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“What do you do when someone starts crying?”

“What do you do when someone starts crying?”

“I know that most of the teaching and mentor staff finds it difficult when a student confronts them with an extremely emotional story. What do you do when someone starts crying? Should you give him a hug, offer a tissue?” It’s the question that Pia Harbers, student advisor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, drops in her t...
“I thought studying would be more relaxing than working full-time, it was the other way around”

“I thought studying would be more relaxing than working full-time, it was the other way around”

Why is it that so many young people today feel stressed, anxious, depressed and burned out? Many have tried to find an answer. The panellists and the audience at the Sphinx debate about the topic, Wednesday 29 May at Lumière, took another stab at it. Their conclusion: structural changes have to be made at Maastricht University.
“It’s not like either everyone in Germany was a Nazi or everyone in the Netherlands was part of the resistance”

“It’s not like either everyone in Germany was a Nazi or everyone in the Netherlands was part of the resistance”

 “I was quite anxious, going to a commemoration of Second World War victims as a German.” On 1 May 2011, Professor Martin Paul became president of UM. Three days later, on 4 May, he lay down a wreath on behalf of the university during the Remembrance of the Dead ceremony in Maastricht. He immediately felt welcome and was “tak...
“Sometimes you have to pull the emergency brake to open people’s eyes”

“Sometimes you have to pull the emergency brake to open people’s eyes”

He’s prepared to threaten Brussels with a Nexit. He’s even prepared to mean it, if the EU spins out of control. Ruud Burlet, political leader of the conservative Eurosceptic party Forum for Democracy (FvD) in Limburg, engages in a debate with EU expert Professor Mathieu Segers. The latter doesn’t like threats. And he certainly doe...
Meet Maastricht Festival

Meet Maastricht Festival

From 24-26 May you get the chance to learn about Maastricht’s culture, history, monuments and food at the third edition of the Meet Maastricht Festival. New this year is a sleepover at the Museum aan het Vrijthof, a big opening party at the Code 043 office (one of the sponsors) and more tours around Maastricht. Participants can for instanc...

“PBL is a kind of minidemocracy”

“PBL is a kind of minidemocracy”

You don't need to tell anyone at Maastricht University that problem-based learning has a lot of advantages. But will a democratic society work better because of it? Do students learn skills that will make them more involved citizens? Teun Dekker, professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Education, believes so. To test this out, Observant asked hi...
UM Pride launch event

UM Pride launch event

MAASTRICHT. There is a new network for LGBT+ people in Maastricht. On Thursday 23 May UM Pride will have its launch event. “We want to be a safe space for the LGBT+ community at Maastricht University for both staff and students”, says initiative taker and law student Davide Muraro. UM Pride will focus on four themes: research and academ...
Europe needs a new story

Europe needs a new story

Learning from the past. It is a cliché that is often neither here nor there, the writer and historian Ian Buruma will argue in his Schuman lecture The Wrong lessons from history, next week. And what about the endless comparisons with the Second World War then? Is it right to call Baudet a fascist? “It is not completely unfounded.&rd...
Big feminist questions and party music at Ladyfest

Big feminist questions and party music at Ladyfest

For the third year in a row, Maastricht will celebrate the expression, creation, discussion and collaboration of feminist, women, trans and gender-non conforming people at Ladyfest on 4 and 5 May.
Museumnacht 2019: conspiracy theorists, a meteorite impact and Nightwatchmen

Museumnacht 2019: conspiracy theorists, a meteorite impact and Nightwatchmen

The Young Office has created a spacescape in the Bonnefanten Museum, at Bureau Europa you can immerse yourself in a world of conspiracy theorists, big data and artificial intelligence, and Marres is brimming with sculptures and moulded portraits of people in everyday situations. Museumnacht Maastricht is almost upon us once again. On Friday, 12 Apr...
“Europeans are not the central force behind history anymore”

“Europeans are not the central force behind history anymore”

What it means to be European, how to deal with European history – both good and bad, collective memories and individual experiences. These are all themes that the storytellers who spoke at last Tuesday’s Storyline event ‘Europe: stories about love and hate’ touch upon in their work, whether it’s in writing, the spoken ...
Europe: stories about love and hate

Europe: stories about love and hate

MAASTRICHT. The opinions about Europe are – to put it mildly – divided. In the next Story-Line event on Tuesday 26 March storytellers will share their stories about love and hate in Europe. Guests include Mathieu Segers, professor of European Affairs at University College Maastricht, best-seller author Francesca Melandri and Dutch write...
On bombings, torture, smugglers… and research

On bombings, torture, smugglers… and research

Three refugees recently received a special NWO grant to carry out research at the UM. Two of them - a Syrian neuroscientist and a Palestinian pharmacologist - tell their stories. The third laureate – Erman Atak from Turkey – preferred not to be interviewed.
Becoming more democratic through the Liberal Arts

Becoming more democratic through the Liberal Arts

To prepare students to be good citizens in a democratic society is the central concern of education for Teun Dekker, recently made first professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Europe. Dekker intended his inaugural lecture on Thursday, the 31st of January, to be a “celebration of Liberal Arts education” and hence introduced his idea o...
Women in film: small steps, big dreams

Women in film: small steps, big dreams

“Small steps and big dreams” illustrates perfectly the sentiment that the visitors could feel in  the room  4 of the Lumière Cinema on Saturday afternoon. The discussion regarding the Women in Film Post- #Metoo was part of the Shift Film Festival. This festival happens every year. Throughout conferences, discussion, movie scre...
How to motivate the Danish to buy electric cars

How to motivate the Danish to buy electric cars

SBE dean and Danish citizen Peter Møllgaard became the new chairman of the Danish Council on Climate Change from 1 December. Despite recent ominous reports, Møllgaard believes in a good outcome. “I am a born optimist.”
“When there are bombings I tell my children there are fireworks”

“When there are bombings I tell my children there are fireworks”

On 14 June 2009, a missile hit the second floor of the house of 39-year-old Palestinian human rights activist Yamen Al Madhoun. Glass and stone splinters slightly injured two of his sisters. Whose missile that was, is still under investigation. Violence and other violations of human rights are an everyday occurrence in the Gaza Strip. That’s ...

"Be present in the moment in a non-judgmental way"

How to successfully juggle all the balls that you have up in the air and how to live your life according to your priotities – these were just two of the many topics discussed in the ‘Bend, don’t break’ workshop on Wednesday 31 October, during the well-being week at Maastricht University. 
Housing policy: students and citizens don't agree at all

Housing policy: students and citizens don't agree at all

MAASTRICHT. The measure introduced by the Maastricht city council to only allow a maximum of 120 new rooms annually, the so-called 40-40-40 rule, has put the brakes on the proliferation of student housing. Other rules, such as the requirement of bicycle parking facilities and a shed for rubbish bags, have had much less effect. An evaluation report ...

Impossible to walk away without emotion

MAASTRICHT. From 19 October until 11 November, Centre Céramique is hosting the annual World Press Photo exhibition. The competition receives photos from around the world showcasing a variety of news works that emulating depth and creativity, allowing visitors to engage with news events more personally. 
“Europe should re-establish its enlightened values”

“Europe should re-establish its enlightened values”

The Muslim question – that’s the greatest challenge for Europe today, according to Maajid Nawaz, who gave the Tans lecture last Monday. Nawaz, co-author of Islam and the Future of Tolerance, believes that both Islam and Europe need to reform in order for us to build a society in which people from different ethnic and cultural background...
Expats not satisfied yet

Expats not satisfied yet

NETHERLANDS. The tax on dividends remains and the cabinet therefore has enough money to meet the demands of expats whose tax benefit is being decreased. But the expats remain vexed and threaten to go to court.
Tans lecture by deradicalised Muslim

Tans lecture by deradicalised Muslim

MAASTRICHT. At the age of sixteen, the British-Pakistani Maajid Nawaz joined Hizb ut Tahrir, a world-wide Islamist organisation that aims at establishing a caliphate. Nawaz becomes a leader, but eventually ends up in an Egyptian jail. After spending four years in prison, he changes course, distances himself from Hizb ut Tahrir, and turns against Is...

iArts students create conceptual clothing line with fabrics from the Maas

iArts students create conceptual clothing line with fabrics from the Maas

What kind of waste do you think ends up in the river Maas most? Plastic? Glass? Actually, second- and third-year students of iArts, an interdisciplinary arts programme of Zuyd Hogeschool to which also UM teachers contribute, found a lot of clothing and textiles. Commissioned by Dutch Earth Week – which starts next Monday – to do a proje...
Maybe container accommodation in Randwyck after all

Maybe container accommodation in Randwyck after all

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has reopened discussions about container accommodation in Randwyck. This time it doesn't concern second-hand units from Amsterdam, but newly built sea containers by social enterprise Rendiz from Limburg.
Delay renovation Annadal: students disadvantaged

Delay renovation Annadal: students disadvantaged

MAASTRICHT. “It's a mess.” That’s what foreign students who have recently rented a room at the Annadal complex on the Brouwersweg say. The 217 additional rooms were renovated in no time during the summer. The objective was reached: handover on 1 September. But it isn’t ready. The inhabitants are dealing with a lot of dus...
“If one person gets sick, everyone will follow”

“If one person gets sick, everyone will follow”

Anyone who enters the former nurses flat on the Annadal complex, will receive a friendly greeting from the builders. “Don't fall over the materials.” This person is sanding and painting, another is putting up shower units like you would see on a campsite. Lois Lane is blaring in the stairwell, dust is settling everywhere. The clean...

“It is actually possible, equal academic careers”

“It is actually possible, equal academic careers”

Dual inaugural lectures have happened before in Maastricht, but this is the first time that a ‘husband and wife’ present theirs in the same ceremony. The honour goes to German researchers Lisa and Alexander Brüggen, each of whom will accept a chair at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) tomorrow. “Some employees, who have w...
PAS workshop: I write, so I stay

PAS workshop: I write, so I stay

MAASTRICHT SATURDAY NIGHT 20.30. In no more than 45 minutes these brave writers wrote a small article about PAS during the Observant writing workshop. You can read them here.
Two or three kisses on the cheek?

Two or three kisses on the cheek?

Doga Kordel (19) from Istanbul is going to study International Business. He chose Maastricht because he wanted to study in Europe and he didn’t want to make it too expensive. However, the most important reason is that he wants to learn a new language, after learning French and English in high school. He also got accepted in Tilburg, but he di...

“You would never see an introduction like this in India”

“You would never see an introduction like this in India”

Mrinal Gupta (19) is a soccer player, but he’s thinking about  joining Saurus this year. His Inkom mentors got him really excited about rowing, he tells during the Sports Event at the Griend on Thursday. He came all the way from New Delhi to go study in Maastricht. Well, not all the way from India, because for the last two years he and h...

A tattoo as a memory of Costa Rica

A tattoo as a memory of Costa Rica

As she stands in front of the wall, ready to be photographed, Italian Lisa Scanu (18) tells about the tattoo under her left collarbone. The word zussen – Dutch for sisters – remembers her of her time in Costa Rica. It sounds crazy: a Dutch word for an Italian girl as a memory of her stay in a country where Spanish is the predominant lan...

Three minutes by bike

Three minutes by bike

Jannick Neudert (24) from Germany, master International Business: “What I like about Maastricht? I arrived this morning and parked my car not far from SBE. I had to walk through parks to reach the faculty, I like the green atmosphere. I want to switch to a bicycle as soon as possible. I will get the key of my room the first of September. It&r...

“If I say I’m going to dinner with the Maastricht rector, they’ll let me off”

“If I say I’m going to dinner with the Maastricht rector, they’ll let me off”

MAASTRICHT. Tuesday evening. As the clock strikes six, the front door of the student house at Vrijthof 27 rattles. Two bright eyes peep through the mail slot into the corridor. It’s rector Rianne Letschert, pressing the doorbell in vain. In June last year, she joined the students for dinner for the Observant series Guess who...

‘Austere expat ruling damaging to the Netherlands as a knowledge country’

NETHERLANDS. Dutch universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutes are afraid that they may miss out on international talent as a result of restrictions on the so-called ‘expat subsidy’. They think that the Cabinet would do well to reconsider the measure.
When storytellers become activists

When storytellers become activists

MAASTRICHT. How do storytellers relate to current pressing issues? When and why do writers, filmmakers and artists become activists? That’s the theme of the fourth Story-Line event, this Saturday in Lumiere Cinama. The English programme includes writers Priya Basil and Olumide Popoola, a short lecture about the documentary Bueys by film criti...

Tropical tunes, a maze and obscure stories

Tropical tunes, a maze and obscure stories

MAASTRICHT. For one night, Marres will be transformed into a jungle, Bonnefanten Museum into a maze, and the Dominicanen bookstore into a trendy club. During the Maastricht Museum Night on 13 April, thirteen art institutes will not only open their doors, but will also put on all kinds of performances and activities. For example, the Museum of Natur...

“Researchers don’t have a clue about deadlines and word counts”

“Researchers don’t have a clue about deadlines and word counts”

Academics have an ethical obligation to write articles for a broad audience, partly to counter others who are less than expert in the material or who wish to manipulate us. This is the standpoint of the Melbourne-based guest lecturer Simon Clews, who is giving writing workshops all week at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Alles is Drama tries its hand at musical theatre with Family Matters

Alles is Drama tries its hand at musical theatre with Family Matters

For their new production Family Matters, student theatre association Alles is Drama embarks on a new adventure: musical theatre. In addition to sketches that they wrote themselves, each player will also perform a song. The overarching theme is family – from the awkwardness of family gatherings to finding a new family far away from home. Di...

Big student debate elections at SBE

MAASTRICHT. Ten (of the fourteen) local political parties, five propositions, five debate rounds and rector Rianne Letschert to set the ball rolling. A large city council election debate for students will take place in the Franz Palm lecture hall at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) on Monday 12 March.
Portraits of human rights defenders

Portraits of human rights defenders

“Richard fights for the rights of prisoners in Burundi.” Under the impressive photo of this African human rights defender, with the Servaas Bridge in the background, visitors to the exhibition in the Faculty of Law's Lenculenhal can read Richard's story. Just like those of Nigerian activist Judith (see photo) and journalist...

Maastricht’s not-so-dead Poets Society

Maastricht’s not-so-dead Poets Society

As the meek face of morning Peered, winking generously Over the woken earth Came a lonely boat, Slaving to the tide Soothing solemnly by As a sailing thought  Slowly making its way  Across the pallid waters  Of my liquid mind. (Alfie Marsden-Smedley)
“I still believe there’s room to get it right, a culture of law instead of revenge”

“I still believe there’s room to get it right, a culture of law instead of revenge”

After studying law in England, Anuol Deng decided to return to his native soil in South Sudan. He was determined that, as a lawyer, he could make a contribution in his war-ravaged country. The Dutch sisters Femke and Ilse van Velzen trailed him for months, filming a documentary called A Haunting History. This Thursday afternoon, Deng will deliver t...
“Sacrifice one submarine to move forward in regenerative medicine”

“Sacrifice one submarine to move forward in regenerative medicine”

“He is not only an idol, he is my hero!”, were Professor Clemens van Blitterswijk’s words leaving the curious audience tempted to learn about the identity of this mystery man. His talk was one of the many that were given during TEDx Maastricht’s 5th anniversary, which took place this year at the MECC forum. This year’s...
“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.
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...