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guess who's coming to dinner

“Are you sure I can't help with the dishes?”

“Are you sure I can't help with the dishes?”

“Are you sure I can't help with the dishes?” rector Rianne Letschert asks as the evening is drawing to a close. No, say all in the student house on Vrijthof 27, located right next to Italian restaurant Gio’s. Just imagine, ‘their’ rector washing the dishes. “And don't forget to contact me if there is a pr...

“We are regarded as miserly, but we aren’t”

“We are regarded as miserly, but we aren’t”

As an Observant journalist, you are allowed to pull up a chair in this series. But please note that the idea is not to join in the meal – something that the students always find very awkward; they feel inhospitable and insist that we at least try the dessert. And this time, it is no trial at all: first-year student Lenah Kampmeijer retrieved ...

“Could you take a look at this dead mouse?”

“Could you take a look at this dead mouse?”

Tuesday morning, 30 May, the day after the professor dined with the girls, in the Editor's office of Observant. “And? Did they have hamburgers?” The colleagues fervently hoped that the girls of Sororitas would have served hamburgers to the cultivated-hamburger professor Mark Post. “No, that would have been some joke. They se...

“My goodness, I'm learning a lot, I had such a naive view of the student world”

“My goodness, I'm learning a lot, I had such a naive view of the student world”

“This is great man, what a party! I am a little overwhelmed. Can I give six stars?” Professor Piet Eichholtz looks at his dessert with pleasure: a large brownie filled with (warm) raspberries, vanilla ice cream and a glass of Licor 43 Cuarenta, a Spanish liqueur. He was not only bowled over by the cooking skills of the board members of ...

Spanish wine, Italian pasta, and cake on the deck

Spanish wine, Italian pasta, and cake on the deck

It's raining cats and dogs, so everyone arrives somewhat bedraggled at Sophie van Rijnbach's studio. Zjuul Bartels takes the biscuit, but fortunately he has the solution in his bag: a set of dry clothes. He puts on his bow tie just in the nick of time for him to rush downstairs to greet Ellen Blaak, professor of Physiology of Fat Metabolism...

“In Leuven, academic staff man the bar during a student party”

“In Leuven, academic staff man the bar during a student party”

“I found the house more quickly than I thought,” says Mien Segers, professor of Corporate Learning, as she enters Inge Tielen's apartment. “The address was a white stain on Google Maps. And Belgians always lose their way in the Netherlands.” Another fact about the Belgians: they never come empty-handed. Segers hands a ba...

“Randwyck? That is the dark side”

“Randwyck? That is the dark side”

Annelot Pannekoek makes her way up the stairs with difficulty. Someone stood on her toe yesterday; it was completely blue this morning. “Maybe even broken, but it appears that they can't do anything about that, so it would be useless to go to the doctor. I taped it myself.” She is the host today, but the last one to arrive – s...

“So what was the deal with the erotic cinema?”

“So what was the deal with the erotic cinema?”

Professor Erik Driessen arrives bearing a bottle of wine and a gift: a Raymond van Barneveld dartboard. He is in awe of the reception committee. “That I, a mere citizen, can sit at the table with the board!” Because indeed, the full board of HG Sunergos has turned out for the occasion. Sunergos mean “working together” (think...

“What a luxury, four men cooking for me”

“What a luxury, four men cooking for me”

It takes barely five minutes for the battle for the women’s panties to come up in conversation. This weekend – counting from when this dinner took place, in late March –the underpants will be hanging from a pole smeared with grease, soap and oil during NOOC, the grand opening of the rowing season in Tilburg. “All of Vidar [t]...

On the brain, emergency surgery and intubation

On the brain, emergency surgery and intubation

They don’t have obnoxious traditions, they’re not braggarts and, with the exception of a stray biomedical scientist, they all study medicine. Hence the fraternity name e Causa Ignota, which means ‘of unknown origin’. Or in other words: “You’re sick and we have absolutely no idea why.” Take a deep breath, be...

“My oldest would have liked to come tonight”

“My oldest would have liked to come tonight”

“Wait, wasn’t my bike right here?” Your reporter looks around in surprise. It’s 10:30 pm; the dinner in the flat at the Bourgogneplein went late. All that’s left of the bike is a broken chain lock. “Is yours still here, Jean-Jacques?” Professor Herings, the guest of honour, spots his bike still parked a lit...

Kissed? That’s an understatement. “They were wrapped around one another”

Kissed? That’s an understatement. “They were wrapped around one another”

They’re wrecked, the four students from the independent sorority Schanulleke. Last night they partied the night away during the annual Chic Sat Club Night at the Mondial club in Beek. Myrthe Bovendeaard even kissed “a very nice someone”. Kissed? That’s an understatement, according to Dana Vervloet. “They were wrapped a...

“We have a drink together every Tuesday evening. Chocomel”

“We have a drink together every Tuesday evening. Chocomel”

“Can we do anything?” Bas van de Valk asks Thara van der Borgh and Ilse van de Wijgert, who are busy in the kitchen. “No, everything’s ready, go sit down. Do you guys want a beer?” says Van de Wijgert, the host of the evening. Van der Borgh laughs: “We have a traditional division of labour tonight. Not deliberate...

“Will you come and spin the wheel at De Uni?”

“Will you come and spin the wheel at De Uni?”

“This is the most culinary thing I’ve made in three years”, announces Roos Klomberg, the host of this evening’s dinner. She casts a satisfied eye over the courgette and avocado soup, tagliatelle and salmon. “And right on time: seven pm, everything’s ready.” Eva van de Walle is already on the lookout in case...

On dead mice and the tree huggers of UCM

On dead mice and the tree huggers of UCM

Loosely translated, ex aequo means “on equal terms” – and it gives a good sense of the sorority. “We don’t force new students to fetch drinks for the older students, or give them only one third of a vote when we make decisions”, says Sophie te Boome, waving a knife dangerously back and forth at the kitchen table....

“You’re Italian? And here we are making pasta!”

“You’re Italian? And here we are making pasta!”

“Where do you want the prof? On the stool or a folding chair?” Tessa Geraedts holds up the options for Sara Salassa, who is hosting this evening’s dinner in her studio. The folding chair it is. The ladies are putting the finishing touches on the three-course menu: courgette soup with mint oil, pasta with vegetables and beef, and l...

“We go through two hundred litres every Wednesday. Write that down”

“We go through two hundred litres every Wednesday. Write that down”

“Haven’t you lit that crackling log fire yet? Guys, come on.” Halfway through the evening, with the steaks already sizzling in the pan, Marc van Gastel – known as ‘Otto’ – makes his entrance. Dressed in gym clothes, he looks a little peaky. He’s too ill to eat: “My hands are still shaking a bit....

“We’re not those boorish, antisocial alpha males with their hair slicked back”

“We’re not those boorish, antisocial alpha males with their hair slicked back”

“We see one another in extreme circumstances: very drunk or very emotional. We share everything, including when someone’s going through a difficult time”, Lars Vreuls is explaining when the doorbell rings around 18.30 in the student flat on the Burgemeester Lespinassestraat 1C03. It is Professor Klaartje Peters, frozen with cold a...

“So were you lured in?"

“So were you lured in?"

Jos Lemmink actually thought it would be fun to cook with the students. Not because he lacked faith in their culinary skills, but for nostalgic reasons. He once lived in a student house in Groningen, and still recalls the communal act of chopping and stir-frying vegetables. Which is not to say this always resulted in Michelin-star delights: “...

“Is the button shop still here?”

“Is the button shop still here?”

Psychiatry professor Jim van Os enters the room carrying a basket wrapped in cellophane. It contains several bottles of wine, truffle dressing, mustard, spaghetti and more. Quite a fancy gift, especially compared to what other professors typically bring to these dinners. “I have to admit I was given it myself this morning. There was a nationa...

“The guys are ruined after six months. They can take their pick of the women"

“The guys are ruined after six months. They can take their pick of the women"

“You get the best piece”, says medical student Laura Oostewechel proudly as she places an enormous portion of vegetable quiche in front of Mathieu Segers, dean of University College Maastricht. “I don’t know if you’re allergic to anything?” And then, before waiting for the professor’s reply, “If so, t...

“Irritating, students who clap after a lecture”

“Irritating, students who clap after a lecture”

First, the name: why on earth would a korfball club call itself De Hippo’s? And where did that mischievous hippopotamus in the logo come from? According to president Yvonne Simons, the women who founded the club 25 years ago were not exactly skin and bones. What’s more, they all lived in the Heugemerveld district, which is dotted with t...

“How did you go about it, tomato-wise?”

“How did you go about it, tomato-wise?”

Before the professor arrives, a discussion arises about the name of the sorority, Missdaad. Does it mean anything? Apparently not. At some point in the past there was a vote between several names and this was the winner, according to Celine Notermans, who once asked a former member during an anniversary celebration. “But a name like that does...

“We don’t go looking for trouble, trouble finds us”

“We don’t go looking for trouble, trouble finds us”

Could the journalist use the loo before leaving? Of course, says a jovial Christiaan ten Broek, who first checks to see whether the toilet is safe and clean (he vacuumed the living room today, but didn’t make it to the bathroom). It’s clean enough, declares Professor Corine de Ruiter. As for safe – the walls are plastered with pho...

“It’s amazing – it cuts, weighs, cooks, steams, blends and kneads”

“It’s amazing – it cuts, weighs, cooks, steams, blends and kneads”

Six people are trying in vain to squeeze into a cramped kitchen. “Let’s go sit in my room”, Mathijs Weijnen calls as he stirs a pan of risotto with peas and chorizo. His room on the first floor, with its four couches and a conspicuous nude on the wall, serves as the living room. Before the residents of Glacisweg 19 plop down on th...

“Have you already got your door back?”

“Have you already got your door back?”

Mariëlle Heijltjes is being treated this evening to a full three-course meal: baguette with avocado tapenade and salmon to start, pasta with shrimps for the main and Swedish coconut balls to finish. “Did you come up with all that yourself?” she asks Caspar Naus as he gives a rundown of the menu. “No,” he replies, “I&rs...

 “If only I’d bought you a broom instead of wine”

“If only I’d bought you a broom instead of wine”

“It’s too moist”, says Denise Sitters. “Not at all”, replies Nanne de Vries, professor of Health Promotion. “Just say that’s how your apple crumble is supposed to be. I like it.” Meanwhile, Wannes van Lonkhuijzen is standing at the kitchen counter with a knife and the second round of apple crumble. He...

“Our gift to you, sir: the Most Beautiful Students Calendar”

“Our gift to you, sir: the Most Beautiful Students Calendar”

“Oh, shit, we get scored on the food?” Loek Rekko hasn’t been following this Observant series. “Darn!” He apologises: he prepared the shoulder chops, but he didn’t buy it. “Also, it’s been in the oven for twenty minutes too long.” “My fault”, says Matthijs Hesselink. “I was lat...

“We practically drink in your backyard!”

“We practically drink in your backyard!”

“Ooooh how sweet!” He has barely been inside for five minutes and Martin Paul has already charmed the girls from MAX (pronounced mex), presenting them with four cups and saucers with the Maastricht skyline. “My daughter moved to Berlin for her studies. When I found out she was drinking out of an empty Nutella jar, I had to go to I...

“What if your potential fraternity member doesn’t drink?” That would be difficult

“What if your potential fraternity member doesn’t drink?” That would be difficult

According to a note by the door, the doorbell to the Boschstraat 58c is broken. At the bottom of the note the occupant of 58b has written her phone number. It’s a considerate gesture. Before she picks up, however, three students with grocery bags cross the road to the flat. Yes, they are tonight’s chefs, they reply cheerfully, as Ischa ...

“Are you into drinking and being rowdy?”

“Are you into drinking and being rowdy?”

It takes a while for Professor Maria Jansen to find her way up to the students of Lux ad Mosam, who live above their clubhouse on the Bogaardenstraat. In the three years the students have lived there, the intercom has never worked. “That’s why we installed a normal bell”, says Nadine de Hoog. The problem is that it’s a black...

“The word tricycle comes to mind”

“The word tricycle comes to mind”

Two bicycles under the raised bed, chain wheels and sprockets on the wall and a row of tires under the window. Jesse Raas is obviously a cyclist. His room is the venue for this evening’s dinner with professor of Philosophy Tsjalling Swierstra and three other members of the student mountain bike and cycling association Dutch Mountains. Having ...

“Mr Van Schayck, life is no joke”

“Mr Van Schayck, life is no joke”

Tuesday evening, Bogaardenstraat 16. We’re sitting on the first floor of an apartment building where students and Maastricht locals live in harmony together. Most of the time, at least. The police were called in a few weeks ago, says psychology student Elizabeth de Nijs. “Nienke and I were just talking, with a bit of music on in the bac...

Does Lagakari have many couples, the prof asks

Does Lagakari have many couples, the prof asks

No, Angeniet Helwig didn’t spend hours cleaning her room; she did remove some beer mats with messages of kissing, cuddling and boozing from the wall. Excuse me? Yes, that is a tradition at Lagakari – we’ll come back to the cuddling later. Helwig lives on the Grote Gracht, in a building that houses more than forty students. Perfec...

“Do you still enjoy life, with four women at home?”

“Do you still enjoy life, with four women at home?”

“Burgers are always good!” Sjoerd van Dijk calls from the kitchen as he does his final check: “Onions in the pan, potatoes in the oven, pasta salad, tomatoes.” Tonight’s guest – Professor Philip Vergauwen, dean of the School of Business and Economics – had already shown up at the Noormannensingel a week ear...