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the day of...

Garbage patch in the lab

Garbage patch in the lab

Since customers in the Netherlands have to pay for them, plastic bag usage has dropped by 71 per cent. It is step in the direction of the ideal situation in the eyes of the founders of International Plastic Bag Free Day, on 3 July. How much plastic is there actually at Maastricht University? You would think that most of the plastic would be foun...

Struggling with barbecues and drinks

Struggling with barbecues and drinks

The sun is shining, the sidewalk cafes are calling out to you, and the aromas of barbecues fills the streets. But when exams need to be passed and essays are to be written, you lose out on all that. How to remain productive when surrounded by so much temptation? Within the framework of World Productivity Day on 22 June, Observant asked the hard wor...

Where does all the blood go?

Where does all the blood go?

Twenty thousand bags of blood are used by MUMC+ every year. To facilitate this, the hospital – just like all other hospitals – depends on donors. They will be the centre of attention on 14 June when it is World Blood Donor Day. But what actually happens with all that blood? About half of it is used for people who cannot make blood in...

Into the not so wild

Into the not so wild

It is time to put on your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and take yourself outdoors. Not just because it's fine weather, but also because June is the Great Outdoors month. But how natural is our nature actually? “The real wild hardly exists,” says researcher Hans Schouwenburg, who has recently completed his thesis on nature conse...

No free errand boy

No free errand boy

The stereotype image of the apprentice mainly being used as a jumped-up errand boy and coffee lady is no more. “We always evaluate with the student after a traineeship and I rarely hear that,” says Josine van den Elsen, vice-president of the Maastricht department of Integrand, a national student organisation that arranges work placement...

No free errand boy

No free errand boy

The stereotype image of the apprentice mainly being used as a jumped-up errand boy and coffee lady is no more. “We always evaluate with the student after a traineeship and I rarely hear that,” says Josine van den Elsen, vice-president of the Maastricht department of Integrand, a national student organisation that arranges work placement...

Mother’s Day for all kinds of mothers

Mother’s Day for all kinds of mothers

For those who have failed to notice the flower, perfume, and chocolate advertisements: Sunday, 14 May is Mother's Day. “Of course, the day has been tremendously commercialised,” says Josje Weusten, researcher at FASoS, who specialises in the image of motherhood in present-day Dutch society and literature. “But I am in favour o...

Using your linguistic talents with the neighbours

Using your linguistic talents with the neighbours

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Parlez-vous Français? Spreekt u Nederlands? The organisers of Day of the Neighbour's Language (9 May) hope that Dutch, Germans and Belgians will answer with a wholehearted ‘yes’ to this. They feel that knowledge of each other’s language will improve business and co-operation in the Euregion. Observant wen...

Order in the chaos

Order in the chaos

Is your desk a mess? Are your tasks becoming too much for you and are you running from one appointment to another? 22 April is a good day to create order in the chaos, because then it is Get Organised Day. If anyone is organised, then it is the secretary who has to manage the dean's busy agenda, in this case dean of Psychology Anita Jansen&#...

A chair to be cherished

A chair to be cherished

That little old lamp that was once your grandmother’s, that beautiful vase from the second-hand shop. Give them an extra clean, because 9 April is Cherish an Antique Day. For Annemieke Klijn, curator of the Art and Heritage committee, there is one piece of antique at Maastricht University that holds a special place in her heart: the small ...

Your kind of party

Your kind of party

Where's the party? The party is everywhere! At least on 3 April, because that's when it's World Party Day. Whether you just invite a few friends over or you go all out, the important thing is that you think about what you want exactly. “We always look at what our core values are as a university, but also at what we want to achieve...

Discovering your limits on stage

Discovering your limits on stage

William Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage. He had a point, of course, but if you want to find out for yourself and actually get onto the stage, then 27 March is a good time to do so, because that is the World Theatre Day. Watching a performance is much more intense than watching a film or a series, says Leonie Schuitema, PR a...

State and people fighting together

State and people fighting together

The Mafia – for many people scenes from The Godfather, The Sopranos or Goodfellas will come to mind. But real life Mafia is very different from how it is depicted in movies or TV shows. It is present in the daily life of common citizens and affects people in multiple ways, from corruption to drug trafficking. The victims of the Mafia include ...

No fractions, no square roots, but still normal?

No fractions, no square roots, but still normal?

May I have a large container of coffee? No, this is not a Starbucks order, but a way to remember the first decimals of pi. Count the letters of each word and you get 3.1415926. Handy for anyone wanting to make a good impression on International Pi day, 14 March. The day is celebrated on a large scale in America, especially with pie, which is pro...

The party starts with the barman

The party starts with the barman

“The party starts behind the bar,” is student pub De Uni's motto, and a good barman has to make that happen, according to Geertjan Vrolijk, who is not only a second-year student of Economics and Business Economics but also a board member who stands behind the bar once or twice a week. Certainly on 24 February, when it is World Barte...

Respect for everyone's language

Respect for everyone's language

It is the language in which your mother comforted you when you were young and your father wished you goodnight after tucking you into bed. It is no wonder that there is a link between your native tongue – 21 February is International Mother Language Day – and the part of your brain that deals with emotion. Being allowed to speak your...

Marrying just for romance

Marrying just for romance

World Marriage Day (12 February): Jan Smits, professor of European Private Law, doesn't see the need. “Don't get me wrong, I am happily married, but this is an action by a Catholic lobby club with the objective to emphasise the blessings of marriage.” As far as those blessings are concerned, Smits has a few comments to make, at ...

What's learnt in the cradle lasts till the tomb

What's learnt in the cradle lasts till the tomb

Young people are borrowing more and more books from libraries, newspapers recently announced. Two million more children's books were borrowed in 2015 compared to 2014. This will please the founders of Take Your Child to the Library Day on 4 February. But why is it actually so important to introduce children to the library at a young age? &ld...

What Google knows about you

What Google knows about you

Where you have been, what you watched on YouTube, and which devices you used. This is only a small selection of what Google knows about its users. What can they and other Internet companies do with that information? Data Privacy Day (28 January), according to Joël Karel, Assistant Professor at the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineerin...

The canary in the democratic coalmine

The canary in the democratic coalmine

Ask a Dutch person to name the ten most dangerous professions and chances are small that he or she will come up with ‘lawyer’. But in many countries, this is in fact the case. On 24 January, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, we are asked to pay attention to this. “Journalists and lawyers are the canaries in the coalmine when it...

No slipping for beginners

No slipping for beginners

Snow provides a lot of sporting fun, beautiful scenes and even has its own day (15 January). But it also means slipperiness and so also falls. “People fall most often (50-60 per cent) while walking. When it is icy, the number of falls increases noticeably,” says movement scientist Kenneth Meijer. Fortunately, our bodies learn quickly...

A different picture from below

A different picture from below

The antihero, the outsider, the loser: they are the centre of attention on 16 December. That’s when it’s Underdog Day. Literature is jam-packed with underdog characters, from Oliver Twist to Owen Meany from A Prayer for Owen Meany. What makes this character so attractive? “The typical underdog doesn’t have a higher degree...

Back to the mines

Back to the mines

Spending days on end underground, coal dust in your clothes, in your skin, your eyes and your lungs. Sounds unappealing, but former mineworkers were enthusiastic when Donald Trump said during his campaign that he would reopen the coal mines. The 6th December is National Miners Day in the United States. We don’t have that in the Netherlands, d...

No more ‘123456’

No more ‘123456’

All your information made public, completely lost or held for ransom by cyber criminals. To prevent such doom scenarios, it would be a good idea to take a closer look at your digital behaviour on Computer Security Day (30 November). “Think before you click on a link or open an e-mail. Also, are your virus scanner and operating system (Wind...

To buy or not to buy?

To buy or not to buy?

“Go Big or Go Home” could be the motto of November 25th. It’s simultaneously Buy Nothing Day (a protest against consumerism) and Shopping Planning Day (the day you should start your Christmas shopping), so either go out and buy lots of presents or stay home and keep your money in your pocket. Seems like a contradiction, but Dom...

From Bundy to Grunberg

From Bundy to Grunberg

Roasting a personally killed animal over an open fire, explaining the offside rule to a woman, or sitting on the sofa, belching, a crate of beer at hand – one hand stuck in your trousers – watching a season of Married with children? You can think of plenty of ways to spend 19 November. That’s when it is International Men’s D...

Beyond the idea

Beyond the idea

Have you always wanted to follow in the footsteps of Alexander Fleming (penicillin), the Wright brothers (the aeroplane), or Ann Tsukamoto (stem cell isolation)? Then the Inventors’ Day (9 November) is a good time to start. But where? And how? There are various ways in which an invention can come about, says Bart van Grinsven, assistant pr...

Monsters under the bed

Monsters under the bed

A monster under the bed, a scary man behind the curtain. Who hasn’t been afraid of such things at some stage? This fear sometimes turns into fascination – Frankenstein Friday on 28 October is just one of the days marking a monster or mythical creature in the run-up to Halloween – but where does it come from? There are various w...

Cows in the field or on our plates?

Cows in the field or on our plates?

If ever there was a good time to pass on the steak, it is now. The theme of the month of October is vegetarianism, while November takes it a step further, being the month of veganism. Wonderful of course for the cows that will not be eaten, but will there be any health benefits too? “That depends on the quality of our overall diet,” ...

Fighting omnipresent parasites

Fighting omnipresent parasites

In developed countries, washing our hands is a basic part of everyday life. We all know someone who uses hand sanitiser with such frequency that it borders on hypochondria. In parts of the developing world, however, washing one’s hands with soap is not common practice. The consequence: parasitic, bacterial and viral infections, leading to man...

Plant a tree, save a bee

Plant a tree, save a bee

It's almost that day again, World Animal Day (4 October). Most dogs, cats, rabbits and other huggable pets will enjoy an extra treat or toy, but what animal really needs our attention? “The bees are having a very hard time,” says Pim Martens, professor of Sustainable Development at ICIS. And bees are extremely important. Almost 80 p...

The lost tooth

The lost tooth

Have you always wanted to ask a stupid question? Then seize the opportunity on Wednesday, 28 September. That’s when it’s Ask a Stupid Question Day. The initiators want to playfully entice children to ask questions in class. Because the only stupid question is of course the question that is not asked. Observant made the rounds visiting r...

A grateful person is a happy person

A grateful person is a happy person

Whether it’s just a sweet card from a friend, the fact that the sun is shining, or the fact that you have a roof over your head and food to eat every day – if you are grateful for something in particular, then 21 September is a good time to acknowledge it because it is World Gratitude Day. It is also good for people. “Gratitude is...

No hole

No hole

The hole in the ozone layer. Once a hot news item, today there is no mention of it anymore. Except on 16 September, the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. On that day in 1987, the Treaty of Montreal was signed, which contained measures to be taken in order to protect the ozone layer. That is also the reason why it is hardly ...

Gimme, gimme, gimme

Gimme, gimme, gimme

Time to put one’s hand in one’s pocket; 5 September is the International Day of Charity. Economist Paul Smeets did and is doing research into generosity among Dutch millionaires. How to get them to support your charity? “Capitalise on their spending mode. In our experiment, millionaires were allowed to choose how much of a total o...