Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes Fotografie
“Dutch girls are taller and thinner than German girls. That was the striking thing my friend and I saw when we visited Maastricht for the first time.” Matheus Dyczynski (26), a second-year student of Moleculaire Levenswetenschappen (MLW) and president of study association Helix, has a big smile on his face. “But there are no serious differences.”
And what about the Dutch people as a whole?
“I think the Dutch population lives more healthily and actively than the Germans. Look at the food in the supermarket. The special offers in Germany are mostly for fast food. Here, at the Albert Heijn, you can buy kant-en-klaar salad and lots of vegetables. All the Dutch ride their bikes and when I go for a walk in the evening I see many runners. You don’t see that in my country.”
Are you going to celebrate Carnival?
“I would love to but I have a lot of work. I’m going home, to Leipzig. My girlfriend is also going to her parents’ place. She’s from Groningen. I’ve heard that people will be partying in the streets. But it’s not as aggressive as in Cologne where a big police force has to be on standby.
“I think it has to do with differences in mentality. The Dutch are more relaxed. I’ll give you an example. Last week I was standing in the line at the supermarket with a crate of beer. The cashier didn’t know it was reduced, so I told her. In Germany people look angry when you start a discussion, but here the others in the line joined in. Nobody seemed to be in a hurry.”
Do you feel integrated in the Netherlands?
Dyczynski speaks (fluent) Dutch the whole day, has a Dutch girlfriend, and reads De Volkskrant (a Dutch newspaper) on the internet. “Yes. But in the first year of my studies it wasn’t that easy to integrate with the Dutch students. 80 percent of the whole MLW student population is Dutch; most of them still lived at their parents’ house. Now in our second year it has changed and it’s easier to organise things in the evening. And you have the difference in age. Most Germans are older. Many are 20 or 21. They took the big step of going abroad and are pretty sure about their choice. They’re really motivated. The Dutch students are 17 or 18, have just left home for the first time and are often less sure about their study choice. We at Helix try to bring these groups together. The longer we study, the more we integrate. The differences in our faculty are not as big as at the School of Business and Economics.”
Are you going to vote for a new city council in March?
“Of course. But first I’ll check the Kieswijzer on the internet. It’s a questionnaire that helps you to make your choice.”
Do you know the name of the president of UM?
“Randwyck is a bit separated from the rest of UM. It’s more a university within a university.”
The dean of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences?
“Yes, Martin Paul.”