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Saurus again the fastest grower

Saurus again the fastest grower

MAASTRICHT. For three years in a row, Saurus has been the fastest growing of the four large Maastricht student associations. They have registered 175 new members this year, 59 of whom are international students. Enthusiasm for Circumflex has seen a lift and Tragos has also seen a slight increase. Koko is the only one experiencing a decline.
Substantial increase of first-years

Substantial increase of first-years

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University registered almost 9 per cent more first-year students than last year: 8,177 students. In particular the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has seen a lift because of its new bachelor's programme of Digital Society.
“Fine, I’ll be the token woman from time to time”

“Fine, I’ll be the token woman from time to time”

A charming rector’, ‘the embodiment of UM’, ‘ambitious’, ‘authentic’: Dutch media outlets were very generous with their praise in recent articles about ‘Top Woman of the Year 2019’ and current rector of Maastricht University Rianne Letschert. Her own reaction to winning the annual competition fo...
Hardware stolen from UNS 60

Hardware stolen from UNS 60

MAASTRICHT. During a burglary, last week, in two of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences' offices on the Universiteitssingel 60, hardware from eight computers (processors, RAM, and hard disks) were taken. The crime was reported to the police. According to Ineke Wolfhagen, assistant director of the education institute, no privacy-se...
Psychology alumnus Sibren Fetter: “As it turned out, I liked neither reading nor writing”

Psychology alumnus Sibren Fetter: “As it turned out, I liked neither reading nor writing”

The Bonnefanten Convent was the domain of the Sisters of the Holy Sepulchre until 1789 and of the Bonnefanten Museum from 1952 to 1979. Maastricht University has owned it for almost forty years now. There’s a bookcase in the attic; the top shelf holds books entitled I can do it and I’ll get through this. The shelves below...
“I just add colour without care”

“I just add colour without care”

Paulina Casas (21), first-year UCM student, describes her style as “very girly and colourful”.
The Greek vegetarian paradox

The Greek vegetarian paradox

I love meat, but it’s obvious that I will have to reduce my meat consumption. Given the excessive amount of nitrogen produced in the Netherlands, we have to decide whether to build less or to reduce the amount of livestock. Since the number of households is expected to increase by almost one million in the next three decades, and we don&rsquo...

Waiting times for student psychologists have risen drastically

Waiting times for student psychologists have risen drastically

MAASTRICHT. ‘Waiting times for student psychologists have dropped drastically,’ Observant reported two weeks ago. One of the reasons was the introduction of groups sessions, focussing on prevention. But now it appears that waiting times have suddenly risen again substantially.
“You are a picture that you can draw anew every day”

“You are a picture that you can draw anew every day”

Merlijn van Emmerik (20), third-year student of the Maastricht Science Programme, describes her style as: “diverse, often rather masculine, but then as compensation a very female detail.”
Successful Career Woman Rianne Letschert: maybe female professor quota in 2020

Successful Career Woman Rianne Letschert: maybe female professor quota in 2020

MAASTRICHT. Long articles in newspapers such as Het Financieele Dagblad, de Limburger, Eindhovens Dagblad, an appearance on the TV show Jinek and numerous reports in other media. Only those who were completely shut off from the world could have missed it this week: rector Rianne Letschert won the Successful Career Woman of ...
New in Maastricht: spikeball

New in Maastricht: spikeball

MAASTRICHT. What started as a Christmas gift has grown into the latest student sports club in Maastricht: spikeball club Cactus Maastricht.
“It is more important that clothes fit well than whether they are a brand”

“It is more important that clothes fit well than whether they are a brand”

Bjorn Berben (22), fourth-year student of Health Sciences, describes his style as “edgy, but basic”.
King's Day in Maastricht

King's Day in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. No European Song Contest in Maastricht next year - that will be celebrated in Rotterdam – but we will have the celebrations for King Willem-Alexander’s birthday together with his family. On King’s day, 27 April 2020, the city will be awash with orange. “It is an absolute honour that the King will come to our city...

“I was terrified, but I had to get out of the jungle. There was no time to feel fear”

“I was terrified, but I had to get out of the jungle. There was no time to feel fear”

In July 2017, on her first trip as a war correspondent, she was shot at. Lisa Dupuy (28), a University College Maastricht graduate, fell into an ambush in the jungle of eastern Congo. “We were in the middle of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve when we were attacked by a gang of criminals. They were looking for gold and didn’t want any prying e...
Rain songs and orgasms

Rain songs and orgasms

Arabian sounds come from the living room of the student pastoral care centre The InnBetween. The place is lit by candles. Some fifty visitors are sitting on the floor with a cup of tea near the stage or on one of the folding chairs, listening to the Palestinian Bint Mbareh. For het master’s thesis, she researched traditional Palestinian rain ...

The student loan system stays – but more money to tackle teacher shortage

The student loan system stays – but more money to tackle teacher shortage

NETHERLANDS. Prime Minister Mark Rutte was clear: the government was not going to start tampering with the student loan system. There might, however, be some money left over to tackle the teacher shortage.
Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

MAASTRICHT/NETHERLANDS. On the day of the King’s speech, last Tuesday, the cabinet presented its budget for next year. Higher education is in for a bad time, with another round of cutbacks. This is on top of the disastrous plans recommended by the Van Rijn committee, which wants money to be transferred from general universities to techni...
Group sessions reduce waiting time for student psychologist

Group sessions reduce waiting time for student psychologist

MAASTRICHT. Waiting times for an appointment with a student psychologist have been reduced considerably compared to this time last year. Students then had to wait three weeks, which is now three working days. Mieke Janssen, team leader for the UM psychologists and student psychologist Liesbeth Mouha reported this last week during a University Counc...
“I find jokes about the war hard to take”

“I find jokes about the war hard to take”

It was 75 year ago when Limburg was liberated. On 13 September 1944, the American army entered Maastricht, a thing that was celebrated elaborately last weekend, with among others a Ticker Tape Parade to honour the liberators. Does the liberation still interest students? Do they think it is important to commemorate and celebrate or is it just an eve...
Former Health student Marjolijne van der Stoep: “How can you promise to love someone forever?”

Former Health student Marjolijne van der Stoep: “How can you promise to love someone forever?”

Having children was not in the cards for her. According to then 23-year-old Marjolijne van der Stoep, now almost forty, people should spend a little more time thinking before deciding to have children. Not everyone, she said, is fit to be a parent – herself included. She thought she’d be a terrible mother, a pushover with no a...
 “I wear my pink trousers when I want to be noticed and express: here I am”

“I wear my pink trousers when I want to be noticed and express: here I am”

Anouk Moll (25), almost graduated from University College Maastricht, co-owner of software company FemIP and influencing and marketing platform Binfluence, describes her style as: "business-like, practical and no-nonsense"
Prefab student accommodation in Randwyck

Prefab student accommodation in Randwyck

MAASTRICHT. Over the next two years, 126 student homes will be built in Randwyck. Not discarded sea containers, but brand-new double apartments. About half of these will have to be completed on the grounds of the former sports hall by August. The rest will follow the year after that.
Former student of Law Hans Wassink: “I had a great time, but I ended up losing myself”

Former student of Law Hans Wassink: “I had a great time, but I ended up losing myself”

“I owe my current life to the interview in Observant!” Hans Wassink (37) still has a tendency to exaggerate things. Of all the alumni we interviewed about their dreams for the future, the then 22-year-old fourth-year student of Dutch Law was by far the most outspoken one. His dream for the future was to become a decadent prick. He ...
Maastricht 127th in top 200

Maastricht 127th in top 200

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has risen one place in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 and is now at number 127, in front of Nijmegen, Amsterdam (VU), and Eindhoven. There are a total of eleven Dutch universities in the top 200 of best universities worldwide. The highest-ranking Dutch university is Wagenin...
“A lot has to do with common sense”

“A lot has to do with common sense”

Being able to work on something important for a period of ten years. That certainty is the true gift of the gravitation subsidy (almost 20 million) that she and her consortium received, says professor Anita Jansen. “You need that as a researcher.” As a dean, she tried to improve working conditions for her staff. By allocating teaching t...
Students for Climate take action against Maastricht Airport expansion

Students for Climate take action against Maastricht Airport expansion

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht student organisation Students for Climate will make every effort to prevent an expansion of Maastricht Aachen Airport (MAA).
 “I’m fond of unisex silhouettes, I like it straight”

“I’m fond of unisex silhouettes, I like it straight”

Elizaveta Kislova (18), second-year European Law School student from Russia, describes her style as: “Urban style with ease”
Kaleido looking for accommodation again

Kaleido looking for accommodation again

MAASTRICHT. International student club Kaleido won't be moving to Kleine Gracht 41 after all. Before the summer, there were rumours that this would be their new ‘living room’ from which a “community could be built”. That is what Thomas Schäfer, project leader for Maastricht University said back then. Now it appears that ...

Green light for new animal-testing centre

Green light for new animal-testing centre

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has been given the green light for the new animal-testing centre. No objections have been lodged against the permit application, said the spokesperson for the Maastricht city council in response to questions. Apart from that, there is a letter from Animal Rights to the Executive Board with the request to stop anima...
Eclectic eating at Dadawan

Eclectic eating at Dadawan

In Maastricht, students are prepared to wait in long lines for three things: the international student helpdesk at the Student Service Centre, the office of Swapfiets in the first week of the academic year, and restaurant Dadawan. The queues in front of Dadawan are longest and most consistent. This type of popularity is quite an accomplishment for ...
An opportunity, not a threat

An opportunity, not a threat

I've always prided myself on knowing my languages. Until I went to Penang, Malaysia. While enjoying my delicious banana pancakes one warm morning, Sandra, the (Indian) woman in charge of the restaurant area of the little hotel I was staying at came over and we started chatting casually. The conversation quickly turned to the different ethnic...

“China was a breath of fresh air, I could be openly gay there”

“China was a breath of fresh air, I could be openly gay there”

MAASTRICHT. Two years ago, Italian law student Davide Muraro was still “hidden in the closet”. A good year later, he set up UM Pride, the LGBT+ network (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender+) at Maastricht University. Last Monday, rector Rianne Letschert handed UM Pride the UM Student Prize, in the form of a distinction and a thousand euro....
Former Arts and Culture student Frouke Verhagen: delivering 265 babies in seven years

Former Arts and Culture student Frouke Verhagen: delivering 265 babies in seven years

She was eighteen years old, a first-year student of Arts and Culture and already quite domestically inclined, by her own account. “A white-picket-fence kind of person.” She wasn’t overly ambitious and she wouldn’t mind becoming a housewife, provided that her husband earned enough money to support their family. Fifteen years ...
Worries about budget shifts and limits on internationalisation

Worries about budget shifts and limits on internationalisation

MAASTRICHT. He is worried, said Maastricht University president Martin Paul, not only in his speech during the opening ceremony of the academic year, but again during the closing session. About the budget shifts that the 'Van Rijn committee' has in mind – more money for sciences at the expense of languages, humanities and the arts &nd...
“You have to ask yourself with every item on the agenda: why could this not be public?”

“You have to ask yourself with every item on the agenda: why could this not be public?”

MAASTRICHT. For two whole years, Dr Amanda Kluveld was chairperson of the Faculty Council at Arts and Social Sciences. As of 1 September, the Maastricht historian is the new chairperson of the University Council. She is an advocate of transparency and likes to give council members their space.
“In France, I found what matches my personality”

“In France, I found what matches my personality”

Luisa Arens (20), second-year International Business student, describes her style as: “Chic and comfortable.”
The first batch will be “spoilt rotten”

The first batch will be “spoilt rotten”

MAASTRICHT. Two guinea pigs appear on the screen in the Gymnasium. “You are now our guinea pigs, or as we say in Dutch proefkonijnen‚” says Sally Wyatt, programme director of the new bachelor's programme of Digital Society at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “Sometimes, guinea pigs have a hard time and they ...
Students: “Bring science to prisons”

Students: “Bring science to prisons”

MAASTRICHT. Proposition: It is worth investing billions in the Einstein Telescope. A sea of green cards with ‘Yes’ shoots up, among them two red cards stating ‘No’. It is Monday, 2 September; the morning programme of the Opening of the Academic Year is at full blast. The theme is: ‘Who cares about society?’ or ho...
You’re also still in Singapore, Bob?

You’re also still in Singapore, Bob?

Bob is still in… Singapore? I thought this was going to be a blog about your exchange to Freiburg, Germany? Also, who is Bob? Bob is a lizard - you’ll get to know him later on. And regarding the first question: universities in Germany only start mid-October. Mid-October? Isn’t that our first exam week? Yes, I w...

Judge ruled against Law dean

Judge ruled against Law dean

MAASTRICHT. The dean of the Maastricht Faculty of Law, who suspended five law students last spring because of racist and anti-Semitic remarks in a WhatsApp group, found himself ruled against by the Appeals Tribunal for Higher Education. He should have first given a warning. With this, the Executive Board that supported him were also given a ra...
“It makes no difference to me whether something in the shop is for men or for women”

“It makes no difference to me whether something in the shop is for men or for women”

Joost Wijffels (19), second-year UCM student, describes his style as: “sharp with a twist. I have a number of basic items to which I add something exciting.”
Student housing market to remain out of balance

Student housing market to remain out of balance

NETHERLANDS. Student cities with severe student housing shortages are planning major construction projects over the next six years. Nevertheless, researchers expect that only half will succeed in restoring balance to their overheated local student housing markets by 2026. In Maastricht there seem no problems.
Less stress of choice at PAS festival

Less stress of choice at PAS festival

MAASTRICHT. A skating track on the Oud-Gouvernement parking lot, about forty UM scientists talk about their recent research, the smallest disco in the world, street theatre by Petit Monsieur. The programme for the sixth edition of the PAS (Pleasure, Art and Science) Festival on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 September is complete.
Fuss about a student house roof terrace in Wyck continues

Fuss about a student house roof terrace in Wyck continues

MAASTRICHT. A student accommodation building on the Spoorweglaan in Wyck has received a permit for a roof terrace for the second time. The court previously ruled in favour of the complaining neighbour.
Fraud in UM spin-off VitaK

Fraud in UM spin-off VitaK

MAASTRICHT. Two Maastricht University researchers, professor Leon Schurgers and professor Cees Vermeer (the latter has by now retired) have apparently enriched themselves through the university subsidiary company VitaK. De Limburger and De Groene Amsterdammer in collaboration with the Investico platform reported elaborately...
Law alumnus Niels van der Laan: “I thought it was just a fling, but she became the love of my life”

Law alumnus Niels van der Laan: “I thought it was just a fling, but she became the love of my life”

In 2003 we asked UM students about their dreams for the future. Now, in 2019, it’s time to check in with them and see where they’re at. They’re about forty years old now. Did their dreams end up coming true? We’ll use this special year (Observant is celebrating its 40th birthday!) as an opportunity to find out. In ...
High School Summer College: a week of student life experience

High School Summer College: a week of student life experience

MAASTRICHT. What's it like to be a student? More than forty pupils - averaging 17 years of age - from around the whole world attended the High School Summer College in Maastricht in the middle of August. Living in the Guesthouse for a whole week, taking lectures in the mornings and after that tutorials or a visit to the lab. The evening program...
Master's student creates music from study material

Master's student creates music from study material

MAASTRICHT. “Hello! Psychology?” “Yes” “Wonderful” All new Psychology students are greeted with the same enthusiasm when they arrive at the Universiteitssingel 40 for the faculty introduction on Monday morning. The opening lecture won't start until 9:15 hrs, but at 8:00 hrs the first students are already at t...
Shilly-shallying, sleeping in and shouting

Shilly-shallying, sleeping in and shouting

There are no solid national figures, but there is no longer any doubt: many students are at the end of their tether. Also in Maastricht. “Everything has to be done quickly, quickly, quickly. That’s the struggle of our generation.”
A cause worth fighting for

A cause worth fighting for

Sometimes, an issue gets under your skin. Whether it's because it’s personal or because you believe it to be the greatest concern of our time. These students have decided to dedicate their free time trying to improve the world in their own way.
“If something goes wrong, stay calm”

“If something goes wrong, stay calm”

It was only a year ago that he started to live by himself and took his first steps in the kitchen. Meanwhile Cas Renders, second-year student of Psychology, has been declared the winner of UM’s Next Top Chef, a cooking competition organised by catering company Albron. He created a recipe especially for this first-years’ edition for new ...
Looking for your inner Scrooge McDuck

Looking for your inner Scrooge McDuck

Rent, tuition fees, books, food, insurance, going out. Frightening, just how much money needs to be paid out every month when you first become a student. Fortunately there are many ways to economise. Here are some tips.
Exploring the museum in the golden evening sunlight

Exploring the museum in the golden evening sunlight

Cheers come from a room in the Bonnefanten Museum. A group of freshmen has just successfully completed the Euroscoop film quiz. They continue to explore the museum where there are other activities and performances to be found and the exhibition of Andy Summers: A Certain Strangeness to be seen. The silent disco – which was also present at ...

“I hope these friendships will last”

“I hope these friendships will last”

“I’m pretty amazed at how easy it is to make friends”, says Evelina Jahimovica (19), cheerfully at the Griend where she’s enjoying the Sportsevent. “Everybody is so open. Yesterday at the morning workout, I met a girl who also studies European Public Health. She recognized me from the Facebook group and we started chat...

“A wasp just stung me in the face”

“A wasp just stung me in the face”

“Maybe I’m not a good person to interview right now, I just got stung by wasp in the face”, says Dimitar Dimitrov (18). He holds a plastic cup with ice-cold water against the side of his face. “The people from the first aid gave it to me. They said it will be fine.” Luckily he’s not too tired, he got a good night...

Teaching English in India

Teaching English in India

What’s her name? Hanni? Hanny? She grabs the notebook out of my hands and writes: Hanne Schaefer. She is German, applied for European Studies and is 21 years old. A bit older than the average newbie. That’s because she was tired of learning after high school, she says self-assured. So she went travelling, to New Zealand and India, where...

Moving during Inkom

Moving during Inkom

Andrew Spirow (18) from Washington had to temporary leave his Inkom group on Monday in order to check out a room in Belgium. And with success. On Tuesday he again had to ‘check out’ for a little while in order to move in. “It is difficult to find a room when you’re not in the country, but once I got in Maastricht, I quickly ...

“Scary and exciting at the same time”

“Scary and exciting at the same time”

“A famous person from Maastricht? I don’t know”, says Romanian Alex Rogojina (19), who is going to start her bachelor in psychology. “Ah, the violinist! I didn’t know he was from Maastricht”, she says when she hears that André Rieu is from this city. He is very popular in Romania. Rogojina is by herself this...

Bringing your own bike

Bringing your own bike

When we say Maastricht, German Jette Schütze (19) says “Europe, the signed treaty, an international environment”. No word about André Rieu, the world famous violist, or the Songfestival 2020 that perhaps will be organized in Maastricht. Maybe next year when she’s settled in. As a high school student in Hamburg, Schütze heard of M...

Inkom participants’ number increases to 3100

Inkom participants’ number increases to 3100

MAASTRICHT. For the third year in a row, the Inkom is sold out. The introduction week of Maastricht has attracted 3100 students this year, a hundred more than in 2018. The event has been slowly growing; in 2017 the maximum number of participants was 2900.
Coverband Inkom opening predicts future

Coverband Inkom opening predicts future

“Nobody said it was easy”, people are singing at the Markt. Coverband The Hottub Heroes is playing Coldplay’s song The scientist this Monday evening. An applicable song for the opening of the Inkom: the beginning of a career in higher education for the majority of the audience. Unintentionally the musical choices of the co...

Inkom Monday: serenades, sumo wrestling and birth control

Inkom Monday: serenades, sumo wrestling and birth control

It is about two o’clock on Inkom Monday. The registration has begun at ten, but there still is a cue from the registration desk at the School of Business and Economics up until far into the Bonnefantenstraat. It is hot in the sun; luckily Lipton offers cooling. Free bottles of iced tea are handed out from a cart next to the waiting line. A co...

Law students suspended because of “xenophobic” chats

Law students suspended because of “xenophobic” chats

MAASTRICHT. Five first-year students from European Law School have been punished for writing “racist, or rather, xenophobic” remarks in a (semi-)public WhatsApp group. According to dean Jan Smits, “proportional measures” were taken. He doesn't want to say what the measures were because of “privacy regulations&rdquo...
Concerns about survival of Mandril

Concerns about survival of Mandril

MAASTRICHT. The Mandril, a community of mainly foreign students and a breeding place for talented individuals, will have to leave the former office building of the Radium plant. The user agreement with the city of Maastricht ends in November. There is no sign of a new location for the sanctuary, the regular venue of debates, film evenings, jam...
City expects to have sufficient student rooms

City expects to have sufficient student rooms

MAASTRICHT. The city of Maastricht reckons there will be enough rooms for students. This is mainly because of the 88 additional rooms in Annadal and 257 new studios in the former Bonnefantencollege. The permit applications for another 125 temporary accommodations in a former nursing home and empty office buildings are still being dealt with.
Kaleido has its eye on a building on the Kleine Gracht

Kaleido has its eye on a building on the Kleine Gracht

MAASTRICHT. International student club Kaleido has applied for a permit for a building on Kleine Gracht 41. It could serve as a ‘living room’, a location where a “community could be built”, starting in the new academic year, says Thomas Schäfer, project leader from Maastricht University. Kaleido left pop podium Muziekgieter...

“This is the oldest dog I’ve ever walked”

“This is the oldest dog I’ve ever walked”

Danielle Raja (21)/ third-year student of Psychology/ hours worked per week depend on number of assignments/ earns €9 gross per walk
Eindhoven University opens academic jobs to women only

Eindhoven University opens academic jobs to women only

THE NETHERLANDS. For the next 18 months, all academic jobs at Eindhoven University of Technology will be open to female candidates only in an effort to improve the balance between men and women on the permanent staff.
Sjanne Quellhorst’s spring quiche

Sjanne Quellhorst’s spring quiche

Sjanne Quellhorst/ 25, master’s student of Politics and Society/ works 12 hours per week at Dille & Kamille/ earning approximately 10 euros per hour (excluding surcharges)
The power of the crowd

The power of the crowd

Asking a bunch of non-scientists to help with your research, or to fund your latest project. More and more scientists at Maastricht University are doing this, because it allows them to undertake things that they normally wouldn’t have the time or the money for.
"I am actually a jane-of-all-trades"

"I am actually a jane-of-all-trades"

Anouk Broers/ 22/ first-year research master’s of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience/ works on average 15 hours a week/ earns €11 net per hour
Our favourite restaurant: Rozemarijn

Our favourite restaurant: Rozemarijn

This is my last article about eating in Maastricht this academic year. To celebrate, I’m taking my favourite dining companion to our favourite restaurant. Mrs. Eichholtz and I are having dinner at Rozemarijn (Havenstraat). Rozemarijn is an ideal place for a quick and tasty lunch with a guest lecturer, for example. You’re guaranteed to i...

University Library night-time opening not very popular

University Library night-time opening not very popular

MAASTRICHT. It's three o' clock at night. The German Moritz Brunner and the South African Saud Adam, both first-year students of International Business, are studying for their Finance exam in the lobby of The Student Hotel. For the time before and during the exam weeks, between 18 May until 10 June, this is the night-time opening facility f...
Dope once again big winner in the student elections

Dope once again big winner in the student elections

MAASTRICHT. Just like in all previous elections over the past four years, Dope is again the big winner. They have claimed no less than 25 of the total 47 seats and in doing so are represented in both the University Council and all faculty councils. Novum follows at a distance, with eight seats. Turnout among academic staff varied tremendously: the ...
The Dutch should appreciate their freedom more

The Dutch should appreciate their freedom more

What is it like to live and work in the European Union, in freedom and democracy, when you have been used to something different? An interview with the student Ahmed Rifai who fled Syria and lecturer Dorina Baltag from Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, which was weighed down by Soviet repression for years and is still struggling with its own ...
"The EU needs strong leaders"

"The EU needs strong leaders"

The European Union has existed for almost 75 years. It started with a handful of member states, but the union now has 28 members, still including the United Kingdom. What threats does the EU face? Do they come from within, what about Brexit, Polish and Hungarian nationalism, or do they come from outside the EU? From China, the US or Russia? Ob...
“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...
European Union: it’s time to wake up

European Union: it’s time to wake up

Changes need to be made to make the European Union understandable and accessible to all citizens, says Thilo Buchholz, president of the Young European Federalists Maastricht, in this open letter to the EU.
“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...
“Is this a Nash equilibrium?”

“Is this a Nash equilibrium?”

Jannis Besuijen/ 20/ research master’s student of Economics/ currently works 6 hours per week/ earns €14.12 gross per hour
University library night-time facility in The Student Hotel

University library night-time facility in The Student Hotel

MAASTRICHT. The night-time opening facility of the university library in the upcoming XXL weeks will take place in The Student Hotel. There is room for seventy students.
“I’m going to sound like a Marxist now”

“I’m going to sound like a Marxist now”

Working, studying, safety and migration in Europe. Those are the topics to be discussed at the student debate with European parliamentarians, organised by the Institute for Transnational and Euregional cross-boarder co-operation and Mobility (ITEM) in La Bonbonniere last Tuesday. But soon it becomes clear that - regardless of the topic - what it re...
Books for a good price

Books for a good price

Greek Denys Kyriakou, first-year Economics student, went to the university library in the city centre last Saturday to study, and came across the annual book sale there. It was busy. “I didn’t know about it, but I really like it. I’m especially interested in the applied economics books.” He expects to spend six euro. You can...

“No Itteren, fortunately, that’s such a boring route”

“No Itteren, fortunately, that’s such a boring route”

Audrey Bams/ 21/ third-year student of Biomedical Sciences/ worked about 10 hours per week at bicycle courier company Demarrage/ earning about 10 euros per hour
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...
“Frans Timmermans is like a grandpa to us all”

“Frans Timmermans is like a grandpa to us all”

Five Spitzenkandidaten entered into debate before 750 students at the Theater aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht last week. It was the first large party leader debate for the European elections on 23 May. In the absence - after a cancellation - of the German Christian Democrat Manfred Weber, one of the favourites to take over from President of the Euro...
Adventure with duck

Adventure with duck

Chinese cuisine is so incredibly diverse I could write about it in every Eating with Eichholtz article. To be able to say anything meaningful, I have to limit myself to taste-testing one specific aspect. I’ve chosen duck. Although many different variations and preparation methods exist, the two best-known ones are from Beijing and G...
“Not liking coffee is a bit of a deal-breaker”

“Not liking coffee is a bit of a deal-breaker”

Victor Grenon/ 22/ third-year student of European Studies/ works twelve hours per week/ earning about €12.50 per hour (depending on Sunday and evening surcharges)
University Library should have open access for everybody

University Library should have open access for everybody

The University Library’s new access policy - only to UM students and staff - is a mistake, argue Stephanie Blom, Giulia Frinzi and Saskia Stolk from the Law Faculty. They call the policy elitist, unsympathetic and in clear contrast with the historical background and founding principles of Maastricht University.
On tech giants, fake news and dinosaurs

On tech giants, fake news and dinosaurs

MAASTRICHT. A social democrat appealing to vote green? This is what happened last Monday in the Vrijthof Theatre during the first, large party leader debate for the European elections on 23 May. Who will take over from President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker? Five Spitzenkandidaten entered into debate before 750 stud...
“The EU needs a strong leader who counters the apathy among youngsters”

“The EU needs a strong leader who counters the apathy among youngsters”

MAASTRICHT. Who will succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission? In Maastricht, on April 29, five Spitzenkandidaten will go into a debate in front of 750 students. The media, including BBC World News and the Dutch NOS, will be omnipresent. At the Vrijthof, people can follow the debate on screens.
“This place is like my second living room. I’m here almost every day”

“This place is like my second living room. I’m here almost every day”

Hidde Bobbink/ 21/ third-year student of International Business/ works on average 10 hours per week/ earning 9 euros per hour
Why “warm sweater week” does not work

Why “warm sweater week” does not work

Climate change is not a personal but a political problem, says Martin Unfried, senior researcher at the Institute for Transnational and Euregional Cross border Cooperation and Mobility. Good policies are needed, just raising awareness is not enough. It may not even help at all.
Divest Our Pensions

Divest Our Pensions

Pension fund ABP should stop investing in fossil fuel giants like Shell and ExxonMobil, says PhD researcher Sarah Thin, on behalf of Fossil Free Maastricht, in this opinion article. She asks UM staff to speak up.
“From now on we are operating on an ecological debt”

“From now on we are operating on an ecological debt”

On Sunday 14 April, the organisation Extinction Rebellion together with Students for Climate Maastricht gathered on the Sint Servaasbrug to raise awareness about the Dutch Overshoot Day. From 11h00 to 14h00, these students covered the bridge with flowers and campaigned to stand up for stricter environmental measures. 
Digital exams in MECC from June

Digital exams in MECC from June

MAASTRICHT. The first digital exams are planned in the MECC for June, for up to eight hundred students at a time. The first day of testing this week with 864 Chromebooks, exam software and Wi-Fi installation went well.
First phase Tapijn renovation has been started

First phase Tapijn renovation has been started

MAASTRICHT. BOOM! Last week, a cannon was used to officially kick off the large-scale renovation of the Tapijn barracks. Concerning the new Tapijn terrain, the main theme will be ‘meeting’.
We are scientists, not women in science

We are scientists, not women in science

Trying to promote women in science can have the opposite effect. Katherine Bassil, PhD candidate at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, tells in this opinion article how well-intented efforts to promote gender equality have led her to feel belittled and discriminated against.
Ragweek: Support charity with a luminous football

Ragweek: Support charity with a luminous football

“Children with a serious attachment disorder and behavioural problems who can no longer be placed in 'normal' foster homes live in the Maastricht Bibihuis,” says Eva Vleer, PR commissioner & vice-chairperson of Ragweek Maastricht. The home hugely depends on volunteers and sponsors, so this year some of the proceeds from the ...

“The most difficult question? When do you shoot”

“The most difficult question? When do you shoot”

Bram Boots – 21 – fourth-year student of International Business – works at least 2 evenings and 2 Saturdays per month – earns €9.83 per hour (varies with allowances)
"When I study at home, I play the guitar or watch something on Netflix"

"When I study at home, I play the guitar or watch something on Netflix"

It's quiet at the University Library counter in Randwyck during the XXL weeks of the exam period, when both University Libraries have longer opening hours. “There are hardly any queries. Everyone is engrossed in their books,” student employee Mariska Custers explains. It may be quiet at the counter, but it is very busy in the study ...

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...
Pizza: “Our initial hunger has been satisfied and the four of us are happy”

Pizza: “Our initial hunger has been satisfied and the four of us are happy”

What’s student life without pizza? During exam week or after a long day of tutorials, one craves an affordable, healthy and convenient meal. From there, it’s not much of a leap to Italy’s most popular comfort food. Unfortunately, most of the pizzerias in Maastricht are simply bad. Fake Italian staff, thick crusts, dry edges, way t...

Rambam tinkered with footage, apologies from BNNVARA

Rambam tinkered with footage, apologies from BNNVARA

MAASTRICHT. Two Maastricht professors were unjustly accused of ‘dishonest’ behaviour in the television broadcast Rambam in January. They were portrayed as scientists who could be bought. BNNVARA eats humble pie now that they have reviewed the raw journalistic footage together with a delegation from Maastricht University. The broadcastin...
The most common leftover item: bread crusts

The most common leftover item: bread crusts

Carlijn Jansen (20), third-year student of International Business, supervises three lunch breaks per week, earning 8 euros per lunch break
“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 ...
UM starts fundraiser for university in Mozambique

UM starts fundraiser for university in Mozambique

MAASTRICHT. Three faculty buildings were completely destroyed, as were the small hospital and training clinic that belonged to it. Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in the city of Beira, Mozambique on Thursday 14 March, destroyed a large part of Universidade Católica de Moçambique (UCM). Maastricht University has close links with UCM and has starte...
“When she opened the door, her bathrobe fell open”

“When she opened the door, her bathrobe fell open”

Maarten Thissen/31/master’s student of Dutch Private Law/works 16 to 18 hours per week/earns €13.27 gross per hour
Almost certain: Digital Society to start in September

Almost certain: Digital Society to start in September

MAASTRICHT. There is still one hurdle to take, but everything is pointing in the direction of the new bachelor's of Digital Society at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences starting in September. There is plenty of interest: 282 prospective students have already shown serious interest.
Laudatory report from NVAO on UM's quality of education

Laudatory report from NVAO on UM's quality of education

MAASTRICHT. Good, good and good again. This was the oral judgment of the NVAO committee that visited Maastricht at the end of October to audit the education (InstellingsToetsKwaliteitszorg, ITK), quality agreements and internationalisation at Maastricht University. The report that was officially handed over to the Executive Board last week, is no d...
The way to the Rembrandt

The way to the Rembrandt

Lisa Hulshof/ 24/ master’s student of Public Policy and Human Development/ works about 20 hours per week via food service and hospitality staffing agency Mise en Place/ earning around 10 euros per hour 
Rector: “Three-year sabbatical for the person who solves distrust from politics”

Rector: “Three-year sabbatical for the person who solves distrust from politics”

Over forty thousand people protested against budget cuts in education at the Malieveld in The Hague last Friday. Protest movement WOinActie did so on behalf of the universities. Their demands are about money, but it’s about more than just money. It’s also about work pressure and distrust. Those are the conclusions of the debate that too...
Marching On for Change

Marching On for Change

Whenever I see sustainability initiatives around our university, it makes me wonder: Is this actually doing something? We replaced garbage bins with recycling stations. We got rid of plastic cups from our coffee machines. We implemented Warm Sweater Days by lowering the temperature of our buildings by 1°C. I see these measures and think, well s...

We don't want to be an exclusive club, but be open to everyone in Europe”

We don't want to be an exclusive club, but be open to everyone in Europe”

MAASTRICHT. Open, not elitist but inclusive, concerned with society, innovative, focussed on the future, with and for students, and - last but not least – working together towards a better Europe. These are a handful of the ‘core values’ of the YUFE alliance (Young Universities for the Future of Europe); a European University...
UM and Groningen best general universities of the Netherlands

UM and Groningen best general universities of the Netherlands

MAASTRICHT. According to the Keuzegids Masters 2019, Maastricht University, together with Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, is the best general Dutch university. Eight Maastricht study programmes received the award Top Rated Programme. What's more, the master's of Learning and Development in Organisations at the School of Business and Economics ...
University Council: chairman Van Tilburg had to resign

University Council: chairman Van Tilburg had to resign

MAASTRICHT. Chairman of the University Council, Jonathan van Tilburg, has stepped down as of 1 March. The University Council had asked him the day before “to reconsider his position”. The reason for his departure is unclear.
Open letter to all students and staff: "We need to act"

Open letter to all students and staff: "We need to act"

On March 15th the entire Dutch education sector will go on strike. The chances are that you’ve heard something about this, since the initiative is supported by the Executive Board of our university. However, we can imagine that many of you are thinking: a strike? Is that really relevant to Maastricht University? Is that something I should sup...
“Does anyone have an injury? Is anyone pregnant?”

“Does anyone have an injury? Is anyone pregnant?”

Hannah Lou Kings/ second-year student of Arts and Culture/ teaches 1 weekly one-hour BodyBalance class at fitness centre MAC Maastricht/ earning 13.50 gross per hour
On plants and cancer, healthy eating and the nerve system of a caterpillar

On plants and cancer, healthy eating and the nerve system of a caterpillar

A more interactive programme with input from the audience – that’s the aim of Studium Generale’s new segment: Ask the Scientist. Over the past few months, people could send in their burning questions about life, the world, the universe. Last Tuesday, three scientists answered a selection of them in the Auditorium on the Minderbroe...
Two Japanese students at the Friday fish market

Two Japanese students at the Friday fish market

The cornerstone of the Friday market in Maastricht is the fish market. It’s a Catholic tradition to eat in moderation on the day of the week on which Jesus was crucified. In practice, this meant people ate fish on Fridays instead of meat – if they could afford to do so, that is. As a result, the demand for fish in the Catholic south of ...

“Some are unfamiliar with the concept of a coaster brake”

“Some are unfamiliar with the concept of a coaster brake”

Luc Joosten/ 22/ fourth-year student of Medicine/ works on average 100 hours per month/ earning €10.59 net per hour
Temporary homes; City Council discusses plans

Temporary homes; City Council discusses plans

MAASTRICHT. Stackable tiny houses or converted offices? Large-scale or preferably small-scale campus style locations? In Randwijck? The Maastricht City Council doesn't want to say anything yet about the proposals submitted for temporary accommodation. But plans are being discussed with four of the 26 initiators. Their plans can be executed befo...
UM requests full unedited version Rambam

UM requests full unedited version Rambam

MAASTRICHT. Rianne Letschert, rector of Maastricht University has no doubts about the integrity of the Maastricht professors Fred Brouns and Rob Markus. But she does want an explanation and that is why she has requested the raw footage of the TV programme Rambam. In the broadcast of 24 January it appears as if the two UM scientists would be prepare...
“People had no idea what they were voting for”

“People had no idea what they were voting for”

The big screen above the stage in the lecture room at UCM displays the question “Do people deserve a second chance?” . “Yes,” say fourteen people in the room. “No,” says the one other participant. And how about the British? Do they deserve a second chance? “Yes”: seven votes; “No”: eight v...

“I’ve lost my room key”

“I’ve lost my room key”

Mark van Slobbe/ 21 /second-year student of Dutch Law / works on average 10 hours per week/ earns 10,85 gross per hour
Golden walls and high ceilings

Golden walls and high ceilings

Sophie van Leeuwen (Dutch, 22), student of Interdisciplinary Art, an autonomous programme of the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts, pays 550 Euros for a 35m2 room across the street from SBE on the Tongersestraat.  
Two UM-profs feel they were tricked in TV-programme

Two UM-profs feel they were tricked in TV-programme

MAASTRICHT. They were disguised but still recognisable: two Maastricht scientists who took part in the TV programme Rambam and portrayed as being prepared to provide positive research results for a charge. It concerned Chinese energy drinks. But the two, professors Fred Brouns and Rob Markus, feel that they were tricked. According to them...
Majority of staff is satisfied; assistant professors experience most work pressure

Majority of staff is satisfied; assistant professors experience most work pressure

MAASTRICHT. Most employees of Maastricht University are satisfied about their work and feel they have the qualities required to perform in their jobs properly. This is one of the outcomes of the Sustainable Availability Monitor that more than 2,800 employees completed last autumn.
Less harmony, more discussion

Less harmony, more discussion

MAASTRICHT. BridgeEurope, a European organisation that promotes discussion among as diverse a public as possible, feels that people agree with each other far too much and that is not a good thing. A Maastricht branch was set up a month ago.
“Would you like to learn how to do a backflip?”

“Would you like to learn how to do a backflip?”

Emilie Wildschutz / 22 / third-year student in the Maastricht Science Programme / earns 9.84 euros gross per hour
Shake, kiss, hug

Shake, kiss, hug

I’ve lived in the Netherlands for almost 20 years, and still struggle with some aspects of Dutch culture. When do you shake hands? The moment of introduction is clear – both parties extend their right hands and shake, with a more or less firm and sweaty palm. But what about your colleagues? Should you shake their hands every time you se...

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...
Head of UM Sports leaves after eight months

Head of UM Sports leaves after eight months

MAASTRICHT. The head of UM Sports, Nico Freriks, has handed in his notice as of 1 February. He had the position since mid-June 2018. A difference of opinion concerning the “expectations, vision and future” of UM Sports was supposedly the underlying reason, says Pascal Breuls, director of Student Services Centre and Freriks' imm...
The best chips in town

The best chips in town

We’re about halfway through the Carnival season, which means beer consumption is increasing by the week. And is there anything better after drinking beer than having a generous serving of chips with a delicious topping? In other words, this is the perfect time for a chips test. It’s a Dutch cliché to eat chips with Belgians, but I&rs...

Executive Board supports WOinActie

Executive Board supports WOinActie

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board supports the protest movement WOinActie and will arrange transport in the case of sufficient interest. Rector Rianne Letschert said so last week during a plenary meeting of the University Council. This was to the dissatisfaction of the student fraction.
“Your wife isn’t pregnant?”

“Your wife isn’t pregnant?”

Luc van Galen/ 23/ fourth-year student of Medicine/ works about eight hours per week/ earning 11.35 euros per hour excluding evening and weekend surcharges
 “I feel so at home here”

“I feel so at home here”

Just before Christmas, Fabienne Crombach received an e-mail from rector Rianne Letschert telling her that she had been nominated for the Wynand Wijnen education prize. “Really nice, but I never actually expected to win. With my background as a student from a university of applied sciences, I was competing against scientists with doctorates an...
‘Don’t take academic freedom for granted’

‘Don’t take academic freedom for granted’

MAASTRICHT. Whether it was about the approaching Brexit, climate change, the school children demonstrating in Brussels, or the attack on the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest: never has Maastricht University's founding day celebration - the theme this time being Global Challenges - been so full of political statements.
Painful knees and superintelligence

Painful knees and superintelligence

Topics varied from the influence of European democracy on civilian participation in Africa to the optimal income tax system, but the common factor of all theses that were rewarded with a Student Award last  Friday was they were the best of their year. Seventeen bachelor's and nine master's students received their prizes during the foun...
“I can’t remember one pro-EU story in the media”

“I can’t remember one pro-EU story in the media”

MAASTRICHT. The impending Brexit, whether it’ll be a hard or a soft Brexit, will come with a lot of uncertainty and misery. This was one of the conclusions drawn during Bridges over Brexit, the morning programme of the Dies Natalis celebration held in the Feestzaal (Bouillonstraat) last Friday. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom...
York President: “It prevents us from darkness”

York President: “It prevents us from darkness”

MAASTRICHT. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is increasing, which is precisely the reason why Maastricht University has started a close collaboration with the University of York. The two universities will jointly invest more than three million euros in research and postgraduate education over the next three years. This ‘Maastricht Treaty&rs...
Appearing in court

Appearing in court

Sanne Schauwaert/ 21/ recently completed a bachelor’s degree in Dutch Law/ works about two to three days per week/ earning 130 euros per session
UM professors examine ‘parking policy'

UM professors examine ‘parking policy'

MAASTRICHT. After the University Council had returned the mobility plan - commonly referred to as ‘parking policy’ - back to the drawing board last autumn, a large opinion poll will now be held within Maastricht University: what do people think when it comes to cycling, public transport, cars, parking spaces, or a cycling bonus? Three b...
Jules blamed for not returning deposits

Jules blamed for not returning deposits

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht students have been complaining on Facebook about unreturned or partially unreturned deposits by student services agency Jules Maastricht. With more and more houses under their management and an administration that for a long time was carried out manually, it couldn't but go wrong. The tenants are the victims. Karin van de...
Chakula Uponya: T-shirts for hospital meals

Chakula Uponya: T-shirts for hospital meals

MAASTRICHT. Two years ago, Victoria von Salmuth - currently a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences - won the Student Award for the Shirati Food Programme when she was a student of Medicine. She set up this initiative in Tanzania, which supplies meals for patients in the Shirati hospital, as they themselves don't ha...
“The hardest part isn’t the coffee, but getting the milk foam right”

“The hardest part isn’t the coffee, but getting the milk foam right”

Gemma van der Elsen/ 20/ third-year student of Medicine/ works 5-12 hours per week/ earning about 9 euros per hour
Weekly deployment of student investigating officers to stop

Weekly deployment of student investigating officers to stop

MAASTRICHT. The structural deployment of student investigating officers (in Dutch buitengewone opsporingsambtenaren or boa’s), who have been riding around Maastricht dealing with student disturbances two evenings a week since March 2017 until July 2018, will stop. Instead, residents and students will first have to try and solve...
“This isn’t a sales pitch, it’s just the truth”

“This isn’t a sales pitch, it’s just the truth”

Quinten Eitjes/ 20/ second-year student of Arts and Culture/ works sixteen hours per week/ earning 10.50 euros net per hour
When a revolutionary invention gets in the wrong hands: A CRISPR catastrophe

When a revolutionary invention gets in the wrong hands: A CRISPR catastrophe

Science Fiction. In 2018, the first genome-edited baby will be born. Reality. It’s 2018, the first genome-edited twins were born. In November 2018, the world woke up to the news that the world’s first genome-edited babies were born. The Chinese scientist He Jiankui who lead this work, released the news in the most controversial wa...

Shorter waiting times UM psychologists, emphasis on prevention

Shorter waiting times UM psychologists, emphasis on prevention

MAASTRICHT. Not more psychologists, initially, but shorter waiting times of a maximum of four weeks. How does the team of student supervisors at Maastricht University plan on managing that? Among others by focussing more on prevention, says the new plan for student well-being. The magic word is communication about what the UM has to offer for stude...
Global Surgery: surgery for everyone

Global Surgery: surgery for everyone

Five billion people worldwide have no access to affordable and safe surgery and anaesthesia. That must change, says Incision (International Student Surgical Network), a worldwide student organisation that is dedicated to making surgery accessible to everyone. Sixth-year medical student, Darja Sempf, is in the process of setting up a Maastricht bran...
The Middle East in Maastricht

The Middle East in Maastricht

For decades now, life in Maastricht has been enriched by butchers, bakers and grocers from the Middle East. First-class lamb meat, Turkish and Lebanese bread and an abundance of herbs have vastly improved the quality of life, or at least my life.
The mysterious disappearance of the meds

The mysterious disappearance of the meds

Danny Steijvers/ 27/ sixth-year student of Medicine/ works 25 to 30 hours per week/ earning about 11 euros net per hour (excluding evening and weekend surcharges)
Making Alcohol-Free Beer Fun

Making Alcohol-Free Beer Fun

I recently gave up drinking, so when I saw the Observant report last week about the Wageningen research claiming that drinking alcohol-free beer is “just as much fun” as imbibing normal beer, I was intrigued (and quite sceptical). The research in question conducted fMRI scans on 21 drinkers and concluded that so long as the participants...

"Once again we have blood on our hands"

"Once again we have blood on our hands"

First: Do we still want to keep the European Union? And second: What will it take? These are two very important questions for the upcoming years, says Mathieu Segers, professor of Contemporary European History and European Integration. He gave his inaugural lecture in the St. Janskerk last week.
“I am a big fan of the morning shifts”

“I am a big fan of the morning shifts”

Kristel Zaal/ 22/ third-year student of Psychology/ works on average 7.5 hours per week/ earns €10.95 per hour
“There is a lack of political awareness and solidarity among staff and students”

“There is a lack of political awareness and solidarity among staff and students”

MAASTRICHT. Has structural underfunding brought higher education in the Netherlands to a breaking point? That was the question of the panel discussion organised by the New University Maastricht and PINE Maastricht (Pluralism in Economics) last Monday in the Statenzaal at the Faculty of Law. Looking at the small audience of twenty people who attende...
Seven intensive contact hours is pressure point

Seven intensive contact hours is pressure point

Maastricht University will receive millions of euros - money becoming available from the abolishing of the basic grant system - to improve the quality of education. The first faculty plans are on the agenda of next week's University Council meeting. For approval. The plans include items such as small tutorial groups, a mentor programme (lecture...
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.”
University Library only for the UM from 1 January

University Library only for the UM from 1 January

MAASTRICHT. From 1 January, the University Library will only be open to UM card holders. Turnstiles will be installed in spring of 2019. Until that time, users will be checked manually.
Meet Selke, your guest happiness server

Meet Selke, your guest happiness server

Selke Ruijssenaars / 22/ master’s student of Human Decision Science/ works about 16 hours per week/ earning 10 euros net per hour
Faculty Councils and University Council: more often ‘conversationalist council’ than a monitoring body

Faculty Councils and University Council: more often ‘conversationalist council’ than a monitoring body

MAASTRICHT. More and more items on the University Council’s and Faculty Councils’ agendas are confidential. Usually at the request of the board that wants to brainstorm about new plans in seclusion for fear of rumours and unrest. Occasionally, a council closes the doors because there is no pressure from the people they represent (&...
“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 ...

With two small clay hedgehogs in the playground

With two small clay hedgehogs in the playground

Bella van Langen/ 22/ fourth-year student of Medicine/ works 2-3 afternoons per week/ earning 11 euros per hour
Randwyck sandwiches

Randwyck sandwiches

It may seem obvious that universities need cafeterias, but it isn’t. An important part of a healthy lifestyle is regular physical activity, and a short walk from the faculty to a nearby eatery fits in perfectly. So while eating in your building is convenient, it’s not necessarily good for you. Admittedly, this applies more to those o...

“This is where my life is”

“This is where my life is”

Louisa Stupp (22, German), master's student European Studies on Society, Science and Technology, pays 295 euro per month for a 16m2 room near Scharneweg
International student club has to move out of Timmerfabriek

International student club has to move out of Timmerfabriek

MAASTRICHT. Kaleido, the international student club that has its base in the Muziekgieterij in the Timmerfabriek, will urgently need to look for a new location. This decision was taken by Maastricht University and the city council. The reason is the fear that the two will get in each other's way too much, with the possibility of a financial blo...
Students find themselves more settled

Students find themselves more settled

MAASTRICHT. On 1 September, when about two hundred foreign students moved into their new rooms at the Annadal complex, it turned out that the renovations had not yet been completed. Students found themselves in a mess. How are things three months on? The list of complaints has now reached “normal proportions,” they say at the Guesthouse...
“Two hundred kilos of ice on a busy night”

“Two hundred kilos of ice on a busy night”

Niek Cleyndert/ 23/ has just completed his master’s degree in Dutch Tax Law; is starting a master’s degree in Fiscal Economics in February/ depending on experience, employees earn between 10 and 13 euros net per hour, excluding tips (between 5 and 20 euros per evening)
"Having my dad to help was a blessing"

"Having my dad to help was a blessing"

Ada Garcia-Gesto Lopez (18, Spanish), first-year European Law, pays €445 per month for a 18m2 room close to Central Station
Keuzegids 2019: University Colleges score much better than other UM bachelor’s

Keuzegids 2019: University Colleges score much better than other UM bachelor’s

MAASTRICHT. Just like last year, the three young, broad bachelor's programmes at Maastricht - University College Maastricht, University College Venlo and the Science Program - are a cut above the rest of the UM bachelor's. Their resounding results, all eight plus, cast a shadow on the fives, sixes and the odd seven of the rest.
“Let women speak first and men hold their tongues for a minute”

“Let women speak first and men hold their tongues for a minute”

Female Empowerment, or FEM for short. The name of this new network at Maastricht University – which was launched with a panel discussion and workshops at the Jan van Eyck Academie last Tuesday – is criticized by many in the audience. By women as well as men. While the first say, “it is setting us apart”, the latter feel &ldq...
Opinion: Is America becoming less democratic?

Opinion: Is America becoming less democratic?

After last week’s midterm elections in the United States, the Democrats were able to take back the House of Representatives while the Republicans held on to the Senate. The results of the election further emphasized the divisions in the U.S. electorate, with the country dividing itself up into blue Democratic parts versus red Republican ...
Sharing food, sharing cultures

Sharing food, sharing cultures

MAASTRICHT. Food brings people together. This is not only the theme of the Week of the International Student that is taking place this week, but also the motto of Supratip Nag, co-founder of HomeHandi, a delivery service for home-cooked meals. This is why he, together with, amongst others, the United Nations Student Association, has organized an In...
World citizen looking for a home

World citizen looking for a home

Monique Bren (19, Spanish/Dutch), a second year Liberal Arts and Sciences, pays 570 euro per month for an 18 m2 room near the Markt
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 ...
Led by the hand or trip and fall

Led by the hand or trip and fall

A single educational institution with six faculties, all of which pride themselves in the same education system. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is Maastricht University's showpiece. In tutorial groups, twelve to fifteen students discuss a case from actual practice in order to get to grips with the subject matter. For a successful debate with diff...
“A little macabre? On the contrary, it’s very rewarding work”

“A little macabre? On the contrary, it’s very rewarding work”

Thomas Diemel/ 24/ master’s student of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/ works approximately three shifts (ten hours) per week/ earning 10 euros per hour
"In China we invite new friends to our home and cook for them"

"In China we invite new friends to our home and cook for them"

Hu Siqi, but everybody calls him Roy, (22, Chinese), master’s student International Law/ M2: 20/ Rent: 200 euros/ Area : Statenkwartier
Classic Vietnamese cuisine

Classic Vietnamese cuisine

I ate my first ever Vietnamese meal a long time ago in Lomé, the capital of Togo. My friend from secondary school and I were to spend a month mountain biking in West Africa. After a long flight in a rickety Aeroflot Tupolev, Gerard and I were getting our bearings at a guest house run by an older Vietnamese lady, awaiting the arrival of our mountain...

“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...
A six is good enough

A six is good enough

MAASTRICHT. ‘When I do something, I want it to be perfect’. It seems like a good characteristic, but if it is up to Anita Jansen, dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, we need to rid ourselves of this as soon as possible. In extreme cases, perfectionism can lead to death. Within the framework of Well-being Week – an ...
Getting lost in some of the greatest mysteries of our time

Getting lost in some of the greatest mysteries of our time

Ruben Hanenbergh (22, Dutch), master’s student Human Decision Science/ Rent: 280 euros/ M2: 16/ Area: Heer
Tutorials: Rules of engagement

Tutorials: Rules of engagement

It has been two months since I started teaching much more than I used to before, and I noticed some issues that need to be addressed. Before we begin, no worries, your names were changed. So, let’s start: Tutorial is not a hostage situation. Stop looking at me with those big scared eyes, Lindsay. It’s uncomfortable. Besides, you w...

Form is no longer sacred, but the philosophy behind PBL is

Form is no longer sacred, but the philosophy behind PBL is

MAASTRICHT. The Problem-based Learning system of the future is flexible, adapted to individual study programmes, and with room for lecturers' personal interpretation. The inescapable seven-step approach is no longer sacred, but there is a framework within which everyone at Maastricht University must work.
Change the patent system for medicine

Change the patent system for medicine

The patent system for medicine should be reviewed, so that pharmaceutical companies cannot use loopholes anymore to keep their patent – and therefore their monopoly – on medicine forever, says Universities Allied for Essential Medicine, a student-led global movement for access to medicine, in this opinion article in the light of Access ...
“No one excels at everything”

“No one excels at everything”

Roel Niemark/ 26/ third-year student of Law/ works about eight hours per week/ earning approximately 11 euros per hour
"I don’t miss South Africa as much as I did in the first semester"

"I don’t miss South Africa as much as I did in the first semester"

Emily Burger (21, South African), second-year Arts and Culture Rent/m2: 465 euro, around 18 m2 General Area: Close to FaSoS, central
Response very low: 7,3 percent

Response very low: 7,3 percent

MAASTRICHT. More study spaces at the faculties, better information systems and better catering.  That is what Maastricht University needs to work on, according to the annual student monitor. On the other hand, students are satisfied with UM Sports and the Studium Generale programme.
Why do our healers need to be healed?

Why do our healers need to be healed?

A recent survey of young physicians in the Netherlands reported that one in five (19%) participants self-reported symptoms of burnout, according to De Jonge Specialist, an association of young physicians. Compared to the U.S., where I trained and worked as a physician, the rates are similar, despite differing medical education systems and financing...

FSE faculty to be split

FSE faculty to be split

MAASTRICHT. The department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE) will remain part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), but the ICIS institute and the School of Governance will be incorporated in the School of Business and Economics. That is, if the tentative talks go down well. And the three Colleges? Their future place i...
24/7 opening library quashed after protests

24/7 opening library quashed after protests

MAASTRICHT. The 24-hour opening of the university library during the exam period in October has been cancelled after protests by local residents. Whether the scheduled pilot projects during the other XXL weeks will go ahead, is not certain yet.
Don't put a coat hanger in your mouth

Don't put a coat hanger in your mouth

Lara Gil Jung/ 23/ master’s student of Forensics, Criminology and Law/ works on average 16 hours per week/ earning 9.63 euro per hour (double on Sunday) plus 8 percent holiday bonus
Integration Maastricht School of Management and UM: sixth attempt

Integration Maastricht School of Management and UM: sixth attempt

MAASTRICHT. Another attempt is being made to integrate the Maastricht School of Management (MSM) into Maastricht University. For the sixth time since the turn of the century. The last fiasco dates from three years ago. It was MSM that pulled out of the deal at the last minute. And that when they had never been so close to an agreement, said Philip ...
UPDATE: CANCELLED library open 24 hours a day

UPDATE: CANCELLED library open 24 hours a day

MAASTRICHT. The university library in the city centre will be open 24 hours a day from this Saturday. It concerns a pilot project during the so-called XXL weeks, the weeks before and during the exam week.
 “I’m not allowed to gamble, imagine if I won!”

“I’m not allowed to gamble, imagine if I won!”

Julia Olislagers/ 20/ second-year student of Medicine/ works about eight hours per week/ earning on average 400 euro per month
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...
Sustainable Employability Monitor participation rate so far: 43 %

Sustainable Employability Monitor participation rate so far: 43 %

MAASTRICHT. The UM Sustainable Employability Monitor went online on Monday, 24 September. After one and a half weeks, 43 per cent of the employees have completed the survey. The organisers had hoped beforehand for a response rate of 60 per cent. This appears not to be impossible with another week and a half to go.
Paywalls: Taking science backwards

Paywalls: Taking science backwards

It was a Wednesday afternoon, dark skies, cold feet and nothing to postpone tomorrow’s deadline. I was supposed to write a research proposal and give a short presentation about it. Working last minute, as usual, my literature search was going nowhere. Every time I found THE paper that would save me, that would have all the answers to my quest...
Maastricht drops in new THE Rankings

Maastricht drops in new THE Rankings

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has dropped 25 places - to 128 - in the 2019 Times Higher Education Top 200 World University Rankings. Other Dutch universities have also seen their positions go down in the rankings.  
Eco-friendliness

Eco-friendliness

This summer a friend and I traveled through Norway. Due to our slight lack of planning we resorted to hitchhiking here and there. While doing so the large share of electric cars took us by surprise. Though we never actually managed to ride with one of the many Tesla’s we spotted, we were told that buying an electric car in Norway gets you a 2...

Exploitation Kaleido will be in hands of new student association

Exploitation Kaleido will be in hands of new student association

MAASTRICHT. It’s finally clear who is going to manage international student club Kaleido. There is going to be a foundation with two fixed employees overseeing an association that is in charge of the day-to-day management. The role of Maastricht University is still unclear.
Catering system reviewed – ideas invited

Catering system reviewed – ideas invited

MAASTRICHT. What is Maastricht University's catering going to look like in the future? Will  there be lots of small and large university restaurants, will local businesses be given an opportunity, will you still be able to buy a ' kroket ' or will the selection be purely vegetarian or even vegan; these types of questions were ...
“We’re essentially standing in a giant fish cemetery”

“We’re essentially standing in a giant fish cemetery”

Hannah Vleugels/ 23/ third-year student of Arts and Culture/ gives three tours per week on average/ earning a little over 11 euros per hour
Language proficiency not up to scratch? Then take a course

Language proficiency not up to scratch? Then take a course

MAASTRICHT. To what extent academic and support staff have mastered the required languages will be mapped out in the coming months. Anyone who does not meet the required English and/or Dutch language skills level will have to start working to improve.
The Battle of the Bakeries

The Battle of the Bakeries

German students in the Netherlands are homesick for two things: Mutti und Brot. The German bread they grew up with has texture, crusts, and distinctive flavours. By comparison, Dutch bread resembles ‘cotton wool' and it all tastes about the same. This is especially true for supermarket bread, but most bakeries don’t fare much better...
Young European Federalists make own version of Bella Ciao

Young European Federalists make own version of Bella Ciao

Bella Ciao – thanks to the Netflix series La Casa de Papel, this very old song was the summer hit of 2018. Since there are no copyrights to the song, hundreds of different versions have been made all over Europe. The Young European Federalists Maastricht – amongst them many students – decided to make their own version:&n...
“You wouldn't believe how often children are not wearing armbands”

“You wouldn't believe how often children are not wearing armbands”

Teun Verhagen/ 19/ second-year student of Fiscal Law/ works 18, 20 hours per week, more during the summer months/ earns €10.34 per hour
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.
Why do you (not) come to work with a spring in your step?

Why do you (not) come to work with a spring in your step?

MAASTRICHT. Why do you (not) come to work with a spring in your step? We feel that the balance between private life and work is important: tell us how that is for you! The UM is international, but is it also inclusive? This is a small selection of questions from the new sustainable employability monitor that will go online on Monday, 24 September. ...
Quadrangular plastic objects

Quadrangular plastic objects

While waiting for a friend, I sit down on a bench in the city centre. Looking around me, I see a lot of people pass by; it’s a busy day. I see a lot of people, but I also see a lot of people staring at their smartphones. They don’t pay attention to the beauty of the city, or to the people around them. They only have eyes for their smart...

President Martin Paul renews contract for another four years

President Martin Paul renews contract for another four years

MAASTRICHT. The President of Maastricht University, Professor Martin Paul (1958), will remain the highest university official until 2023. By then, he will have been President for a total of twelve years, while eight years is the standard.
“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...

Collecting data during a bloody hot summer

Collecting data during a bloody hot summer

Joedith López Cuello/ 28/ master’s student of Work and Organisational Psychology/ works 10 to 16 hours per week as a student assistant on a Student Employability Initiative and Internationalisation project/ earning 13 euros per hour
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.
Autonomous robots

Autonomous robots

During my holiday, I observed an autonomous vehicle in action. H and I rented part of a lovely house in the Thuringian Forest with a garden. We often sat outside to enjoy the view. The garden was four metres by 12, edged with flower beds, sometimes curved. All edges were marked by small paving stones. Halfway along one side, a squat orange and blac...

Student Award 2018: “I really want to help those at the bottom”

Student Award 2018: “I really want to help those at the bottom”

Until she was nineteen, Julie Ann Goodfellow slept on the floor in a slum area in the Philippines. When there was high tide, the house filled with water from the stinking river into which the slaughterhouse dumped its refuse. “Then we slept on a plastic chair. When I did eventually get a bed, I slept on the floor. I thought the bed was too so...
“Students, learn Frans Timmermans’ speech by heart”

“Students, learn Frans Timmermans’ speech by heart”

MAASTRICHT. Five lecturers, a quiz, a brief panel discussion, two awards, an appeal to participate in the Green Impact competition, videos, vegan biscuits and a lot of beautiful music by the Famara Quartet. This is the overfull programme of the Opening of the Academic Year in the Mecc last Monday. “Sorry that it took so long,” said Pres...
A mother of nine thousand leaders

A mother of nine thousand leaders

Students who say that they will ‘do their best and have a good time’ at university make her very angry. “Do your best?” emphasizes Kate Robertson in her speech during the Opening of the Academic Year. “Doing your best means something. Not a sloppy, middle-of-the-road ‘it’s okay’. See it as a joy and a...
"Either the box is too small or the eggs are too large"

"Either the box is too small or the eggs are too large"

Emmy Maas/ 21/ third-year student of Medicine/ sales assistant at the weekly market in Maastricht, works varying hours on Friday mornings/ earning up to 60 euros per day
Carrot or stick

Carrot or stick

Most attempts to change behaviour fail, like the UM's unsuccessful measures to separate waste into three bins. That is what Gerjo Kok, UM professor of Applied Psychology, said in a debate during the morning symposium in the auditorium, organised by the Green Office.
The happy news

The happy news

In case you live under a rock and missed all the world-changing things that happened this summer, here’s a brief recap. In politics, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a baby while in office, then turned down her annual pay rise, saying the NZ$ 470,000 she receives is quite enough, thank you, even with nappies to buy. Across the...

Large influx for bachelor's of Data Sciences

Large influx for bachelor's of Data Sciences

MAASTRICHT. With 150 first-year students, the interest in the bachelor's of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering is so great that an additional building was needed at Tapijn barracks. Introducing enrolment restrictions, as some universities have done, is not yet the case in Maastricht.
From wrongly convicted prisoner to motivational speaker

From wrongly convicted prisoner to motivational speaker

There is a rare moment of intense silence during the Inkom in the lecture hall of Business and Economics when author and motivational speaker Joseph Oubelkas shows pictures of a Moroccan jail. It’s not unlike the one he spent 1,637 days in after being unjustly convicted for smuggling drugs. Men are sleeping on the floor of a dirty cell &ndash...
Maastricht student accommodation shortages appear less than anticipated

Maastricht student accommodation shortages appear less than anticipated

MAASTRICHT. The shortage of rooms in Maastricht appears to be less than it was around the same time last year, says Maurice Evers, department head of Student Housing, “but we are not out of the woods yet”. The 217 additional rooms at the Annadal complex on the Brouwersweg, which will be handed over on 1 September, have almost all been r...
Do it yourself!

Do it yourself!

You recently finished high school. The diploma in your hands, you’re ready to tackle your next academic challenge. Or you just came back from your jaw-dropping, horizon-widening volunteering experience in South America. Either way, a new chapter starts. Friends and family are full of well-meant advice on how to make the most of your universit...

A hint in exchange for the Macarena

A hint in exchange for the Macarena

Michelle van Kleef/ 21/  third-year student of Fiscal Economics/ staff member Room Escape Maastricht, works varying shifts and hours/  earns on average 600 euros per month
No longer a pupil but a student

No longer a pupil but a student

You no longer have a teacher urging you on and without self-discipline an exam is a tough hurdle. What is the biggest difference between secondary school and studying at a university, Observant asked employees and senior students. Read their answers and use them for your benefit.
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...

Dancing next to the paintings

Dancing next to the paintings

“This is, like, classism or something?” Some students can talk more knowledgeable about the art in the Bonnefanten Museum than others, but talk about it they do. It’s Night at the Museum on the third day of the Inkom and all around the Bonnefanten exhibition halls, you can hear chatter about compositions, light, the use of colour ...

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...

Settling in Maastricht after a year of traveling

Settling in Maastricht after a year of traveling

Actually, German Katharina Meyes-Landrut (18) is still not completely sure what to study. That’s why she chose University College. “I like that you can figure out what you want to do along the way. In Germany there is nothing really like this.” Maastricht is not new to her, although it had been a long time since her last visit. &l...

Enjoying the games and the international atmosphere

Enjoying the games and the international atmosphere

“Relaxed” is how Maxim Scholma (17) from Alphen aan de Rijn describes his Inkom up until now. The biomedical sciences student particularly enjoyed the Ozon Festival on Tuesday. “I tried out all those games they had, I especially liked the one where you got a bungee jump cord around your waist and had to pull as hard as possible.&r...

Left in the park

Left in the park

Sure, journalism still has her interest, but German Marijke Eissing (19) chose European Studies instead. The reason? Her gap year in which she worked as a volunteer in Dublin with homeless people. When she came across the European Commission’s project European Voluntary Service, she decided to leave her family for twelve months to dedicate he...

Drinking tea, thinking of Lithuania

Drinking tea, thinking of Lithuania

Sitting on a bench in the garden of her faculty – the School of Business and Economics – newbie Aleksandra Stasyté is waiting for the keynote speech of a motivational speaker who spent 1637 days in a Moroccan jail while innocent. Within an hour, he will have the floor. This so-called ‘College Tour’ has the interest of the 19...

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...

Kicking Inkom off with guilty pleasure medleys

Kicking Inkom off with guilty pleasure medleys

MAASTRICHT. Where do you see people in doctor’s’ coats drinking beer, devil’s horns in front of  fire  (on the stage) and balloons in all  colours  floating away? At the opening of the Inkom 2018, Monday evening at the Market. Here freshmen and their mentors from different sororities, fraternities and sports as...
Again a record number of participants for Inkom

Again a record number of participants for Inkom

MAASTRICHT. The Inkom of 2018 has been more popular than any previous edition. With a whopping three thousand participants – the maximum, this introductory week is ‘sold out’ – it is the most visited Inkom ever. Last year the record was also broken with 2900 registrations.

Close to Düsseldorf

Close to Düsseldorf

“I have only been once in Maastricht before. I like it. It’s a pretty city; I like the architecture, the size.” Florian Bergs (24) from Germany, is a master student Human Decision Science.  He chose Maastricht because of the program, but that’s not the only reason. “I did my bachelors in the United States (Charlot...

“I’m going to miss the people from high school”

“I’m going to miss the people from high school”

For 18-year-old Amber Rerimassie, Maastricht is already a familiar place. She lives in the nearby city of Heerlen, she tells during the Welcome to Maastricht market. “That’s why I’ll keep living with my parents for now. It’s only thirty minutes by train. When I get the feeling that I’m missing out on the real student l...

That one topic

That one topic

There’s this one topic I don’t like to talk about. Okay, there are more, but this particular topic seems so boring and unnecessary that I avoid talking about it whenever I can. Except for today. Today I want to talk about that one subject that drives me crazy: the weather. You know those people who constantly tell you, “Oh, loo...

Herbs from Limburg, forgotten vegetables and medieval potsherds

Herbs from Limburg, forgotten vegetables and medieval potsherds

MAASTRICHT. A colourful oasis in an endless plain of mud. That is how one could describe the Tapijn Garden, the way it stands out in the corner of the churned-up barracks grounds. The “city vegetable garden” itself looks very well cared for, except perhaps for the section where everything is growing together. “That looks like a me...

“Okay, take off your pants first”

“Okay, take off your pants first”

Yuri Meesen (27), from Brunssum, is a junior journalist at Observant. He wrote the previous 18 instalments in our tattoo series. He has three tattoos himself, the most recent on his thigh. “My friends were shocked by the size of it.” Okay, take off your pants first. Good Lord. His right thigh is entirely covered. He got it on King&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...
OPINION: Transgenerational diseases: are you to blame?

OPINION: Transgenerational diseases: are you to blame?

Epigenetics is the study of environmental effects, including lifestyle habits, on an organism’s underlying genomic material or DNA. The underlying epigenetic mechanisms, are modifications to the DNA that dictate whether a certain gene will be turned on or off, carrying its own consequences on health and development. Many diseases such as c...

Being Earnest (and Maybe Happy)

Being Earnest (and Maybe Happy)

“If you’re going to try, go all the way,” Bukowski once wrote. Do so even if it means you alienate yourself from loved ones, lose your mind, and end up in jail because going all the way is “the only good fight there is.” There is indeed a certain sense of idolization awarded to people who are capable of mustering su...

“In Brighton, yellow mohawks, tattoos, piercings and brightly coloured clothing are the rule rather than the exception”

“In Brighton, yellow mohawks, tattoos, piercings and brightly coloured clothing are the rule rather than the exception”

Last autumn Esmee Halmans (21), a third-year student at University College Maastricht, traded in the familiar Maastricht for Brighton, England, where she went on exchange for a semester. To commemorate the experience, she got a tattoo of a wave on the inside of her left ankle. “Moving to Brighton was a big step for me. It was the first tim...

25 years of knowledge engineering: time to look ahead

25 years of knowledge engineering: time to look ahead

The Knowledge Engineering programme has wind in its sails. It is ranked as a ‘top programme’ in the Keuzegids (the Dutch guide to higher education), is increasingly called on by other faculties, and is benefiting from the current popularity of data science. Still, recruiting new staff remains difficult.
Sounds from the Central African Republic in a classroom in Heerlen

Sounds from the Central African Republic in a classroom in Heerlen

Bang! Playwright Daniel van den Broeke beats on an old-fashioned school desk with a  chicotte , a whip made from wood and several strands of rubber, used in schools in the Central African Republic (CAR). The three VWO4 pupils from Sintermeertencollege in Heerlen who are sitting at the desk jump with fright. With their classmates, they will be ...
A critical journalist retires

A critical journalist retires

Wammes Bos (1952, Dordrecht)/ senior editor at Observant since 1986/ married to editor-in-chief Riki Janssen; daughters Maaike and Geesje (twins, 41) from previous marriage, three grandchildren (Cato, Berend, Rick)/ lives in Haccourt, Belgium
Can I talk?

Can I talk?

Can a man voice his opinion on the #MeToo movement? How if he could never have experienced the specific sexism that women face daily? And can a person, ethnically belonging to a majority, use cultural items of a minority? Would this not mock the decades of forced assimilationist policies and degradation of this minority culture put forward by major...

Commuting by car if you live close by? Higher parking rates

Commuting by car if you live close by? Higher parking rates

MAASTRICHT. The UM is going to introduce paid parking for UM parking spaces, albeit differently than outlined in the plan presented in January. The new proposal will abolish the 15-kilometre limit, so everyone can come by car. Only, the closer by you live the higher the rate you pay.
“Just cut it out in the editing”

“Just cut it out in the editing”

MAASTRICHT. Two microphones and a recording device are set up in a corner of the Kruithuis at the School of Business and Economics on this warm Thursday afternoon. The recording of an episode of Maastricht Cultured is about to start. It’s one of the podcast series on the new Student Radio Maastricht platform.
“If I keep on moving, a second sleeve will be unavoidable”

“If I keep on moving, a second sleeve will be unavoidable”

Second-year psychology student Anne Friesacher (21) is Austrian, but she has never lived there. For every country she has lived in, she has a symbol on her sleeve: a tattoo that covers her entire left arm. “My father works for Shell, and our family moved all over the world. I’ve always gone to international schools. Constantly changi...

GDPR imposes more careful attention

GDPR imposes more careful attention

MAASTRICHT. “No need to panic, but make sure that you are prepared.” This is what Raoul Winkens, the mandatory data protection officer says about the consequences of the introduction of the new European data protection regulation at Maastricht University, on the 25th May.
Should we ban the books?

Should we ban the books?

In a recent issue of Ad Valvas, the Observant equivalent from VU University Amsterdam, there was a piece written by a student, stressing the importance of students getting involved in university governance by taking part in programme committees, faculty councils and university councils. Academic staff need to know what students think, in order to b...

“Baby girls get circumcised with a used razorblade or a piece of glass”

“Baby girls get circumcised with a used razorblade or a piece of glass”

“When a woman is not circumcised, it always itches,” says the woman who cut off Jaha Dukureh’s clitoris when she was a week old, probably with a razorblade or a piece of glass. “If the thing underneath is not removed, the hand will always be down there scratching.” 
Dope again the big winner in university elections

Dope again the big winner in university elections

MAASTRICHT. As was the case in the past three years, Dope came out of the university elections - this year only for students and service councils - as the big winner. The party lost a seat, but with a total of 22 seats in the faculty councils and the University Council, it is the largest.
Inkom 2018 artists: Maastricht talent kicks off on the Markt, Partysquad provides the closing act

Inkom 2018 artists: Maastricht talent kicks off on the Markt, Partysquad provides the closing act

MAASTRICHT. It will be 'Helemaal naar de klote' and 'rampeneren' to the beat during the 2018 Inkom. Partysquad will perform as the final act for Inkom 2018 in the MECC. This was announced last Thursday and met with loud applause in the Kruithuis at the School of Business and Economics. Furthermore, Inko...
“The feedback was that my accent was ‘too ghetto’”

“The feedback was that my accent was ‘too ghetto’”

Ridwan ‘Rid’ Babalola (24), master’s student in Economics from the UK, has a tattoo of the word ‘Free’ on his ribs. “After I finished my bachelor’s degree in 2015 I worked for a while as a recruiter in London. Before I started there I had to do several workshops and the trainer gave us feedback on things...

A visit home

A visit home

A month ago, I took my boyfriend to my home country, Serbia. This was the first time for him to visit, and while he was super excited, I have to admit to being a bit nervous before the trip. As the trip drew closer, I started recalling all the things that I have said over the years about my country, and how, to be honest, they don’t paint a n...

“Was I the only one who felt so rotten?”

“Was I the only one who felt so rotten?”

They have to perform. Be the very best. Do a great internship, get high marks, graduate cum laude. Oh, and sit on a student board if at all possible. Little wonder that students are crumbling under the pressure and end up depressed. Walking around like zombies, if we’re to believe the newspapers. Are things in Maastricht, too, all that bad? T...
Culture clash

Culture clash

“Saeed, wake up! We need to go to the hospital quickly. Your uncle is undergoing surgery. We are not sure what the problem is. You could probably explain it better”, said my father to me the very next day after my arrival back home in Saudi Arabia. Great, here we go again! The rumors are true, I have become the unintended family phys...

Additional rooms on Annadal Campus

Additional rooms on Annadal Campus

MAASTRICHT. There will be 329 temporary student rooms  realised  at the  Annadal  complex on the Brouwersweg. This is to prevent students from still searching for decent and affordable accommodation weeks after their studies have started, as happened last year. With the choice falling on  Annadal , the alternative - contain...
“Things get blown up quickly, you always have to keep that in mind”

“Things get blown up quickly, you always have to keep that in mind”

Songs about ‘sluts’ and ‘whores’ in Utrecht. First-year students who are made to sleep with rancid fish. A bad Carnival joke by students from Eindhoven: de wil van de vrouw doet er #nietoo (roughly, ‘what women want doesn’t matter’, where #nietoo rhymes with #metoo). And very recently, Vindicat in Groningen...
“All of a sudden DJ Hardwell showed up”

“All of a sudden DJ Hardwell showed up”

Dayten Crijns (19) is a first-year student of International Business. One year ago he had the name of his brother and the logo and motto of his own company tattooed on his chest. “Three years ago I started an event agency, Intensss Events. It’s already brought me so much that I wanted to have that reflected on my body somehow. When I...

Smile and pay

Smile and pay

The last time my mom visited we took a longer way back home after dinner. On our stroll we passed by a small corner store not far from the Volksplein. An antique hanging scale and eet meer fruit handwritten on a wooden board caught our eyes. While we were inspecting some old-fashioned Easter eggs and bunnies sitting among fruit boxes in the window,...

Playing badminton and enjoying food from home

Playing badminton and enjoying food from home

Once a year, Indonesian students from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany come together to play badminton – the most popular sport in their home country. At this year’s Maastricht Cup - last Saturday - fifty players competed for the prizes – while other visitors enjoyed the bazaar with authentic Indonesian food that’s ...

Learning to think about the impact of your research

Learning to think about the impact of your research

MAASTRICHT. Neuroethics – all ethical questions concerning brain research – is a field of study that is becoming more and more important with all the technological and other developments. The more we know about the brain, the more we should think about what we are going to do with that information. What are the consequences for research...
Loud people, interesting smells, vivid colors and tasty food

Loud people, interesting smells, vivid colors and tasty food

I have always liked the atmosphere in markets: loud people, interesting smells, vivid colors and tasty food. Quito’s market answers to all these characteristics, but also has some things that make it unique. The first thing that stroke me is the fruit variety. There are so many fruits I had never seen before, with funny shapes and colors. So ...

“The jam jar reminds me of my grandmother”

“The jam jar reminds me of my grandmother”

Phil Blades (23, UK), a second-year student of Arts and Culture, already has quite a collection of tattoos, even on his fingers. One of the most recent is on the inside of his upper arm: a jar of jam and the words ‘No more bad days’, a song by the American band This Wild Life. “My family lives on a farm in the middle of Yorkshi...

Second edition Ladyfest in Maastricht

Second edition Ladyfest in Maastricht

Celebrating feminist, women, trans and gender-non conforming people – that’s what Ladyfest all about. This worldwide concept of a festival created within the community came to Maastricht for the first time last year. Now, the second edition takes place in the Mandril Cultural and Political Centre on 5 and 6 May. The programme is dive...

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...

Guess Who?!

Guess Who?!

Who am I? The great existential question of the times – well actually the great existential question of the times for many people is more likely to be, ‘do I want soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, no milk, in my low-fat-no-fat-all-fat grande macchiato?’ But for those of us more inclined towards introspection, the ‘who am ...

Brussels calling

Brussels calling

The metro stop is a stone’s throw away. By car you’re there before you know it. There are several good restaurants within walking distance and a bronze statue of Field Marshal Montgomery stands guard by the door. Not far away is the city’s European Quarter. The new premises of UM Campus Brussels could not be better located.
Client Consultation Competition: a piano, cheap aeroplanes and synchronized watches

Client Consultation Competition: a piano, cheap aeroplanes and synchronized watches

MAASTRICHT. A pianist starts playing at the official opening of the International Client Consultation Competition (ICCC), hosted last Wednesday by the Maastricht Faculty of Law. All of a sudden a tenor stands up from the audience and starts to sing, as three others join him in performing the satirical composition So You Want to Write a Fugue? That&...
“The tattoo took seven sessions of three hours each”

“The tattoo took seven sessions of three hours each”

In 2013 Nadine Hillwig (25, Germany), a third-year psychology student, took a life-changing trip to India. To make sure she never forgot it, she got a ‘backpiece’: a tattoo of an elephant covering her entire back. “My then boyfriend and I had booked a trip to India. Two days before we were due to leave, he sent me a text messag...

Groene Loper

Groene Loper

On a cold April Saturday as a sad-eyed woman lets me in to see the flat she is giving up to move back in with her parents, leaving only advertising brochures for baby furniture behind, I spot a metal bridge over my shoulder at the end of the street. It’s doing the everyday things that pedestrian bridges do: holding up a sign announcing Praxis...

UM passwords leaked

UM passwords leaked

MAASTRICHT. Passwords for hundreds of UM e-mail addresses have possibly found their way out into the open. This was discovered through www.gotcha.pw, a search engine with leaked passwords. A hacker, going by the name of d0gberry, posted these online last week.
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...

Majority researchers are guilty of sloppy science

Majority researchers are guilty of sloppy science

How sloppy is our science? Ninety per cent of the almost six hundred researchers in a survey admits to having crossed the line at least once. Mistake number one: mentioning an author who in practice hardly contributed to your research at all. This was one of the outcomes of a recent study by Erik Driessen, professor in Medical Education at Maastric...
“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.
Venezuela in Ecuador

Venezuela in Ecuador

A few weeks into my stay in Quito I find myself on a bus ride where a young man is holding a box of chocolate in one hand and in the other a big stack of bills. For every chocolate you buy, he gives you an additional Venezuelan bill of your choice. I choose the nice-looking 100 Bolivares note, which in 2017 has lost 96% of its value. Venezuela i...

“Life seems very bleak and I don’t see the joy in anything”

“Life seems very bleak and I don’t see the joy in anything”

Marta Rusakiewicz (20, Poland), second-year student of European Law, got a tattoo of a compass rose on her ribs when she was 18. It was something she felt she ‘had’ to do. “I’ve been a sad person my whole life; my brain doesn’t produce happy hormones. Life seems very bleak and I don’t see the joy in anything. ...

The Janus face of writing

The Janus face of writing

I'm supposed to be doing laundry, but I can't tear myself from my computer. I should be making the baby’s breakfast, but I'm writing. I ought to be heading out to vote – but I'm writing. For writers, writing is a necessity, like breathing or (in my case) eating double-caramel Magnums. And by writers I don’t mean...

XXL weeks at University Library

XXL weeks at University Library

MAASTRICHT. It is time for the XXL weeks at the University Library again. This means that the library is bursting at its seams with students studying. Elise Abraham, second-year student of Economics from Belgium and Mimi Ahlsrog, second-year student of International Business from Finland, can be found at the Inner-City University Library every day....

“What would put you on cloud nine when it comes to food at UM?”

“What would put you on cloud nine when it comes to food at UM?”

MAASTRICHT. The contract with Maastricht University’s current caterer  Albron  will expire in 2020. A new tendering process would usually involve project teams and steering groups, but this time Facility Services want to take a different approach. The entire university community will get to have its say during ‘roadshows&rsquo...
Not one missed Dutch Springsteen concert since 1985

Not one missed Dutch Springsteen concert since 1985

Philip Kalisvaart (57) is process coordinator for collection management at the University Library and, in his own words, an “extreme fan” of Bruce Springsteen. In 2016 he had the words of two of Springsteen’s songs tattooed on his upper arms: ‘Thunder road’ on the right and ‘Two hearts’ on the left. &ldq...

Why we still don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s

Why we still don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s

After oncology, most research money goes to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Among people over 80 years of age, dementia prevalence exceeds 20%. Paradoxically though, our knowledge of the brain has increased more than ever in the past decades, yet this is not yielding more new medi...
New Party M:OED earns two seats in city council

New Party M:OED earns two seats in city council

MAASTRICHT. M:OED (MAASTRICHT: Open Honest Democratic), the new party in Maastricht which mainly concentrates on the interests of students and entrepreneurs, has earned two seats in the city council in the local elections last Wednesday. The turnout in Maastricht was a little higher this year (48.1 per cent) than in 2014 (46.9 per cent).
A letter

A letter

Coming home after grocery shopping, I realize I haven’t opened my letterbox in a few days. I’m not expecting much, aside from some adverts, one or two bills maybe. With my groceries under my arms, I slowly open the box. But as I pull out a bunch of papers, I see I got lucky today. I’ve been sent a letter. From a friend, maybe, or ...

Greener Maastricht

Greener Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. There should be more nature in Maastricht and the university could play a major role in this. Rob Jansen from Stadsnatuur Maastricht, a volunteer collective that dedicates itself to creating more green in the city, advocates this idea.
Library of Things wins Student Idea Competition

Library of Things wins Student Idea Competition

MAASTRICHT. The Library of Things has won the Student Idea Competition 2018, the annual contest organised by the Student Project Team. Five teams pitched their ideas to improve student life at Maastricht University in the Student Service Centre (SSC) last Monday. A jury selected three winners. The Library of Things – where people can borrow t...
“They thought it was a subcutaneous worm"

“They thought it was a subcutaneous worm"

Thomas Fuller (41), PhD candidate in the Department of Clinical Psychological Science at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, has on his side a tattoo of a bird’s-eye view of the River Thames and several London parks. It is done entirely in white ink. “I was a social worker in London from the age of 24 to 26. I’m from Au...

UPDATE: Eleven Maastricht master's programmes in the top ranks

UPDATE: Eleven Maastricht master's programmes in the top ranks

MAASTRICHT. Eleven Maastricht master's courses are among the very best in the Netherlands, is the opinion of the Keuzegids Masters 2018, which took a close look at 43 UM master's. The research master's programme of European Studies with a grade of nine is the very best. At the very bottom are Movement Sciences and Epidemiology. Tho...
About the challenges of a young tutor

About the challenges of a young tutor

Three actors play a short scene for the audience. We see a female student who is waiting for her friend in a pub. In the meantime, a young man offers her a drink. She declines. ‘Ah, don't be like that,’ he says, and before she knows it, a beer has been put in front of her. She takes it without looking at him. She goes onto the dance...
Advocating for Procrastination

Advocating for Procrastination

An old Army buddy of mine once joked that procrastination is like masturbation, it feels good until you realize you just screwed yourself. Rather than postponing things, just get it done. Action – as he would say – is the best cure for anxiety. But then there are those that believe that if you wait until the last minute, it only takes a...

“I hear there are some communists in the room”

“I hear there are some communists in the room”

“Why did Napoleon never attack Geneva? Napoleon: ‘Geneva? Why would I attack Geneva? Everybody speaks English there.’”, according to ringmaster Teun Dekker, using these words to present the introductory video that accompanies the evening’s fourth proposition: ‘The city council should offer free Dutch courses to e...

Age is often forgotten when we speak about diversity

Age is often forgotten when we speak about diversity

A student who is 48, a professor who is eighteen and someone defending his or her thesis at 70 years of age. Intuitively we know what ‘fits’ with what age. So age is much more than the actual years on a calendar, there are numerous cultural connotations attached. “It is not just what you are (four, sixteen, fifty or eighty), but a...
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...

Navigation tools and works of art

Navigation tools and works of art

MAASTRICHT. Throughout the centuries, atlases have been more than just navigation tools. They can also be works of art, tell a story about how the world was depicted at that time, and hint at the opinions of the cartographer. Jonathan Stockhorst, master’s student of Art, Literature and Society, spent the last few months researching the 9...

“Good parents to me, but horrible to each other”

“Good parents to me, but horrible to each other”

Greek-Italian Rita Platanos (19), a first-year student of International Business, always wanted a tattoo. She took the plunge when she moved out. On her left upper arm she has a traditional-style tattoo of an open hand encircled by a snake. “My parents divorced when I was less than a year old and have had a bad relationship for as long as ...

One city, two worlds

One city, two worlds

Outside of the majestic walls of our faculties, there is a world that many of my UM peers are not fully aware of – a Maastricht outside Maastricht University. Some have a faint notion that it is out there. For instance, there is Zuyd, the regional university of applied sciences, and its students - a lot of them, around 13.000. Then again you ...

“Without the university we would still be a sleepy provincial town”

“Without the university we would still be a sleepy provincial town”

MAASTRICHT. Flags along the boulevard and along the Kennedy Bridge to welcome the new students during Inkom or Open Days? Just like with Tefaf. No, there won't be any flags. And the names ‘Maastricht University’ or ‘university city’ on the signs at the city borders? “I think that is a very creative idea, I'...
Martin Paul in bed with director of The Student Hotel

Martin Paul in bed with director of The Student Hotel

 “It is an honour to wear them,” says president of Maastricht University Martin Paul, pointing to his new red Bed Talk socks. He is a fan of the Red Socks, Boston's baseball team. During the opening of The Student Hotel Maastricht last Friday he jumped into bed with Frank Uffen, one of the directors of The Student Hotel. &ld...

UM researcher had to choose: ERC grant or Vidi grant

UM researcher had to choose: ERC grant or Vidi grant

MAASTRICHT. Researcher Vera Schrauwen-Hinderling received two first prizes last year: a Vidi grant from NWO and an ERC grant from Brussels. She did so with similar research proposals. ERC and NWO do not agree with this. An attempt to give the Vidi project a different angle, did not work.
‘No,’ my father answered, ‘I have a strong daughter’

‘No,’ my father answered, ‘I have a strong daughter’

Annemarie Penn-te Strake (Helmond, 1953)/ mayor of Maastricht since 1 June 2015/ married to Olaf Penn, four sons (35, 33, 32, 30) from a previous marriage/ lives in Maastricht
 "I was surprised we were still alive"

"I was surprised we were still alive"

Johan Strijckers (48), project leader of programmes and new media at the Maastricht city council, got his first tattoo in 2001. Today, they cover a big part of his chest, back and both his arms. His right forearm, both top and bottom, is filled with the image of a broken hourglass, the Death card of the Tarot deck pierced by a dagger, a pair of win...

“I’d rather have been called Chief Happiness Officer”

“I’d rather have been called Chief Happiness Officer”

She studied at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS), completed her PhD there too, was a lecturer there and now, at 33, she has become Diversity Officer at Maastricht University. But Constance Sommerey would have preferred a different title. Something with happiness in it.
Having a laugh

Having a laugh

I´ve been teaching since 1980. More than 35 years later, I completed my BKO (basic teaching qualification). That included preparing a personal SWOT analysis – identifying my strengths and weaknesses (in relation to teaching – it´s not a general exercise in personal reflection), and external opportunities and threats affectin...

Heart for language

Heart for language

In 1992, we moved to Spain. To Madrid, to be precise. I had taken a two-week crash course in Spanish at the Language Centre and felt reasonably equipped for a talk with the Spanish landlord and the grocer. They would appreciate my well-intended efforts in Spanish, help me when I stumbled or was lost for words. With hands (and even feet) we would ma...

New SBE dean: “I won't be a bull in a china shop”

New SBE dean: “I won't be a bull in a china shop”

MAASTRICHT. The 54-year-old Danish economist Peter Møllgaard is to become the new dean of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) on 1 April. For the past three years Møllgaard has been ‘research dean’ at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS).
A lounge for SBE lecturers

A lounge for SBE lecturers

The students have had one for quite some time. Then the lecturers from the School of Business and Economics thought: we want one too! Sometimes life is just that simple. By now the lecturers’ lounge - on the ground floor, near the restaurant - is a fact. Elegant sofas, stylish gold-coloured lamps and an enormous TV screen. Anyone who teaches,...

The modern hunt

The modern hunt

As I had a few days off for carnival, I decided to take a trip to the Amazon Forest, which is only four hours by bus from the city of Quito. I arrived at the city of Tena, which is right at the border with the Amazon forest. On the second day there, together with a friend, we decided to take one of the boats that ride you further down the forest, t...

“Getting high marks isn’t everything in life”

“Getting high marks isn’t everything in life”

Erik Kikas, second-year student of Psychology and Neuroscience from Estonia, is just 21, but he already has an impressive collection of tattoos. The second one he had done runs from his shoulder halfway down his right arm: an owl with a clock and the words ‘Enjoy every moment’. “When I was thirteen and fourteen I was so stresse...

FHS faculty to split, the question is how

FHS faculty to split, the question is how

MAASTRICHT. One thing is clear: The Faculty of Humanities and Sciences (FHS) is going to be split up. The science side will form a new Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), the sections that cannot be included, will go their own way.
Choose your f*cks wisely

Choose your f*cks wisely

Recently, I read a book: The subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson. I strongly recommend it. Manson openly admits that there is no such thing as not giving a f*ck in life. However, in order to truly not give a f*ck about something, we need to give extreme f*ck for something else. And those “f*ck-worthy” things are those that...

UM Sports cafe reopens at the beginning of March

UM Sports cafe reopens at the beginning of March

MAASTRICHT. At the beginning of March, the sport's cafe in the UM Sports complex will reopen its doors. Rivazza, which is the new name, will be the first tramezzini shop (small Italian rolls) in Maastricht. For the time being, it will be open every day from 10:00 to 20:00 hrs.
“My mom and I always fight, but when she’s not here, I miss her terribly.”

“My mom and I always fight, but when she’s not here, I miss her terribly.”

On the upper left arm of Elif Erkul (20), third-year Economics and Business Economics student from Turkey, is an image of a crescent moon with a pair of arrows pointing to two sets of coordinates: those of Maastricht and of Ankara. “When my mother and I are around one another, we always fight. But when she’s not here, I miss her terr...

The dying language of the ancestors

The dying language of the ancestors

When a Spanish person wakes up with a hangover, he has la Resaca. But not Ecuadorians, they are Chuchaqui. This is only an example of the many words that make Ecuadorian slang so unique, differentiating it from the Spanish spoken in other Latin American countries. Ecuadorian Spanish is influenced by Quechua, a very old language, which used to be sp...

Missing

Missing

Maastricht University prides itself on its problem-based learning approach in education – a system which has been adopted by almost all Dutch universities and many others around the globe. The edge that Maastricht once had no longer exists. Therefore, the university must remedy the situation. Otherwise, the university might struggle to attrac...

Annadal Campus or Randwyck

Annadal Campus or Randwyck

MAASTRICHT. On Tuesday evening, Maastricht University presented to the city council a second solution for the shortage of affordable student rooms: expansion of the Annadal Campus. In December, the university already argued in favour of 250 container units in Randwyck. Asked which option was preferable, Nick Bos, vice-president of the UM’s Ex...
OPINION: Modern Frankenstein fears

OPINION: Modern Frankenstein fears

With the rapid pace of technological and scientific developments, it’s high time to have a thorough, wide-ranging discussion of their ethical consequences, says Katherine Bassil in this opinion article.
“It wouldn’t do for them to confuse me in court for the suspect”

“It wouldn’t do for them to confuse me in court for the suspect”

Legal psychologist and researcher dr. Henry Otgaar (34) has no shortage of tattoos, the most meaningful of which covers his entire chest. When he leaves his top two buttons open, it can be seen peeking out from his shirt: a tiger head with a kris – a traditional Indonesian dagger – and a pair of crossed machetes. “I’ve be...

Supermarket Culture

Supermarket Culture

As a Master's student of Health Food Innovation Management, I love going to the grocery store. This love started when I was a kid. A trip to the supermarket often ended with my parents buying me a chocolate chip cookie. I grew up in the U.S. and remember those cookies were literally the size of my face. Cookie dimensions are just one example of...

Smooth, amusing, and things to be learned too

Smooth, amusing, and things to be learned too

MAASTRICHT. An education prize, a dissertation prize, a series of student prizes for master’s theses, a couple of honorary doctorates, as well as the speeches and the music that are all part and parcel of the anniversary celebrations: the programme was overloaded, but last Friday's session in the St. Janskerk ran more smoothly than ever b...
Nynke de Jong: for all your questions on technical innovations

Nynke de Jong: for all your questions on technical innovations

MAASTRICHT. The Wynand Wijnen Education Prize 2017 was awarded to Nynke de Jong during the anniversary celebration last Friday. She is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, the faculty with an extraordinary number of nominees this year. A coincidence. De Jong won, being praised by the jury as a “decisive...
From tax benefit to the secret of charisma

From tax benefit to the secret of charisma

MAASTRICHT. 24 Student Prizes were awarded this year for the best master’s (9) and bachelor’s (15) theses. Observant asked two of the winners to tell us more about their research. 
Petition to make UM fossil free

Petition to make UM fossil free

MAASTRICHT. Fossil Free Maastricht has started an online petition to ask the Executive Board to commit to a fossil-free and ethical financial strategy. So far they have gathered 185 signatures.
"By cutting myself, at least I felt something"

"By cutting myself, at least I felt something"

Raneesha De Silva (24) is a master’s student of Forensic Psychology. On the inside of her left wrist is a tattoo of an infinity symbol and a semicolon covering a number of scars. She started cutting herself when she was fifteen. “People tend to think this kind of self-harm comes from mental disorders, depression or stress; that wasn&...

UM Star Lectures

UM Star Lectures

MAASTRICHT. Thirteen cities, four countries and 900 alumni. In order to maintain the relationship with former students, Maastricht University (UM) will organize the fourth annual UM Star Lectures on 1 February.
Another man’s shoes

Another man’s shoes

Picture the scene: you have arrived to meet your friend in a nearby café, ready to fill them in on the juicy details of your date last night. It is fair to say it was one of the worst dates you’ve been on. They did not look their photo. They had all the charisma of a block of cheese. The music was too loud. They were too quiet. As you enterta...

Extra student rooms: UM is waiting on the city council

Extra student rooms: UM is waiting on the city council

MAASTRICHT. Before the start of the next academic year, Maastricht University want to place 250 renovated container dwellings for students on their own premises in Randwyck, where once the Calatrava campus should have been built. The units previously stood in Amsterdam, but need to be removed after a designated period of ten years. The UM sees it a...
Exchange students also allowed to vote

Exchange students also allowed to vote

MAASTRICHT. In an attempt to motivate students to vote in the upcoming city council elections, Maas X - a collective of local youth organisations, including the Maastricht student council - organised an information evening last Monday. One of the subjects discussed was the divide between people from Maastricht and (international) students.
Frisbee: more than a game

Frisbee: more than a game

MAASTRICHT. Five Ultimate Frisbee men's teams from the Netherlands came to Maastricht on Sunday to compete against each other. It was the third day of competitions (of a total of four) in the third division, in which Maastricht's own Ultimaas competes. For those who only know Frisbee as a holiday pastime: in the winter, Ultimate Frisbee is ...

A metal arm, 32 stitches, and a body full of bruises

A metal arm, 32 stitches, and a body full of bruises

George Srouji (19), a first-year psychology student from Greece, was a hooligan of the AEK Athens football club during his early teens. On his left arm he has a tattoo of a lion’s head. “After matches we’d fight the supporters of rival teams or arrange to meet in quiet places to have a brawl. For the adrenaline and for fun. If ...

Kersenvlaai and carambole

Kersenvlaai and carambole

Months pass. When you are a solitary big-city escapee riding the city’s streets on a rattling Gazelle, you find yourself becoming more patient, more observant. In return, Maastricht starts revealing its mysteries. Their existence, anyway, if not their secrets, like a hand of cards in a complicated old Limburg game. The hidden-in-plain-sigh...

“It is time for a new generation of politicians”

“It is time for a new generation of politicians”

​MAASTRICHT. M:OED (Maastricht: Open Eerlijk Democratisch, (Maastricht: Open Honest Democratic)) is the youngest Maastricht political party to participate in the upcoming council elections. They organised their first public debate on Thursday evening, 12 January, on the future and the digitalisation of politics: Engineering Democracy.
Myth: Suspects are regularly set free on a technicality

Myth: Suspects are regularly set free on a technicality

“I remember a case in which the suspect lodged a complaint because his title – Doctor – was not present on the summons,” says Joep Simmelink, professor occupying the endowed chair of Criminal Law and Criminology at the Faculty of Law.  “He argued: the summons was not sent to me, so I do not need to appear. The jud...

My first bus ride in Ecuador

My first bus ride in Ecuador

Standing in the heat on the side of the road, I kill boredom by observing the other people waiting for the bus that will take us to Quito. Just as I am losing my hopes of ever seeing the bus arrive, there it is! The bus rides with its doors open, and if there are not that many people at the stop, it doesn’t even fully break: people have to ju...

"Every time I look at my tattoo I think of the life lessons I learnt in Africa"

"Every time I look at my tattoo I think of the life lessons I learnt in Africa"

Marieke Hopman (28), PhD candidate at the law faculty, has a tattoo on the inside of her left wrist, the size of a euro coin, of the silhouette of a bird of prey. “In 2016, I went to the Central African Republic (CAR) twice to do fieldwork for my research on children’s rights, the right to education in particular. One time I was talk...

It’s the flu, actually

It’s the flu, actually

In late December some twelve thousand people in the Netherlands had the flu, two of them under our roof. Our baby son started showing the signs on Christmas Eve, signalling his discomfort as best he could, which is to say with indiscriminate shrieking. We are hoping that by this time next year he will be capable of simply announcing ‘Listen, ...

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...

UM sounds alarm about shortage of affordable student rooms

UM sounds alarm about shortage of affordable student rooms

MAASTRICHT. Great concerns in Maastricht about the shortage of affordable student rooms. Both Maastricht University and the Maastricht Association of Living Accommodation Letters (Vereniging Verhuurders Woonruimtes Maastricht, or VVWM) sounded the alarm in a letter to the city council before Christmas. The UM proposed some solutions – expansi...
Brothers on the karate mat

Brothers on the karate mat

Greed. Brian: “I’m not affected by it. I don’t care much about clothes or other things. If my phone’s worn out, I’ll buy a new one, but it doesn’t have to be the latest iPhone. I’m mainly focused on the sport. My karate things have to be in good order. Often you have to replace protective gear like shi...

Leçons 15- Il n´est jamais trop tard pour apprendre

Leçons 15- Il n´est jamais trop tard pour apprendre

Grenoble- you have been good. But now it is time to leave behind the breathtaking Alpine scenery and return to my beloved, flat Maastricht which I have learned to appreciate in manners, I did not image I ever would. Four months, to the day, I have lived in Grenoble- a beautiful city in the heart of the Alps. Over the past 16 weeks, I have been a...

Beethoven

Beethoven

Sitting in the train, I listen calmly to the first tones of Beethoven’s 5th symphony: da-da-da-dum! Calm is not quite the right word though. It’s loud and very dramatic. As it should be. This symphony has helped me through the roughest times. I can get lost in the power of the first part, the softness of the second movement, the hope of...

Doubts about professor Frans Leeuw's scientific integrity

Doubts about professor Frans Leeuw's scientific integrity

MAASTRICHT. Professor Frans Leeuw's position at Maastricht University could probably come under pressure after reports that he is guilty of violating scientific integrity. This was in his position at the Ministry of Justice. Neither law faculty dean Smits, nor rector Letschert intend to undertake any steps at the moment: they are waiting for th...
‘German Run’ under control

‘German Run’ under control

MAASTRICHT. The ‘German Run’ at the university library is under control. Where, in the past, people were squashed or trampled on, students are now given access in a controlled manner during the exam period. 
EU agencies in the future Europe

EU agencies in the future Europe

MAASTRICHT. Visitors to the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, should know exactly where they need to be, says director James Calleja, because taxi drivers won't be able to find it. This unfamiliarity of European agencies - independent institutes that do research, advise the E...

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

MAASTRICHT. Early on Thursday morning, two vans park in front of the administration building on the Minderbroedersberg. Brimming with (fake) pinewood branches, baubles and rope lights. First, a large frame comes out: green metal rings that form the basis of what will turn out to be an eight-metre-high Christmas tree in the hall. With a crew of five...

“I’m modest and quiet; I’m definitely no braggart”

“I’m modest and quiet; I’m definitely no braggart”

Greed. I have a shoe tic: I have twelve pairs of running shoes, three pairs of cycling shoes and another ten or so pairs of ‘normal’ shoes. Obviously you can only wear one pair at a time, but I change them depending on the type of training I’m doing: I have shoes for endurance running, shoes for speed training, race shoes. They&rs...

My indecisive decision

My indecisive decision

"Sometimes changes in the lives of others can truly be made behind closed doors, in a lab, on a bench with just a pipet in hand and a revolutionary idea in head." The first decisions one takes when aiming for medical school, begin well before you get a white coat and stethoscope around the neck. For me, my passion developed during high...

Creating a Culture of Service

Creating a Culture of Service

Whenever I draft recommendation letters and offer career advice to students asking for them, I am confronted by a sense of unease. This feeling emerges from the fact that as students prepare for the next stage of their lives (and the uncertainty that comes with it), too many of them fall into the trap of assessing their employability and self-worth...

“I would never say I’m from Spain. I’m from Catalonia”

“I would never say I’m from Spain. I’m from Catalonia”

After the controversial referendum, the declaration of independence, the harsh reaction from the Spanish government, and the ‘flight’ of dismissed Catalan president Puigdemont to Belgium, the Catalans will return to the polling stations on 21 December to elect new regional representatives. How are Catalan students and staff at the UM vi...
OPINION: Internationalization: a matter of content rather than numbers

OPINION: Internationalization: a matter of content rather than numbers

Being an international university is not only about the number of foreign students. Research and education at UM need to be steeped in all things international as well. It is time for a viable internationalization strategy, writes Lies Wesseling, Director of the Centre for Gender and Diversity.
“During the Limburg derby we fight tooth and nail”

“During the Limburg derby we fight tooth and nail”

  Greed. I’m not greedy; I don’t need to have the best of the best. The only thing I can think of is my shoe addiction. I always want to wear sneakers in my free time. For a long time it was Adidas, but now I mainly buy Asics. As a keeper I wear normal handball shoes. You can buy special keeper’s shoes, but they&rs...

A little instability

A little instability

Mutti (Mommy in English) is a common nickname we Germans use for our chancellor. It incorporates this warm, soft feeling of security and that everything will be fine since Mutti knows what she is doing. You might not really understand her reasoning, but you know that she knows what she is doing. Why do we need a Mutti? Well, uncertainty is one o...

What do mums and dads do at an Open Day?

What do mums and dads do at an Open Day?

Last Saturday, the Maastricht faculties opened their doors to school students – and their mums and dads. There were special information sessions and parent cafes, and tips and tricks from a real parent information officer. Observant did the rounds and asked parents whether they were meddling or merely involved.  
Thanksgiving in Maastricht

Thanksgiving in Maastricht

Big turkeys, yams, pumpkin pies and pecan pies – all the traditional staples of a Thanksgiving dinner were present at the Tapijnkazerne last Thursday. Over a hundred American students gathered to spend this family holiday together. It was the first time that the Centre for European Studies organized a Thanksgiving get-together on such a large...

“Nothing but football in your head is not good”

“Nothing but football in your head is not good”

Greed. During a match, you can show that you’re up to the task: coaching my defenders, giving them faith that they can play the ball back, stopping attackers. So I want to play as much as possible. When it comes to my outfit, I prefer not to have black boots. That used to be the norm, but brightly coloured shoes are much more noticeable. They...

Leçon 12: Car l'amour est partout

Leçon 12: Car l'amour est partout

One easily earns the impression that we live in a time of hostility, hate and indifference. In the news, we learn about yet another attack here, a violent crime there and overall acts of vulgarity. People are portrayed as egoistic utility maximizers that are indifferent to their surroundings and interpersonal encounters. But that is not true. Becau...

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 eat around 4500 calories a day”

“I eat around 4500 calories a day”

  Greed. I’m not materialistic. I only need the essentials; a belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, weightlifting shoes for squats, and a singlet for competitions. In powerlifting there are two big brands; SBD and Titan, but with shoes I want Nike. They provide the most stability. I am greedy when it comes to making progress, though: I ...

Can´t believe we´re still protesting this sh**

Can´t believe we´re still protesting this sh**

The fact that sexual harassment and assault are features of many workplaces hit the headlines again recently. The reports were greeted with surprise, ´how did we not know?´ But it was in the news not so long ago, during the US presidential campaign when the winning candidate boasted about assaulting women and getting away with it. Maybe...

“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...
Psychology students and board clash about switching tutorial groups

Psychology students and board clash about switching tutorial groups

MAASTRICHT. Psychology students do not agree with the measure taken by the Faculty Board to prohibit students from joining a different tutorial group. The student fraction brought the issue up during the latest faculty council meeting.
PhD jams on the Minderbroedersberg

PhD jams on the Minderbroedersberg

MAASTRICHT. It is an impressive list; not as many as two years ago, says beadle Len Cuppens, but still, 61 researchers will defend their theses in December. “Sometimes, that is literally running from one hall to another, because we only have one official rod. One minute there is the ‘hora est’ in one hall, the next minute you ente...
Drugs and Ph.D.

Drugs and Ph.D.

So I went to this talk of Marc Lewis, a now retired psychology professor. It was about why addiction is not a “brain disease”, even though many “healing-oriented” parties passionately claim it is. Their agenda is obvious: the “disease” part is crucial in the selling-a-cure schem. Lewis made some good points in...

“I’ve had to learn to stand up for myself”

“I’ve had to learn to stand up for myself”

Greed. I need my equipment to be in good order. I always want a new grip and the strings on my racket done before a match or a tournament. My shoes are always Nike, and I like having a Nike top, shorts and socks on as well. Outside the sport I’m not greedy at all; only when it comes to sneakers. People sometimes ask me if I have the whole Nik...

“Try and take the stairs this week”

“Try and take the stairs this week”

Of course, you should exercise regularly, but actually getting down to doing so, is another story. Within the framework of Active Campus Europe – a two-year collaboration project of sixteen European universities to stimulate sports among students and employees – UM Sports will motivate ‘inactive’ students until the beginning...
Borrowing is the new buying

Borrowing is the new buying

MAASTRICHT. “See, this is a perfect example.” Elisa Etrary, second-year student of European Studies, picks up a crème brûlée burner. “Unless you make crème brûlée every Sunday, you’ll only need it once or twice a year.” So why spend money on it? This is the idea behind the Library of Things: reduce consumerism by lendi...
Powerless

Powerless

“Please take a seat!” This is how we start the family meeting, my very first one with a doomsday scenario. We need to discuss the treatment options, although we do not foresee recovery; the patient’s health is worsening. The family wants answers that we cannot provide. They are desperate and shattered. Their father came in with a ...

"In my country everyone wants to be right; here we agree to disagree"

"In my country everyone wants to be right; here we agree to disagree"

More than fifteen nationalities in a single study programme? For a number of Maastricht master’s programmes, such as Media Culture, Public Policy & Human Development and International & European Tax Law, this has become the norm. Observant looks inside one of the ‘international classrooms’ that do justice to the name: the ...
Trapped in a mind set

Trapped in a mind set

MAASTRICHT. The idea was conceived seven years ago and has been popular at universities ever since: train alumni to prepare students for or assist them on the labour market. The alumni, themselves already well-established in their fields, receive a crash course on how to get students thinking about their talents, their dreams and how they can turn ...

“Before I go to bed I always have a nice sandwich”

“Before I go to bed I always have a nice sandwich”

  Greed. Greed is important in football. It’s a team sport, but you definitely have to think of yourself. You’re assessed on your own merits. If you want to reach the top, you have to stand out. That’s especially hard for defenders. You can’t always just pass the ball on; you have to take the initiative yourself n...

Connecting through mistakes

Connecting through mistakes

Being the new kid in school is often a challenge. At 10 years old, with little to no English vocabulary, I fully came to grips with that challenge when my family moved from Germany to the US. In the first weeks of school I not only had a lot of practice in keeping a straight face amidst a complete lack of understanding, but I also learned most thin...

"The best innovation is to stop all innovation"

"The best innovation is to stop all innovation"

MAASTRICHT. “You're a rebel. You argue against innovation, but we can't just leave everything as it was in education. It is all about holding on to what is good and getting rid of the ‘trendy stuff’, as you call it.”
“If I notice I’ve lost weight, it’s party time”

“If I notice I’ve lost weight, it’s party time”

Greed. I always want the puck. If you’ve got possession, you can leave your mark on the match. I’ve got a pretty decent trophy collection at home. But success always leaves you wanting more. The ones I cherish most are the medals for the (youth) world cups in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2016, and the watch I was given for most valuable player ...

The Members Only Club for Privileged Migrants

The Members Only Club for Privileged Migrants

The other day I found myself correcting a friend of mine who referred to himself as a member of the ‘expat community’ (he has been working in Rwanda for several months). I explained that what he should be saying was ‘migrant community’, but the trouble with this term is it rarely resonates with white Europeans – you on...

Food Truck as temporary help for UM Sports

Food Truck as temporary help for UM Sports

MAASTRICHT. Sports cafe Time Out having gone bankrupt, Food Truck Formidable is temporarily going to do the catering for UM Sports. From Monday onwards, the old Citroen bus, which will be parked outside the sports complex, will be available for coffee, tea, rolls, soup, pancakes and other snacks.
Fake it till you make it

Fake it till you make it

Greed. To be quite clear: Latin dance is not ballroom dancing [just so that we know what we are talking about, Zef Orbons laughs. He dances the rumba, samba, jive, cha-cha and paso doble]. I have always wanted to look beautiful and I love stylishness. So, if you were to explain greed in terms of clothing, as more beautiful than beautiful, then I wo...

Meet our big boys and girls

Meet our big boys and girls

We all know the stereotypes about ‘he-men’ and ‘she-women’: they eat chicken all day long, their IQs barely crack 100 and they drop their weights hard enough to make the floor shake. In the run-up to the Dutch Student Nationals Powerlifting Classic, Observant asked five gym buffs about these stereotypes, their motivation, di...

About time

About time

It’s about time. In a new place – and Maastricht is my new place, fresh out of Brexit London – there’s always a fresh awareness of the clock. The four minutes (five in the rain) it takes to get to the SSC for a bakkie koffie. The stomach-rumbling time it takes Delibelge to snap an elastic band on your paper-wrapped broodj...

Swapping clothes while eating leftovers

Swapping clothes while eating leftovers

MAASTRICHT. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. This could have been the theme of the Sustainability Day gathering, organised by the study association of the master's programme of Sustainability, Science and Policy (ASAP) and Food Sharing Maastricht at the Kapoenstraat 2 last Tuesday. There was a clothing swap, food pre...

Why we should talk more about the ethics of Neurosciences

Why we should talk more about the ethics of Neurosciences

Neuroscience affects everyone. That is why the long-term ethical questions it raises, should be discussed more broadly, says Neuroscience master student Katherine Bassil.
“I sit in class with wet hair”

“I sit in class with wet hair”

Greed. I’d rather call myself eager. I always want to win. In daily life I’m not greedy at all. I can be very happy with the little things. My gear has to be good, not expensive or beautiful; that’s the way I was raised. My sunglasses don’t have to be from Oakley. Triathlon is an expensive sport. You need a wetsuit, a bike, ...

Leçon 6- Arrêtez de procrastiner

Leçon 6- Arrêtez de procrastiner

We all have one, either randomly collected in our head or neatly jotted down in a little notebook. A bucket list- a list of achievements or experiences we hope to accomplish during our lifetime. I belong to category number two. I possess a little book in which I scribble down notes, ideas, poems or things I simply want to remember. And within th...

A word of advice

A word of advice

If you're a new student in Maastricht, you'll have received lots of advice already. Some of it contradictory. Focus on your studies. No, enjoy student life – you’ll never have this time again. Knuckle down and finish as soon as you can. No, take the time to explore, find out what you’re really interested in. Most important...

Who is coming out to play?

Who is coming out to play?

Imagine you have a couple of hours off this afternoon and you fancy a game of table tennis. It’s just, who to play with? Maybe you are new to Maastricht and don't know a lot of people. Or you do have friends here, but they don't have the day off. That is where the new Activitree app can offer a solution. Activitree was created by U...

UM students (very) satisfied with study programmes

UM students (very) satisfied with study programmes

MAASTRICHT. Compared to students from institutes elsewhere in the country, Maastricht students are satisfied to very satisfied with their study programmes at Maastricht University. This is one of the outcomes of the National Student Survey (held in spring 2017), processed by the Centre for Higher Education Information (Centrum voor Hoger Onderwijs ...
“When you don’t have to try hard, it’s easy to slack off”

“When you don’t have to try hard, it’s easy to slack off”

Greed. Handball has taken me to many places around the world: Brazil, Qatar, Denmark, Turkey, Sweden. I want more, but my parents say it’s been great already and I’d do better to concentrate fully on my studies. I want to show everyone that I can accomplish anything I want. A year from now I want to be playing in a top handball country ...

Being open

Being open

On one of my better days I decided to be open. Open about my vulnerability, my fears, my weaknesses, even my feelings. Because openness is important. As the Dutch foundation Samen Sterk Zonder Stigma says on its website, openheid leidt tot begrip: openness leads to understanding. Easier said than done. Standing in front of your tutorial group, r...

Sanctions for Tragos and Circumflex because of hazing

Sanctions for Tragos and Circumflex because of hazing

MAASTRICHT. Student association Tragos is being punished for breaking Maastricht University's Code of Conduct during their latest hazing. One third of their subsidy will be revoked. Tragos denies the allegations. Circumflex supposedly also violated the Code of Conduct. The latter association received a warning, which could also result in revoki...
“Creating a community is like brushing your teeth”

“Creating a community is like brushing your teeth”

MAASTRICHT. Did you know that Albert Heijn, the man behind the well-known supermarket chain, lived in a castle in Great Britain at the end of his life? This is one of the many topics that come up during the weekly Tea with the Deans, from 1 to 1.30 pm on Monday in the common room at University College Maastricht (UCM).
“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.
“If you accomplish something you’re allowed to be proud”

“If you accomplish something you’re allowed to be proud”

Greed. I always want to win, to bring home medals. I cycled a lot in my youth and have a bookcase full of trophies at my parents’ place. I was junior Benelux champion and won silver at the Netherlands Championships for newcomers. I want to get the best out of myself; I’m a perfectionist, both in my studies and when it comes to mountain ...

Searching for Lifelines

Searching for Lifelines

“I think about suicide every day.” So read an anonymous post on Spotted: Maastricht University, a popular Facebook group among the students. Unfortunately, posts like this are not uncommon as many students struggle with emotional and psychological issues while studying in Maastricht; and in my humble opinion, there is an alarming lack o...

OPINION: Mind your words

OPINION: Mind your words

About a month ago a young American, Jennifer Kamorowski, entered this university as PhD researcher at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. She found that, living in the Netherlands, you have to have health insurance. You apply for it, at CZ, and get a letter back. In het Nederlands. Yes, in Dutch. Should immigrants be accommodated?
Staff and students about German elections

Staff and students about German elections

Who are you going to vote for on Sunday? Observant discovered that this is a question that many German students and staff members would prefer not to answer. What you do in the polling booth, is private. But they do definitely have - often a well thought out - opinion about the Chancellor Angela Merkel, SPD leader Martin Schulz, the extreme right A...
“Victims of sexual assault often feel caged”

“Victims of sexual assault often feel caged”

Sexual harassment needs to be taken much more seriously in Maastricht. This is the position of Consent Matters, a group of students who recently sent an alarming email to the city council expressing their concern about young women safety, especially at night. The students hope the city will follow Amsterdam and Rotterdam in making sexual harassment...
FASoS research review: much praise and food for thought

FASoS research review: much praise and food for thought

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was showered with praise late last week by the committee that came to assess its research. Plaudits went not only to the quality of the research (“very good”) and the PhD programme (“very professional”), but also to the “focus on people”. However, the workl...
“I’m never ever satisfied about myself”

“I’m never ever satisfied about myself”

Greed. I’m not greedy at all; I don’t desire material possessions. I’m happy with what I have. Okay, I have to admit: show jumping is an elite equestrian sport. You have to look good and your outfit must be presentable, but I don’t need most luxury stuff. Luckily my parents pay all my expenses for training and competition. W...

ISN withdraws from international student club

ISN withdraws from international student club

MAASTRICHT. Before the summer the International Student Network (ISN) withdrew as the organisation responsible for Kaleido, the international student club in the Timmerfabriek. This means it will not be the club’s main operator. Within Maastricht University there had long been doubts about the enormous task ahead of the ISN, a small organisat...
PAS 2017: lots of visitors, pity about the weather

PAS 2017: lots of visitors, pity about the weather

We have no control over the weather, wrote Jacques Reiners in the programme booklet for PAS (Pleasure, Art and Science) Festival that took place last weekend. And that proved to be true: on Thursday and especially Friday evening, it rained cats and dogs, but things cleared up on Saturday - except for the odd shower. Still, Reiners can only “b...

Finding a solution for the problem of temporary scarcity

Finding a solution for the problem of temporary scarcity

MAASTRICHT. The housing problem of foreign students in Maastricht will be discussed with the city council. Managing director of Student & Staff Housing, Maurice Evers, said so after a meeting with Hungarian student Ilona Kraft, one of the initiators of the silent protest action #MaastrichtHousingCrisis last Wednesday. With this protest, a handf...

“I’m vain, I always wear white socks on my bike”

“I’m vain, I always wear white socks on my bike”

  Greed. I don’t have time to be greedy. I train and I study, that’s it. That said, I do always like to have the best bike, the best wetsuit and the best shoes. I have them now and am very happy with them. I’m an only child and have great parents who always support me, but I don’t think I’m spoilt.   ...

Read The F*** Manual

Read The F*** Manual

It’s the beginning of the academic year, so time for some ‘new year’s resolutions’. Here are a few suggestions to get you started. Students: ‘I will not get angry if my tutors don’t respond to my emails within minutes.’  This could be expanded to resolve not to send emails two hours before a submiss...

Opening of the academic year: lots of praise for UM, by UM

Opening of the academic year: lots of praise for UM, by UM

Could it have been intended as a service to the female professors and rector? A small gesture to help them navigate the cobblestones in their stilettos? Last Monday afternoon, the Minderbroedersberg was draped for the first time in a long green carpet. Well-intentioned, perhaps, but not particularly effective: now there was no way at all to steer a...

One meal a day for every patient

One meal a day for every patient

These are exciting times for Victoria von Salmuth. In early November, after she graduates, the sixth-year medical student from Germany will be heading back to the Shirati KMT hospital in Tanzania. Two years ago she set up the Food Programme there. For her efforts, she was presented during the opening of the academic year last Monday with the Studen...
“Don’t write academic papers for your own glory”

“Don’t write academic papers for your own glory”

MAASTRICHT. “This morning we had six people on stage. All women. It shows that women are actually more action-driven than men,” says Rob Bauer, professor of Finance. He points to himself and his fellow female jury members, joking: “I’m the only man. And as men are probably better speakers than women, I’m doing this tal...
Swim eat sleep repeat

Swim eat sleep repeat

Greed. I’m crazy about training swimsuits, I like buying them in all sorts of bright colours and prints. They tend to wear out quickly because of the chlorine. Fortunately, there are always new collections: a good excuse to go looking for the next one. I usually buy them one size too small, preferably high cut, so there’s a bit of wedgi...

Leçon1- Contenance

Leçon1- Contenance

Germany- a country at the heart of Europe which is infamously famous for its affiliation for bureaucracy and (compulsive) orderliness. This is nothing new to me as the need for order is a strand running through my DNA. In case I neglected this “typical German attribute” when on exchange or holiday, locals made sure to remind me of th...

Celebrations in Venlo too

Celebrations in Venlo too

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht has Inkom. Venlo has VID, Venlo Introduction Day. Last Thursday, the city in the North of the province of Limburg experienced its first central introduction day. Two schools of higher education and the Venlo campus – with one UM bachelor's and two master's programmes – joined forces. However, as far as the...
Top athletes finally have an advantage at the UM

Top athletes finally have an advantage at the UM

Maastricht. Students who do sports at a high level, will from now on receive extra support from Maastricht University. Not only will their study programme be tailored to their needs as much as possible and will they have free access to UM Sport's gym, they will also receive five (instead of the regular three) months of financial support from th...
You have no control over the weather, but you can control your mood

You have no control over the weather, but you can control your mood

We have only just sat down in the Tribunal pub when RTV Maastricht phones. No, he is in the middle of an interview at the moment, but he will be available in a little less than an hour. The local TV station will give a lot of exposure to PAS 2017: Pleasure, Art and Science, in the run-up to 8 and 9 September. The UM festival is organised by Studium...
Far from home

Far from home

MAASTRICHT. New in Maastricht and from abroad? Last Sunday the International Service Desk organised an International Welcome Day for foreign students. After a lunch, a city walk, a lot of tips and a dinner, Maastricht felt a bit more like home.

 “I always think things will be harder than they are”

“I always think things will be harder than they are”

  Greed. I’m not so into things, but when I do the groceries I always come home with more than was on the list. Gluttony. I’m addicted to boxing, am always either doing it myself or watching it. I have to watch every match, even when I’m supposed to be studying. As for food, when I’m in training I eat a...

Bringing students safely to Maastricht

Bringing students safely to Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. As every year, UM students volunteer to pick up new international students that arrive at Schiphol Airport and direct them safely to Maastricht. A total of 150 students will make use of this Pick-up Service in the last weeks of August. At Maastricht Central Station, students from the International Student Network will await the newcomer...

Hangover or not: Legendary Workout

Hangover or not: Legendary Workout

MAASTRICHT. It's Friday, the fifth day of the Inkom. Most freshmen will be exhausted, but UM Sports had the guts to schedule the Legendary Work at 10.30h. And they were right. Over a hunderd fresmen joined the "body and mind mix". No high intensity training, as staffmembers told students at the entrance, but they will d...

Looking at art and collecting ball

Looking at art and collecting ball

A lot of students are sporting unique linen bags at Cultifest, held Wednesday night at the Bonnefantenmuseum. They have painted them themselves at one of the many activities going on in and around the building. Inspiration can be found at the Raymond Pettibon exhibition – A pen of all work – or the regular collection that are open to th...

Burgers and an allergy on the side

Burgers and an allergy on the side

MAASTRICHT. The girl at the first hamburger handout is suffering. Today it is about thirty degrees, which makes it not nice to have to hang your head over a hot grill. And she can’t step backwards because the hamburgers need turning around every other minute or so. But does that spoil the fun, today at the picnic in the Stadspark? Not at all....

Bouncing through the Stadspark

Bouncing through the Stadspark

MAASTRICHT. You could make your way through the Stadspark bouncing, Tuesday afternoon at the Festival. Avoiding spinning beams, playing a game of volleyball or just lazily enjoying the sun: it can all be done on a bouncing castle. What else is going on? Dancing on the tunes of Accent, the house band of student association Circumflex. For the gentle...

“I expected rain”

“I expected rain”

“I didn’t expect Europe to be so hot, I expected rain, especially in the Netherlands”, says Nga Janda (18) from Zimbabwe. She is sitting in the sun before the building of the school of Business and Economics. “I have never been in the Netherlands before. I have visited the UK, France and Ireland. I like the diversity in Maas...

Born in Seychelles

Born in Seychelles

You’re from where? Saint Charles? Is it in France?  But as 18-year old Zoë Barois draws a questioning face the reporter knows she is wrong. “Seychelles”, she repeats. “O, wow, the islands!” Just in case you have no idea where the Seychelles are located: the archipelago of 115 islands lies in the Indian Ocean, off ...

Ready, set, go!

Ready, set, go!

MAASTRICHT. A band that has both Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine as Super Trooper by ABBA on their set list, can rightfully call themselves all-round.  The Daredevils set the mood Monday night at the Markt, just before the official opening of the Inkom 2017. When they leave for a short break, the stage is open for the Working G...

Record number of participants for Inkom 2017

Record number of participants for Inkom 2017

MAASTRICHT. No tropical heat or dull Dutch weather, but a mild sun with a cloud here or there. Today, Monday 21 August, 2900 new students start their Maastricht Inkom - a lot more than last year (2735). It means the introduction week for freshmen is “sold out”, according to Sean Beuk, Inkom chairman. This afternoon the info market Welco...

New city, new haircut

New city, new haircut

She has changed her haircut just before coming to Maastricht. “It has been pretty much every color of the rainbow but this is my original color. I‘m starting to appreciate it”, laughs Lucia Rosero (19) from Ashville, North Carolina (USA). She is standing with her brand new Inkom group under the trees of the garden of the Tongerses...

How to abolish a numerus fixus

How to abolish a numerus fixus

MAASTRICHT. The numerus fixus for the study programme of Economics and Business Economics has never been reached. So, let’s get rid of it, says the SBE Faculty Board. The students think this a bad idea. The restriction works as a mark of quality and that scares off unmotivated students. In the Faculty Council meeting, the students unanim...
58 lectures, thirty music performances and a proper shooting gallery

58 lectures, thirty music performances and a proper shooting gallery

With no fewer than 58 lectures, most of which by Maastricht scientists, there is something for everyone during the PAS (Pleasure, Arts and Science) Festival that will open its doors at the beginning of September. A preview by Observant.
“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...

Biking Dinner

Biking Dinner

MAASTRICHT. She takes the lead, rector Rianne Letschert, on route to the first course of a dinner held by the four student associations. Later on in the evening, she strategically drops to the back. The three members of the Executive Board, in addition to the rector there are also Vice-President Nick Bos and President Martin Paul, mounted their bic...

A straight right and a left punch

A straight right and a left punch

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Box-it.
“If you want students to behave like adults you should treat them like adults”

“If you want students to behave like adults you should treat them like adults”

MAASTRICHT. Is it a good idea to assess student participation in tutorials? Some believe in it, others argue passionately against it, or will see it as a necessary evil, said Mark Vluggen, associate professor at the School of Business and Economics, in his pitch. And that was exactly what happened during the well-attended third UM teach-meet organi...
“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 ...

Campsite guests and competition players

Campsite guests and competition players

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: badminton.
“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...

“I am for Europe so that is what I wrote. You wouldn't believe the number of hate mails I received”

“I am for Europe so that is what I wrote. You wouldn't believe the number of hate mails I received”

Brexit was inevitable; the British had been in “sabotage mode” for years, says Caroline de Gruyter, Europe correspondent for NRC Handelsblad in Vienna. Their constant hacking away at Europe was disruptive and fuelled Euroscepticism in other countries. The tide now seems to be turning. De Gruyter is the keynote speaker next Saturday duri...
More intensive UM supervision during hazing

More intensive UM supervision during hazing

MAASTRICHT. “I haven't received any signals that things happen during hazing here in Maastricht that shouldn't be allowed,” says rector Rianne Letschert. But she admits that things aren't all that clear. Also, the SSC director will carry out unannounced visits.
There is no energy left after an hour

There is no energy left after an hour

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Strength & Conditioning.
“Banning corruption won’t happen”

“Banning corruption won’t happen”

Money laundering, match-fixing, nepotism, bribery. Corruption is business as usual at football clubs as well as at the highest governing bodies, such as FIFA. Last week, four law students organized a symposium on corruption and football. “Sports is a world of its own.”
“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 ...

“An open discussion about sexuality is taboo”

“An open discussion about sexuality is taboo”

Her life is at risk in Nigeria, because Judith (whose surname will be withheld for privacy reasons) is quite open about her sexual orientation in her home country. She is a lesbian, living and working as a human rights activist and who is now in Maastricht for three months. The Faculty of Law will take care of her as part of the Shelter City Progra...

“Free your body”

“Free your body”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: capoeira. 
Getting inspired by Frida Kahlo, Dorothee Parker and microscopic slides

Getting inspired by Frida Kahlo, Dorothee Parker and microscopic slides

Name: Catalina Dutta, first year Research Master in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience (track Fundamental Neuroscience) Room size: 18 m2 (terrace: 10 m2) Monthly rent: 580 euros
May nature be on your side

May nature be on your side

I have been sick for a few days now and it just reminded me of all the things I simply hate about the Dutch healthcare system. It is expensive, slow, and not helpful, yet surrounded by white coats who will defend it until the last man standing. Actually, I think that doctors here spent the main part of their training learning how to defend their lo...

Start check-up of 40 student houses

Start check-up of 40 student houses

MAASTRICHT. The attaching of the small shield stating ‘Keurmerk Prettig Wonen’ (Enjoyable Living Quality Mark) to the façade of the student building on the Maastrichter Heidenstraat 7, last Friday, marked the starting signal for the check-up of forty student houses. It is a trial project and a unique event in the Netherlands.
"This is a unique drama"

"This is a unique drama"

Carré, a former cigar factory, was transformed into a student complex last summer. Studios with your own shower, partly furnished, supermarket on the ground floor, the city centre within walking distance, and 24-hour service: that was the marketing pitch. It sounded great, and pricey with a monthly rent of more than 700 euro. But since the first st...
MERLN launches stem cell bank

MERLN launches stem cell bank

MAASTRICHT. When you see the photograph on the side, you don't immediately think: oh right, that is a piece of human brain. That is because the photograph was taken with the aid of a microscope. Moreover, the cells have been dyed blue to make them easier to see for studying purposes. The ‘piece of brain’ – removed post mo...

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...

Me too kool

Me too kool

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: dancehall walk-in.
“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...

New student party at SBE

New student party at SBE

MAASTRICHT. Totalling 44, more lists than ever before have been submitted for the university elections, to be held from 15 to 18 May. This means that employees and students have a wide choice. A new student party has actually been set up at the School of Business and Economics: WE R SBE. The party advocates better preparation for the labour market,...

Teaching a computer about harmony

Teaching a computer about harmony

MAASTRICHT. What do Grammy winner Jacob Collier, food trucks, and Maastricht University researchers have in common? They are all part of Cross Currents, a new festival held in the Sphinxkwartier on Saturday 13 May, and organised by Jazz Maastricht. Four art and science collaborations will be presented at the festival, which combines music performan...
A bicycle that goes nowhere

A bicycle that goes nowhere

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer.
OPINION: The window is open but the curtains are closed

OPINION: The window is open but the curtains are closed

The University Council is transparent in theory, but a lot could be done on the practical points, says UCM student Sophie Silverstein in this opinion article.
‘Anti-Zionist event’ in UM building cancelled

‘Anti-Zionist event’ in UM building cancelled

MAASTRICHT. A meeting planned by Students for Justice in Palestine on 4 May in the Faculty of Law building, has been cancelled. The dean of the faculty, professor Hildegard Schneider, called it off on Tuesday. “One shouldn't organise political meetings in any of our buildings on 4 May.” Rector Rianne Letschert stated that she suppor...
“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...

Global Challenges: Nuclear Warfare and Extension Cords

Global Challenges: Nuclear Warfare and Extension Cords

MAASTRICHT. It is Friday morning 28 April in Maastricht, and the infamous MECC is buzzing with life. 512 student delegates, sitting in 13 regional, UN, and European simulation bodies are in session at the convention centre for EuroMUN, the annual Model United Nations. This year’s theme: Global Challenges – Pursuing Integration. This yea...
Along hissing swans and cursing loitering teens

Along hissing swans and cursing loitering teens

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: start running.
“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...

Opinion: “The French and their penchant for scandal”

Opinion: “The French and their penchant for scandal”

She has a lot of electoral homework to do these days. On the back of the Dutch parliamentary elections, freelance journalist Lisa Dupuy, a graduate of University College Maastricht, is now looking south – to France. Thanks to her dual French nationality, she is eligible to vote in the upcoming elections on 23 April. Who are the candidate...
Celebrating women at Ladyfest

Celebrating women at Ladyfest

MAASTRICHT. Ladyfest is a festival to celebrate, empower and inspire women. This worldwide concept will come to Maastricht for the first time at the Mandril Cultural Centre on 6 and 7 May. It’s a do-it-yourself festival, meaning that instead of the organisers inviting and paying artists to come, Ladyfest is non-commercial and built from wi...

Trembling on the way to boot camp

Trembling on the way to boot camp

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: outdoor boot camp.
Maastricht 6th-best young university worldwide

Maastricht 6th-best young university worldwide

MAASTRICHT/BRISBANE. Maastricht University (UM) has dropped two places - from fourth to sixth - in the Young University Rankings for best young universities in the world. This has put the UM back in the same place as in 2015. The rankings were published yesterday during the Young Universities Summit in Brisbane, Australia. The Maastricht Executive ...

Maastricht scientist has started a petition to support CEU

Maastricht scientist has started a petition to support CEU

HUNGARY/MAASTRICHT. On Tuesday 4 April, the Hungarian parliament adopted a bill that jeopardises the future of the well-known Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. Maastricht scientist Lutz Krebs has started a petition.
How research became part of a bachelor’s programme

How research became part of a bachelor’s programme

MAASTRICHT. How do you give students the chance to do research during their bachelor’s degree? This was the question Maastricht University asked in 2008. The answer: the Maastricht Research-Based Learning programme for Excellence (MaRBLe). If there were initial doubts – should it really be only for excellent students? Will researchers b...
“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]...

Relaxing, this tap-tap of the ball

Relaxing, this tap-tap of the ball

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: table tennis.
Shelter City programme to be continued

Shelter City programme to be continued

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht intends to continue the Shelter City programme. This was decided by the city council after a trial period of two years. This initiative by Justice and Peace Netherlands enables foreign human rights defenders to recover for a period of three months, to work and study in a Dutch city. At the moment, eight cities are participati...

Ringing the doorbell in case of noise

Ringing the doorbell in case of noise

MAASTRICHT. During the next six months, the city of Maastricht will send enforcers out at night every week, to deal with noise disturbance. Student buildings will be their targets.
It all started with a box of bananas

It all started with a box of bananas

MAASTRICHT. One day FASoS student Klara Strecker saw a catering employee throw bananas away at closing time in the university library. “She had to, because of regulations, but they were perfectly all right.” Someone has to do something about this, she thought. Last Friday Food Sharing Maastricht won the Student Idea Competitio...
Slow information for busy FASoS students

Slow information for busy FASoS students

MAASTRICHT. As of two weeks ago, FASoS students can find not only freshly brewed coffee and carrot cake at Banditos, but also a new shelf on the left dedicated to newspapers. The faculty agreed to pay a total of €1,049 per year for student subscriptions to The New York Times, Die Zeit, The Economist and Le Monde Diplomatique.
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...

Much more than hitting a small ball really hard

Much more than hitting a small ball really hard

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: squash.
‘Digital Transformations’ to be the third FASoS bachelor's

‘Digital Transformations’ to be the third FASoS bachelor's

MAASTRICHT. Digital Transformations will be the third bachelor's programme at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, opening its door - if everything goes according to plan - in 2019. This is a “working title”, emphasises dean Sophie Vanhoonacker, for an interdisciplinary programme aimed at providing insight into a variety of...
“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...

“It’s difficult not to envy others”

“It’s difficult not to envy others”

To most students, life feels awash with possibility. The vast array of opportunities and choices leaves many overwhelmed. Confronted with everything on offer, they struggle to choose and commit. But that doesn’t go for all students. “I don’t want to say you’re spoiled, but you are highly privileged.”
"I had to keep repeating: this is really reality"

"I had to keep repeating: this is really reality"

On Friday night, March 17th, all chairs are filled in the InnBetween, in anticipation of hearing Samar Yazbek talk about her two books, Woman in the Crossfire and the Crossing. Yazbek is originally a novelist but her desire to cover the Syrian conflict has lead her two books to hover half-way between journalism and fiction. They cover her experienc...
 Steps with their own pace

Steps with their own pace

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: modern dance.
Rutte seeks ‘stable’ coalition of four parties for next cabinet

Rutte seeks ‘stable’ coalition of four parties for next cabinet

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime minister Mark Rutte is looking to put together a ‘stable’ coalition of four parties following last week’s election.
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...

“If you hear someone call out, never turn your head around”

“If you hear someone call out, never turn your head around”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Fencing.
About birds, dogs, cactuses and cows

About birds, dogs, cactuses and cows

Name: Marion Meyers, first year Knowledge Engineering Room size: around 16 m² Area: city center Monthly rent: 490 euros
“If you’re not going to vote, you have no right to say anything”

“If you’re not going to vote, you have no right to say anything”

Almost all of the 56 Maastricht students who participated in a survey conducted by Observant were planning on voting in the election on 15 March. A large number had consulted the Stemwijzer and other tools, but haven’t yet decided who to vote for. For many it’s a toss-up between D66 and the VVD. GroenLinks was mentioned frequently as we...
A licence to kill ... and to hug

A licence to kill ... and to hug

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics now has communities of sixty students, pools in which tutors collaborate and a new set of research themes. The “strategic renewal” will reach into every corner of the faculty – and it is already in full swing.
“Please, don't compare Majid Abdullah with Cruijff”

“Please, don't compare Majid Abdullah with Cruijff”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: indoor football.
“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...

Journalist: “Sir, those are not the facts.” Minister: “That’s how I feel it”

Journalist: “Sir, those are not the facts.” Minister: “That’s how I feel it”

“A liar cares, in spite of everything, about the truth. A bullshitter cares only about the effect of his words. And that’s what was going on when Donald Trump mentioned Sweden last Friday. He suggested that something terrible had happened there. Trump doesn’t care about the truth – he’s only interested in the effect.&r...
Busiest spring Bachelor's Open Day ever

Busiest spring Bachelor's Open Day ever

MAASTRICHT. With almost 2,300 prospective students, the Maastricht University’s spring Bachelor's Open Day last Saturday had more visitors than ever before. Especially the Dutch study programmes of Medicine and Health Sciences were popular (both more than four hundred visitors). During the Open Day last autumn, on the other hand, there wa...

Student House of the Year

Student House of the Year

Orleansplein 22B has been voted Student House of the Year, a joint initiative by Maastricht Housing and Observant. “It’s the winning house because of its good atmosphere, as if it is one big family. That is apparent from the road trip to Portugal that they have planned. They also want to put some of the prize money into decorating ...
“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...

The coins jingle happily along with the hips

The coins jingle happily along with the hips

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Belly dance.
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....

New Tefaf professor: Jan Hoeijmakers

New Tefaf professor: Jan Hoeijmakers

MAASTRICHT. The Rotterdam geneticist Jan Hoeijmakers, in broader circles known as the “ageing professor”, will hold the Tefaf chair for 2017. This annually alternating chair for cancer research, sponsored by art fair Tefaf, comes under research institute GROW.
"What on earth is a Brexit?"

"What on earth is a Brexit?"

In 2015, all hell broke loose when professor Jaap Bos changed the first-year subject Finance. Bos even decided it was better to stay away from the faculty for a few weeks to avoid aggressive students. Emotions don't always run so high, but complaining seems to be in the SBE students’ blood. In the latest edition of the Finance test, it ha...
“Ten complaints are not more important to the faculty than one”

“Ten complaints are not more important to the faculty than one”

The one grumbles among friends (or on Facebook), the other complains to the lecturer – answer key in hand. Sometimes just to get a better grade for themselves, sometimes to improve the education programme. Whatever the reason, complaining is normal for most students. Observant asked 25 students about their experience. The following are a few ...
Heartbreak, anger and existential thoughts

Heartbreak, anger and existential thoughts

MAASTRICHT. You know it’s Stukafest (the student room festival held last Thursday, 9 February) when you’re in a quiet residential street and suddenly a group of Germans on bikes comes to a screeching halt in front of a student building. “What are you going to see?” “Who knows, we just signed up for something, so I gues...

“A piece of cake until those tummy muscles start to protest”

“A piece of cake until those tummy muscles start to protest”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Omnia.
YO!Fest: Who is going to make ideas concrete?

YO!Fest: Who is going to make ideas concrete?

MAASTRICHT. “Let´s youth up Europe!” It is the slogan of this year’s YO!Fest,  the annual political festival which celebrated 25 years of the Maastricht Treaty this year. The eighth edition of the event, held at the Sphinxkwartier, is a festival combining forces of the City of Maastricht, the Province of Limburg and the...
Beatrix: “Careful” Gauck: “Ja, ja”

Beatrix: “Careful” Gauck: “Ja, ja”

After the ceremony, during the reception in the lobby of the Vrijthof theatre, Professor Nanne de Vries is still panting. Why was he in such a hurry to present the Dissertation Award, the final item on the agenda of the Dies celebration? “I had to do it fast!” he bursts out. “We were already running late and the government people ...

Standing ovation for President Gauck

Standing ovation for President Gauck

MAASTRICHT. A passionate defence to help the ‘European project’ onwards, to not allow Europe to disintegrate, without turning a blind eye to what has gone wrong in the past twenty-five years. German president Joachim Gauck received a standing ovation for his speech last Tuesday during Maastricht University’s foundation day celebra...
On gravitation waves and 500 years of renting history

On gravitation waves and 500 years of renting history

MAASTRICHT. A total of 26 students, from various study programmes, received a prize for their theses last Tuesday. The (17) bachelor’s students did so in the morning in the auditorium on the Minderbroedersberg, the master’s students in the afternoon during the foundation day celebrations in the Vrijthof Theatre. Observant spoke to two o...
“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...

“The most difficult thing is letting go of your own inhibitions”

“The most difficult thing is letting go of your own inhibitions”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Zumba.
Maybe it’s not just me

Maybe it’s not just me

“Stress seems to be a big thing at UCM that people talk about. It occurred to me after a while that maybe it’s not just me who has a hard time getting things done and we should do something about this,” says Amelie Gaetjen, a second year sociology student at UCM. She’s on the academic council and is one of the students behin...

“Germans of my generation saw how hatred was turned into state policy”

“Germans of my generation saw how hatred was turned into state policy”

There are worse nicknames than the ‘German Nelson Mandela’ or ‘Grandpa Obama’. The man set to receive an honorary doctorate from Maastricht University on Tuesday 7 February, German president Joachim Gauck, is so popular than many will be sad to see his term come to an end. But not everyone.
“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....

“I see people hanging on the wall like clowns”

“I see people hanging on the wall like clowns”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Boulder introduction lesson.
Wanted: non-sports lovers

Wanted: non-sports lovers

MAASTRICHT. How do you get students (and staff) up from their armchairs? How do you get them to do sports? This is going to be investigated by sixteen European universities from seven countries, including the UM, TU Eindhoven, RWTH Aachen (coordinator), and Imperial College London. The kick-off for this so-called Active Campus Europe Project in the...
UM site was unprotected for two years

UM site was unprotected for two years

MAASTRICHT.The UM website Book a room, where students can reserve a room (for group work) using their login credentials, was unprotected for almost two years. A master's student at the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences made this discovery. A mistake, according to ICTS, who took immediate action. Chances of damage are so small...
Hire me … please?

Hire me … please?

MSV Incognito’s Business Day, ELSA workshops, SBE’s Maastricht Business Days – the list goes on. Study associations at UM are gearing up in response to a volatile job market with visions of enhancing student employability. But are they actually filling niches left open by the university, wonders Amira Eid. And are their – se...
“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...

Only politics can save us

Only politics can save us

In the week of the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Professor Dirk de Schutter delves into Hannah Arendt’s take on the implications for our collective humanity that the Holocaust has left behind. Questions of truth and judgment, evil and responsibility are laid out in relation both to the past and to the present.
“Squatting is like sitting on a dirty toilet without touching the seat”

“Squatting is like sitting on a dirty toilet without touching the seat”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today it’s ClubPower.
An Ode to White, Blue and Cookies

An Ode to White, Blue and Cookies

“Sorry, I haven’t vacuumed in a week. My mom would probably freak out!” Liza Hazenberg, the present ‘day in the life of’ student room candidate apologetically opens the door to her 18m2 territory. Her mom, she jokingly declares, “can be a real piece of work“ and worries a lot. It is rather unclear why, thou...

Dutchies and their diaries

Dutchies and their diaries

Yesterday, I asked a Dutch friend of mine: “Shall we go to the cinema tomorrow?” “Yes”, he replied enthusiastically. I saw the excitement beaming from his eyes – it was a movie he was keen on watching. But all that zest went down the drain when he said: “Oh wait, I have to check my diary.” I realized we wil...

Myth: Sex is a natural urge

Myth: Sex is a natural urge

“Many people think that sex has to be spontaneous, that it is artificial if you agree on a time in your schedule. Nonsense,” says Marieke Dewitte, psychologist and sexologist at Maastricht University. In her own practice, she sees couples who have been having problems for years and who have doubts about their relationship and sex life. ...

Uncensored stories from and about China

Uncensored stories from and about China

Visitors of the story festival China, Secret Stories, organised by Story-Line Maastricht in the Bonnefanten museum on Sunday 22 January, will receive a red envelope. The Chinese give these to family and friends at New Year and they usually contain money and some good advice. The visitors to the festival won't find that inside the envelope, but ...

“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: “...

Confusing love

Confusing love

MAASTRICHT. One play, four separate scenes, the connecting theme being love and how people deal with it. That is Confusions, written by Alan Ayckbourn, played on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January by the Maastricht PhD Academy, directed by John Ramaekers. De PhD Academy organises various activities for PhD students at Maastricht University, from ...

The musty smell of sprouts

The musty smell of sprouts

Where is the student perspective in the anniversary book The Maastricht Experiment? That’s what Evelyne de Leeuw who studied and worked in Maastricht between 1981 and 2000, wants to know. It looks like students have been a hindrance rather than a necessity.
“You cannot look at the world freely with a bent, stressed posture”

“You cannot look at the world freely with a bent, stressed posture”

UM Sports opened the doors of the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions, and will do so until the summer. Today: Yoga walk-in class.
Noise is the greatest irritation

Noise is the greatest irritation

MAASTRICHT. More than half of the one hundred students questioned find the noise made by others in the Maastricht University Library, troublesome. Unnecessarily keeping seats in the workspaces reserved, is the greatest annoyance for approximately a quarter. What would they like to see happen? Silence and concentration. The library is valued as a me...
‘Use less. Recycle the rest’

‘Use less. Recycle the rest’

At the end of March, thousands of waste bins will disappear from UM offices, corridors and classrooms. They will be replaced by 875 centrally located bins, spread across 33 university buildings. The objective is to stimulate waste recycling, in order to become a more sustainable university. The motto is: ‘Use less. Recycle the rest.’ ...

“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...

“It’s comforting that the instructor has a spare tire too”

“It’s comforting that the instructor has a spare tire too”

UM Sports opened the doors to the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions. Today it is the Employee Workout Mix.
“The EU is like Noah’s ark. You can jump out, but you’ll drown”

“The EU is like Noah’s ark. You can jump out, but you’ll drown”

Twenty five years later, a number of the key players are back. On 9 and 10 December 1991, the Maastricht MECC hosted the European summit that led to the signing of Maastricht Treaty and, ten years after that, the introduction of the euro. The commemorative celebrations took place last Friday, with mixed feelings – but mostly the urge to fight...
“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...

“If you want to change politics, hell, don’t wait for an invitation, get organised”

“If you want to change politics, hell, don’t wait for an invitation, get organised”

“A European patriot loves his country and the values our societies are based on; a nationalist is someone who hates other countries. Let’s become European patriots.” In a packed Bonbonnière on the eve of the anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, a passionate Frans Timmermans, first vice president of the European Commission, debate...
The dog days are over?

The dog days are over?

In Serbia, it is generally believed that animals in western countries have more rights than the average Serbian. The well-dressed and happy looking pets I’ve seen in the Netherlands, and the fact that the Dutch even have an animal rights party in the parliament make me think that the Serbian wisdom is true. Statistics show that about 40% o...

Spanish Europe

Spanish Europe

“You guys in Europe are different. You have a different way of seeing the world. I like Europe - everything is very well organized and there are a lot of opportunities.” My Blablacar-driver, just back from visiting his girlfriend in Southern England, surprises me. Not because he talks about the level of organization in other countries -...

Making the world a little cleaner in Chemelot

Making the world a little cleaner in Chemelot

In a few years’ time you might find yourself sleeping under a blanket of sustainable plastic; plastic so refined and ‘natural’ it can be used to make textiles. Or perhaps your smartphone cover will be plastic made from sugar beets. At the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM), research is underway on the devel...
“In four years’ time, I want to be a Doctor and a doctor”

“In four years’ time, I want to be a Doctor and a doctor”

Nousjka Vranken (25), first-year physician and clinical researcher, can’t really say there was a special moment when she thought: ‘I want to be a researcher,’ but by now everything is pointing in that direction. For four years, she has worked part-time as a research assistant at MUMC+’s department of Heart Surgery, two years...
Fewer Dutch students choose a UM programme

Fewer Dutch students choose a UM programme

MAASTRICHT. For the first time in the history of Maastricht University, fewer than half of the students are from the Netherlands (48.2 per cent). The number of Dutch students coming here for the first time to study, is even lower than that: 35.5 per cent. In particular Dutch bachelor students are less inclined to choose the South Limburg university...
“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...

We went to the beach

We went to the beach

We did our homework in the sun. We despaired over the rain: “Can I go out in my flip-flops today?” We despaired over the workload. We rejoiced when we got good grades.  We slunk off and got a Gingerbread Latte in the café across from the bookstore for comfort if our grades were not so good.  We wanted to join all the clubs ...

“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...

Robots to replace lecturers?

Robots to replace lecturers?

MAASTRICHT. You enter the classroom and there is no lecturer in sight. Instead, a robot whizzes around and teaches at the whiteboard. The lectures turn into mass events with thousands of students listening in via a video link-up or some other technological device. Maastricht’s famous PBL sessions diminish slowly and online courses become part...
OPINION: What has the EU ever done for you?

OPINION: What has the EU ever done for you?

Twenty five years have passed since the signing of the Maastricht Treaty. What lies ahead for the European Union? Should it break up or become a federal superstate? Neither, says second-year European Studies student Kerstin Spath. It should stay just the way it is.
I found my professor on Professor Watchlist

I found my professor on Professor Watchlist

A couple years ago, David Horowitz wrote a book called The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. One of my professors at UC Santa Cruz is listed in it because of her attempt to introduce a feminist practice, which attempts to center women instead of men, into her teaching (she teaches in the Feminist Studies department). “At the time&rdquo...

Prof. X and his colleague

Prof. X and his colleague

“Sorry, what’s your name again?” “Saeed.” “No, I know your first name, I just need your last name.” While I was trying to gather my thoughts to figure out the importance of my last name, the professor managed to read it on my student card. “Oh, I see, Dr Banaama. Is that how you pronounce ...

“Islam did not kill my son, Daesh did”

“Islam did not kill my son, Daesh did”

MAASTRICHT. The SBE lecture hall is full on the evening of Wednesday 23 November. Security is tight, and the mood is sombre. Three speakers have been invited for a discussion that is “perhaps even more important to have now – now that the issue is out of the headlines again”, in the words of one of the organisers, Luca Bucken. The...
UCM undisputed winner

UCM undisputed winner

MAASTRICHT. Not a shared second place but undisputedly at the top. Like last year, University College Maastricht has the very best broad bachelor’s programme in the Netherlands. This is the outcome of the adapted Keuzegids 2017 ranking which was published yesterday. UCM received a final grade of 9.8 instead of 8.8, as was announced last week....

“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...

A landing spot for students

A landing spot for students

MAASTRICHT. The Eiffel building on the Boschstraat is undergoing a metamorphosis. A large section of the striking old factory buildings will be occupied as of September by The Student Hotel. During yesterday’s kick-off, it was described as a “landing spot” where students will be able to stay for up to twelve months. The Student Ho...

“Without truth, there is no justice”

“Without truth, there is no justice”

Police brutality, gender violence and land grabbing are just some of the human rights violations that Kenyan activist Naythan photographs and documents on a daily basis in the Rift Valley area, the place he calls home. Two months ago he set foot in Europe for the very first time when he arrived in Maastricht, where he is being hosted by the Univers...
What is a loofole?

What is a loofole?

The other day I had asked a friend of mine to proofread one of my essays. She’s from Spain, so English is not her native language but she has an excellent grasp of it nonetheless. At one point she looks up with a bewildered look on her face: “Sophie, what is a loofole?” I ask her to repeat it, believing I couldn’t possibl...

Open Day: English study programmes popular

Open Day: English study programmes popular

MAASTRICHT. More than three thousand school-leavers visited the Bachelor’s Open Day last Saturday, which, just like the one in 2015, was the busiest ever.
Praise for the Sports Centre, criticism for the university restaurants and feedback

Praise for the Sports Centre, criticism for the university restaurants and feedback

MAASTRICHT. The new UM Sports Centre, officially opened in April, is very popular among Maastricht students. No less than 92 per cent is pleased with the sports facilities, shows the latest UM Student Monitor, which was distributed in April and May. Students are more critical about the price-quality ratio of the university restaurants, just as they...
Living in a doghouse

Living in a doghouse

MAASTRICHT. Last Thursday four Italian UM students who had raised funds for the refugees headed for the ‘Jungle’ in Calais and the smaller camp at Dunkirk. Calais has been completely wiped out, says third-year law student Angelica Giombini. “It’s as if a tsunami has washed everything away. In the mud you still find left-behi...

“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...

“Sometimes you’re not smart enough on your own”

“Sometimes you’re not smart enough on your own”

MAASTRICHT. Oats, nanomedicines, and young entrepreneurs – the kick-off event of the annual Maastricht edition of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) leaves participants with a range of new insights into scientific entrepreneurship.
 (Half) a nation grieves

(Half) a nation grieves

Is there anything else I could have written about this week? Walking to class on Wednesday morning, the regular crowd of flip-flop-wearing students carrying binders and water bottles is dotted with black. Many people on campus are treating this day as a day of mourning. The dining hall, usually abuzz and a-clatter with hungry voices and tinkling si...

Dehumanization can take many forms

Dehumanization can take many forms

The Collector - John Fowles Recommended for: Art, Literature, and Society students (FaSoS) ‘We are such stuff/  As dreams are made on; and our little life/ Is rounded with a sleep.’ – Prospero in The Tempest (Act 4 Scene 1) Frederick, a lonely, uneducated butterfly collector leading an unremarkable existence in the E...

Staff and student about Trump’s victory

Staff and student about Trump’s victory

MAASTRICHT. Donald Trump has won the US election. Did he pull of a shock at Maastricht University?  
“I’ll have him by the scruff of his neck”

“I’ll have him by the scruff of his neck”

The presence of Maastricht University can be felt not just in the inner city and Randwyck. A whole range of activities are underway in different places around the province, such as on the Chemelot campus near Geleen. But what exactly? Observant paid a visit to Center Court, which came into operation in August.
The players responsible for Trump’s rise to power: the media, the Republican Party and the people

The players responsible for Trump’s rise to power: the media, the Republican Party and the people

Many UCM students will wake up with a hangover Wednesday morning, and not just because the US Election Night at UCM turned out to be quite a party. Nobody, including speakers sociologist Kai Heidemann and political scientist Roberta Haar, expected a Trump victory. It was Dutch first-year Hanne Creijghton’s greatest fear. “He is someone ...

“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...

They just clapped

They just clapped

“Audiences here cheer and whoop and get really excited but when I toured Europe with the San Francisco Youth Orchestra our audiences weren’t as loud. They just clapped, but they would keep clapping for a really long time. In the United States people will get excited about classical music as a novelty but I feel like in Europe it’s...

The Trump Effect on U.S. Foreign Policy

The Trump Effect on U.S. Foreign Policy

No matter who wins, the 2016 American presidential election will be defined by its rejection of establishment candidates and the electorate’s embrace of insurgents, who openly waged war on their own parties, argues dr. Roberta Haar, an American national teaching at UCM, whose area of research includes investigating U.S. foreign policy.
 “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...

A “sketchy” drawing session

A “sketchy” drawing session

MAASTRICHT. In a well-hidden corner of the Bonnefanten museum, a group of about thirty people gathers. As they collect their paper and charcoal, pencil or pen, the near-nude models take their places at the front. Hungarian artist Sándor Sinkó will lead tonight’s sketching workshop, organised by the Young Office (YO), a group of volunteers tha...

UM students still going to Calais

UM students still going to Calais

MAASTRICHT. They had raised €4300 and collected sixty boxes of clothes, blankets, pillows, shoes and sleeping bags to transport to the refugee camp in Calais. Then the French authorities dismantled the ‘Jungle’. Right in exam week, too, says law student Angelica Giombini, one of the four Italian students who organised the initiativ...

Are you proud to be an American?

Are you proud to be an American?

When I was about eight years old, I was convinced that I would be the first female president of the United States. In fact, whenever my grandmother called from California (on rare and exciting occasions in the days before Skype) I would invariable answer with: ‘The president speaking.’ When my ballot for the United States presidentia...

Tans Lecture: “The misunderstandings and false claims drew me to the topic”

Tans Lecture: “The misunderstandings and false claims drew me to the topic”

‘Healing thoughts’, the idea that the mind influences the body – is it all just pseudoscience? Miracles we shouldn’t believe in? In her book Cure, British science journalist Jo Marchant provides a critical exploration of this new area. She interviewed scientists who are investigating or have found evidence that our thou...