And everyone is to receive 500 euro for ‘personal development’.
Raising awareness with tea and cookies

Raising awareness with tea and cookies

A group of seven gathers in a tight circle, balancing coffee mugs and cookies on their laps, on Monday evening in the new building of the InnBetween Student Chaplaincy on Capucijnenstraat 122. Beneath paintings entitled Life, Process of Life, and Flow of Life, they sit discussing the artwork as well as topics that reach far beyond the scope of any ...

“Munich of the Netherlands”

“Munich of the Netherlands”

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht was once a fortified town. Left to depend on itself and inward looking. The city didn’t become any more open even when the walls were pulled down at the end of the nineteenth century. It did not have the grandeur of a provincial capital, some concluded during a mini conference in Centre Céramique last Sunday.
Soup’s on!

Soup’s on!

Have you ever been in that situation where you left your lunch at home? And then realised you have absolutely no time to grab a snack on your way to work? Soup Solo could be the answer. This healthy soup bar serves homemade soups to take away or eat inside a unique art gallery right opposite the law faculty in Maastricht. The work of young artists ...

RainToday

RainToday

RainToday Weather/Netherlands/handy Free Android
UM will meet (almost) all performance agreements

UM will meet (almost) all performance agreements

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University will soon fulfil practically all performance agreements made with the education minister. This was confirmed by Vice-President of the Executive Board, Nick Bos, in a University Council committee meeting last Wednesday.
Law staff flex and stretches too little at their desks

Law staff flex and stretches too little at their desks

MAASTRICHT. A large number of employees at the Faculty of Law sit at their computer for longer than six hours a day and many end up with painful or fatigued fingers, wrists, shoulders or neck. This was the outcome of the ‘risk inventory’ survey, held last summer. It asked questions about the workplace and the work carried out in front o...

Re-routing for cyclists on Kennedy Bridge

Re-routing for cyclists on Kennedy Bridge

MAASTRICHT. In the next few months, work will be carried out on an important arterial road in Maastricht: the Kennedy Bridge. Mopeds and cyclists – including students and members of staff, travelling from the faculties in Randwyck to the city centre – will experience inconvenience. They will be re-routed halfway along the bridge because...

‘Dutch no to Guantanamo Bay prisoners threatens relationship with US’

‘Dutch no to Guantanamo Bay prisoners threatens relationship with US’

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch government’s reluctance to take any prisoners from Guantanamo Bay is threatening the relationship between the Netherlands and the US, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.
Sore spot

Sore spot

Richard (26): “I can’t take criticism. If someone makes comments on my behaviour or achievements, I go on the defence. This takes a lot of energy and I don’t make many friends that way. Ingrid: If a remark made by someone else can throw you off balance so easily, then that has something to do with your past. At such a moment, y...

Nijmegen researchers win prize for research into ‘Huh’

THE NETHERLANDS. Three researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen have won one of this year’s Ig Nobel prizes – for discovering that the word ‘huh’ or similar sounding words are used in almost every language.
“Law is not neutral, but embedded in society”

“Law is not neutral, but embedded in society”

Whenever she has to give an important lecture, Professor Hildegard Schneider, dean of the law faculty, thinks of the lessons she learned from Professor Bernhard Groβfeld. “He’d always say, no matter how experienced you are, be sure to practice an important lecture in advance. Keep your eye on the time: 45 minutes is 45 minutes. And a se...

Dutchizised

Dutchizised

I’ve been in the Netherlands for 30 years. Three decennia. Three times 10 years. What?! How??! I remember moving into the country as if it was yesterday. Our first summer in the Netherlands was the wettest they’d had in many years (plenty of those since then…). Felt like a holiday or a visit to the zoo. Watching the Dutch and the...

Trend: SBE students tend to focus on exams

Trend: SBE students tend to focus on exams

MAASTRICHT. Poorly formulated questions, typos, the degree of difficulty: SBE students occasionally have a point and there are genuine issues with an exam. In such cases, it’s understandable that they band together in protest. But these days they seem to be doing it even for spelling mistakes. Moreover, some tutors have found themselves being...
Tutors to sit exams first

Tutors to sit exams first

MAASTRICHT. To improve the quality of exams, the School of Business and Economics (SBE) has come up with a novel measure: before students sit an exam, the tutor who developed it should first have a fellow tutor take the exam. Depending on the mark obtained, the exam questions will then be critically evaluated.

UM drops in QS ranking

MAASTRICHT. Dutch universities still count among the world’s top institutions, according to the international ranking agency QS. Just not among the top fifty – not this year at least. And it is Maastricht University that has suffered the biggest drop.
Draw a Stickman: EPIC

Draw a Stickman: EPIC

Draw a Stickman: EPIC Game/drawing/funny €2.15 (part 1) or €3.23 (part 2) iOS, Android
The Greek burger in crisis

The Greek burger in crisis

This time I find myself dining out with a plastic tray, cup and no cutlery. What is it about burgers that makes them so ‘hot’ right now? As Alex and Dorina, the owners of Hamburgeria, claim on their website, “finding a proper burger that is not a sticky, full of sauce fast-food product is difficult”. My definition of a prope...

“You have to join the Ba’ath party in tenth grade”

“You have to join the Ba’ath party in tenth grade”

MAASTRICHT. "Refugees don’t exist. There are only people blown away, people blown by the wind all over the world." With this poem, the drama group Het Geluid closed the Sphinx debate on Thursday 10 September in De Brandweer. Over the course of the evening the audience had listened to fascinating anecdotes about life in a dictator...
Tom Dumoulin: Near Vuelta winner and would-be UM icon

Tom Dumoulin: Near Vuelta winner and would-be UM icon

MAASTRICHT. He was breathtakingly close to winning the Tour of Spain. And if the 24-year-old Maastricht native had managed it, it wouldn’t have mattered whether Maastricht University was able to flaunt its own student-cum-champion cyclist.
Give refugees opportunity for a meaningful stay

Give refugees opportunity for a meaningful stay

NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Six Dutch academics, including the Maastricht professor Wiebe Bijker and Amsterdam political scientist Rob Hagendijk, have started a petition urging for more refugees to be absorbed as students or visiting researchers in higher education. “Everyone wants to help. Our idea is: do something you’re good at. As unive...

More Dutch universities start selecting students

NETHERLANDS. Over 25% of hbo college degree courses and one in five university degrees have some form of selection, according to the latest edition of the higher education handbook Keuzegids.
Watching series

Watching series

Ruth (23): “I love watching series. Homeland, Breaking Bad, Lost, I have seen them all. Sometimes I even watch several episodes in one evening, because I just can’t stop. Do I have a problem? Ingrid: Watching series is popular. I notice that at my work, where they often talk about the umpteenth episode of the so-manieth season of a s...

Over 3,000 refugees reached the Netherlands

NETHERLANDS. An estimated 3,100 asylum seekers have arrived in the Netherlands over the past week and have reported to the registration centre in Ter Apel, a spokesman for the refugee settlement agency COA said on Sunday.
Sleeping in a hostel due to lack of suitable rooms

Sleeping in a hostel due to lack of suitable rooms

MAASTRICHT. There are dozens of, mainly foreign, students who cannot find a suitable room in Maastricht. True, there is not a lot on offer, certainly not in the city centre. Belgium? Rather not, too much administrative red tape, they say. Stayokay, the hostel on the Maasboulevard, is doing well due to this student accommodation shortage: students h...
“It blew my mind when I first saw it”

“It blew my mind when I first saw it”

“It’s not just beautiful, it’s magical,” says Steven Kelk, assistant professor at the Department of Knowledge Engineering about Courcelle’s Theorem, proved by the French mathematician and computer scientist Bruno Courcelle.
At home

At home

I was less than enthusiastic about spending my summer in Australia. True, I’d get to see family – that’s a plus. But summer here means winter there. My parents figured it’d still be warm enough to go on a whale-watching cruise near my hometown. While my husband saw a humpback whale and a pod of dolphins, I became closely acq...

UM student did fieldwork in Iraq, 30 km from IS

UM student did fieldwork in Iraq, 30 km from IS

“Since the seventies the Iraqi Kurds have been constantly exposed to violence and threats”, says Hanife Masoomifar, a Canadian master’s student from the School of Governance who did his fieldwork in the capital of Erbil in July. “There was the war between Iraq and Iran, the aggression of Saddam Hussein, including chemical we...
Maastricht doet!

Maastricht doet!

Maastricht doet! Voluntary work/Maastricht/students Free iOS, Android
Would you take your friend to Mes Amis?

Would you take your friend to Mes Amis?

Emerging from the suffocating outside music last Friday evening (I guess it was from the Bruisfestival), I arrived at the Mes Amis wine restaurant located on Tongersestraat. After reading several reviews on Trip Advisor, I was keen to experience for myself whether the restaurant is just a ‘fashion choice’ or a truly intriguing dining ex...

A bit with Bluetooth to combat tooth grinding

A bit with Bluetooth to combat tooth grinding

MAASTRICHT. It hardly ever happens: bachelor’s students obtaining a NWO grant. Nevertheless, this is exactly what three students from the Maastricht Science Program managed to do. Before the summer, they received 27 thousand euro, for a subject that doesn’t immediately make you think ‘science’: bruxism. Otherwise known as to...
Not your typical “boom boom party”

Not your typical “boom boom party”

MAASTRICHT. “I want to play roulette though!” It’s Monday evening at the Muziekgieterij, where the International Student Network (ISN) is hosting Social Monday for the second time since the start of this academic year. Striped, spotted and floral-ed sofas are spread around the venue in a charmingly alluring fashion that draws grou...

“Jannah, Michele, Louis, I’m your buddy, don’t feel shy to come on stage”

“Jannah, Michele, Louis, I’m your buddy, don’t feel shy to come on stage”

MAASTRICHT. Beer, spring rolls, bitterballen and a lot of laughter. In total seventy buddies (all of them international students) and more than 300 first-year bachelor’s students from all over the world came together last Thursday evening in the old Bonbonnière theatre in Maastricht.
Supermarkets cutting back on fast-reared chicken

Supermarkets cutting back on fast-reared chicken

NETHERLANDS. Dutch supermarkets are stocking less fast-reared factory chicken, known as ‘plofkip’ or ‘exploding chicken’ in popular Dutch.
Bottomless pit

Bottomless pit

Michelle (28): “My third relationship has just ended. I am disappointed time and again. I put all of my time and energy into them and never receive the appreciation that I deserve in return.” Ingrid: Your relationships end up on the rocks because you expect the other person to give you what you cannot give yourself: recognition and a...

Dutch government to press ahead with ‘Big Brother’ legislation

Dutch government to press ahead with ‘Big Brother’ legislation

NETHERLANDS. Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk is to press ahead with controversial ‘Big Brother’ legislation on phone and internet tapping, despite criticism from telecom firms and privacy experts.
A butterfly house in the garden at the Faculty of Law

A butterfly house in the garden at the Faculty of Law

Have you ever heard of the Maastricht Quartier Latin? It is located in the area of the Bouillonstraat, Tongersestraat, Minderbroedersberg, Zwingelput and all the way up to the Tapijn barracks. On Saturday, 12 September, this area will be the beating heart of lectures about scientific research, for theatre, music, dance, film and visual arts. It is ...

Slight increase of first-years

MAASTRICHT. It appears that there is a slight increase in the number of first-year students. This is shown by the provisional enrolment figures. Maastricht University received 24,028 first-year pre-enrolments this year. Of them, 6,183 have already received the ‘approved’ stamp. This means that their registration has been fully completed...

An outsider at highschool

An outsider at highschool

At the Bisschoppelijk College Sittard grammar school, Prof. Hans Bosma (Einighausen, 1963) did not go down in history as the model pupil. More like a teenager, in a Black Sabbath or Motörhead t-shirt, who was often contrary, played truant, did not work, and who was moved back from sixth to fifth class. “I obviously wasn’t feeling good,&...
Opening Day

Opening Day

The introduction, in all its guises, is frequently a turgid entity prone to over-embellishment and pomposity. Understanding of this basic fact is essential to completing an arts bachelor, and what better way to communicate this than with the decadent but ultimately unfulfilling Faculty Opening Day. Warm welcomes, tomato sandwiches (or oysters and c...

Start of science master’s programmes

Start of science master’s programmes

MAASTRICHT. The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) gave the go-ahead for two new science master’s programmes during the summer: Biobased Materials and Systems Biology. The minister had already given approval in January. The masters fit in well with the UM strategy to boost science education. The study program...

Do the Dabke

Do the Dabke

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht’s Stadspark was transformed into a hub of oriental dance, music, and energy by Not Just A Number, a new NGO in Maastricht, dedicated to the “re-humanisation of refugees”. On Wednesday, the 26th of August, the event entitled Culture Lovers, was held, in aims to help integrate the growing number of refugees in...

University must remain liveable and workable

University must remain liveable and workable

MAASTRICHT. Community building, building a community. And not just the academic community of students and staff, but also focusing on stronger relations with the surroundings: the city of Maastricht, the region. This will be included in the UM’s new strategic programme.
Delay

Delay

Delay Research/behaviour/students Free Android

Wanted: distributors

Observant is looking for students who want to hand out the newspaper on Thursdays at the entrances of the faculties. It is about 1-2 hours of work per week, usually around noon, but times can (in consultation) vary. The payment is € 15 per hour. Interested? Mail to marion.janssens@maastrichtuniversity.nl

Health in the hands of Google

Health in the hands of Google

MAASTRICHT. How many calories did you eat this morning? And how many steps have you taken since breakfast? No doubt some people will be able to get out their mobile phone, click on an app and find the exact answer to these questions. Personalised healthcare technology like this is what philosopher Tamar Sharon’s research is about. She was awa...
Student Award for Refugee Project

Student Award for Refugee Project

MAASTRICHT. Aurelia Streit, of the Student and Society Initiative (SSI), has won the Student Award 2015 for her work coordinating the Refugee Project Maastricht. The aim of the project is to bring students and refugees from the Maastricht asylum centre together to interact and socialise, and give the refugees a break from their day-to-day wait for ...

“Students of Maastricht, we need you”

“Students of Maastricht, we need you”

MAASTRICHT. “Let’s fasten our seatbelts.” With these words, moderator Simone van Trier introduced the twelve speakers of the morning program during the Opening of the Academic Year. The Minderbroedersberg Aula was almost packed to the brim, the audience including the full board of Maastricht University, the mayor and the city alde...
Travel around the world with Cato by Cato

Travel around the world with Cato by Cato

In my opinion, there’s nothing like Cato by Cato in Maastricht. Jeffrey’s little corner shop is hidden between Maastricht residences, but within walking distance of the Vrijthof. Once you enter this little kingdom, you feel like you’re in a second hand bookshop rather than a place to pick up your lunch. The owner, Jeffrey, likes d...

Dutch government to appeal against climate ruling

Dutch government to appeal against climate ruling

NETHERLANDS. The Dutch government is to appeal against a landmark court ruling which ordered it to do more to reduce CO2 emissions.
My First Two Weeks in Maastricht

My First Two Weeks in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. It’s raining in Maastricht. Clouds cover every last bit of benevolent sky that attempted to smile down upon us today, thus painting the town a sepia-like tone that can only be compared to the softened hue of a late 2012 Taylor Swift music video. Basically, it’s the perfect time to stare out of one’s window and reflect ...