MAASTRICHT. Where can I find the closest GP? What do I do with my rubbish? How do I find a room to rent? For answers to questions like these and more, students can now go to mymaastricht.nl, an English-language portal with information on transportation, housing, healthcare and other practical matters. The portal was launched last Tuesday.
An initiative of the city of Maastricht, Maastricht University (UM) and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, the website is part of the Student&Stad (Student and City) project. Related initiatives include the International Students Club and office spaces for student organisations at the Gebroeders Hermansstraat. International students have long been calling for an English-language portal, as a lot of practical information about Maastricht was hard to find or only available in Dutch.
The costs of running the portal from 2015 to 2017 amount to €110,000. The city and UM are each paying €47,500 and Zuyd is contributing €15,000.
The site is divided in two parts: ‘get settled’ and ‘go explore’. In the first section, students can find information they need when they arrive in Maastricht. After settling in, they can consult the second section to find out what the city has to offer in terms of sports and cultural events. The website was developed and will be maintained by students – both Dutch and international. “We’ve chosen a ‘Wikipedia approach’, as I call it”, says team leader Thomas Schäfer. “Short articles, with a brief explanation of what something is all about. For more in-depth information, you can click on a link. For instance, when you’ve read about public transport you can go to the Veolia website.” The website also offers guidance manuals for things students have to apply for in Dutch, such as the OV (public transport) card.