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Entries for September 2017

Being open

Being open

On one of my better days I decided to be open. Open about my vulnerability, my fears, my weaknesses, even my feelings. Because openness is important. As the Dutch foundation Samen Sterk Zonder Stigma says on its website, openheid leidt tot begrip: openness leads to understanding. Easier said than done. Standing in front of your tutorial group, r...

Myth: low interest rates can't last

Myth: low interest rates can't last

“When interest rates have been low for some time, people are likely to think that they can rise at any moment,” says Dennis Bams, professor of Risk Management at the School of Business and Economics. “That is of course not so strange; over the past hundred years, this has happened all the time. It is what all scientists have alway...

Sanctions for Tragos and Circumflex because of hazing

Sanctions for Tragos and Circumflex because of hazing

MAASTRICHT. Student association Tragos is being punished for breaking Maastricht University's Code of Conduct during their latest hazing. One third of their subsidy will be revoked. Tragos denies the allegations. Circumflex supposedly also violated the Code of Conduct. The latter association received a warning, which could also result in revoki...

Summer School experienced a dip because of “transitional phase”

MAASTRICHT. The last Maastricht Summer School had just over half of the number of participants of the 2016 edition. The reason was the new approach: an earlier enrolment date, a minimum number of seven participants, higher fees and stricter language requirements.
“Creating a community is like brushing your teeth”

“Creating a community is like brushing your teeth”

MAASTRICHT. Did you know that Albert Heijn, the man behind the well-known supermarket chain, lived in a castle in Great Britain at the end of his life? This is one of the many topics that come up during the weekly Tea with the Deans, from 1 to 1.30 pm on Monday in the common room at University College Maastricht (UCM).
“You don’t know what you need until you’ve done it”

“You don’t know what you need until you’ve done it”

What do a surgeon, a chef and a hat maker have in common? They all work with their hands. As this was the theme of the Training the Senses held in the Brandweer Kantine last Wednesday, it made sense (pun intended) to invite exactly those people to be the hosts of the evening.

Dutch lorry firm stops UK trips due to refugee smuggling attempts

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch firm Reining Transport has announced it is stopping deliveries to the U.K. as it cannot guarantee driver safety if refugees try to board at Calais.
“If you accomplish something you’re allowed to be proud”

“If you accomplish something you’re allowed to be proud”

Greed. I always want to win, to bring home medals. I cycled a lot in my youth and have a bookcase full of trophies at my parents’ place. I was junior Benelux champion and won silver at the Netherlands Championships for newcomers. I want to get the best out of myself; I’m a perfectionist, both in my studies and when it comes to mountain ...

Leçon 4- Putain : un mot-clé français

Leçon 4- Putain : un mot-clé français

People always say that French is a difficult language. And it surely qualifies as challenging with all its irregular verbs, its exceptions to the rules and its exceptions to the expectations. But there seems to be an unofficial keyword that can be used in (barely) any situation and you are good to go. So, which seemingly magical word am I talkin...

‘A political earth tremor’: Dutch media on Germany’s elections

THE NETHERLANDS. After their largely low-key coverage of Germany’s Parliamentary elections in recent weeks, the Dutch media woke up to the news that the anti-immigrant right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland had won seats in the Bundestag for the first time by claiming 12.6% of the popular vote.
Searching for Lifelines

Searching for Lifelines

“I think about suicide every day.” So read an anonymous post on Spotted: Maastricht University, a popular Facebook group among the students. Unfortunately, posts like this are not uncommon as many students struggle with emotional and psychological issues while studying in Maastricht; and in my humble opinion, there is an alarming lack o...

End of free parking

MAASTRICHT. Free parking at university buildings for employees has had its day. The Executive Board is planning to introduce paid parking in Randwijck and will include the city centre when doing so.
OPINION: Mind your words

OPINION: Mind your words

About a month ago a young American, Jennifer Kamorowski, entered this university as PhD researcher at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. She found that, living in the Netherlands, you have to have health insurance. You apply for it, at CZ, and get a letter back. In het Nederlands. Yes, in Dutch. Should immigrants be accommodated?
“Please, follow your dreams”

“Please, follow your dreams”

MAASTRICHT. Nobel Prize winner Ben Feringa can still be nervous before an interview, especially in front of young people. “They sometimes ask these bright questions.” Last Tuesday, Brightlands Chemelot Campus organised a College Tour with Feringa, named after a popular TV series in which students ask questions. But why does it take plac...
Staff and students about German elections

Staff and students about German elections

Who are you going to vote for on Sunday? Observant discovered that this is a question that many German students and staff members would prefer not to answer. What you do in the polling booth, is private. But they do definitely have - often a well thought out - opinion about the Chancellor Angela Merkel, SPD leader Martin Schulz, the extreme right A...
“Victims of sexual assault often feel caged”

“Victims of sexual assault often feel caged”

Sexual harassment needs to be taken much more seriously in Maastricht. This is the position of Consent Matters, a group of students who recently sent an alarming email to the city council expressing their concern about young women safety, especially at night. The students hope the city will follow Amsterdam and Rotterdam in making sexual harassment...
FASoS research review: much praise and food for thought

FASoS research review: much praise and food for thought

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was showered with praise late last week by the committee that came to assess its research. Plaudits went not only to the quality of the research (“very good”) and the PhD programme (“very professional”), but also to the “focus on people”. However, the workl...
Maastricht Disrupt

Maastricht Disrupt

MAASTRICHT. Design thinking – it’s a concept many people are unfamiliar with. This is something Maastricht Disrupt – a think tank of about twelve people, among them UM students – wants to change. They are organising  the second edition of their annual conference on 23 and 24 September in the Cube Design Museum in Kerkra...

Over 40% of work-related illness is due to stress or burn-out

THE NETHERLANDS. Some 40% of people who have job-related health issues are either over-stressed or suffering from a burn-out, according to new figures from the national work-related disease register, compiled by the AMC teaching hospital in Amsterdam.
“I’m never ever satisfied about myself”

“I’m never ever satisfied about myself”

Greed. I’m not greedy at all; I don’t desire material possessions. I’m happy with what I have. Okay, I have to admit: show jumping is an elite equestrian sport. You have to look good and your outfit must be presentable, but I don’t need most luxury stuff. Luckily my parents pay all my expenses for training and competition. W...

Budget carrier passenger numbers double in seven years, says CBS

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of people flying on budget airlines has more than doubled over the past seven years, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.
ISN withdraws from international student club

ISN withdraws from international student club

MAASTRICHT. Before the summer the International Student Network (ISN) withdrew as the organisation responsible for Kaleido, the international student club in the Timmerfabriek. This means it will not be the club’s main operator. Within Maastricht University there had long been doubts about the enormous task ahead of the ISN, a small organisat...
Leçon 3 - J´ai trouvé mon bonheur au marché

Leçon 3 - J´ai trouvé mon bonheur au marché

Barrels filled with olives and tapenade- green or black. Cases full of tomatoes- Coeur de Boef, Cherry Tomatoes, Sunrise Bumble Bee, Romanesco or Green Zebra. Savon de Marseille, bags filled with lavender or handmade basketry deftly laid out. Stalls with Camembert, Gouda, Chèvre or Beaufort. Tart au citron and blueberry tartelettes draped next to c...

Some self-care

Some self-care

I meditate daily. I know, it sounds oddly nerdy. My own prejudices towards meditating people were cruel. In my ignorance I thought of them as esoteric freaks. A little bit Buddhism here and an occasional sprinkle of Hinduist terms there – voilá! A new - arguably - revolutionary lifestyle was born. Which is not really accurate. By now companie...

Myth: Lawyers make the difference during police interrogations

Myth: Lawyers make the difference during police interrogations

Crime suspects can bank on being invited by letter to come in for a chat at the local police station. In serious cases, suspects can even be picked up at any hour of the day or night. Fortunately, suspects are not on their own. Since 1 March 2016, lawyers are allowed to be present in the interrogation room. Or does their presence make no difference...

One European research grant for Maastricht

One European research grant for Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Vera Schrauwen-Hinderling has received a so-called ‘starting grant’ from the European Research Council. The amount could be up to 1.5 million euro.  She intends to use the money to develop a method to measure the promising compound NAD+, which is formed during exercising.
PAS 2017: lots of visitors, pity about the weather

PAS 2017: lots of visitors, pity about the weather

We have no control over the weather, wrote Jacques Reiners in the programme booklet for PAS (Pleasure, Art and Science) Festival that took place last weekend. And that proved to be true: on Thursday and especially Friday evening, it rained cats and dogs, but things cleared up on Saturday - except for the odd shower. Still, Reiners can only “b...

Sport's cafe Time Out in financial difficulty

MAASTRICHT. Sport's cafe Time Out in the UM Sports’ centre is in financial difficulty. The Tax Office, where the manager of Concepts&More has a debt, had already ordered the forced sale of the inventory on Wednesday, 13 September, but this was called off at the last minute.
Finding a solution for the problem of temporary scarcity

Finding a solution for the problem of temporary scarcity

MAASTRICHT. The housing problem of foreign students in Maastricht will be discussed with the city council. Managing director of Student & Staff Housing, Maurice Evers, said so after a meeting with Hungarian student Ilona Kraft, one of the initiators of the silent protest action #MaastrichtHousingCrisis last Wednesday. With this protest, a handf...

The Netherlands has more millionaires, and one in five is a farmer

THE NETHERLANDS. A new report by the national statistics office CBS sheds light on the lives of Dutch millionaires, who now account for 1.4% of the population but control 44% of the wealth.
“I’m vain, I always wear white socks on my bike”

“I’m vain, I always wear white socks on my bike”

  Greed. I don’t have time to be greedy. I train and I study, that’s it. That said, I do always like to have the best bike, the best wetsuit and the best shoes. I have them now and am very happy with them. I’m an only child and have great parents who always support me, but I don’t think I’m spoilt.   ...

Leçon 2- Il y a de la lumière au bout du tunnel!

Leçon 2- Il y a de la lumière au bout du tunnel!

Before starting university in Grenoble, I thought it would be a good idea to discover France´s beauty, get to know the region and meet locals. Where better to go to than the French Riviera, right? Though, I must admit that I would lie if I said that my desire to go there was completely altruistically and solely for the purpose of cultural ...

Dutch king to visit hurricane-hit Sint Maarten as relief effort picks up steam

THE NETHERLANDS. King Willem-Alexander will visit the hurricane-hit Caribbean island of Sint Maarten on Monday as part of a short visit to meet locals and assess the relief effort.
Read The F*** Manual

Read The F*** Manual

It’s the beginning of the academic year, so time for some ‘new year’s resolutions’. Here are a few suggestions to get you started. Students: ‘I will not get angry if my tutors don’t respond to my emails within minutes.’  This could be expanded to resolve not to send emails two hours before a submiss...

Protest #MaastrichtHousingCrisis @SSC Maastricht

Protest #MaastrichtHousingCrisis @SSC Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. #MaastrichtHousingCrisis, reads the piece of paper in a student’s hand. In front of the Student Services Centre on Wednesday afternoon, she is surrounded by a handful of likeminded students from Romania, Italy and India. The call for a quiet protest about the lack of decent rooms was spread via Facebook. But is it really that hard...
“It is not the school that makes the student, it’s the student that makes the school”

“It is not the school that makes the student, it’s the student that makes the school”

MAASTRICHT. If one thing is important in this world, then it is education. This statement was proven by the young (27) Libyan-Canadian doctor and freedom fighter Alaa Murabit, keynote speaker at the opening of the academic year, adding lively anecdotes from her own life.
Opening of the academic year: lots of praise for UM, by UM

Opening of the academic year: lots of praise for UM, by UM

Could it have been intended as a service to the female professors and rector? A small gesture to help them navigate the cobblestones in their stilettos? Last Monday afternoon, the Minderbroedersberg was draped for the first time in a long green carpet. Well-intentioned, perhaps, but not particularly effective: now there was no way at all to steer a...

One meal a day for every patient

One meal a day for every patient

These are exciting times for Victoria von Salmuth. In early November, after she graduates, the sixth-year medical student from Germany will be heading back to the Shirati KMT hospital in Tanzania. Two years ago she set up the Food Programme there. For her efforts, she was presented during the opening of the academic year last Monday with the Studen...
“Research in unfamiliar territory is the most exciting. And the most frustrating”

“Research in unfamiliar territory is the most exciting. And the most frustrating”

A predictive machine is what you might call the brain, because it is constantly trying to predict what will happen. In a conversation, for example, it tries to ‘guess’ which word will follow and when. Cognitive neuroscientist Sanne ten Oever wants to unravel exactly how the brain does this. She won the Edmond Hustinx Prize, but unfortun...
“Don’t write academic papers for your own glory”

“Don’t write academic papers for your own glory”

MAASTRICHT. “This morning we had six people on stage. All women. It shows that women are actually more action-driven than men,” says Rob Bauer, professor of Finance. He points to himself and his fellow female jury members, joking: “I’m the only man. And as men are probably better speakers than women, I’m doing this tal...

Unions and employers fail to reach deal on Dutch labour market reforms

THE NETHERLANDS. Unions and employers have failed to reach agreement on changes to redundancy law and the pension system, dashing hopes that the new coalition government will have substantial reforms in the bag.
Swim eat sleep repeat

Swim eat sleep repeat

Greed. I’m crazy about training swimsuits, I like buying them in all sorts of bright colours and prints. They tend to wear out quickly because of the chlorine. Fortunately, there are always new collections: a good excuse to go looking for the next one. I usually buy them one size too small, preferably high cut, so there’s a bit of wedgi...

Leçon1- Contenance

Leçon1- Contenance

Germany- a country at the heart of Europe which is infamously famous for its affiliation for bureaucracy and (compulsive) orderliness. This is nothing new to me as the need for order is a strand running through my DNA. In case I neglected this “typical German attribute” when on exchange or holiday, locals made sure to remind me of th...

Permanent residency permit? Then you need to take more tests, immigrants told

THE NETHERLANDS. Immigrants who have already passed the state exams (staatsexamen) to qualify for a residency permit are being asked to take more tests when applying for a permanent licence to stay in the Netherlands, the Volkskrant said on Monday.
Guess what? Life triggers

Guess what? Life triggers

Recently my colleague, Isabella Niesten, gave a great talk about political correctness. Originally, this was about limiting hate speech in order to stop homophobes, racists, xenophobes and other lunatics who undermine democratic society. Good, right? However, today, it seems to be about something quite different. For example, in Canada, they now ha...