Back to list All Articles Archives Search RSS Terug naar lijst Alle artikelen Archieven Zoek RSS

news_top

Rector Rianne Letschert investigates Dutch support for Syrian terrorists

Rector Rianne Letschert investigates Dutch support for Syrian terrorists

MAASTRICHT/The NETHERLANDS. Did the Dutch government supply goods to terrorist groups in Syria between 2015 and 2018? And how did the decision to support the Syrian opposition come about? A committee, set up by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is going to look into these questions from April this year until October 2022. Rector Rianne Letschert is ...
'Eight hours by train at your destination? Then you go by rail'

'Eight hours by train at your destination? Then you go by rail'

MAASTRICHT. More train, less plane. See here the shortest possible summary of the proposal for the new flight policy of Maastricht University. Last Tuesday, the UM sustainability team presented the first ideas during an online information session. Not everyone present is convinced: "How should the research units pay for this?"
Students collect money for lonely elderly

Students collect money for lonely elderly

MAASTRICHT. They skipped last year because of COVID-19, but in 2021 Ragweek’s charities week is back. Between 16 and 23 April, students work together with student associations and sports associations to collect money for the “Met je hart” (With your Heart) foundation, which supports lonely elderly people in Maastricht.
“Students again have to deal with the crap”

“Students again have to deal with the crap”

MAASTRICHT. Are the 252 prefab homes in Randwyck independent living units for which the inhabitant can apply for rent benefits? Or should they be ‘regular’ student rooms according to the permit issued? This has caused a conflict between Studentenhuisvesting Maastricht and the city of Maastricht. The University Council is ...
Ramadan in a box: video cooking with refugees

Ramadan in a box: video cooking with refugees

Ramadan has started. Normally speaking, Muslims would come together every evening for four weeks to break fast with an elaborate meal – the iftar. As this is not possible at the moment, the Refugee Project Maastricht and Islamic student association Nour have thought of something that will still make it special: Ramadan in a box.
UM Mask Stalk through Madrid

UM Mask Stalk through Madrid

This is the story of how UM's masks turned me into a (very short-time) stalker. The first time I saw her, she was sitting a few rows away from me on the train that I always take when I go home from university. Instead of reading my Spanish book on Civil Rights, I got addicted to a podcast and spent the 15-minute train ride listening to Anush...

“We must not stigmatise Chinese students and PhD candidates”

“We must not stigmatise Chinese students and PhD candidates”

MAASTRICHT. Even though there is more and more criticism from – among others – the academic world regarding collaboration with China, Maastricht University strengthens its bonds and welcomes about seventy Chinese doctoral students with grants, 50 per cent more than last year. “You must not stigmatise them; you must work with them ...
The decision will be made well before the summer: fully open or education at 1.5 metre distance in September

The decision will be made well before the summer: fully open or education at 1.5 metre distance in September

MAASTRICHT. Will the university be able to open its doors like normal in September? Or will the 1.5-meter distance still be a leading factor? The University Council’s education and research committee heard this week that the UM is preparing itself for both scenarios.
Too ill to pursue her master’s degree

Too ill to pursue her master’s degree

Prize winner Imke van der Velden (21, suspended her master’s degree in Health Food Innovation Management at UM) studied the behaviour of fourteen- to seventeen-year-olds. Can they be persuaded to eat a healthier, more plant-based diet through Instagram?
COVID-19-proof studying in SBE classrooms

COVID-19-proof studying in SBE classrooms

MAASTRICHT. A couple of large tables, four chairs, cleaning cloths and a bin in each room. For a week now, there have also been study spaces available at the School of Business and Economics. With this, it is the first faculty where this is possible.
“Internationalisation should be about talent but is becoming politicised”

“Internationalisation should be about talent but is becoming politicised”

THE NETHERLANDS. Politics is threatening to deal a blow to the internationalisation of higher education and research. Don’t let this happen, warns Freddy Weima, outgoing director of the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education Nuffic.
Liveblog: UM and the corona crisis

Liveblog: UM and the corona crisis

WED 14 APRIL - Unsure whether education on campus can start on April 26 It is not yet certain that the university will be able to partially open its doors on April 26, as previously announced by the government. Everything depends on the number of corona infections (these are still increasing at the moment), the condition in the hospitals...

A Toddler’s Wisdom on Happiness

A Toddler’s Wisdom on Happiness

My toddler recently learned the word cracker. Whenever he feels hungry (or even when he doesn’t), he proudly demands for one. The genuine enthusiasm that he displays upon receiving a relatively bland cracker (which I’ve tried just to be sure) is something that baffles me. Firmly gripping the cracker, he celebrates as if he’s just ...

“People are fed up with online meetings”

“People are fed up with online meetings”

Student organisations bring students together, but how can you do that during a pandemic? How can you create a spirit of community when meeting in real life is not an option? Various student organisations in Maastricht reported similar problems dealing with online events; people are done with online meetings, don’t always show up when they sa...
"There is too little money for too many students"

"There is too little money for too many students"

MAASTRICHT. The statue of Fons Olterdissen on the Grote Looiersstraat and a group of professors and lecturers are wearing a red beret this Tuesday morning. Five in total, because they were not allowed to call to demonstrate because of corona. Action group WO in Actie calls for attention to the plight of higher education. The problem in short: &ldqu...
“Everyone said: you won’t manage; you will have turned back before you get to Eindhoven”

“Everyone said: you won’t manage; you will have turned back before you get to Eindhoven”

Lockdown or not, American student Jacob Herbert flew to the Netherlands for a semester at Maastricht University halfway through January. Just like six fellow countrymen, who also ventured to cross the ocean, he is now participating in the tutorial group meetings online, from his room in the Guesthouse. “I thought, I will just go and see. I ha...
UM Walks: 1,700 times stretching the legs

UM Walks: 1,700 times stretching the legs

Seventeen hundred meetups have already taken place since UM Walks was launched at the end of February. The idea is simple: you register and every Monday you are matched with either a student or an employee from Maastricht University who is also a participant. Together, you agree on a time that week to either walk or chat together.
How well can a device monitor patients?

How well can a device monitor patients?

Patients recovering from surgery or who have been admitted to a general hospital ward via the Accident & Emergency department may deteriorate suddenly. To monitor these patients, nurses make rounds to check their heart rate, breathing rate and blood oxygen levels. Prize winner Tom Den Ridder (25, currently working as an Intensive Care Unit doct...
SBE: more policy-oriented research, more diversity

SBE: more policy-oriented research, more diversity

MAASTRICHT. October 2019, Maastricht University Campus Brussels. The Board of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) is on an awayday to discuss what they want the next five years to look like, before the topic will be discussed faculty-wide. There will need to be more diversity among students and staff. The educational model will remain the sa...
“Working from home is not a right, nor is it compulsory”

“Working from home is not a right, nor is it compulsory”

MAASTRICHT. Are we going to return to our familiar work spaces at the university? Or will we continue to mainly work from home after COVID-19? It will most likely be a combination of both, the Taskforce The Future of Working at UM expects. Before we get that far, a lot has to be sorted.
Opinion article: A call for proposals, now also in education!

Opinion article: A call for proposals, now also in education!

It makes me rather cynical…finding an email from FHML with a call for proposals along six themes in order to fulfill the Quality Agreement that promised students and teaching staff more resources for high quality education, after taking away the Studiefinanciering from the students, says Carijn Beumer.
“We already have a fine now anyway”

“We already have a fine now anyway”

MAASTRICHT. “We are sitting apart!”, a guy shouts this Wednesday afternoon to a city enforcer in the park. The guy sees a hole, jumps up and runs away. His friends get a ticket: 95 euros per person.
“The car driver drove alongside us and offered 100 euro for sex”

“The car driver drove alongside us and offered 100 euro for sex”

LONGREAD. Sexual harassment and violence against women: since the murder of the British Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped and later found dead in London on 3 March, large-scale protests have been taking place. Eyes undressing you, psssstt sounds, shouting and abuse like “nice pussy!” to “slut”. Students from Maastricht Univer...
Allow students to study in all European countries

Allow students to study in all European countries

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS “An educational system in which students can move freely through Europe. A semester in the Netherlands, one in France, one in Portugal, and so on.” This is what the brand-new Minister of Foreign Affairs in the newly launched student cabinet Heleen van der Velden, third-year student European Studies, will dedic...
No invincibility here

No invincibility here

Academics are in the business of ideas. We are not making widgets on the factory floor or baking cakes. We are fashioning and shaping ideas that unveil truths about the world. Then, we share those ideas to different audiences. First of all to students, who are normally receptive. They came to Maastricht University precisely to learn and because the...

What does ASMR do to the brain?

What does ASMR do to the brain?

A whispering voice, gentle knocking on wood, the rustling of the pages of a book. In some people, these kinds of sounds create a relaxing, tingling feeling in the scalp, known as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). Why? We don’t know. In fact, we know very little about ASMR in general. Prize winner Ana Reinartz Groba (now a student i...
Even more study spaces, education period 5 remains online

Even more study spaces, education period 5 remains online

MAASTRICHT. Education in period five remains online for all faculties, even if measures are relaxed in the meantime, said Rector Rianne Letschert to the University Council last Wednesday.
Solastalgia, from a distance

Solastalgia, from a distance

In our most recent video call my parents’ suburb was full of smoke. Firefighters were burning off dry debris to prevent it from becoming fuel for late summer lightening fires. When I grew up in Tasmania, we would stay by our home when the flames approached, dousing the house with water. I remember firefighters dragging huge hoses into our ...

“I want to learn more, dive deep”

“I want to learn more, dive deep”

Sophie Koch (28) currently lives in Zürich, Switzerland. After completing her master’s thesis at Maastricht University last July, she began her PhD research at ETH Zürich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
Two golds for SBE in international student competitions

Two golds for SBE in international student competitions

MAASTRICHT. How can Canada improve provisioning in health care? Also, what can Danish supermarket chain Coop do to reach youths and in doing so increase sales by five per cent? Two questions that the students from the School of Business and Economics know how to answer. Students from this faculty won two international case competitions within the s...
Text me when you’re home

Text me when you’re home

On March 3rd, Sarah Everard was kidnapped and murdered on her way home, 48-year-old police officer Wayne Couzens has been charged with her murder. Her death sparked many protests around the world and led to new discussions about male violence against women. The reason why so many people are angry after the killing of Sarah Everard is, because he...

Everyone is “completely fed up” with Zoom and working from home

Everyone is “completely fed up” with Zoom and working from home

MAASTRICHT. ​There have been signs that UM employees have too much work to get through, feel lonely or can’t always focus. But this has not (yet) led to a higher rate of sickness absence. Absence through illness at Maastricht University during the past COVID-19 year has remained the same as in 2019 (2.7 per cent). The past two months it was e...
No applause but hearts via the chat

No applause but hearts via the chat

It has been a year since the Netherlands went into lockdown. Whereas in the past the odd person logged into an online event, now suddenly the whole country is watching one webinar (a combination of the words ‘web’ and ‘seminar’) or livestream after another. And not just that, more and more people are on the other side of the...
Social contact, fresh air and a history lesson

Social contact, fresh air and a history lesson

MAASTRICHT. The Seed Barn or The Uitvreter (Loosely translated: The Freeloader)? What name is better name for the building of a student association? The second, was decided during the general members meeting of Circumflex in 1992. The association then moved into a building at Herbenusstraat 9 and had to come up with a name, say two senior...
“I now find high grades less important”

“I now find high grades less important”

Name: Ouiam Moussati (22, Veldhoven) * In daily life: third-year student of Medicine and president of the Muslim Student Association Nour * Lives in: Maastricht * Civil status: single
On the legal punishment for infanticide

On the legal punishment for infanticide

Prize winner Sarah Samuel (23, now a master’s student of  Law and Labour at UM) took a deep dive into history for her bachelor’s thesis. She combed through hundreds of newspaper articles, legal statistics, parliamentary papers, and issues of the Dutch weekly legal journal Het Weekblad van het Regt to find out why the Dutc...
Universities go for GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt

Universities go for GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. GroenLinks, D66, VVD and Volt. Those are the political parties (in that sequence) that will get the most votes from employees and students from various universities throughout the country this week. This is the outcome of a survey held by the university media in Utrecht (only among students), Rotterdam, Twente,...
“It is not efficient to only use half of the available brainpower”

“It is not efficient to only use half of the available brainpower”

Four female academics from various faculties. What do they think about International Women’s Day? Is it still necessary to take time out on 8 March to think about the (unequal) opportunities for women? Who was or is their role model? Are they taken serious in their field?  This time: Kateřina Staňková (39), associate professor of Dynamic...
"I really liked doing research and I soon knew: Nobody is going to stop me"

"I really liked doing research and I soon knew: Nobody is going to stop me"

Four women from various faculties. What do they think about International Women’s Day? Is it still necessary to take time out on 8 March to think about the (unequal) opportunities for women? Who was or is their role model? This time it is Giselle Bosse (39). She is associate professor and vice dean of education for the faculty ...
“Struggles are part of life and it is okay to speak out”

“Struggles are part of life and it is okay to speak out”

Four women from various faculties. What do they think about International Women’s Day? Is it still necessary to take time out on 8 March to think about the (unequal) opportunities for women? Who was or is their role model? This time it is Anna Schueth (39), postdoc at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences/Maastricht Brain Imaging Centre...
“Getting up, getting dressed and going to the library. Very simple, but I miss it”

“Getting up, getting dressed and going to the library. Very simple, but I miss it”

They are reasonably satisfied about the online education, but if they were allowed to come to the university tomorrow, they would be straight there. In her third session with students from various faculties, rector Rianne Letschert spoke to second-year psychology students last Monday. “You have almost no spontaneous interaction anymore. Even ...
Scooter exhaust is my madeleine

Scooter exhaust is my madeleine

French writer Marcel Proust's madeleine snack dipped in tea sent him on the reverie of memory that became the seven volumes of In Search Of Lost Time. For a French writer, an unassuming cookie with scalloped edges. For me, hydrocarbon particles.  I’m 20 years old, studying in Bogotá, Colombia, whose avenidas are choked with aging ...

“I have learned so much from her, especially how to develop an outlook on life”

“I have learned so much from her, especially how to develop an outlook on life”

Four women from various faculties. What do they think about International Women’s Day? Is it still necessary to take time out on 8 March to think about the (unequal) opportunities for women? Who was or is their role model? Are they being treated equally in their field?  This time: Andreea Grigoriu (25), PhD candidate at the Faculty ...
“Life will pick up again in Brussels, including the UM Campus”

“Life will pick up again in Brussels, including the UM Campus”

MAASTRICHT/BRUSSEL. What are things like in Brussels? The Campus on Montgomery roundabout, run by Maastricht University, has been under lock and key since October 2020 – all activities, like guest lectures and graduation ceremonies, are online. 
“I had ten registrations for the training within five minutes”

“I had ten registrations for the training within five minutes”

MAASTRICHT. Since Wednesday 3 March, student sports associations are allowed to organise outdoor sports activities in groups again. The triathletes are back on the athletics track at Jekerdal, the korfball players are going to play on the korfball field in Amby next week, and the Fyrfad volleyball players have also found an outdoor location.
“It was terrifying, having all those eyes on us”

“It was terrifying, having all those eyes on us”

How do you find a suitable topic for research? What is an efficient way to read an academic article? And how can you keep secondary-school pupils motivated during this process? With these and other questions, a teacher at secondary school Porta Mosana College in Maastricht approached University College Maastricht (UCM). Third-year students Alanna S...
Saurians back on the water with four at a time

Saurians back on the water with four at a time

MAASTRICHT. “So much fun, our first training again. It is strange to be in the boat with so many people ”, it sounds on Wednesday afternoon at the jetty at Saurus. The four rowers and the steer in the boat are looking forward to it. As of today, young people under the age of 27 practice sports together again.
Worries about transitional regulations for old-new Law curriculum

Worries about transitional regulations for old-new Law curriculum

MAASTRICHT. Student members of the law faculty council are anxious about the transitional regulations for the group who are following the ‘old’ Dutch Law programme, but who still have to resit exams – the programme has changed considerably since September. There are reports of study pressure, uncertainty and fear of not making it....
Online lecture starts with rap music by Missy Elliott

Online lecture starts with rap music by Missy Elliott

Whereas online lectures used to be an extra service for students who had slept through their alarm, or didn’t understand something that was said, in times of COVID-19 they constitute a vital part of the curriculum. Often combined with Q&A or plenary Zoom sessions. Nevertheless, how do you hold students’ attention online? Education i...
“I can’t express myself in English as well as I can in Spanish”

“I can’t express myself in English as well as I can in Spanish”

Name: Cristina Palacios Mateo (27, Tudela, Spain) * Day job: PhD student at the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering) * Lives in: Maastricht * Civil status: is in a relationship
Opinion: Unequal distribution of Covid-19 vaccination

Opinion: Unequal distribution of Covid-19 vaccination

Covid-19 vaccines should be distributed equally – as should all medicine, says Maral Aghababai​, student at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life sciences and member of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines Maastricht in this opinion article.
Tricks used by Hackers are becoming increasingly cunning

Tricks used by Hackers are becoming increasingly cunning

Privacy and cybersecurity training for Maastricht University employees; courses for all students as part of the curriculum. Preferably today rather than tomorrow, Bart van den Heuvel, responsible for data security policies, apparently wants to say in an online round-table discussion by the Maastricht Law & Tech Lab.
The White Bus on Sol

The White Bus on Sol

"I donated blood in the Netherlands and now I live here." With this sophisticated sentence, spoken in Spanish, I approached a big white bus parked in the middle of one of the main squares of Madrid (and one of my favourites), Puerta del Sol (or 'Sol' like most people call it). I don't know whether it was the catchphrase printe...

From crisis to crisis: “We already clicked, but this year has made the bond even stronger”

From crisis to crisis: “We already clicked, but this year has made the bond even stronger”

“The Magnificent Seven, it seemed like a good name for us, if it weren’t for the fact that there were six of us,” Roel Gilissen grins, referring to an American western from 1960 (and 2016). “But dream team is also a good one.” But who is actually the captain of the ship, he wonders aloud? There is a lot of laughing and...
In two minds: stay or go back to Moldova?

In two minds: stay or go back to Moldova?

She does the same things every morning: she has a cup of coffee, does her skincare routine, and meditates. This positive way to start the day is helping first-year student of Global Studies Alina Timosenco through the lockdown. Timosenco, who is from Moldova, is facing a dilemma. Will she stay in Maastricht or return to her native country? “S...
Starting today: sixty extra study places at Tapijn

Starting today: sixty extra study places at Tapijn

MAASTRICHT. From today, Monday 22 February, vulnerable students can also study in Loods V at Tapijn. There is space for a maximum of sixty students. Study places may also become available at other locations of the university library soon.
“I haven’t settled in completely yet, but not because of COVID-19”

“I haven’t settled in completely yet, but not because of COVID-19”

​After 35 years of being a secretary, Nanny Bakker felt it was time for a change. She switched jobs within the university library but now she has to share the ‘office’ with her husband at home. Well, you know, COVID-19. “I tend to get involved in his telephone calls.”
René Gabriels: “I carry a naked little doll around with me. It is Martin Paul”

René Gabriels: “I carry a naked little doll around with me. It is Martin Paul”

The crates of corona beer are at the ready, the chest with carnival costumes has been retrieved from the attic. The wait is now on for the schedule that will determine who will visit who and on which day. 
“The biggest problem during carnival is confetti in your beer”

“The biggest problem during carnival is confetti in your beer”

Once in his life, Jan Haverman, second-year student of European Studies, went skiing at carnival. “My family and friends never forgave me for that,” he laughs. “They still comment on that, even now.” Normally, Haverman starts carnival on Thursday and has his last beer on Tuesday.
Singing schmalzy pop songs, but not this year

Singing schmalzy pop songs, but not this year

For schmalzy pop singer (and department secretary) Eveline Horsch, carnival should be the busiest time of the year with two or three performances a day. Unfortunately, COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works. Horsch, carnival celebrant in heart and soul, certainly misses the party hubbub, but the citizen of Kerkrade is not gloomy. This should not bec...
“The students at Bogazici University will resist Erdogan”

“The students at Bogazici University will resist Erdogan”

Students at Bogazici University in Istanbul are hitting the streets these days to protest against Turkish president Erdogan putting a political ally in place as rector magnificus. In better days, assistant professor at SBE Burak Can studied at Bogazici. This personal opinion article reflects his optimism about the outcome of the conflict....
“Having my own studio apartment is OK, but I prefer being around other people”

“Having my own studio apartment is OK, but I prefer being around other people”

Giovanni Bava can tell that he has grown a lot in the six months that he has been here. His English has improved a lot and he is more disciplined than he thought he was. But not everything is going smoothly: he is having difficulty concentrating. He has already contacted the student psychologists at Maastricht University about it.
To scream, or not to scream?

To scream, or not to scream?

The past weeks my two year-old son has had a nasty cold, which resulted in many sleepless nights—for all of us. One evening, I was trying to help him fall asleep. Nothing I did was working, and he was exhausted. I, too, felt exhausted. I also felt frustrated. Not at my son per se. No, it was a more overarching frustration about the lack of co...

This is how your basic grant died

This is how your basic grant died

These days it is nothing out of the ordinary for students to accumulate large debts. For almost 30 years preceding 2015, this was different. In 2015, the Dutch government put an end to the largely disliked basic grant. A story about hard cutbacks and wondrous promises. “The situation completely exploded that evening.”
Madrid, in a pandemic?

Madrid, in a pandemic?

'Have you had Corona yet?', my housemate's friend's friend asked me as we were sitting in a bar, 'No? Oh, don't worry, you'll get it soon.' As if I was ever worried about not getting Covid. I'm now overwhelmed with an alternate universe in which Corona doesn't seem to exist, or at least doesn't seem to...

Preparing meatballs during Zoom

Preparing meatballs during Zoom

She still has residual symptoms from Covid-19, which struck her in autumn. Coughing, short of breath. Yes, she is also fatigued, “but is that because of the virus? Who isn’t tired?”, Sarah Stutterheim, assistant professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences winks. She is an optimist. “I look for as many silver lin...
Response to debate about what it means to be a scientist

Response to debate about what it means to be a scientist

Last week, two opposing opinion articles started a debate about what it means to be a scientist. A few staff members of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) put together a short response. 
Entitled Students and Teachers Who Don't Care

Entitled Students and Teachers Who Don't Care

I sometimes find myself caught in the middle of two feuding fractions: students and teachers. There has always been some disconnect between the two sides and perhaps you can empathize with one of them. From the students’ perspective, some teachers just don’t care. They don’t answer emails, don’t offer proper guidance, and de...

"Staying inside all the time makes me feel trapped"

"Staying inside all the time makes me feel trapped"

Meghan Callender, first-year student of Global Studies, is trying to make the best of the current situation. She goes outside as much as possible and regularly meets up with a friend who lives next door. Eating dinner together ­– even just virtually, over FaceTime with her boyfriend in Groningen ­­– is very important to her....
“Observant, don’t give the stage to that man”

“Observant, don’t give the stage to that man”

It all started a couple of weeks ago with a heated discussion between a Maastricht PhD candidate and a UM professor on LinkedIn. The subject: when may you call yourself a real scientist? If you spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week working in your field and already have a considerable number of publications to your name? The view of professor Har...

How the hundreds of millions of euros from the basic student grant nationwide evaporated within five years

How the hundreds of millions of euros from the basic student grant nationwide evaporated within five years

The hundreds of millions that the abolition of the basic student grant would generate each year was to be used in full to improve education. That was the promise made by Minister Bussemaker back in 2015. However, due to shady promises, rising student numbers and a fainthearted minister, it remains to be seen whether students will actually ever rece...
UM’s 45th anniversary: empathic speech by rector in an empty St. Jan

UM’s 45th anniversary: empathic speech by rector in an empty St. Jan

MAASTRICHT. ​A great deal of understanding for the difficult circumstances in which staff and students have found themselves for some time now. At the same time, a lot of praise for what has been achieved this past year, despite – or maybe because – of COVID-19. Rector Rianne Letschert held an empathic speech in celebration of the 45th&...
Education programme for period five: online or hybrid, decision next week

Education programme for period five: online or hybrid, decision next week

MAASTRICHT. Online education or hybrid after all? A decision will be taken very shortly about what period five – April to June –will look like. Rector Rianne Letschert made this promise to the University Council last Wednesday.
On being a scientist: is it a lifestyle or a 9-5-job?

On being a scientist: is it a lifestyle or a 9-5-job?

“Whenever I read young scientists complaining about long working hours or stress or not having a permanent position, my advice is ‘leave science’. Science is creative, an art form. No artist, singer, writer would ever complain about long working hours or lack of a permanent job. It’s not a normal job but it can be the best j...
"Sometimes, people primarily want to feel less lonely"

"Sometimes, people primarily want to feel less lonely"

MAASTRICHT. Home sharing, those two words say it all: sharing a home. Students moving in with a landlady or landlord and in return for giving help they pay less rent. They cook, do the gardening, or walk the dog. Or they teach a new language. Connecting is the magic word.
Many questions about students’ plan for a spiritual space at FASoS

Many questions about students’ plan for a spiritual space at FASoS

MAASTRICHT. The student fraction of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences wants a ‘spiritual space’ in the FASoS building. This would enable staff and students to pray, meditate or hold discussions. The proposal raised many questions during the latest faculty council meeting.
“When I leave the attic and go downstairs, I am home”

“When I leave the attic and go downstairs, I am home”

The new lockdown brings new challenges for Olga Penninger, study advisor at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences. “We are showing a new colleague the ropes but not everyone can work as hard as normal because of their personal circumstances, so I now have extra work.” That is, as far as is possible, because Penninger and her partn...
UPDATE 2: Fear of riots in Maastricht

UPDATE 2: Fear of riots in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. After riots broke out in several Dutch cities in recent days, there is now fear that rioters will be moving to the city center of Maastricht tonight - January 26. Messages on social media give cause for this. Maastricht University is taking precautions.
The Power of Poetry

The Power of Poetry

After Amanda Gorman’s evocative poetry reading at Joe Biden’s inauguration on the 20th of January, several friends who know that poetry is woven into the fabric of my life wrote to me about how moved they were by her words. Poetry is powerful. Verse can heal an agitated heart. Reconciling stanzas can calm and douse fiery ...

Curfew is “heavy blow” for students

Curfew is “heavy blow” for students

A curfew has been introduced, starting this weekend. Between nine o’ clock in the evening and half past four in the morning nobody – with a few exceptions – is allowed outside. This won’t make much difference to club life, say the chairpersons of the Maastricht student associations. For student life in general, they feel tha...
An intellectual, not a career tiger

An intellectual, not a career tiger

“The university that I once chose, unfortunately no longer exists. It was fantastic: young, with an experimental nature and lots of room for creativity. You could also be critical without being put in the corner.” Tannelie Blom, professor of European Studies, came to Maastricht in 1986, was one of those responsible for starting Arts and...
“It felt like they’d rolled out the red carpet for me at MECC Maastricht”

“It felt like they’d rolled out the red carpet for me at MECC Maastricht”

He hasn’t been to any illegal parties, but he has been attending Business Days. No, first-year student of Econometrics Cedric Pots (18) from Maastricht is not looking for a job yet, but he enjoys taking a look behind the scenes at companies. He has already met quite a lot of students, but he hasn’t made any friends yet. 
Online Debate

Online Debate

I take a sip of Glühwein, trying to recover from today's online debate. And I don't add the 'online' to remind everyone of the lockdown we're still (again?) in - no one needs a reminder of that. Instead, I emphasize the online nature of the debate because that's the culprit that turned my passionate, convincing arguments int...

Executive Board deviates from LOWI opinion on professor

Executive Board deviates from LOWI opinion on professor

MAASTRICHT. Did a UM professor of Cardiology commit a violation of scientific integrity or didn’t she? According to the Netherlands Board on Research Integrity (LOWI), she did – at least on one of the many points raised by the complainant, a PhD student. The Executive Board has decided not to act on this LOWI opinion, although the ...
Best for science?

Best for science?

Just before Christmas the Dutch Research Council announced that there would be no extension of the January deadline for their Dutch Research Agenda funding scheme. Damn. Who does not like an extension? This extension was especially desired by many applicants recently thrust into the sleep-destroying care-work balance of the second total lockdown. A...

Lockdown, son of sixteen months and pregnant: “I accept that I can publish less at the moment”

Lockdown, son of sixteen months and pregnant: “I accept that I can publish less at the moment”

Since the lockdown in March, she has only been to the faculty a couple of times, to print or collect something, and once for a meeting. She hadn’t planned it that way. Aline Sierp, Assistant Professor of European Studies, had wanted to come to the campus every week from September 2020.
“When I’m on the phone with a friend, we talk about anything but COVID”

“When I’m on the phone with a friend, we talk about anything but COVID”

“When was the last time you went outside?” When her mother asked her this, first-year student of Psychology Maike Prenzyna was surprised to realise it had been two weeks. “Weekdays, weekend days, mornings, afternoons, evenings – everything feels the same. I go to sleep when it’s dark outside, but that’s about it....
Students create sustainability guide for Maastricht

Students create sustainability guide for Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Students from Maastricht for Climate have set up a website that guides readers through a more sustainable life. From general information – what can people do against climate change – to specific tips, such as where to buy sustainable clothing in Maastricht. The website will be launched on Monday, 18 January and will be both ...
Extended lockdown: education period 4 online, dies celebration adjusted

Extended lockdown: education period 4 online, dies celebration adjusted

MAASTRICHT. Since the Netherlands will stay in lockdown until at least 9 February, Maastricht University has decided that education will continue to take place online in period 4. The program for the Dies Natalis - the 45th anniversary of Maastricht University - has been thoroughly stripped down.
Literature discussions on twitter

Literature discussions on twitter

​Bart Penders, Associate Professor of Metamedica at the Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML), misses the informal chats at work, with colleagues, but also with students. About how things are going, but also about professional literature. But this period also has positive aspects. Penders spends more time with his daughters (8 and 6 y...
"When I study in my room all day, I go crazy"

"When I study in my room all day, I go crazy"

MAASTRICHT. It is Tuesday, January 12, around one o'clock. Location: the entrance to the university library in the city center. The German Lennart Buggert, pre-master student of European Studies on Society, Science and Technology, is very focused at his phone. “I have my social media moment,” he laughs. "It’s not fixed in...
"Everyone listens to my dad, not because we're afraid of him, but out of respect"

"Everyone listens to my dad, not because we're afraid of him, but out of respect"

Towards the end of the interview, first-year student of Health Sciences Hadeel (pronounced “Adele”) Khawatmy casually reveals that she studies seven (!) days per week. “I get eight hours of sleep, I see my family when we eat, and I spend the rest of the time studying.” This includes evenings and weekends. She doesn’t ...
Is that hope?

Is that hope?

The nightmare called 2020 is over and we survived. What a year! I don't know about you, but I think the two things I talked and thought about the most in the past year are Trump and COVID-19. No day passed without me glued to my news app anxiously looking for the next headline, the next crazy Trump tweet or new corona numbers. 2021 seemed...

A talented improviser who kept spirits up during COVID-19

A talented improviser who kept spirits up during COVID-19

MAASTRICHT. No, she doesn’t make the exams herself and she doesn’t transport the piles of paper to the MECC either, but for everything else that has to do with exams in one of the large halls, you need to speak to Anja Ronken. She is the central exams co-ordinator at Maastricht University and obviously she does that so well that it earn...
“If I panic, things definitely won’t get done”

“If I panic, things definitely won’t get done”

When the lockdown was announced halfway through March 2020 because of COVID-19, it wasn’t just education that went online, from one day to the next, but also the exams. Tineke de Beaumont, functional manager of digital exams at Maastricht University, really had to pull out all the stops. She did that so well that she can now pick up one of th...

Dreaming of 2021

Dreaming of 2021

It's the magic of all new years to create an atmosphere of hope and ambition. A belief that everything will change for the better, that to-do lists will finally be finished and that dreams will come true. 2021 specifically is promising more than any year before it. And so I lie in bed, hitting the snooze button again and again just to hold on a...

Martin Paul on the end of the Erasmus grant by the UK: “a great loss”

Martin Paul on the end of the Erasmus grant by the UK: “a great loss”

MAASTRICHT. The British are quitting the Erasmus + exchange programme. “A peculiar step,” says Martin Paul, President of Maastricht University. A step that he - just like his colleagues at British universities - did not see coming. There is a leniency regulation for students who had already arranged their exchange to the country before ...
Tijden

Tijden

At first, it looked like a cyberattack against UM would give 2020 its basic disastrous shape. For most of the world, the coronavirus served that purpose. Yet for me and my colleagues at IDS (Institute for Data Science), the year was colored by a tragedy of our own.  During the fall of 2019, I worked on a grant with a postdoctoral researcher...

“I enjoy being alone more than I thought I would”

“I enjoy being alone more than I thought I would”

What do you do when a student mutes your voice in order to listen to music? “Remain empathic and calm,” says Eline Schmeets, PhD researcher at Maastricht working on Europe and lecturer at University College Maastricht. Online education has its own set of challenges. Still, she likes working from home. “A more pleasant, gentler rhy...
RIVM director Jaap van Dissel to receive honorary doctorate from UM

RIVM director Jaap van Dissel to receive honorary doctorate from UM

MAASTRICHT. Jaap van Dissel, director of the Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and professor of internal medicine at Leiden University, will receive an honorary doctorate from Maastricht University during the Dies celebrations on Friday 29 January. The doctorate is being awarded because ...
 “I had only one goal: telling the story of what had happened there on Brunssummerheide”

“I had only one goal: telling the story of what had happened there on Brunssummerheide”

Thursday 8 October 2020, the Court of Maastricht. Two public prosecutors – one of whom is Dave Mattheijs – are presenting their closing arguments, arguing why the accused Jos B. should be sent to prison for years. “A highlight”, reflects Mattheijs. “So much had been said about Nicky Verstappen’s case in the press...
“I’m not a fun partner right now, and it eats at me”

“I’m not a fun partner right now, and it eats at me”

Mark Vluggen, director of the bachelor’s programmes at the School of Business and Economics, has been in crisis mode for over a year. It all started in November 2019 with civil protests in Chile. Anxious SBE students on exchange asked if they could come back home. Not much later, similar requests arrived from Hong Kong, where protests had esc...
“A publisher might have put the celebrity involved on the cover, but to me, all stories are equally important”

“A publisher might have put the celebrity involved on the cover, but to me, all stories are equally important”

2020 was a turbulent year for many people, including Chahinda Ghossein, cardiologist in training at Maastricht University Medical Centre+. But, she says, “it was also successful. I ticked a few items off my bucket list.” Number one by a wide margin was publishing Queen of Hearts, a book on the power of vulnerability. In it, women open u...
“If I call on people to work on Christmas, I have to be there myself as well”

“If I call on people to work on Christmas, I have to be there myself as well”

No, 2020 was certainly not an easy year, admits Nick Bos, vice chair of the Executive Board. But – barely a minute into the interview – he also says that he doesn’t want this to be the story of a board member complaining about long working days and high work pressure. On the contrary. “I realise all too well that I&rsqu...
A year of loneliness and solidarity

A year of loneliness and solidarity

​Vera Schriebl (26), master’s student in the Medical Doctor-Clinical Researcher programme, was one of the medical students who signed up to help out at the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past year, she learnt a lot about being a doctor, but also about herself. Her 2020 in a nutshell: guilt, loneliness, work experience and grati...
“You have to have the guts to stand on the edge of life and shiver"

“You have to have the guts to stand on the edge of life and shiver"

Was it 8:30 PM? 9 PM? He had no idea. It was mid-September, it was getting dark, and because he didn’t have a torch or a phone on him, he crawled into his sleeping bag. He had only just settled down under the open sky when the forest around him came to life. He heard wild boar, deer, an owl. All his senses were on high alert. That’s whe...
 The Panther, aka. me

The Panther, aka. me

His gaze against the sweeping of the bars has grown so weary, it can hold no more. To him, there seem to be a thousand bars and back behind those thousand bars no world. ~ The Panther, Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stanley Appelbaum   I’ve always had an unexplainable love for Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem The Pant...

HR director leaves prematurely

HR director leaves prematurely

MAASTRICHT. Antoon Vugts is leaving as director of Human Resources at Maastricht University. The ‘road to improvement’ upon which he embarked three and a half years ago has seen little progress, the Executive Board reported in an internal announcement to the university community. After “very enervating“ years and a recent &l...
“I feel more like a machine than a lecturer”

“I feel more like a machine than a lecturer”

MAASTRICHT. Work pressure has been a theme at Maastricht University for years. But since the start of COVID-19, it has increased exponentially across the University, both for academic and for support staff. Young lecturers at University College Maastricht seem to be having an extra hard time. There are times when they have up to four tuto...
A debate on the future of universities “If nothing else works, we have to strike”

A debate on the future of universities “If nothing else works, we have to strike”

THE NETHERLANDS. “What do our universities need?” asked activists and managers during an online debate organised by the KNAW science association. The ideas discussed ranged from calls for a strike to criticism of turning a blind eye to inappropriate behaviour.
“You are suddenly no longer part of the UM family”

“You are suddenly no longer part of the UM family”

MAASTRICHT. Begging to be allowed to keep one’s e-mail address and UM Card, no form of support on the road to retirement, sometimes not even a farewell, and then the feeling that you are no longer part of the UM family. Retired and almost retired scientists often feel abandoned by Maastricht University. This became clear in a study carri...
"Love, Lieke"

"Love, Lieke"

MAASTRICHT. “In these strange times, I hope that you still have nice holidays and that your 2021 is filled with many friends and family. Love, Lieke.”
COVID-19 is pushing cancer research aside

COVID-19 is pushing cancer research aside

MAASTRICHT. ‘Cancer won’t wait until COVID-19 is over’. It is the name of the campaign by a group of organisations that focus on the care of cancer patients. Their appeal: go to the doctor if you have symptoms. Considerably fewer cases than expected have been diagnosed nationally, but also in Maastricht, this year. Also,...
“For a long time, you just try to fit in, but you will never become one of them”

“For a long time, you just try to fit in, but you will never become one of them”

MAASTRICHT. A report that is full of ‘he’ and ‘him’ when it is about a scientific director; female students who don’t go into detail during a tutorial group meeting for fear of boring their fellow students while the men tell their stories without any diffidence; after getting a new job, to hear that you must have gotte...
Extended closure at Christmas, not a gift

Extended closure at Christmas, not a gift

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University will close its doors on 21 December, rather than 25 December. An extended ‘Christmas closure’. Why? “To give employees extra time to recuperate and rest,” the Executive Board wrote in a communication e-mail last week. Four extra days off? Yes, but at the expense of regular holiday leave...
“I don’t work in health care; no one is going to lose any sleep over me publishing fewer articles this year”

“I don’t work in health care; no one is going to lose any sleep over me publishing fewer articles this year”

Before the summer, a yes-we-can mentality prevailed in the Department of Political Science (FASoS). “We were going to show everyone that we could continue our teaching online in an effective way. Everyone was working way too hard”, says department chair Esther Versluis. By now, fatigue has set in.
FASoS tents too noisy for hybrid education

FASoS tents too noisy for hybrid education

MAASTRICHT. The two large tents at the back of the Turn hall on the Grote Gracht that have served as extra classrooms since the beginning of this academic year, are no longer used for this purpose on a regular basis, says Cerien Streefland, director of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. The walls of the tents are too thin to be used for hyb...
“Good education is important, but you also need to be ‘street smart’”

“Good education is important, but you also need to be ‘street smart’”

“Don’t wait for that ‘million dollar idea’. It could be a long wait. An entrepreneur is something different than an inventor. A mere one in five businesses is innovative. So, you want to start your own business? Then do it!” It is one of the tips from the French philanthropist and social entrepreneur Alexandre Mars. La...
Internships during COVID-19: medical interns in action

Internships during COVID-19: medical interns in action

MAASTRICHT. Next Thursday, medical interns throughout the country are going to post selfies of themselves wearing facemasks or maintaining 1.5 metre distance. With the hashtag ‘#CotijdensCovid they want to appeal to their fellow students to continue to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations and give them a glimpse of what their lives look like at...
Abuse of power in a small world

Abuse of power in a small world

THE NETHERLANDS. Bullying, abuse of power, sexual harassment: many researchers have to deal with undesirable behaviour over the course of their careers. Trade unions have been calling attention to this lack of social safety for years and the Dutch Network of Women Professors also sounded the alarm last year.
It is so good to hear your voice

It is so good to hear your voice

Since the start of the pandemic, the number of voice messages I have made and received has increased substantially. They have helped me to keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues, despite being physically distanced from one another. Moreover, after sitting behind the computer all day, the last thing I want to do is send emails and text m...

Students help lecturers with online education

Students help lecturers with online education

In spring, when education suddenly had to become digital, many block co-ordinators at the Faculty of Law found themselves scratching their heads. Periods five and six were on the way – how could they ensure that everything would run as smoothly as possible? How do you record knowledge videos? And how do Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Zoom w...
Ombudsman puts finger on UM’s sore points

Ombudsman puts finger on UM’s sore points

MAASTRICHT. Poor or no communication, managers who are not capable of doing their jobs, unfair  treatment. These all contribute towards a work environment that feels unsafe and unpleasant, Maastricht University’s ombudsman concluded in her first annual report. Between February 2019 and August 2020, she received 85 cases from UM employees...
"At 7.30 in the morning I'm already on my mountain bike"

"At 7.30 in the morning I'm already on my mountain bike"

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is here. How are staff members at Maastricht University doing? Mark Govers, associate professor at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) and member of the University Council on behalf of the academic staff, misses his colleagues and work environment. At the same time, he is enthusiastic ab...
Six times higher tuition fees for British students

Six times higher tuition fees for British students

MAASTRICHT. British students who are studying in the Netherlands but who do not officially live here, will have to dig deep into their pockets from January. Because of Brexit they will pay the high ‘institutional tuition fee’ instead of the much lower statutory tuition fee as of 2021. Whether it will be a hard or a soft Brexit makes no ...
"My grandfather was a great writer, I'm proud to be related to him"

"My grandfather was a great writer, I'm proud to be related to him"

“I can tell that you’re Dutch from the way you say ‘yes’,” says first-year student Alina Timosenco (19) from Moldova. Although new to Maastricht, she is already becoming quite adept at identifying both international students and Dutch people. “At first, I thought, ‘How will I know whether or not someone is ...
A Relationship Therapist’s Advice for Academia

A Relationship Therapist’s Advice for Academia

According to the world-renowned relationship psychotherapist, Esther Perel, we are seeking from our romantic partner today what “an entire village” once used to provide: We want reliability and comfort, but also adventure and transcendence. This seemingly conflicting expectations of romance is creating dissatisfaction and unfulfilled de...

Green light for UM exchange programmes

Green light for UM exchange programmes

MAASTRICHT. Second wave or not, Maastricht University is allowing its exchange programmes and work placements abroad to take place this academic year. Contrary to Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam, who feel that the uncertainty is too great. The UM’s foreign plans will have to meet certain requirements, says Martin Paul, presi...
“Senior General Secondary Education is often the highest possible option in their home country”

“Senior General Secondary Education is often the highest possible option in their home country”

Some (potential) students from outside the European Union acquire their secondary school diploma with flying colours, but don’t have quite the qualifications needed for a study programme at Maastricht University. For those who nevertheless want to do so, there is the Foundation Programme. In this one-year study programme, participants are pre...

“I miss the chats before and after class”

“I miss the chats before and after class”

MAASTRICHT. She has a debate in the Lower House today and it almost feels like an outing with all those online meetings, says minister Ingrid van Engelshoven on Thursday morning at half past nine to eleven UM students. They were invited – every faculty asked one or more students – to speak with her for an hour or so about the quality of...
People at Maastricht University take the test: which coffee is the best?

People at Maastricht University take the test: which coffee is the best?

MAASTRICHT. There is a queue at the coffee vending machines next to the university cafeteria inside Universiteitssingel 40 this Tuesday morning. Not just because people want to start their day with a shot of caffeine; important work is going on here. As of 1 March 2021, all coffee vending machines at the university will be replaced. Today, students...
“Why would I not be able to finish my studies while raising a child?”

“Why would I not be able to finish my studies while raising a child?”

MAASTRICHT. How do you combine studying with having children? It’s a familiar question, laughs Dutch Iris te Boome from the Netherlands. She’s a sixth-year Medicine student at Maastricht University who decided to become a mother at a young age. Never for a moment did she consider quitting her studies over it. Marie Rys from Germany, a m...
“Some aspects of Trumpism are here to stay”

“Some aspects of Trumpism are here to stay”

Joe Biden will bring back a degree of internationalism to the U.S. foreign policy, but the Democratic Party has shifted to a more Trumpian view of the world, says Roberta Haar, professor of Foreign Policy Analysis and Transatlantic Relations at UCM, in this opinion piece.
Dear Professor, how honest are you?

Dear Professor, how honest are you?

THE NETHERLANDS. In the Netherlands, the largest ever study of scientific integrity and sloppy science is being conducted across all disciplines. Or that was the idea, at least, but most universities and teaching hospitals are withholding their cooperation.
"I feel there is more space in the day"

"I feel there is more space in the day"

We are into the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. How are things for Maastricht University employees? Working from home actually suits Jessica Alleva, assistant professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences (FPN), very well. After her father-in-law spent weeks in the intensive-care unit with COVID-19 last spring, she realised wh...
Pluck and Luck

Pluck and Luck

The more that I advance on this life journey, the more that I have become interested in decision making. Why do we do the things that we do and how do we make decisions? Why does it seem that we often make irrational choices and engage in risky behavior?   One book that gave me insights into my own decision making was Michael Lewis’ b...

“I don’t set much score to status or fame, for me it is about the subject matter”

“I don’t set much score to status or fame, for me it is about the subject matter”

MAASTRICHT. “I am sweet until people are unkind or don’t listen. Then I can be hard and nasty.” “I am an unorthodox type of person; I like to stray from the beaten path and I don’t hold my tongue.” “I can be a bit of a hothead.” “The adolescent in me is never far away.” A random selecti...
Problems Proctorio cause chaos for some UM exams

Problems Proctorio cause chaos for some UM exams

MAASTRICHT. The most recent exam week at Maastricht University turned out to be chaotic on some days due to technical problems with anti-cheat software Proctorio. Students were thrown out of the system on one or more occasions and were therefore unable to complete their exam, or could not take it in peace. It is unclear how many students are affect...
That drop of golden fluid time and again

That drop of golden fluid time and again

Addicts, what kind of people are they actually? Why can one person just have a beer, a joint or a pill, while the other goes a step further every time? Also, how susceptible to addiction are you yourself? This was the subject of discussion during an online edition of Let’s Talk, the recurrent talk show by Studium Generale. Together with stude...
“What is the penalty for not wearing a facemask?”

“What is the penalty for not wearing a facemask?”

MAASTRICHT. A lot of obscurity, so there were many questions in the University Council about the Covid-19 security protocol. The latest version was discussed during the University Council meeting last Wednesday afternoon. What is the penalty for not wearing a facemask? Who is going to monitor this? And is this legally watertight?
“Those scammers are so cunning”

“Those scammers are so cunning”

MAASTRICHT. Two master’s students from Portugal lost two thousand euros to a rental scam. On WhatsApp, a man posing as a landlord had promised them a two-bedroom flat in the centre of Maastricht. It turned out to be nothing but a lie. Although the summer rush on student housing is over, posts about scams are still popping up on Facebook. Inte...
A phosphorescent autumn

A phosphorescent autumn

Does it feel to you like there was something particularly poignant about autumn this year? Was the light different, almost phosphorescent? Or was it just a soothing contrast to my demanding computer screen? And the leaves, so many of them! Falling through the air, thrown back up again in bundles released from four-year-olds’ fingers. I did th...

Greta has shown: everybody can make a difference

Greta has shown: everybody can make a difference

In response to the new documentary I am Greta, UM professor Pim Martens, specialized in sustainability, calls his peers to climb the barricades, to become ‘scientivists’.
"It must not just be a declaration to put in a frame and hang on the wall"

"It must not just be a declaration to put in a frame and hang on the wall"

Going to university, reading a paper, going to a lecture or tutorial group meeting or just walking up the stairs: it is not matter-of-course for everyone. About two thousand students at Maastricht University have a functional disability that hinders them in their studies. Last month, rector Rianne Letschert signed a declaration of intent by the Uni...
A day in the life of a Zoom student

A day in the life of a Zoom student

“You averaged 11 hours, 36 minutes of screen time per day last week”, is the first thing my Ipad tells me on a Monday morning. It is 9:58 am and I've been trying to find the Zoom link to my 10 a.m class for the last fifteen minutes. My phone buzzes, thirty new Whatsapp messages and a new message from my tutorial group: “Can...

“I do get my passion for science from my dad”

“I do get my passion for science from my dad”

American student Meghan Callender was only sixteen years old when she arrived in Nieuwe Pekela for an exchange year. The province of Groningen – as flat as can be, with pastures, cows and water – could not have been more different from Washington State, her homeland full of nature and mountains. But it wasn’t just the surroundings...
“Rarely have Americans felt so misunderstood by their fellow Americans”

“Rarely have Americans felt so misunderstood by their fellow Americans”

Whoever becomes the next president of the United States of America, he could benefit from the love and affection that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and fellow Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia had for each other, says Roberta Haar, professor of Foreign Policy Analysis and Transatlantic Relations at University College Maastricht in this opinion article. Whil...
“If we behave well now, we will soon be able to have drinks together again”

“If we behave well now, we will soon be able to have drinks together again”

MAASTRICHT. ‘Being able to give my friends hugs again.’ It is one of the quotes on the posters that can be found in the city, at the university, the clubs and association houses from Wednesday 21 October. Student associations Circumflex, Koko, and Tragos are participating in the national campaign #daardoeikhetvoor. An action by students...
From top tennis player to researcher

From top tennis player to researcher

For years, Debbie Gach (23) competed as a tennis player in the Netherlands. She decided to leave the world of competitive sports behind in order to focus on her master’s degree in Human Movement Sciences, with a specialisation in Sports and Nutrition – a degree she has now obtained. “I look forward to working life.&rdquo...
Proctoring outsourced to American company Proctorio

Proctoring outsourced to American company Proctorio

It’s not just the tutorial group meetings and lectures that are different because of the COVID-19 pandemic; exams have also been adapted. Hundreds of students together in the MECC is now impossible. And online proctoring? That can be used if there is really no other alternative, the Executive Board of Maastricht University emphasises. Co...
Face masks compulsory at UM from Thursday 15 October onwards

Face masks compulsory at UM from Thursday 15 October onwards

MAASTRICHT. From tomorrow, Thursday 15 October, onwards, all staff and students will have to wear a face mask in the UM buildings. Under the motto: while walking or standing, the face mask stays on, when you sit down, it can be taken off.
The Corona Test

The Corona Test

Three days before I was set to leave for Germany to spend exam week at my parent's place and visit friends during UCM's reflection week, the one news came that I'd been dreading for days: Limburg, as one of the last Dutch provinces, was finally defined as a risk area by the German authorities. Luckily, I could still go. But it did mean ...

“Fencing was my oxygen”

“Fencing was my oxygen”

His grandmother died last summer, “the best cook in Italy”. Sad but determined, the Italian Giovanni Bava left his birthplace Asti to come and study Economics and Business Economics in Maastricht. His studio in Maastricht is the second home for him ever to live in.
Rector Rianne Letschert: “When they ask me later on what I am proud of, Global Studies is my definite number one”

Rector Rianne Letschert: “When they ask me later on what I am proud of, Global Studies is my definite number one”

MAASTRICHT. Yes, rector Rianne Letschert got dispirited by it at times. Here you have a “great new study programme” in which six faculties are going to collaborate – unique for the Netherlands and maybe even the whole world – and it looks as if it going to fail because of “laborious financial and bureaucratic systems t...
Master’s of Health Education and Promotion: all options are open

Master’s of Health Education and Promotion: all options are open

He already has a job, even though it doesn’t have much to do with his master’s of Health Education and Promotion, says Daan Janssen, 24 years old, who graduated at the end of August. He makes drawings and if he doesn’t do anything crazy, he can live off that. “I have always done it, but never took any lessons. During my bach...
Diversity Day: “Feeling at home is the basis for success”

Diversity Day: “Feeling at home is the basis for success”

MAASTRICHT. “The university is focusing too much on solving the problem of loneliness, and not on preventing it. We need initiatives that will bring students in contact with others.” “There is no policy for disabled UM employees. That has to change.” These were a few of the remarks made during Diversity Day, which took place...
“Dutch only”

“Dutch only”

MAASTRICHT. Discrimination on Facebook is there for the world to see in groups where supply and demand on the student room market meet: “German girls only (sorry landlord's rule).” “Hé meiden.” “Dutch only.” Often in capitals, DUTCH ONLY, just to make sure a foreign student doesn’t miss the me...
Feelings of insecurity and dissatisfaction at HR department

Feelings of insecurity and dissatisfaction at HR department

MAASTRICHT. There have been rumblings within Maastricht University’s HR department for some time. Employees apparently do not feel safe, there is supposed to be dissatisfaction about those in charge. An external advisor is now investigating the culture within HR, at the request of the HR management team and the Executive Board.
UPDATE: Fasos urges everyone to wear a face mask

UPDATE: Fasos urges everyone to wear a face mask

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Arts and Social Science (Fasos) urges students and staff members to wear a face mask. It's not  formally mandatory, although dean Christine Neuhold said during the Faculty Council meeting yesterday, that everyone "has to"  wear a mask. It's more nuanced than that, ...
Maastricht recruitment, wake up!

Maastricht recruitment, wake up!

When I graduated from high school, some years ago, I was certain about my future. In the luxury position to have a Dutch state scholarship, I chose to study economics in Maastricht and live there as well. My teachers were very surprised that I went to this small young university, but I never regretted my choice. Now I support my oldest child in ...

Maastricht students: online education is far from ideal, but demonstrating is a step too far

Maastricht students: online education is far from ideal, but demonstrating is a step too far

MAASTRICHT. Online education is far from ideal, say Maastricht students. The quality of problem-based learning is suffering, whether it is purely online or in a hybrid form. There is less discussion, students are less likely to speak out and for newcomers it is difficult to get to know others. These are some of the outcomes of a round of questions ...
European Studies alumna: "I have by now sent out 15 job application letters"

European Studies alumna: "I have by now sent out 15 job application letters"

She has a temporary job at Maastricht University’s EDLAB. To be more precise: she is involved in the premium project in which the Italian Anna Marino (23) participated last year as a master’s student of European Studies. Premium is meant for talented and motivated students who get to work on queries that businesses, NGOs or other bodies...

“I’m three-quarters Polish, but I’ve never been to Poland”

“I’m three-quarters Polish, but I’ve never been to Poland”

When she was in secondary school and her father became seriously ill, she went to therapy. It helped her so much that she decided to study psychology herself. Maike Prenzyna from Germany doesn’t see herself becoming a clinical psychologist, though. “I would care way too much about everything.” She is interested in going into resea...
From the cosmos to whiteboard cloths

From the cosmos to whiteboard cloths

They paint, create installations, booklets, collages, photographs. But art in all different forms is not the only thing that Andries Hoogenraad, Nathalie Brans, Ruben Philipsen and Titia Eggen have in common. All four are also receptionists at Maastricht University. Their joint exhibition Teken aan de Wand (Sign on the Wall) can now be seen on the ...
“I’m a real adult now”

“I’m a real adult now”

A day before starting her new job, she defended her master’s thesis. It was graded with an 8.5. Armed with her brand-new degree in Global Supply Chain Management and Change, Monika Koritarova (25) was ready to embark on the Supply Chain Talent Program of high-tech company ASML in Veldhoven, North Brabant. She will work as a project coordinato...

When your internet breaks

When your internet breaks

"What are you doing? Studying? Playing games?" With these words, the waitress placed the beer next to my closed computer at the cafe I had been spending my afternoon. Why? Well, let me tell you the tale of broken wifi at a student house in the middle of a COVID-19-proof university. It all started when the construction workers next d...

The do’s and dont’s of ‘COVID-19 education’

The do’s and dont’s of ‘COVID-19 education’

Give every student five tacks and a jar during a tutorial group meeting. Each time someone says something, a tack disappears into his or her jar. After five times, they are out of speaking time. “This gives quiet students the opportunity to also contribute to the discussion. The chatty students have no tacks left after twenty minutes,” ...

We do not need excellent students

We do not need excellent students

In my youth, I obediently followed the rules and repeated what I was taught. I was a pet to authority, and would reject that cage if I was given another chance. Education put me in classrooms, made me ask permission before speaking, and made me compete with my friends to see who could produce the best low-grade bureaucratic output. Deviation was...

“Making a production process more efficient, I get a kick out of that”

“Making a production process more efficient, I get a kick out of that”

When he studies, he always goes for a ten, plays at a high level for football club MVV, and wants to become a member of every club or association. First-year student of Econometrics Cedric Pots, living at home in Maastricht, sometimes has to have his enthusiasm curbed. He agrees that he sets the bar too high every now and again.
"You wouldn’t want to be known as the fraternity that became a COVID-19 hotspot in Maastricht”

"You wouldn’t want to be known as the fraternity that became a COVID-19 hotspot in Maastricht”

MAASTRICHT. The number of COVID-19 infections is rising rapidly and time and again the finger is being pointed at the students, who are alleged to have become the main source of infections and not to always be very particular about the rules. What about Maastricht? 'We really pay attention', it sounds more than once, 'especially in the ...
Rector Rianne Letschert: “A football team is not just made up of strikers or goalkeepers"

Rector Rianne Letschert: “A football team is not just made up of strikers or goalkeepers"

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Scientists teach, lead their department and share their insights with the general public. They are going to receive more recognition for this kind of work. But is it at the expense of their research?
“My father said, ‘This is your dream, I trust you, you should go’”

“My father said, ‘This is your dream, I trust you, you should go’”

It was quite a shock for her parents when they heard that their daughter would have to move out in order to study Health Sciences. Nobody does that in Syria: “Everyone lives at home. We certainly don’t let girls live alone.” The rest of her family also told her not to do it over Skype. But on 31 August 2020, Hadeel Khawatmy (prono...
Getting to know my grandfathers

Getting to know my grandfathers

In my very first column for Observant, I wrote about the end of history illusion (by psychologist Daniel Gilbert and others) showing that, no matter what age, we think that we have finally become the person we ‘truly’ are, and are no longer going to change. I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of history illusion these days, bec...

Temporary UM registration figures: almost 14 per cent more first-year students

Temporary UM registration figures: almost 14 per cent more first-year students

MAASTRICHT. The number of first-year students at Maastricht University is expected to increase by 14 per cent this academic year. The UM now has a total of more than twenty thousand students. The majority is from abroad, about 44 per cent has Dutch nationality. These are temporary figures, dating from 1 September.
Alumna at Law with nursing roots

Alumna at Law with nursing roots

She wrote her final thesis on euthanasia and dementia. In it, she focussed on the Dutch case of a geriatrician who had ended the life of a patient suffering from dementia. The woman had signed a declaration when she was able to give informed consent. Nevertheless, the doctor was charged by the public prosecutor, after the dossier had been presented...

“What the police often does on the streets is guessing”

“What the police often does on the streets is guessing”

What crime would you associate with a white and well-educated young man? And which one with a black rapper driving an expensive car? These are some of the questions the participants to the zoom lecture “Ethnic Profiling in the Netherlands” were asked. This event, that took place last Wednesday, was organized by Amnesty International in ...
Sabic, it’s your mess that we are cleaning up

Sabic, it’s your mess that we are cleaning up

Arthur Bribosia, who recently won the UM-Student Prize for his support of Students 4 Climate, and Ezekiel Stevens, university council member for Climate Action Network, will join Global Clean Up Day, this Saturday. At the same time they question the role of Sabic, a partner of Maas Clean Up. “One of the main producers of plastic pro...
The division of invisible labour

The division of invisible labour

How are my PhD students doing? How do I explain to my child that I have to work even though I’m at home? How do I stay in touch with my friends and family online? These are just a few answers to the question “what was on your mental load list these past few months”. This question was asked during the FEM roundtable discussion on i...
Sympathy for the Rule Breakers

Sympathy for the Rule Breakers

Northeastern University in Boston recently dismissed 11 first-year students who were watching TV together in a dorm room. These students allegedly violated the university’s social distancing rules, which they were repeatedly informed of and even signed contracts promising their compliance. The students had moved in only a few days prior, but ...

Keeping up the spirit during lockdown

Keeping up the spirit during lockdown

Look, I Zoom in And I Zoom out But can I really focus? It all started last March on Twitter with these four lines of poetry by Paul Stephenson, assistant professor of Political Science and poet. Sally Wyatt, professor Digital Cultures and since September a member of the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, replied t...

European Public Affairs alumna: “I have been tremendously lucky”

European Public Affairs alumna: “I have been tremendously lucky”

She has time for an interview every day at the end of the afternoon, Ida-Susanna Pöllänen informs us by e-mail. Once she is on the telephone from Finland, the recent graduate from the master’s of European Public Affairs tells us that she has a job.
COVID-19 steward: “Sometimes I collect 25 thousand steps a day”

COVID-19 steward: “Sometimes I collect 25 thousand steps a day”

“Hello everyone, may I have your attention please,” student steward Artur Klatka asks a (COVID-19) filled lecture hall in the new UM building on the Paul Henri Spaaklaan. “I could see from outside that you were standing too close to each other. Could you please maintain the one-and-a-half-metre distance? Thank you very much. If yo...

Fasos: tutorial group in a tent

Fasos: tutorial group in a tent

MAASTRICHT. Two large white tents, model festival tent, have recently been installed behind the Turnzaal on the Grote Gracht. Since the start of the academic year, they function as additional tutorial rooms. The largest (25 by 15 meters) can accommodate 55 students in a Covid-19-proof setting, the second (15 by 15 meters) 40 students.
Audit team: “One hundred per cent COVID-19-proof doesn’t exist”

Audit team: “One hundred per cent COVID-19-proof doesn’t exist”

MAASTRICHT. At breakneck speed, all UM buildings - from Venlo to Maastricht – have been made COVID-19-proof  before the start of the academic year. Paul van Eekeren and Yves Maris from Facility Services were right on top of it as ‘COVID-19 protocol audit team’. “One hundred per cent COVID-19-proof doesn’t exist, i...
SBE-graduate: "I have adapted my search"

SBE-graduate: "I have adapted my search"

She has had plenty of student jobs: as a receptionist at a hotel, working for an Escape Room, street vendor for regional daily newspapers. But now the time has come for a real job, and that is a different kettle of fish. ‘Currently open to new job opportunities’, it says at the top of the LinkedIn profile of the 24-year-old Selke Ruijss...
The only one present

The only one present

"I hope I'm not the only one here today." I said it with a grin. Sometimes you only realize the irony of a situation in retrospect. This is one of those times. Last Wednesday morning, I immediately knew how I had to follow the designated route to get to my tutorial room. Though this was not, as one might assume, because I was so ex...

Not possible yet to shower at the sports centre, but training there is safe

Not possible yet to shower at the sports centre, but training there is safe

There’s a reservation system, stickers and signs galore, tape everywhere, a one-way walking system, and sanitiser can be found every few metres. Everything takes a little longer and requires a little more preparation than usual, but you can get a corona-proof workout in at UM Sports. The showers are not yet available. The new house rules a...

New studios are going like hot cakes

New studios are going like hot cakes

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht boasts a number of large extra student complexes since this summer. Former offices on the Bassin, the Hertogsingel and on the Dokter Nevenstraat in Scharn have been completely stripped and renovated. In total, more than three hundred independent studios were added. The letting agents are not complaining about lack of occ...
“I have to compete with candidates who have three to four years of work experience”

“I have to compete with candidates who have three to four years of work experience”

He was shocked by it, he hadn’t expected the competition to be so fierce: three to four hundred “often strong” candidates for jobs in Brussels, around the European Commission. Jobs that Jack van den Berg, who graduated from the master’s of European Studies in the middle of July, would love to have. 
Tapijn receives artwork and sustainability certificate

Tapijn receives artwork and sustainability certificate

MAASTRICHT. On Monday, the artwork of photographer Robin de Puy was unveiled in the renovated carré building at the Tapijnkazerne. It is a gallery of portraits - including those of Maastricht students - that together should express the diversity that Maastricht University stands for. The photos are printed on the thirty-meter long awning that hangs...
Number of Koko registrations doubled

Number of Koko registrations doubled

The number of students who signed up with a student association has risen considerably this year compared to last year. Nationally, the number has grown more than fifty per cent, especially Eindhoven (79 per cent), Utrecht and Groningen (66 per cent) had a lot of new first-year students. The Maastricht associations easily exceed those percentages b...

“UM could do so much more for sustainability”

“UM could do so much more for sustainability”

With one arm in a cast, UCM student Arthur Bribosia (23) accepted the annual Student Award last Monday. A few days earlier, when he heard that his movement Students for Climate had won the award, the Belgian student was overjoyed, climbed a tree, fell out of it and broke his arm. Rector Rianne Letschert gave him a bouquet of flowers, a little statu...

Education after COVID-19: from instructor to mentor

Education after COVID-19: from instructor to mentor

Helping students individually, mainly being there as a mentor. That is the future of the university lecturer according to professor Eric Mazur, education expert and Balkanski professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University. In his keynote speech on Monday during the online opening ceremony of the academic year, he shared new insights...
Nice germs

Nice germs

Germs have been getting bad press lately. I’ve never been one to like them myself. As a habitual germaphobe, I have been able to navigate my way through FASoS buildings without touching handles for years. Yes, I am one of those weirdos who opens doors with elbows or sleeves. I love electronic openings. And oh, the sound of automatic hand clea...

The storm has not yet passed

The storm has not yet passed

MAASTRICHT. The choice of theme ‘After the storm’ was somewhat optimistic, President Martin Paul admitted during the opening ceremony of the academic year at Tapijn barracks, which could be followed this year via a livestream. The COVID-19 pandemic is, after all, still in full swing. But that won’t prevent Maastricht University fr...
Welcome (back) to Maastricht!

Welcome (back) to Maastricht!

Surrounded by piles of clothes and half-built furniture, I carefully sit on the blanket I placed on my mattress (I still have to wash the bedsheets) and look out of the window. The street seems suddenly quiet. No more big cars with boedelbakken (trailers) pull up the sidewalk, unloading box after box. No more students with backpacks bigger than the...

UPDATE 2: 18 students UM with Covid-19

UPDATE 2: 18 students UM with Covid-19

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University is dealing with an increasing number of corona infections. The counter now (31 August) stands at 18 students who tested positive for Covid-19. The cause could be sought in student houses where the rules have not always been observed.
One of the world’s top thinkers: lab meat pioneer Professor Mark Post

One of the world’s top thinkers: lab meat pioneer Professor Mark Post

Pharmacologist and UM Professor Mark Post, who created the cultured beef hamburger, is one of the fifty most important thinkers of our time, according to British general-interest magazine Prospect Magazine. The list of intellectuals was recently published on its website.  Post: “I was completely surprised. I didn’...

“From an emotional viewpoint it was a difficult year"

“From an emotional viewpoint it was a difficult year"

Last week, the first largely online Inkom took place. A strange week, after a difficult year, says Milou Berdenis van Berlekom, chairperson of the Working Group Inkom.  But it was one that we can look back on positively. “We had a thank-you dinner on Sunday for the crew that helped us over the past three weeks. I looked around me and tho...
“I had a really fun Inkom group”

“I had a really fun Inkom group”

This year, the Inkom, the introduction week by Maastricht University, took place mainly online. Was it worth it? Did the first-year students meet new people? Has Maastricht become their city? We asked four freshmen.
UPDATE: And again the introduction of student associations has to change

UPDATE: And again the introduction of student associations has to change

MAASTRICHT. Student associations and debating societies are trying to recruit new members, but the COVID-19 measures don’t make it easy for them. Especially because the rules keep changing. First, actual physical recruiting was allowed, then only online, and now it is different again, but how exactly? In the meantime, by-passing the strictest...
“It won’t all be cosy and comfy. Learning is sometimes very uncomfortable”

“It won’t all be cosy and comfy. Learning is sometimes very uncomfortable”

“Our dream is becoming reality because of you, students,” says an enthusiastic head of the Development Team Valentina Mazzucato. After three years of preparations, Monday 24 August is the kick-off for Global Studies, the new UM bachelor’s programme that is a collaboration between the six Maastricht faculties. Not all of the sevent...
Foreign students in voluntary quarantine in Guesthouse

Foreign students in voluntary quarantine in Guesthouse

MAASTRICHT. At the moment six foreign students are in voluntary quarantine in the Annadal Guesthouse. They 've arrived from an orange or red area in the world. None of them is showing any symptoms or have tested positive for corona at the moment, says Roel van der Nat, manager of the Guesthouse. The ‘isolation corridor’ is empt...
“I really can’t cook”

“I really can’t cook”

Eindhoven, Nijmegen, Maastricht. You can study Biomedical Sciences in all three cities, but there is a restricted entry in Nijmegen and the study programme in Eindhoven is fairly technical. So, Robin Beurskens (19) registered in Maastricht at the last minute. “Wonderful city too. And not too far from Venlo, where I live. About fifty minute...

Is André Rieu from Maastricht?

Is André Rieu from Maastricht?

Somewhere between the University Library and the City Park, the INKOM city walk participants take a wrong turn. They go left onto Begijnenstraat instead of continuing straight ahead to the checkpoint in the park. The students are almost at Café Sjiek when they realise their mistake. They turn back and go through Helpoort gate on their way to the pa...

Mozzarella in carrozza

Mozzarella in carrozza

Giovanni Bava was dropped off in Maastricht by his parents and brother to study Economics & Business Economics. All the way from Italy by car. “My brother is going to study in Canada, so this was like a last family trip.” Initially, it was a little scary to be left behind here by myself, but after the first meeting with people from ...

“Moving to another country is not scary”

“Moving to another country is not scary”

Conor Johnston (20) is one of the first-year students who was worked hard during UM Sports Inkom workout on Wednesday morning. “I didn’t expect it to be that intense. But it was a good exercise.” He is pretty certain that he will be joining the sports centre. “I want to join the tennis club and the rugby team.” Especia...

“Maastricht feels like home, like it’s my city”

“Maastricht feels like home, like it’s my city”

“I grew up in Afghanistan, but have lived in the Netherlands for five years now,” says Haroon Rezaie (21), first-year student of European Studies. “I really want to know more about the place where I live and where my future lies, that is why I chose European Studies. I am really looking forward to discovering more about European h...

Digital pizza

Digital pizza

‘Learn to cook like a real Maastricht resident.’ That’s the promising description of the virtual event Meals of Maastricht, part of the Inkom 2020. It’s Wednesday August 19, 6 pm, and I‘m standing in my kitchen in Germany. I am very hungry and a bit disappointed. When I read the description, I imagined some sor...

The moment the cotton bud disappears into her nose, has been recorded for all eternity

The moment the cotton bud disappears into her nose, has been recorded for all eternity

MAASTRICHT. No Inkom in the MECC this year, but this Tuesday afternoon three doctors to be and a psychology student will be having their own ‘party’ in white protective suits. Well, it certainly isn’t a party, although things are quite relaxed in the GGD (local health authority) Zuid Limburg’s new testing facility, it b...
Chicken phobia and a serenade for number 95623489

Chicken phobia and a serenade for number 95623489

“What song would you like to hear, number 95623489?” The Inkom participants who logged in to the serenade evening by Tuna de Maastricht – part of the CultiNight – on Tuesday night, are assigned a random number as user name. Well, that is rather difficult to put into a romantic song. “Maybe we need to give them Spanish ...
“Ten more seconds, come on”

“Ten more seconds, come on”

The workout was fully COVID-proof. At the entrance to the sports hall, people were asked to scan a QR code and fill in a list of questions on their phone. If their screen turned green, they were allowed inside. The entire hall was being used so that participants had enough space to keep their distance from each other. Ten yellow sports cones had be...

“I think I am going to have to learn to cycle again”

“I think I am going to have to learn to cycle again”

Callie Mak (18) from Singapore moved from Singapore to Spain with her parents so that she could do her A levels. This academic year she will start at the Maastricht Science Programme. “I wanted to move to a new place and do a study programme that offers a lot of freedom to choose your own set of subjects.” In addition to Maastricht, she...

A hybrid Inkom

A hybrid Inkom

Will I or will I not go to Maastricht during the Inkom?’ Derck Dolmans (20) asked himself a couple of weeks ago. He opted for a combination. “I will stay at home the first three days, most of the programme is online, and I will attend the last two days. That is when I will meet some people from my group.” At the moment, they us...

“Where will this end? Is the government also going to fix the rent?”

“Where will this end? Is the government also going to fix the rent?”

MAASTRICHT. Having a BBQ in the city park should be allowed. Pubs should be open 24 hours a day. You should be allowed to drink alcoholic beverages on the street. Hazing should be abolished. Just a few of the propositions discussed first by four political youth parties last Tuesday, and then by the four large Maastricht student associations. In Eng...
Jumping while wearing high heels

Jumping while wearing high heels

“Come on guys, to the beat, right.” The five members of the Working Group Inkom (WGI) are standing on the roof of the MECC on Monday evening. This is where the Inkom opening ceremony will take place shortly after, which can be viewed via a livestream. But first some practice is needed. And again; jumping while wearing high heels is no e...
Top-class study and sports

Top-class study and sports

Cedric Pots (18) grew up in Scharn, so yes, it is logical that he is going study at Maastricht University. But in Pots’ case, things are a little different. From the time he was in fourth year of secondary school, Pots has known that he wants to study Econometrics – or Economics at any rate – so he looked into varies studies of th...

“Don’t forget the 1.5 metres”

“Don’t forget the 1.5 metres”

“Could you please keep one and a half metres’ distance?” The new students at the entrance to the information market at Tapijn take a few steps to the side. “Thank you very much,” says the senior-year student, wearing an Inkom sports shirt. It is Inkom week. But the city is unusually quiet, no senior-year students pr...

A cycling doctor to be

A cycling doctor to be

26 June 2020 is a day that Maud van der Velde (19) will never forget. That is when she heard that she had been accepted after all to study Medicine in Maastricht, having been on the waiting list until that time. 
Leap into the unknown

Leap into the unknown

You’ve arrived in Maastricht and everything is new: different people from all around the world (aka. Germany), a different study program, and hopefully finally doing what you're passionate about. Now, what golden tip do you need in order to succeed? Considering myself a fairly experienced student by now after 3 years of studying both i...

Reporting on Inkom 2020

Reporting on Inkom 2020

WED 19 AUG - In the MVV stadium, cantus band Groots met een valse G tries to get the atmosphere of a cantus through the screen into the living room of the Maastricht students. The cantus bundle is a PDF this year, the music and drink party itself can be followed via a live stream. - Every morning, students gather at the Sports C...

"I’ll postpone the ‘student housing-theme’ for a while"

"I’ll postpone the ‘student housing-theme’ for a while"

A few days before the introduction week Inkom kicks off, eighteen-year-old Renée Moers is still in Luxembourg, on a campsite. “I’m taking a little break with friends.” She was initially scheduled to fly to Alicante with her mother after her central exams and would spend another ten days in Italy with her boyfriend t...

Inkom 2020: a lot online, but also physical meetings

Inkom 2020: a lot online, but also physical meetings

MAASTRICHT. Now that the COVID-19 measures have been somewhat relaxed, larger physical gatherings can take place during the INKOM, from 17 until 21 August. This means that each participant will be given the opportunity to attend the evening meetings at least once and freshmen can also become personally acquainted with their group during registratio...
From textbook to paper reviewing

From textbook to paper reviewing

Covid-19 changed a lot for everybody, but for the second-year students of the International Medicine Track, it changed the content of their entire course. Instead of learning about drug development, they dived into all the research that has been coming out about the new virus worldwide.
“Life is like rowing against the wind. Who doesn’t learn, will go adrift”

“Life is like rowing against the wind. Who doesn’t learn, will go adrift”

They have one goal, one boat, one team. For months, they were up before dawn so they could train, drank no alcohol, watched what they ate, skipped going to parties, and went to bed on time. Then on 12 March, there were the words by minister Bruno Bruins during the COVID-19 press conference: “All events with more than a hundred people have bee...

Board SBE: “Please believe us, we don’t want to punish anyone”

Board SBE: “Please believe us, we don’t want to punish anyone”

MAASTRICHT. "Do we actually have a chance of changing any of your decisions or are we just here to listen to hear you explain them?” Last Friday afternoon, the School of Business and Economics held an online town hall meeting via Zoom for worried, angry and disappointed students who did not pass the first-year subject...
“I bought a one-way ticket to Sydney and took off”

“I bought a one-way ticket to Sydney and took off”

International Business alumnus Arjan Tiessen This interview with wine importer Arjan Tiessen (37) has been about a year and a half in the making. It all started when Arjan, who lives in Tanzania, replied to my request for an interview on Facebook Messenger. “I’d love to, man! That article from sixteen years ago, I still think about i...

“It is worth the students’ while to come to Maastricht”

“It is worth the students’ while to come to Maastricht”

MAASTRICHT. On campus when possible, online if necessary. That is Maastricht University’s slogan for its education activities in the new academic year. This slogan goes hand in hand with the appeal to students: come to Maastricht. How does the slogan work in practice? How many hours a week will a student spend in the university buildings? Obs...
Invalid exam, “bitter for the students, but it had to be done”

Invalid exam, “bitter for the students, but it had to be done”

MAASTRICHT. The Board of Examiners of the School of Business and Economics had “no other choice” than to declare the Quantitative Methods 2 exam invalid, says chairman Erik de Regt. “We stand for the integrity of exams.” Still, he does understand all too well that “this is very bitter for many students”. The...
"We shouldn't suffer because of their mistake"

"We shouldn't suffer because of their mistake"

MAASTRICHT. The first-year exam of Quantitative Methods 2 was declared invalid this week, because some students had cheated. Students are outraged, disappointed and angry. Not in the least because the School of Business and Economics changed the rules after the exam, as a result of which ‘insignificant’ little i...
Having drinks sitting at a picnic table

Having drinks sitting at a picnic table

No coughing the past few days? No temperature or runny nose? Nor any roommates with such symptoms? Good, says the girl at the entrance to the Koko grounds, to the rear of the railway lines on the Gebroeders Hermansstraat. The visitor subsequently receives a dose of disinfectant spray on his hands and is allowed to continue. Just like the rest of th...
Building the Maastricht Law Faculty in Minecraft

Building the Maastricht Law Faculty in Minecraft

What does the Maastricht Faculty of Law look like in a virtual world? Now that the majority of staff and students works and studies from home, some are looking for a way to create a community. How? By building the Faculty of Law in Minecraft, a popular computer game.
Quarantine sessions for SBE students

Quarantine sessions for SBE students

Albert Vijghen and Jim Bemelen studied Econometrics together at Maastricht University, after which they both became teachers. Vijghen teaches at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and Bemelen at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. In addition to their jobs, they hold voluntary “quarantine sessions” with a small group of SB...

'The UM could have been better prepared'

'The UM could have been better prepared'

MAASTRICHT. The Inspectorate of Education is satisfied with Maastricht University’s performance after the cyberattack last December. Everything was focused on the continuation of education after the Christmas period, it states in a report that was published last Friday. To this end, the Executive Board took “well-considered decisions&rd...
Big profits on the stock market or saving the coral?

Big profits on the stock market or saving the coral?

Laugh, don’t start speaking until you are in the right position, breathe calmly and from your abdomen, speak with a low voice, do not stand too close to the wall, make contact with the audience and very importantly: do not play-act. This is a selection of the presentation tips by actor Niels Lemmens. At the end of January, he gave one of the ...

Woman on a Mission

Woman on a Mission

I have a confession to make: I used to have an eating disorder. Although my family and friends know this about me, after starting my PhD at Maastricht University in 2011, I told only a few colleagues about my history. This is striking, considering I work in the Eating Disorders Research Group. I’ve always feared that colleagues would ju...

"Maastricht is no longer a ghost town"

"Maastricht is no longer a ghost town"

She had been looking forward to it all year: spring, the moment when she would only have to write her thesis and would be free to explore the Netherlands. But two weeks before her last exam, the country went into lockdown. Now, master’s student of Arts and Heritage Katharina Eiben is exploring her current place of residence: Maastricht. &ldqu...

On an exchange? That will also be possible at another UM faculty

On an exchange? That will also be possible at another UM faculty

MAASTRICHT. Students who do their exchange visit (partly) from home (i.e. online) next year, will still be entitled to the EU exchange grant Erasmus+. Also, non-EU students who, because of the travel restrictions, have to re-apply for a visa, need not pay the 147 euro cost. The UM will take care of that.
UM Board: against racism and against Zwarte Piet

UM Board: against racism and against Zwarte Piet

Zwarte Piet is racist, is now the official view of Maastricht University. On 10 June, prompted by the worldwide demonstrations against racism, the Executive Board issued a statement in which it emphasises the “diverse and inclusive” nature of the UM. “We are proud of our students and staff who stand up, who speak out against racis...

Novum party leader accused of misconduct in University Council elections

Novum party leader accused of misconduct in University Council elections

MAASTRICHT. Novum’s leader is said to have violated the code of conduct during the latest University Council elections. Various student parties have lodged a complaint. There will be a hearing on Thursday june 18th.
"I feel lonely sometimes”

"I feel lonely sometimes”

In March, master’s student of Strategic Marketing Belén Sánchez Ortigosa was faced with a difficult dilemma: should she get on a plane to Madrid to be with her family, or stay in Maastricht during the lockdown? She chose the second option. “I had to act very quickly. More and more flights were getting cancelled. I think I made the right...

“What happens when you lose your Internet connection?”

“What happens when you lose your Internet connection?”

MAASTRICHT. Online proctoring, or testing with an invigilator who can see into the student’s room. It was introduced in great haste in three Maastricht University faculties. Students were consulted at the very last moment, but not in public council meetings. Privacy objections? Dean Thomas Cleij from the Faculty of Science and Engineering: &l...
Special nature hobbies

Special nature hobbies

In the past year, Observant accompanied three UM employees while exercising their special hobby in nature: Myrtle Brongers is a beekeeper, Cécile Luijten is a hunter and Eric Bleize is a photographer
Social isolation as unhealthy as smoking

Social isolation as unhealthy as smoking

Days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, governments around the world have enforced social isolation measurements to stop the spread of the virus. While the severity of the virus on human beings was still unknown, governments acted swift and with determination claiming that they’d rather “be safe than...

Peaceful Black Lives Matters demonstration in Maastricht

Peaceful Black Lives Matters demonstration in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Some 1,400 people protested yesterday (Sunday) on the Griend against racism and police brutality. Among them also many (international) students.
Standing on a pole for hours on end or running 10 kilometres for a good cause

Standing on a pole for hours on end or running 10 kilometres for a good cause

It is a long time ago when collecting money for a good cause meant going around with a collection box. Every year, thousands of people are sponsored to cycle, run or take on some other physical challenge. Students and employees from the UM do their part too. Observant spoke to some of them.
“Racism is not a debate, it’s a fact”

“Racism is not a debate, it’s a fact”

Around the world, protests have been held against racism and police violence against black people and people of colour the past few days. These were prompted by the death of George Floyd in the USA, who died after having been held down with a policeman’s knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. In Maastricht too, some two hundred people gath...
"As a ten-year-old I already knew what the Hermès logo was"

"As a ten-year-old I already knew what the Hermès logo was"

Thom Metselaar (21, Dutch), second-year student of International Business, describes his style as “basic streetwear focusing on shoes”. 
First prefabricated units for students have arrived

First prefabricated units for students have arrived

MAASTRICHT. The first prefabricated student units arrived in Randwyck last Tuesday. They still have to be furnished and hooked up to water and electricity. In two months’ time, from August, 252 students can move into this accommodation on the grounds of the former sports hall.
"I’m particularly sad that I didn’t get a chance to see what working in a hospital is like"

"I’m particularly sad that I didn’t get a chance to see what working in a hospital is like"

Sabine Kemper, master’s student of Healthcare Policy, Innovation and Management, was supposed to be doing a research internship at the hospital right now. It would have been the perfect opportunity for her to gain practical experience. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, her internship was cancelled. “This was my only opportunity to do an ...

SBE abolishes online proctoring for large-scale exams

SBE abolishes online proctoring for large-scale exams

MAASTRICHT. Exams at the School of Business and Economics involving large groups of students, will not take place with the use of proctoring. That was the Faculty Board’s conclusion after the so-called stress test. Organising large-scale online exams in which dozens of employees need to be at hand to act as proctors appears to be a bridge too...
Juggling lots of balls even during corona

Juggling lots of balls even during corona

Work placement, thesis, study, politics. These are just a few of the things that keep Jonathan Felix, master’s student of Law and Labour, busy at the moment. Even during the pandemic, he has his hands full. “Three days a week, I do a distance research placement at Zuyd Hogeschool. I am taking two subjects for my master’s and I wor...

A sip of water against exam stress or not?

A sip of water against exam stress or not?

Podcasts are extremely popular and are shooting up all over the place. News, sports, food and unsolved murders: you name it and there is a podcast about it. About almost everything, thought Katinka van Kan (28) from Maastricht, who is an consciousness coach focussing mainly on students. Student life was the subject that was missing. Van Kan fi...

Tinnitus, experience days and playing the piano

Tinnitus, experience days and playing the piano

Kennedy d’Abreu de Paulo is a master’s student of Biomedical Sciences, specialising in neuromodulation. “Neuromodulation is about making adjustments to the brain or nervous system, for example through deep brain stimulation, where electrodes are implanted in the brain.” d’Abreu de Paulo talks about it with a lot of ...

“My style in three words? Art, witchcraft, sexuality”

“My style in three words? Art, witchcraft, sexuality”

Diandra Agapic (19, Romanian), second-year Arts and Culture. Describes her style as “artistic and theatrical”.
Dope remains the largest despite of seat loss

Dope remains the largest despite of seat loss

MAASTRICHT. For the sixth year in a row, Dope wins university elections, although their predominance is declining significantly. The party remains represented in both the university council and all faculty councils, but goes from 25 to 18 seats. After years, Novum loses the silver medal and only wins six (last year they got eight). The turnout in t...
Waving to your colleagues in the toilet

Waving to your colleagues in the toilet

At the School of Business and Economics, it is keeping to the right as much as possible in the corridors and sometimes it is better to look to the right as well. Certainly if you are passing the toilets near the university restaurant on your way to the exit. The doors there, which have been equipped with a stick-on magnet so that you don’t ha...

“Much is still uncertain; we must consider various scenarios”

“Much is still uncertain; we must consider various scenarios”

MAASTRICHT. The University Library doors were ajar this week, the first researchers are allowed back in their laboratories, and on the Tongersestraat a trial project is being run to test the social-distancing campus. The UM is preparing itself for the ‘new normal’. “But much is still uncertain. We are preparing ourselves for somet...
Combatting confinement fatigue: hooray, hooray, it's a holi-holiday(?)

Combatting confinement fatigue: hooray, hooray, it's a holi-holiday(?)

Two sisters in times of corona writing about their lives in these strange and difficult times. “The surveillance society got a new dimension, at least for me. Drones fly overhead and alert you in at least 5 languages that you are walking or sitting too close to others.” Christine Neuhold is Professor of European Democratic Governance...
University library reopens with limitations

University library reopens with limitations

MAASTRICHT. The University Library in the city centre has re-opened. The first 75 students found a place at the library on the Grote Looiersstraat 17 last Monday.
“Fortunately, I don’t need to go looking for a job”

“Fortunately, I don’t need to go looking for a job”

She had imagined her last weeks in Maastricht to be very different: enjoying the sidewalk cafes, going out to dinner or just chilling with friends in the garden of her student house. But after four years of studying, Noortje van Nunen (21) is temporarily back living with her parents in Wilnis. “I made some wonderful friends in Maastricht and ...
Supermarket Sneeze

Supermarket Sneeze

Months ago, I wrote a paean of praise for the Mensa Canteen here in Freiburg. Needless to say, I was shaken to my core when I heard that its doors shut weeks ago due to the ongoing Corona pandemic, and a tear still manages to escape from my eye when I think about the fact that it remains closed. But where a door closes, a window opens. And now, the...

Petition against online proctoring at the UM

Petition against online proctoring at the UM

MAASTRICHT. Student party Novum has started a petition against online proctoring of exams at Maastricht University. Three faculties apply this form of digital examination, in which students are supervised by webcam. A considerable breach of privacy, which Novum feels is not allowed. In the petition, the student party refers to this type of exa...
“The anti-Dutch sentiment in Italy will fade again”

“The anti-Dutch sentiment in Italy will fade again”

“’Not a penny is to go to Italy’, the Dutch minister said. And now I have to talk to you? You’ve got to be joking!”, shouts a restaurant owner in the north Italian Vittorio Veneto to the Dutch journalist from Nieuwsuur. A number of business owners are protesting for solidarity and support from the Italian government, b...

“I don’t have stage fright. I just prefer to let other people shine”

“I don’t have stage fright. I just prefer to let other people shine”

“I wouldn’t want to go back to my student days. I was so insecure back then. I didn’t live life to the fullest”, says Arts and Sciences alumna Tineke Oosterloo (49). She works as a journalist and has two sons with her husband, Raymond. “I’m no longer standing on the sidelines. I’m actively involved in the g...
Poems and strawberries for the elderly

Poems and strawberries for the elderly

Strawberries are red, the sky is blue, Sadly no visitors, but people are thinking of you! With these types of cheerful poems and other uplifting messages, the students from the ‘Maastricht Chamber of Associations’ (Circumflex, Tragos and Koko) are trying to raise the spirits of the elderly in Envida care homes. The messages are...

Again the cyber attack, now on TV

Again the cyber attack, now on TV

What exactly happened during the cyberhack last December? Next Wednesday, UM will once again disclose what happened in the TV programme De Kennis van Nu (The Knowledge of Now). The research institute for water technology Wetsus from Leeuwarden, which was hacked after Maastricht and got help from UM, will do the same. They both paid ransom: the UM a...

Perfect lock-down Sunday

Perfect lock-down Sunday

It almost seems impossible to have a ‘perfect’ day in these times of frustration, restrictions and isolation. In a way, it even seems wrong. But the truth is, the Corona Virus is no longer the first topic I talk about to friends when I ‘see’ them. A close second, that’s for sure, but the focus seems to have shifted fro...

Studying by 1 September? Face-to-face as much as possible in Maastricht

Studying by 1 September? Face-to-face as much as possible in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Unless the government throws a spanner in the works, all students will come to Maastricht again after the Summer, as far as the UM is concerned. Education activities will take place partly ‘on campus’ and partly online. Students who cannot come to Maastricht (yet), for example because they are not allowed to leave their coun...
“I started with my PhD in the bachelor”

“I started with my PhD in the bachelor”

Although Britt Schuurman began her master’s degree in Medicine in March, she has yet to do any clinical rotations. She was supposed to be doing a rotation in the Department of Surgery at the Laurentius Hospital in Roermond right now. “I was looking forward to doing clinical rotations, but I understand why I have to wait. I’m OK wi...

Corona means cheesecake for breakfast

Corona means cheesecake for breakfast

That a train stopped at the seemingly abandoned train station Höxter-Lüchtringen surprised me even as I entered it to start my 6-hour long journey back to Freiburg. And not only because this was the first time that I was surrounded by anything other than the four walls I spent my self-quarantine in. I was very well prepared for this life as a on...

Rotterdam Film Festival online: unique films, on a cluttered website

Rotterdam Film Festival online: unique films, on a cluttered website

Downheartedness and self-pity. Those are the prevailing emotions in the Vluggen household at the moment. The reason is that this is the week when we invariably made our way to the Côte d’Azur for the annual highlight on a film lover’s calendar: the Cannes Film Festival. I would then subsequently have complained for the next ten days abo...

Election Magazine online

Election Magazine online

The Election Magazine can only be viewed online this year. Normally, the magazine goes along with the paper Observant two weeks before the university elections, this year from May 25-28. Because Observant is not published due to the Corona crisis, the Election Magazine is also digital. The candidates for the Faculty Councils, Univ...

Germs, Guns and Steel

Germs, Guns and Steel

My mother calls, worried. She has seen on the news that Americans are stockpiling guns and that violence is on the rise. Living in a suburb of New York, I’ve witnessed the spread of Covid-19 firsthand. Of course, gun stockpiling doesn’t take place in urban America, but mostly in rural places that you or I would never even consider visit...

"I do things now that I usually do on holidays"

"I do things now that I usually do on holidays"

It has been a strange academic year for Femke de Haan, a third-year student at University College Maastricht. Last September, she went on exchange to Canada. Soon after her return to the Netherlands in January, Maastricht University closed its doors due to the coronavirus outbreak. “I went from experiencing one new thing after another in Cana...

A sit-up rewarded with a kiss

A sit-up rewarded with a kiss

The bad news is that UM Sports may have to remain closed until September. The good news is that the university sports centre has been offering online workouts for a while now. Observant editors want to stay in shape, too, so we decided to give it a shot. In addition to a number of videos by UM Sports instructors on social media and YouTube, UM S...

UM Guesthouse half empty; new room reservations trickling in

UM Guesthouse half empty; new room reservations trickling in

MAASTRICHT. The UM Guesthouse is currently half empty. “About 450 students have left early. Some of them even left behind all their belongings”, says Maurice Evers, head of department at Maastricht Housing. As of this week, students at the Guesthouse who decided to stay despite the coronavirus crisis and students who decided to lea...
Unclear how many new students will enrol

Unclear how many new students will enrol

MAASTRICHT. How many international students have already enrolled to study at Maastricht University next academic year? Is there cause for concern, or no reason to worry? The Executive Board won’t publish the numbers. “The situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic is exceptional, complex, and very uncertain”, says interim sp...
Coronavirus: starting on a master’s without a bachelor’s diploma

Coronavirus: starting on a master’s without a bachelor’s diploma

MAASTRICHT. Bachelor’s students who have gained almost all credits – at least 80 per cent, or 48 ECTS – of their last year, may - contrary to the norm – embark on a master’s programme at the UM in September, the Executive Board has decided.
“This is quite possible the cleanest student house in Maastricht”

“This is quite possible the cleanest student house in Maastricht”

Olsi Sokolli is a bachelor’s student of European Studies. His original plan was to go into self-quarantine at home with his family in Altamura, in southern Italy. He had already bought his ticket, but his flight was cancelled at the last minute. “I thought it was a sign.” He decided to stay in Maastricht. He was the only one in...

Hopeful? Or slick, safe and sentimental?

Hopeful? Or slick, safe and sentimental?

The plans to reopen were at the ready, but Dutch cinemas will remain closed till June 1. And anyone casting a glance at the release list for the coming months, will see that film distributers also don’t expect cinemas to be up and running fully any time soon. Although there are a number of premieres planned from the beginning of June, most of...

“I was afraid that Maastricht was headed in the same direction as Italy”

“I was afraid that Maastricht was headed in the same direction as Italy”

Bernardo Centofanti from Rome is a master’s student of International Business who works as a tutor teaching the course Finance 1.5. Just before the university closed, he moved out of his semi-studio flat and into a student house with five others. They all decided to stay in Maastricht. “I can imagine why people who live alone or don&rsq...

"Also this generation students must be able to take a blow"

"Also this generation students must be able to take a blow"

THE NETHERLANDS/ MAASTRICHT. “We must be able to take a blow, which also applies to this generation of students. If their first reaction to the corona crisis is ‘How will I be compensated?’, then I think that is very sad. ” That is what rector Rianne Letschert said last Sunday evening during a television debate with experts ...
Self-Quarantine Day 9/14

Self-Quarantine Day 9/14

  On the first day of my 14-day quarantine in Germany, a letter from the ministry of health was already waiting for me on the kitchen table. It contained all the things I was allowed to do during the upcoming two weeks and, more importantly, everything I absolutely wasn't if I didn't want to spend my precious pocket money on a big f...

Almost 35,000 euro of emergency aid for UM internationals; there are still funds available

Almost 35,000 euro of emergency aid for UM internationals; there are still funds available

MAASTRICHT. The emergency fund that was set up by Universiteitsfonds Limburg/SWOL for students suffering from money problems because of the corona crisis, has already paid out about 35 thousand euro. The same amount is still available for on-going or new applications.
Compromising between safety and humanity

Compromising between safety and humanity

The many deaths, the family that is not allowed to visit, all this has left its mark on doctors and nurses. At MUMC+, the so-called psychosocial team keeps a close watch on the healthcare workers. “Society can applaud for you as hard as they can but, in the end, it comes down to the support from your colleagues.”
“I want to make sure everyone is doing well”

“I want to make sure everyone is doing well”

Jeanine Brouwer teaches three courses: a research practical and an academic writing course for psychologists, and a course on Addiction to third-year students of the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences. She sometimes feels like her students wake up fifteen minutes before their morning sessions begin (at 8.30 a.m.). She laughs. “I ...

Prime Minister Rutte (briefly) joined a Maastricht tutorial group

Prime Minister Rutte (briefly) joined a Maastricht tutorial group

MAASTRICHT. And then suddenly, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands appears in the Zoom tutorial group meeting. That happened to the students at University College who were taking the Macrosociology block. What was that like? “Great!” “Quite an honour.” “That I get to experience that as a foreign student. I will never...
“My hair has been all the colours of the rainbow”

“My hair has been all the colours of the rainbow”

Anna Krikun (21, Russian/Swedish), third-year student of Psychology, describes her style as  “minimalistic and romantic”.
“I can’t really get to know my students now”

“I can’t really get to know my students now”

Alexander Carlo teaches Financing Emerging Markets, a second-year course in the bachelor’s programme International Business, as well as Corporate Finance in the master’s programme. Things have been going well so far, he says, although it feels a bit odd to be talking to a screen all day. Some days, he teaches four Zoom tutorials a day. ...

The many shades of deconfinement

The many shades of deconfinement

In the following email exchange two sisters, who work in very different fields, reflect on how gradual deconfinement affects their work and lives. Christine Neuhold works on EU affairs at Maastricht University and lives in Brussels. Stephanie Neuhold is Head Doctor in charge of the ‘Covid 19 intensive care unit’ of a Viennese hospital. ...
“Online education is exhausting; sometimes I need a nap”

“Online education is exhausting; sometimes I need a nap”

Anja Dekanski works as a tutor at University College Maastricht. This block, she’s teaching a first-year course called Research Methods 2, as well as a course called Strategy & Negotiation for second- and third-year students. “Within a week of the university closing, the block coordinators and us tutors prepared everything to go onl...

Not many jobs for the ‘Job bank’

Not many jobs for the ‘Job bank’

MAASTRICHT. Some university employees have been extra busy since the corona crisis, others have had very little to do. Since the beginning of April, the UM departments with a lot of work can report to the so-called ‘Job bank’. An employee from another department, where there is less work, then takes over the job. Except not much use is ...
 1 Boeing 777 for 20 people

1 Boeing 777 for 20 people

Arriving at the airport in Singapore accompanied by 80s radio tunes was surreal, to say the least. I felt like the whole world except for me discovered how to teleport, making airports obsolete and leaving them deserted. Seeing another human being in the departure hall that is usually buzzing with people ready to see their loved ones, enjoy their h...

"I can't plan anything"

"I can't plan anything"

(Wo)man at work. That was the name of a series about students and the jobs they do, published last academic year. How are they doing during the corona crisis? Can they do anything for their employers or have they been sent home? Aside from the students in the series, we will also hear from others. This time: Emmy Maas, master’s student o...
“French cyclist girl” found!

“French cyclist girl” found!

Last week, Observant ran a story about Hugo Engels, employee at the Language Centre, who was trying to find a French cyclist he’d met while he was out cycling on Easter Sunday. His search didn’t take long. Engels has found his missed connection! A brief recap of the story: Engels and the young woman talked for just a few minutes unti...

“This isn’t what I thought my last semester would be like”

“This isn’t what I thought my last semester would be like”

Nici Friedman, third-year student at University College Maastricht, still lives in her student house in Maastricht. She went to her parents for Eastern. But she couldn’t go home for a longer period of time even if she wanted to, she jokes. “I have a lot of plants that would probably die if I left. I stayed here because my parents live r...

"Do you accept privacy problems just because it works well?"

"Do you accept privacy problems just because it works well?"

MAASTRICHT. To Zoom has almost become synonymous to video calling. Maastricht University has recently taken out a licence for professional use of the video and meeting app. No worries, the institute said, with the necessary precautionary measures using it is safe. But is that the case? It is true that Zoom is a user-friendly app – t...
“Every morning between 5 and 7 a.m., I wrote two pages of my dissertation”

“Every morning between 5 and 7 a.m., I wrote two pages of my dissertation”

When he was in his first year at University College Maastricht, then twenty-year-old Jeroen Janssens dreamed big dreams. He wanted to be an astronaut. “Lots of freedom, far away from home. And it’ll make me famous, I’d love that.” After his time in space, he would retire to a farm. He never claimed to have green fingers, tho...
Countdown to Germany

Countdown to Germany

Friday the 10th of April, 7 am, Singapore. A small group of three headed over to the bus station, wearing face masks and desperately trying not to touch their faces that nowadays seem to start itching as soon as you set foot outside. Fifteen minutes later, the same group arrived in a part of town that they only rarely visit, a part where they stood...

Words matter

Words matter

Many were quick to point out that ‘social distancing’ was a poor choice of words, including the President of our university. What we need in times of pandemic is ‘physical distancing’ accompanied by social solidarity. I have seen the latter cleverly described as viral solidarity. This is a nice play on solidarity during the ...

Missed Connections: man looking for French woman on Bianchi bike

Missed Connections: man looking for French woman on Bianchi bike

Observant received quite an urgent email this week. Hugo Engels, employee at the Language Centre, is looking for a woman he met while cycling on Easter Sunday. The only thing he knows about her is that she works at Maastricht University. Observant doesn’t have a Missed Connections section, but we’re happy to make an exception. The hi...

At one and a half metres from the nachos with cheese sauce

At one and a half metres from the nachos with cheese sauce

It doesn’t look like the cinemas will be reopening their doors any time soon, albeit that market leader Pathé has been working on a plan for ‘one-and-a-half-metre cinemas’. NRC published an article on the subject: only one quarter of the seats will be sold (online), employees will wear ‘attendance vests’ and ...

Gratitude in the Time of Corona

Gratitude in the Time of Corona

It might be a callous idea to suggest that we be more grateful during a worldwide pandemic, where people have lost loved ones or are suffering from illnesses themselves. When schools have gone online and daycares, like our borders, have closed. Where hanging out with friends have become a finable offense and the news – both true and fake &nda...

Job number one, two and three

Job number one, two and three

(Wo)man at work. That was the name of a series about students and the jobs they do, published last academic year. How are they doing during the corona crisis? Can they do anything for their employers or have they been sent home? Aside from the students in the series, we will also hear from others. This time: Roel Niemark, master’s studen...
Being a Future Graduate in Times of Corona

Being a Future Graduate in Times of Corona

Let’s go on a short time travel journey: the date is February 2020. A time when the Corona outbreak has not reached a global pandemic level yet. I am working slightly stressed but focused towards my master’s degree, screening the job market and sending the first applications for autumn 2020. “Getting there”, I am telling mys...

A lot of agitation about the corona crisis in the student fraction of the University Council

A lot of agitation about the corona crisis in the student fraction of the University Council

MAASTRICHT. Not in the usual small hall but online: last Wednesday (8 April), the University Council had a meeting via Zoom for the first time since the corona crisis. It was especially the student fraction that is worried about the impact.
"I find it such a pity that I can’t put some money aside"

"I find it such a pity that I can’t put some money aside"

(Wo)man at work. That was the name of a series about students and the jobs they do, published last academic year. How are they doing during the corona crisis? Can they do anything for their employers or have they been sent home? Aside from the students in the series, we will also hear from others. This time: Cyriel Huntjens, master’s student ...
Avoiding loneliness, even if it is at the expense of income

Avoiding loneliness, even if it is at the expense of income

(Wo)man at work. That was the name of a series about students and the jobs they do, published last academic year. How are they doing during this corona crisis? Can they do anything for their employers or have they been sent home? Aside from the students in the series, we will also hear from others. This time: Kristel Zaal, third-year...
Singapore in "Circuit Breaker mode"

Singapore in "Circuit Breaker mode"

Monday, the 6th of April - Orchard Road, Singapore It is 3 in the afternoon and Orchard Road is buzzing as if it were the weekend. Not unusual for the number 1 shopping street in Singapore, filled with stores ranging from Dior and Gucci over to H&M and Cotton On. Apart from the handful of people that seem to have ignored the news over the la...

“My faith gives me the feeling that everything is going to work out”

“My faith gives me the feeling that everything is going to work out”

Law student Leonie Frissen is one of the students who live in the building used by Lux ad Mosam, the Christian student association in Maastricht. Although many students have left the city, Frissen’s student house is still quite full. “Eleven people usually live here. There are eight of us here now.” Eight people sheltering in p...

Coronavirus is just the beginning

Coronavirus is just the beginning

The European Central Bank (ECB) is printing money like crazy in response to the coronavirus. It is creating up to €750 billion to purchase government bonds (to prevent indebted Eurozone states from going bankrupt) and up to €3 trillion to incentivise banks so they lend money to companies and maintain liquidity in the economy. This is arou...

Cleaning ambulances as a Red Cross volunteer

Cleaning ambulances as a Red Cross volunteer

Thierry Bleijswijk, master’s student of Public Policy and Human Development, has been a volunteer with the Netherlands Red Cross for four years. He usually works at music festival Pinkpop or André Rieu concerts, but he’s currently doing volunteer work at the hospital. “We support health care professionals in their work”, say...

“Luckily, I was able to work twice as much the month before lockdown”

“Luckily, I was able to work twice as much the month before lockdown”

Spring has come with the best and sunniest days in a while, yet we are still in quarantine, trying to slow down the spread of the virus. At the same time, restaurants and bars are still shut down and students still struggle to make ends meet. In this video we have Michael Keith, a third-year student of Arts and Culture at the Faculty of Arts a...
Exam only in June

Exam only in June

Second-year student of Psychology Victoria Ebert has “gone back to her childhood days”, she says via Skype, laughing. She has returned to her father’s vineyard house, where she lived until 2011. “After that, I went to school abroad and lived with my mother in Berlin.” Public life in Germany has been largely shut dow...

Post-Corona Mindset

Post-Corona Mindset

We’re all looking forward to the day that we don’t have to live in the constant fear of COVID-19 anymore. The day that our hearts don’t make a jump when our phones ring because we suspect that, in the end, someone we love did get infected with Corona. The day that we can do cartwheels in the local park again - something we didn&rs...

The first tutorial group starts at two-thirty in the morning

The first tutorial group starts at two-thirty in the morning

MAASTRICHT/NEW YORK. From Tuesday, 14 April, Nils Kok, associate professor at the School of Business and Economics, who lives in a suburb of New York, will set the alarm for two o’clock in the morning. Half an hour before the first of four tutorial groups starts. His teaching day finishes at around twelve o’clock in the afternoon, local...
Wearing a face mask while training for a half marathon

Wearing a face mask while training for a half marathon

Jasmina Peneva, a research master’s student of Cognitive Neuroscience, travelled back to her home country of Bulgaria last Sunday. She’s not staying with her parents, but in a family friend’s flat. “As the Netherlands is a ‘red zone’, I had to be quarantined for two weeks. My parents need to leave the house for w...

‘A tale of two sisters’

‘A tale of two sisters’

Two sisters that come from very different fields, shed light on how Covid 19 has changed their work and lives. Christine Neuhold is professor  EU Democratic Governance at Maastricht University (FaSoS) and lives in Brussels, where she directs UM Campus Brussels. Stephanie Neuhold is Head Doctor in charge of the Intensive Care Unit of Infectious...
“The payments were fraudulent, but he didn’t commit fraud”

“The payments were fraudulent, but he didn’t commit fraud”

MAASTRICHT. VitaK, the now bankrupt subsidiary company of Maastricht University, was not supervised closely enough, allowing conflicts of interest to arise. And Leon Schurgers, a UM professor who used to work for VitaK, was involved in questionable activities with false invoices. These are the results of an investigation conducted by UM after local...
“I’m just staring at the ceiling, wishing I would stop thinking”

“I’m just staring at the ceiling, wishing I would stop thinking”

These are very difficult days for Maja Niekrasz, first-year student of European Law. “I have struggled with depression and anxiety all my life. I tend to overthink everything. I got help a couple of years ago and I’ve made a lot of progress since then, but right now I feel like I’ve moved back a few steps.” Her brain is w...

Nine million members, and that for a provider of obscure classics

Nine million members, and that for a provider of obscure classics

No more moaning about my aversion to video on demand (VOD): let’s take a look at another VOD provider. After Picl and Film 1, we focus on MUBI this week. What is MUBI? MUBI was set up in 2007 – at the time under the name ‘The Auteurs’ – by Turkish entrepreneur and Stanford alumnus Efe Çakarel. His motivation? Fru...

UCM-student: apartment is empty, roommates went home

UCM-student: apartment is empty, roommates went home

Elisabeth Hiller, a second-year student at University College Maastricht, spent the past two weeks at a fellow student’s house in The Hague. “She invited me to stay with her so I wouldn’t have to be alone if a total lockdown was announced.” As it doesn’t look like the Netherlands will go into a full lockdown, she will ...

It's quiet in Lars van Laar's student house

It's quiet in Lars van Laar's student house

It’s quiet in the student house where Lars van Laar, second-year student of Psychology, lives. “Twelve people usually live here, now there are only four. We buy groceries for each other to reduce unnecessary trips to the supermarket. If the weather is nice, we often spend the afternoon sitting in the garden or watching a film together. ...

Our flat is too small for two people to live in 24/7

Our flat is too small for two people to live in 24/7

Master’s student of Policy & Human Development Maren Slangen took her final written exam without even knowing it. “I was supposed to take two more, but the programme directors decided to assign us an online oral exam and a take-home assignment instead because of the corona crisis. I prefer written exams – they give you more ti...

“I wish I didn’t have to spend so many hours finding out what my rights are”

“I wish I didn’t have to spend so many hours finding out what my rights are”

With the new threat of the COVID-19 many restaurants and bars have closed leaving many people without a job. But what about the students of Maastricht who support themselves and are on a zero-hour contract? European Studies student Gabriela Štěpková is one of them and she is the first of this series of video interviews to share her story with Obser...
Ultra-tight Speedo swimming trunks and an oversized man’s body

Ultra-tight Speedo swimming trunks and an oversized man’s body

Just like my colleague reviewer Mark Vluggen, I am not a fan of streaming services and organisations such as Netflix or Disney Channel. As far as I am concerned, film belongs on a large screen or else on DVD or Blu-ray. But as has been said, necessity (read: Corona) knows no laws. Let’s see what a provider like Film 1 has to offer. What is...

Covid 19: 'Staying in and reaching out'

Covid 19: 'Staying in and reaching out'

The coronavirus has the world in its clutch. Not only does it have its own name (SARS CoV2), and its own disease (Covid-19) but more importantly it has been coined as a Pandemic by the World Health Organisation. The health emergency of the disease has thus been lifted to the highest level. ​The impact of this virus on the way we live, work, lear...

“There is no negotiating on the quality of the diploma”

“There is no negotiating on the quality of the diploma”

MAASTRICHT. You can't replace a multiple-choice exam for 800 students by a take-home exam. Marking would be unfeasible. So, what then? Postpone the exam and hope that it can take place in the Mecc before September after all? Or look for alternatives? The UM Examination Boards are focussing on dilemmas like these and are searching for solutions ...
Meeting up for drinks on Skype

Meeting up for drinks on Skype

Eline van Gorp, second-year student of Medicine, has been assigned a new tutor. Her usual tutor is an infectious disease specialist; she’s too busy working in the lab to lead any online tutorial sessions at the moment. Tutorials are going very well, says Van Gorp. “We have someone leading the session, someone taking notes – i...

“We are stuck in Costa Rica”

“We are stuck in Costa Rica”

Communication advisor Caroline Roulaux was looking forward to a quiet touring holiday – “enjoying some nature, taking it easy” – when she and her hubby boarded a plane for Costa Rica on 10 March. Yes, the corona virus was already finding its way to places outside China, but cancel the trip? No, the couple felt that that woul...
"We shouldn’t lose sight of the human side of things"

"We shouldn’t lose sight of the human side of things"

MAASTRICHT. All Maastricht education is to be carried out remotely until the end of the academic year. But what does that mean for staff and students? Tutorial groups work through Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Blackboard; lecturers are working on online lectures. But what about large-scale exams in the MECC? What are the alternatives?
“This may affect international student intake in particular”

“This may affect international student intake in particular”

Is 2019/2020 a “lost year” because of the crises Maastricht University has had to face? Will all this affect the intake of new students in September? Will students get their tuition fees back? Will UM continue to offer online education in the future? And how much does a crisis like this cost? These are just a few of the questions put to...

Exam at home instead of in the Mecc

Exam at home instead of in the Mecc

“Pretty much all of my friends have left Maastricht”, says Hayden Bunn, a second-year student of the European Law School programme. He also considered going back to the United States, but ultimately decided to stay. “At first, it was unclear how long the university would be closed. I thought it’d be a waste of money to fly h...

“Colleagues now take coffee breaks together on FaceTime”

“Colleagues now take coffee breaks together on FaceTime”

Add structure to your day, find a balance between working, studying and relaxing, keep in touch with others online, and give yourself some time to figure out how to go about all of this. Those were the main takeaways from the webinar 'Dealing with anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic', which was broadcast on YouTube and other soc...
Online exams and sleepless nights

Online exams and sleepless nights

Until two weeks ago, second-year student of International Business Hadia Arab lived in an apartment in Maastricht. "I subrented that place and could arrange something with the main tenants." Now, she is living with her parents in Heerlen again. “The university is closed for the time being. I don’t have to be in Maastricht in t...

Distance academic education until 1 June?

Distance academic education until 1 June?

THE NETHERLANDS. The government has prohibited all gatherings until 1 June because of the corona crisis. But the ministers were non-committal with regard to education.
Looking at the flowers in the gardens

Looking at the flowers in the gardens

Not a day seems to pass by anymore without at least three new e-mails updating me about how Corona is affecting my life. By the time I'm writing this, Maastricht University has sent out its 15th Corona update. My current University in Freiburg comes very close to this number too. In Freiburg (as in Maastricht), the Corona outbreak is met wit...

“We had to rush to Schiphol Airport”

“We had to rush to Schiphol Airport”

Sahander Nur Ozdil, a first-year University College Maastricht student, has several suitcases in her room. They belong to her father. “He was here two weeks ago to give me moral support. He had to leave for Turkey in a hurry when the Turkish government announced it was closing its borders. We had to rush to Schiphol so he could catch the last...

“I love Limburg, but I also really wanted to leave”

“I love Limburg, but I also really wanted to leave”

When he was 18 years old, Jean Dohmen wanted to go to university in Groningen or Amsterdam. He liked the idea of being far away from Heerlen, where he grew up. He ended up going to Maastricht, only 25 kilometres away from his hometown. “I never regretted that decision.” Choosing between the busy Randstad and Limburg is a recurring theme...
Corona behaviour: It’s simply human psychology

Corona behaviour: It’s simply human psychology

In the past days, there has been unrest in my neighbourhood. Many people are upset that children are playing outside, people are going for walks, and customers stand too closely at the supermarket. In contrast, many say we’re exaggerating, we should go about our life as much as possible, and didn’t the RIVM say it’s okay for child...

Binding study advice deferred for all Maastricht first-year students

Binding study advice deferred for all Maastricht first-year students

MAASTRICHT. All Maastricht first-year students who find themselves with too few credits at the end of August and therefore do not meet with the requirements of the binding study advice (BSA), will be given respite, the Executive Board has decided.
“Four people my grandpa used to play cards with have died”

“Four people my grandpa used to play cards with have died”

Sara Mazzini, a student in the research master’s programme Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, has nowhere to be, but she is trying to maintain some sort of routine in this time of corona crisis. “I was following a Dutch language course, but the classes got cancelled as of today. I want to dress nicely, take the time to cook and keep e...

"With the cyberattack we were alone, now it's a worldwide crisis"

"With the cyberattack we were alone, now it's a worldwide crisis"

​After the cyber crisis at the turn of the year, Maastricht University must now face the coronavirus. Again, a crisis management team (CMT) has been set up, and again Vice President of the Executive Board, Nick Bos is its leader. “With the cyberattack we were alone and had to find our own way, now it is a worldwide crisis and we can lean part...
“I’m not showing any symptoms yet”

“I’m not showing any symptoms yet”

Pabita Kister, a second-year UCM student, has been quarantined in her parents’ home in Düsseldorf since last Saturday. “It’s unclear whether I’ve been infected”, she emphasises. “I’m not showing any symptoms yet.” But one of her housemates in Maastricht was very likely infected with the coronavirus. &...

Students help in hospital, GGD and in neighborhood

Students help in hospital, GGD and in neighborhood

MAASTRICHT. Many students want to contribute towards the containment of the corona crisis. Also in Maastricht where here and there sheets of A4 with telephone numbers have been hung up. Professor Christiaan Hoebe, head of Infectious Disease Control Zuid Limburg Health Authority (GGD), is impressed by the help offered, but would like to inform the s...
Many exchange students leaving Maastricht

Many exchange students leaving Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. As the lecture halls remain empty, the corridors of Guesthouse UM and The Student Hotel are growing quieter and quieter as well. We don’t yet know exactly how many students have left, but last weekend at least a hundred of them checked out of the Guesthouse early. This number is only expected to increase in the days to come, says ...
“My family is very worried about me”

“My family is very worried about me”

Samuele Livraghi, a first-year student enrolled in the Maastricht Science Programme, is from Lombardy in northern Italy. Although no one in his family has yet been infected with the coronavirus, the situation back home is “quite stressful. New cases are diagnosed every day.” Health care in Italy is very good, says Livraghi. “And i...

Are student houses corona-proof?

Are student houses corona-proof?

NEDERLAND. It’s better not to organise parties, nor is it a good idea for five people to watch a film on a two-seater sofa. Students need to use common sense in this crisis.
Dangerous Daughters and their Heavy Travel History

Dangerous Daughters and their Heavy Travel History

When my aunt traveled to Singapore a bit less than three weeks ago, she was met with raised eyebrows from her colleagues. “Is it really wise what you are doing?”, they asked her condescendingly. “Do you really want to go to Asia?" By that point, there weren't any COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands yet, and everyone seemed ...

“The tutorial was maybe even more productive than usual”

“The tutorial was maybe even more productive than usual”

European Law School student Mashid Mojabi attended her first online tutorial session last Monday. She’s happy that her faculty is continuing to provide education via the Internet. “I’m a fourth-year student. I’d like to get my degree.” The switch to online teaching was made quickly, says Mojabi. “I only heard abo...

UPDATE: no PhD defences for time being

UPDATE: no PhD defences for time being

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board has decided to postpone all academic sessions, at least until April 6.
Observant: only online for the time being, not on paper

Observant: only online for the time being, not on paper

MAASTRICHT. Observant will only be published online for the next few weeks (www.observantonline.nl) and not in printed form. This has to do with the measures taken to curtail further spreading of the coronavirus as much as possible: students are no longer allowed to enter UM buildings, education activities are carried out online, and staff members ...

Only distance education, mass exams cancelled

Only distance education, mass exams cancelled

MAASTRICHT. As of Monday, 16 March, Maastricht University will only provide distance education. Compulsory attendance has been abolished, mass exams – such as those in Mecc – for block period 4 have been cancelled. Employees should work from home as much as possible.
UM still open, but makes preparations for possible (partial) closure

UM still open, but makes preparations for possible (partial) closure

MAASTRICHT. The University of Antwerp has been locked down, Denmark has closed all schools and universities, the university sports centres of Tilburg and Eindhoven will remain closed until at least Monday, 16 March, and the TEFAF art fair was discontinued prematurely last night. The Executive Board of Maastricht University sees no reason ...
Corona: Students launch petition ‘Shut down Maastricht University’

Corona: Students launch petition ‘Shut down Maastricht University’

MAASTRICHT. Last Tuesday, three Italian students launched a petition in which they urge Maastricht University to close its doors because of the coronavirus. Within twenty hours, it was signed more than a thousand times. But for the time being, closure is not on the cards. Students in Randwyck are already noticing the effects of the stricter me...
“Does everybody understand the message of the RIVM?”

“Does everybody understand the message of the RIVM?”

The amount of coronavirus infections is increasing in the Netherlands, but according to the government we are still in the ‘containment stage’. Rigorous decisions have therefore not yet been taken. What do Maastricht scientists think of the actions of the National Institute for Health and the Environment (RIVM)? According to the book? O...
“More than ever before, I’ve found my place”

“More than ever before, I’ve found my place”

Somewhere deep down inside, Lieke van den Krommenacker (39) always knew what she wanted to do with her life. But more than once, she let herself be swayed by… well, by what, exactly? Following other people’s dreams and expectations? Making the kinds of decisions she thought an adult should make? The point is: more than once, she went d...
MUMC cancels events; no more interns in operating theatres

MUMC cancels events; no more interns in operating theatres

MAASTRICHT. While Maastricht University is not cancelling any education activities, exams or events yet because of the coronavirus, MUMC steps up measures by calling off all meetings and receptions until 1 April. In addition, students who are doing internships are not allowed inside the operating theatre for the time being. Nor are they given any o...
“I’m not afraid to show my femininity now”

“I’m not afraid to show my femininity now”

Céline Kleckner (20, German), third-year student of Psychology, describes her style as “classic and daring”. 
International Women’s Day: much more than just women’s rights

International Women’s Day: much more than just women’s rights

“Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no.” “Hey-hey, ho-ho, homophobia has got to go.” It’s Sunday afternoon, 8 March, International Women’s Day. Quite a large group has assembled on the Vrijthof. A flag saying “Women of the World Unite!” has been attached to the iron railing o...

Staff member has tested positively for the coronavirus

Staff member has tested positively for the coronavirus

MAASTRICHT. A member of staff from Maastricht University’s department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering has tested positively for the coronavirus. This was confirmed by the South Limburg Health Authority on Thursday, 5 March. The person concerned lives in Aachen and has stayed at home by way of precaution, having probably contracted t...
Tapijn carré buildings opened

Tapijn carré buildings opened

MAASTRICHT. There is still a big excavator in the yard and some builders are still walking around here and there through the building, but last Monday the first batch of UM moved into the carré buildings on the Prins Bisschopsingel. This included the University Library and SBE.
“I want us to present ourselves clearly as a joint Health Campus”

“I want us to present ourselves clearly as a joint Health Campus”

She is proud of Maastricht University, MUMC+, and the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, and dearly wants to make her contribution. Still, Annemie Schols, the new dean of FHML per 1 June, thought long and hard before she sent off her job application letter. “A new step should suit who you are. I think for me it was the logical nex...
“I’m straightforward, I’m Austrian”

“I’m straightforward, I’m Austrian”

MAASTRICHT. Christine Neuhold, professor of EU Democratic Governance and director of UM Campus Brussels, will be the new dean of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. She will succeed Professor Sophie Vanhoonacker as from 1 September 2020.
Tutorial and council at the same time: that results in punishment

Tutorial and council at the same time: that results in punishment

MAASTRICHT. Tutorial and council meeting at the same time? Whatever one you skip as a student, your absence will be penalised. This must be stopped, feels the student fraction of the University Council.
“I only got four hours of sleep, which may affect the quality of my answers”

“I only got four hours of sleep, which may affect the quality of my answers”

We’re walking through Utrecht Science Park, hunched into our coats to protect ourselves from the fierce wind whipping around the dreary buildings. One of the massive concrete structures is covered in green scaffold netting, not because it’s under construction but to prevent debris from falling down and killing people. It’s not exa...
“I purchase the same shoes again and again”

“I purchase the same shoes again and again”

Harriot Grinnell-Moore (22, British), second-year UCM student, describes her style as “quite classic, not too bold”.
Possible ban on smoking in UM Randwijck from 23 March

Possible ban on smoking in UM Randwijck from 23 March

MAASTRICHT. From August 2020, all education premises in the Netherlands must be smoke-free. Randwijck may even start sooner. The Rookbeleid UM (UM Smoking Policy) working group suggested that they should start on 23 March. The Executive Board “looks upon this favourably”.
"Sloppy science is often not intentional, but due to lack of knowledge"

"Sloppy science is often not intentional, but due to lack of knowledge"

Research integrity isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s minds yet, says UU professor of Jurisprudence Ton Hol, who was the main author of a report for a network of European universities on this subject. Universities should work on that. There’s room for improvement of scientists’ knowledge of methods of research an...
In Uruguay, a vegan diet is almost akin to treason

In Uruguay, a vegan diet is almost akin to treason

There’s a good chance Maastricht University will be known as the hamburger university someday. Our very own Mark Post skyrocketed to worldwide fame after presenting his hamburgers made from lab-grown cultured meat (real meat grown directly from animal cells) to the press. His company Mosa Meat aims to fundamentally change the way meat is prod...
Student housing rents

Student housing rents

An often-heard complaint in Maastricht is that the cost of student housing has increased a lot over the past years. Indeed, if you take the snazzy rooms at the Student Hotel as an example, it seems like finding an affordable place to live in Maastricht is something that is a thing of the past. The topic of student housing is one of many debates ...

UM judgement in fraud case complete, but not made public

UM judgement in fraud case complete, but not made public

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board has taken a decision in the case in which a PhD candidate accused her cardiology professor of research fraud. This was based on the advice from the Committee for Scientific Integrity. The two outcomes will not be made public. The Board says it is maintaining its “duty of confidentiality” that applies to t...
No ‘taxpayer’s’ money to cybercriminals

No ‘taxpayer’s’ money to cybercriminals

MAASTRICHT. The ransom that was paid to the cybercriminals on 29 December after they had put a digital lock on Maastricht University’s computer systems, did not come from the UM’s regular reserves. The sale of a company from UM-Holding just prior to the hack, had yielded enough to pay the almost two-hundred-thousand-euro ransom.
Two new deans: Harald Merckelbach for Psychology, Annemie Schols for FHML

Two new deans: Harald Merckelbach for Psychology, Annemie Schols for FHML

MAASTRICHT. Harald Merckelbach, Professor of Forensic Psychology, is to become dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences again as of 1 May. He will succeed Professor Anita Jansen, who was awarded a major Gravitation subsidy  (20 million) and is now returning to research. Annemie Schols, director and researcher at Nutrim, will su...
She got the job she wanted, but she didn’t like it: “It was a complete let-down”

She got the job she wanted, but she didn’t like it: “It was a complete let-down”

She was only seventeen years old when she came to Maastricht University to study Arts and Sciences in 1994. Very young, Ariane Hendriks (43) thinks, looking back now – especially because she went straight from living with her parents in Veenendaal, a town in the centre of the Netherlands, to living in Maastricht, almost two hundred kilometres...
What to do with fossil fuel investments: divest vs shareholders’ pressure

What to do with fossil fuel investments: divest vs shareholders’ pressure

MAASTRICHT. In what should the university’s pension fund ABP invest its – or better said, the pensioners’ – money? Fossil Free Maastricht wants them to stop investing (divest) in fossil fuel companies as soon as possible. ABP’s policy is to stay engaged with the companies to put pressure on them to make changes. The wa...
In Uruguay, a vegan diet is almost akin to treason

In Uruguay, a vegan diet is almost akin to treason

There’s a good chance Maastricht University will be known as the hamburger university someday. Our very own Mark Post skyrocketed to worldwide fame after presenting his hamburgers made from lab-grown cultured meat (real meat grown directly from animal cells) to the press. His company Mosa Meat aims to fundamentally change the way meat is prod...
“The Dutch have a nice style, but I miss the cuteness and elegance”

“The Dutch have a nice style, but I miss the cuteness and elegance”

Yingyi Wu (26, Chinese), PhD candidate at FHML, describes her style as “simple with good taste”. 
Hardly any discrimination against Asian UM students

Hardly any discrimination against Asian UM students

MAASTRICHT. A Dutch carnival song about the coronavirus and Chinese, which was broadcast by Radio 10 DJ Lex Gaarthuis, led to a lot of criticism from various Chinese-Dutch organisations. They felt it was causing hatred and discriminating. It was even reported to the police. Various national media wrote elaborately on the matter with long stori...
Students are not swayed by rankings

Students are not swayed by rankings

MAASTRICHT. With the Keuzegids in hand, Observant visited the bachelor open day last Saturday. To what degree do prospective students use the rankings by these self-proclaimed Dutch “independent study programme comparison list” as guidance? Do they choose University College Maastricht because it has been at the top o...
Italians in Maastricht; not for the food

Italians in Maastricht; not for the food

Aside from the ‘usual suspects’ – the Dutch, Germans and Belgians – the number of Italians at Maastricht University is growing more quickly than any other nationality. Two-hundred and twenty-five were added for a bachelor’s and 150 for a master’s in 2019. The second places in these categories: France with 125 new...

“Maastricht was a perfect stepping stone to a future in London”

“Maastricht was a perfect stepping stone to a future in London”

Six months ago, Kate Surala (26) started writing a book. Where does she find the time? It’s a fair question as she spends already plenty hours a week as a partner and chief compliance officer at a London-based equity research firm. But she loves writing and she’s a good one, as evidenced by the weekly series of restaurant reviews she wr...
“Style is like art: I draw myself through clothes”

“Style is like art: I draw myself through clothes”

Karim Morgenstern (20, German), Biomedical Sciences, 1st year. Describes his style as: “alternative and vintage”.
“Great moral objections” against paying a ransom

“Great moral objections” against paying a ransom

MAASTRICHT. It is now official: yes, a ransom was paid to the cybercriminals who hacked the UM systems on 23 December. And yes, the amount was almost two hundred thousand euros. Why was the UM not adequately protected? The Executive Board’s answer to this question has many different shades. And no, it is not likely that any personal data...
“The bigger the better”

“The bigger the better”

Anna Yeo (20, British), exchange student at UCM, describes her style as “lots of different patterns and colours”.
Solution to the conflict between UM and PhD candidate

Solution to the conflict between UM and PhD candidate

MAASTRICHT. The conflict between a PhD candidate and Maastricht University has been solved, to the extent that the researcher, after mediation by professor Harald Merckelbach, can return to work. Her contract will be extended until May 2021, a year longer than was planned. This will enable her to compensate for the ‘lost’ months (a...
“We can all change the system together, because we are the system”

“We can all change the system together, because we are the system”

“Academic leadership: does it exist at all?” If it had been up to UM rector Rianne Letschert, this would’ve been the slogan of UM’s 44th Dies Natalis. The idea was shot down by her team members, and Letschert concurred that the statement “doesn’t do justice to the many, many colleagues who actually possess [acade]...
“It’s easy to underestimate the complexities of living abroad”

“It’s easy to underestimate the complexities of living abroad”

The first time she visited Jordan, UCM alumna Floortje Rawee (28) already loved the country. But she never expected that, by 2020, she would’ve been calling it home for three years and counting. Her internship at the Dutch embassy in Amman led to a job. In September, she started working at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palest...
Europeans, learn to live with Trumpism; it is here to stay

Europeans, learn to live with Trumpism; it is here to stay

MAASTRICHT. In her inaugural lecture on January 30th, professor of Foreign Policy Analysis & Transatlantic Relations Roberta Haar analyzed U.S. President Trump’s policy in an historical context. This is an abbreviated version of her lecture, entitled: Is the Trump phenomenon a symptom or the cause for sh...
Update UM: don't travel to Chinese province of Hubei

Update UM: don't travel to Chinese province of Hubei

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University advises its students and staff not to travel to the Chinese province of Hubei, with Wuhan as epicentre of the outbreak of the corona virus.
Research fraud case UM-professor reopened

Research fraud case UM-professor reopened

MAASTRICHT. The cardiology professor who was claimed to have committed fraud is to receive a fourth opportunity, outside the regular procedure, to defend herself. The request was made by the Executive Board. The Commission for Scientific Integrity had already completed its advice.
Delicious Italian food

Delicious Italian food

Last week, I was in Italy to attend a funeral. An old friend’s wife had passed away. Although it was a sad occasion, it also felt – as funerals tend to do – like a reunion of sorts. That feeling was reinforced by the meals we shared with family and friends the evening before the funeral and the following afternoon. We talked ...
“Suddenly, you have a family of your own”

“Suddenly, you have a family of your own”

From Hollandaise sauce to Indian dal, UCM student Tim Aretz included many different recipes in Eat, drink and be merry, his weekly series of food articles for Observant. He came very close to opening his own restaurant when he was in his thirties – in Canada, no less. But life had something else in store for him.
“We talk too much ‘about’ instead of ‘with’ people”

“We talk too much ‘about’ instead of ‘with’ people”

MAASTRICHT. No driving a car without a driver’s licence. No tutoring a group without a basic teaching qualification (Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs, BKO). But until now, taking on the role of a leader at Maastricht University was possible without having done any course or training. That is about to change. The UM has recently started offer...
“I would dare to say to a friend that I don’t like a particular item of clothing”

“I would dare to say to a friend that I don’t like a particular item of clothing”

Lien Tormans (18, Belgian), first-year student of Psychology, describes her style as “provocative with items that not everyone would wear”. 
“Scholars should be at the forefront, not watching from above”

“Scholars should be at the forefront, not watching from above”

What is the role of academics in times of environmental crisis? That was the main question at the debate at the School of Business and Economics last Wednesday, organized by Students4Climate Maastricht and Sustainable Maastricht 2030.  Where some panel members emphasized the steps that have already been taken, others – together with many...
UPDATE PhD candidate remains banned from the lab

UPDATE PhD candidate remains banned from the lab

MAASTRICHT. A PhD candidate from Maastricht research institute Carim who was denied access to the laboratory, will not have her keys returned to her. This was the conclusion of the judge last Tuesday. With this, the court has decided in favour of Maastricht University. The PhD candidate doesn’t need to be there, because she has no supervisor....
“I realised that I didn’t need to be girly”

“I realised that I didn’t need to be girly”

Eva Gabrílovíca, 20 year’s old, 2nd year student of Psychology, describes her style as “comfortable and a mix of skate and street wear”.
“You need luck to make it in academia”

“You need luck to make it in academia”

It’s 9.00 a.m. on a Monday morning in mid-December. Jan Machielsen (35), senior lecturer in history at Cardiff University in Wales, is still in his Paris hotel. After our telephone interview, he’ll head for the library to continue working on his research. “On foot. There’s another strike going on. Public transport, including...
“Those hackers will most likely never be found”

“Those hackers will most likely never be found”

Reports indicate that Maastricht University paid a couple of hundred thousand euro ‘ransom’ to the cybercriminals who locked down the university just before Christmas, and having done so, received the key to gain access to its systems again. Supposedly, the amount was paid in bitcoins, the currency hackers like to deal in. Why is crypto...
“I get to choose a new pair of shoes every three months”

“I get to choose a new pair of shoes every three months”

Rychenda Paulussen (24, Dutch), third-year student of Dutch Law, describes her style as “the current trend”.
University of Calgary: “We’re a public sector organization and pride ourselves on our openness”

University of Calgary: “We’re a public sector organization and pride ourselves on our openness”

The University of Calgary paid a 20,000 Canadian dollar ransom in bitcoins to hackers after a malware attack in May 2016. In contrast to Maastricht University, which was hit before Christmas and is still recovering, the Canadian colleagues admitted almost a week after the attack that they paid the ransom, as well as releasing the amount paid. Why d...
“Extreme carelessness? It appears to be more like misconduct”

“Extreme carelessness? It appears to be more like misconduct”

Last week, Observant reported about the Maastricht PhD candidate who accused a professor of Cardiology, her former supervisor, of academic fraud. Three experts consulted, all biologists who specialise in integrity matters, give their extensive views regarding this case.
YUFE information session: “How is a YUFE student different from an exchange student?”

YUFE information session: “How is a YUFE student different from an exchange student?”

MAASTRICHT. Two courses in Maastricht, four in Finland, one in Madrid, and then three more in Cyprus. As of coming September, this might actually be a study year of a Maastricht University (UM) student. Last Monday morning, students and staff gathered for the first time in the Saint Jan’s Church on the Vrijthof for an information session abou...
 Executive Board withdraws proposal for dean appointment procedure, University Council conflict solved

Executive Board withdraws proposal for dean appointment procedure, University Council conflict solved

MAASTRICHT. The Executive Board has withdrawn the proposal for a new procedure for the appointment of faculty deans (the highest position in a faculty). In doing so, the conflict with the University Council, which arose at the end of September, has ended. It also means that in the future there will be only one member of the Executive Board on ...
Maastricht professor of Cardiology accused of academic fraud

Maastricht professor of Cardiology accused of academic fraud

MAASTRICHT. A Maastricht professor of Cardiology is accused of academic fraud by her former PhD candidate. She is alleged to have falsified data and to have doctored pictures to make them look better in subsidy applications. The case is currently with Maastricht University’s Committee for Scientific Integrity. At the same time, the ...
Reconstruction of the cyberattack based on facts and plausibility

Reconstruction of the cyberattack based on facts and plausibility

23 December 2019, 19:35hrs. Personnel from the UM’s IT service ICTS notice that various systems are slowing down. The permanent internal crisis team CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) sounds the alarm. The UM has been hacked. Within an hour, they are on the spot; they will stay all night. In vain: the UM network is down, including the e-...

“I’d hop on a plane to go interview Sylvester Stallone”

“I’d hop on a plane to go interview Sylvester Stallone”

He didn’t really have big dreams for his future, so he didn’t try to pursue anything in particular. “I was never working towards a specific goal. One thing just led to another,” says Eugène Baak (51). His career in journalism began when he was a student at Observant. He later interviewed film stars like Sylvester Stallone an...
“The UM is solid as a rock in times of crisis”

“The UM is solid as a rock in times of crisis”

MAASTRICHT. If there is anything we have seen during this recent cyberattack, said President Martin Paul last Monday at a well-attended New Year’s reception in the Bonnefantenmuseum, it is the community spirit within this university. Some staff did not have a Christmas holiday, but instead had to make long working hours. “The crisis man...

“Even as a child I wore strange things”

“Even as a child I wore strange things”

Robin Pocornie (23, Dutch), research master’s student of Cognitive Neurosciences, describes her style as “unexpected, different every day. I also like to push the boundaries between female and androgynous.”
Update: Wi-Fi restored; computers allowed to be switched on

Update: Wi-Fi restored; computers allowed to be switched on

MAASTRICHT. Just over a week after the cyberattack targeted at Maastricht University, more and more systems are working again. A (partially) operational Wi-Fi network has been added to the (partially) accessible student portal and Blackboard/Eleum. Students and staff can also use their computers or devices again.
“How long is all this going to take?”

“How long is all this going to take?”

Most students and staff are still enjoying their holidays, but Maastricht University has nevertheless opened its doors again on Thursday, 2 January. After the cyberattack, just before Christmas, the university is trying to inform all those concerned in a variety of ways. As of today, the web-based FAQ list, the dedicated telephone line and e-mail a...
Cyberhack: Maastricht University pays ransom

Cyberhack: Maastricht University pays ransom

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University, which was hit by a cyberattack just before Christmas, paid the ‘ransom’ to the hackers. In doing so, the key was obtained to make systems accessible again. This was reported by well-informed sources at the UM. No official statements are being given.
Education programmes resume on 6 January, resits will also take place as planned

Education programmes resume on 6 January, resits will also take place as planned

MAASTRICHT. The consequences of the cyber-attack on Maastricht University have been solved to such a degree that education programmes can be resumed on 6 January 2020 as planned. The UM has stated this in a new update on its website. Resits that have been scheduled, will also take place in that week because a number of IT system...
UM has been in contact with cybercriminals

UM has been in contact with cybercriminals

MAASTRICHT. During the night of 23-24 December, Maastricht University was hit by Clop ransomware. About twenty-five people are working every day in two shifts to determine the extent of the cyberattack. It’s unclear how long this will take, says Fons Elbersen, UM’s new temporary spokesperson.
Student services bureau Jules bankrupt

Student services bureau Jules bankrupt

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht court of law declared student services bureau Jules bankrupt on Tuesday 17 December. Jules, set up more than ten years ago by Karin van der Ven, a Maastricht University alumna, mainly supported foreign students with services such as language courses, a removal service, and help with questions about insurance and tax....
“There is a big gap in EU regulations for students like me”

“There is a big gap in EU regulations for students like me”

She is a little wary; mentioning her home country in the article makes her very uncomfortable. The same holds for her current city of residence “somewhere in the Euregio”, says Fazilet Caglayan (23), master’s student of Globalisation and Law. She draws a picture of the “human rights violations” she saw when the army in...

Internationalisation: figures, pros and cons

Internationalisation: figures, pros and cons

THE NETHERLANDS. Dutch Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven wants to prevent an excessive influx of the number of international students. Today she defends her plans in the Dutch House of Representatives. Ahead of this debate, here are some facts and opinions to put things in perspective.
When world problems arrive at your doorstep

When world problems arrive at your doorstep

Climate marches, Brexit fuss, mass demonstrations in Hong Kong: all have been making headlines around the world in 2019. Observant spoke to two students and a PhD candidate who experienced the world news first-hand.
“We show great solidarity with our fence”

“We show great solidarity with our fence”

“We are very committed towards the EU, but we don't want immigrants. That is an issue that is non-negotiable,” says Hungarian ambassador András Kocsis in the Statenzaal of the Law faculty. Last Saturday, he engaged in a debate with former Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs Ben Bot on the rift between Eastern and Western Europe. Th...

“The only colourful thing in my wardrobe is my pyjamas”

“The only colourful thing in my wardrobe is my pyjamas”

Linda Paulssen (27, Dutch), third-year student of Dutch Law, describes her style as “black, modern and sharp”.
Only the best of the best aubergines and onions are selected

Only the best of the best aubergines and onions are selected

Christmas is just around the corner. This time of year never fails to remind me of Dickens. It’s always December in his stories: freezing cold outside, a blazing hearth fire inside. This contrast is reflected by the contrast between outsiders suffering hardship and the comfort of a warm home. Dickens’s writing was inspired by his own ch...
“I wasn’t in a relationship and I didn’t feel the need to be”

“I wasn’t in a relationship and I didn’t feel the need to be”

She thought she might get a serious job in the legal profession – a lawyer working from the Amsterdam business district Zuidas, for example. “There was something romantic about the idea. Work hard, play hard, something like that. Work your tail off, but go skiing together, too. That sense of community appealed to me,” says Europea...
Everything is ok

Everything is ok

The first deadlines have come and gone. The first final examinations are silently knocking on my door, whispering, in the true UCM spirit, that everything will be ok. I look down at my phone. The train ticket back to the Netherlands, back to my other home, has already been downloaded on it for weeks. The e-mail from the Semester Abroad Office th...

UM should speak out against Zwarte Piet

UM should speak out against Zwarte Piet

Maastricht University, as an institution that prides itself on being international and inclusive, should speak out against the tradition of Zwarte Piet, say the Maastricht Students Against Zwarte Piet in this opinion article.
“I was in hospital and I thought: this is fun, too”

“I was in hospital and I thought: this is fun, too”

He always wrote long articles, filling entire pages with them. “You paid us per word, that’s why,” laughs Marc Bonten (1964), who worked as a student freelancer for Observant between 1987 and 1989. His writing was great, but his future wouldn’t be in journalism. He was studying medicine, but did he want to be a doctor? He wa...
“I like to shop in small local boutiques; they give personal advice and have original items”

“I like to shop in small local boutiques; they give personal advice and have original items”

Tereza Spustova (33, Czech), master's student of Arts and Heritage, describes her style as “elegant with not too many accessories, always experimenting with various colours, prints, materials and shapes”.
“Even if we don’t address each other formally, the PhD student-supervisor relationship is very hierarchical”

“Even if we don’t address each other formally, the PhD student-supervisor relationship is very hierarchical”

The majority of the fifty cases UM ombudsman Anna Soedira has been presented with since February 2019 concerned conflicts between employees and their bosses – PhD students and their supervisors in particular. Some of these are still under investigation, whereas others have been resolved. Some solutions left all parties satisfied, whereas othe...
Studying in a dormitory

Studying in a dormitory

There's music coming from the radio, there are electric heaters in the corners, and there's scattered building material on the ground. The first phase of the renovations at Tapijn barracks, in which the carré-buildings on the Prins Bisschopsingel were given a complete makeover, is almost finished. Some eighty to a hundred construction worke...

Complaining with only one objective: to harm

Complaining with only one objective: to harm

What can you do when someone is accused, through evil intention, of violating scientific integrity? How often does this happen? How can you recognise it? These questions arose last Monday during a symposium in Amsterdam. It also became apparent how much consternation and agitation the basra reed warbler has brought about.  
Good NSE score does not necessarily mean a good Keuzegids score

Good NSE score does not necessarily mean a good Keuzegids score

MAASTRICHT. The UM is the most international university; European Law School - with almost 84 per cent foreign students - is the most international study programme. But when it comes to quality, Law School is dangling at the bottom in the Keuzegids Universiteiten 2020. The results of the National Student Survey (Nationale Studenten Enquête, NS...
“When I put on too much make-up, I look just like Barbie”

“When I put on too much make-up, I look just like Barbie”

Coco Smit (20, Dutch), third-year student of Biomedical Sciences, describes her style as “sporty and colourful”.
“I have to get reacquainted with Dutch culture”

“I have to get reacquainted with Dutch culture”

Marie Zwetsloot (30) has only just returned to the Netherlands. She spent seven years in the US as a Fulbright and Huygens scholar, obtaining a research master’s degree in soil science and writing her PhD thesis on the influence of roots on belowground carbon in the context of climate change. None of this is what she planned to do when she ca...
“Is this a protest?”

“Is this a protest?”

It’s a cold, dark Tuesday night. A group of six theatre geeks wrap up their conversation in front of the bar in which they’ve been talking about their upcoming production, gender and hierarchy in theatre, and the future in general. Time flew by inside, but by now everyone just wants to get home and wrap themselves up in a fluffy blanket...

Europahave office building to become student housing too

Europahave office building to become student housing too

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht City Council expects that by next year there will be sufficient accommodation for students. On top of the annual maximum of 120 rooms or studios in the private sector, there will be another 252 prefabricated apartments in Randwyck, as well as - recently announced - 127 flats in the former office building Europahave in Hee...
"I would like to have a mini-afro again but it is not practical at the moment"

"I would like to have a mini-afro again but it is not practical at the moment"

Anass Mephtah (21, Dutch), third-year student of Biomedical Sciences and first-year student of Psychology, describes his style as “sometimes all in black, sometimes urban, sometimes neat, but always completely myself”
The best vegetarian cuisine in the world

The best vegetarian cuisine in the world

Three weeks ago, I reviewed some delicious kebab; today, it’s time to take a little break from eating meat. This is more difficult than you might expect, as there aren’t any vegetarian-only restaurants in Maastricht. Fortunately, there are plenty of eateries that offer a good range of vegetarian options in addition to carnivore-friendly...
IB alumnus Maarten Scholts: “I excelled at doing nothing”

IB alumnus Maarten Scholts: “I excelled at doing nothing”

His 2003 interview revolved around one thing and one thing only: cars. He wanted to become CEO of Ferrari and would personally save the brand from a takeover by Mercedes or Volkswagen. His house would also have to be big enough to accommodate his fleet of vehicles, which was to consist of five shiny red Italian sports cars for Sunday afternoon driv...
“The wrong shoes can ruin your outfit”

“The wrong shoes can ruin your outfit”

Leroy Kabangu (Heerlen, 26), third-year student of Law, describes his style as casual with a twist.
“Please, call me Rianne, after all it is after eight”

“Please, call me Rianne, after all it is after eight”

“I have so much respect for that woman,” a student says to her friends in the corridor of the Ipanema hall of the Bonnefanten museum. She is talking about Rianne Letschert, rector of Maastricht University. Letschert was the guest at the Maastricht version of the well-known TV programme College Tour last Thursday. Where normally the pres...

Kaleido gets permanent home at Tapijn

Kaleido gets permanent home at Tapijn

MAASTRICHT. At last, student club Kaleido has found a permanent location: Tapijn, building Z. It’s the current residence of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE). The latter will soon move to the Paul Henri Spaaklaan in Randwyck.
“It’s up to the journalist to peer through the smoke screen”

“It’s up to the journalist to peer through the smoke screen”

Interest rate derivatives, share buy-back programmes, government bonds, deposit banks. Dear reader, are you still there? Investigative journalist Thomas Bollen (1984) lives for these kinds of financial-economic concepts – the more obscure the better. He meticulously dissects them, leaving no stone unturned. “The Netherlands is a wonderf...
Madrid, Paris, Afghanistan, Uganda, and now Mexico

Madrid, Paris, Afghanistan, Uganda, and now Mexico

Living a grand and exciting life, writing, and exploring the world. Those were the dreams alumna Judith Maas had for her future back when she was a student. They both did and didn’t come true. Her career as a diplomat – she’s currently deputy ambassador in Mexico – took her to many continents, but she didn’t end up fol...
“The police always threaten to arrest me, but they never do”

“The police always threaten to arrest me, but they never do”

Cambodian human rights activist Lim Kimsor (31) and her family were forced by their government to leave their house in the city of Phnom Penh in July 2009. The government gave several reasons: city beautification, construction of a drainage system, laying streets. It turned out that the land had been sold to private companies. Since 2011, Kimsor ha...
Complaint foreign PhD candidate, hearing in Dutch

Complaint foreign PhD candidate, hearing in Dutch

MAASTRICHT. A foreign PhD candidate who submitted a complaint about her supervisor to Maastricht University's ‘Complaints committee for Inappropriate Behaviour’, is invited for a hearing in Dutch. This to her amazement, a language she barely understands, let alone be able to express herself in adequately. An interpreter is permitted...
“I see things within the UM that worry me”

“I see things within the UM that worry me”

How can we tackle the problem of a heavy workload? How can we ensure a safe working environment? Eighteen groups of employees (approximately 180 people) pondered these questions the last few weeks. Solutions will be presented in spring.
“I wear lots of my mother's and father's clothes from the time when they were in their teens and twenties”

“I wear lots of my mother's and father's clothes from the time when they were in their teens and twenties”

Anna Rakas (18), first-year student of European Public Health, describes her style as "masculine with feminine details"
 “Studying kind of felt like a necessary evil to me”

“Studying kind of felt like a necessary evil to me”

“Are you happy with the way you look? Well, I’d rather be 10cm taller and/or 5 kilos lighter, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I think I’m hideous… Do you want children? ‘That’s just about the last thing I want to think about’ isn’t included as an option on this dating site. Do you smoke? S...
Sleeping under the stars

Sleeping under the stars

Sleeping under the stars - singing around a campfire - learning to juggle by a cold lake It seems like a shot from a movie. One of those movies where people just eat one bite of their croissant and then leave the beautifully laid breakfast table. Where the protagonists don't turn off the light when they leave their house. Where everyone seem...

“I take myself more serious in high heels”

“I take myself more serious in high heels”

Mathilde Kennis (26), PhD candidate at Cognitive Neurosciences, describes her style as “not subject to trends, sustainable and distinctly female”.
Conflict between University Council and Executive Board

Conflict between University Council and Executive Board

MAASTRICHT. A conflict has arisen between the University Council and the Executive Board. The controversial issue is the new procedure for the appointment of deans, which states that from now on, the entire Executive Board will sit on the Appointments Advisory Committee for the appointment of deans. Until now, only the rector was a member of t...
Hardly complaints to confidential advisor

Hardly complaints to confidential advisor

MAASTRICHT. In particular foreigners submitted complaints to the confidential adviser for students in 2018. Most of the complaints concerned discrimination and sexual intimidation. A total of 46 students contacted the adviser.
Alumna Inge van Kan: “He’d sown his wild oats and was ready to settle”

Alumna Inge van Kan: “He’d sown his wild oats and was ready to settle”

Château Neercanne, 5 September 2015. “Max, maybe you think you were the one who came up with the idea of buying that house the two of you bought in Sint Pieter last month. But it couldn’t be less true. You’ve been manipulated. You were set up.” Inge’s wedding witness produces a yellowed copy of Observant from...
Doner, my favourite street food

Doner, my favourite street food

​I’m on the road a lot, which doesn’t really square with healthy eating habits. Fast food at train stations is often not very good for you, but I always tell myself there is one snack that’s a complete and relatively healthy meal: doner kebab with a cup of ayran. The former consists of raw vegetables, grilled meat with the fat mel...
Science Programme tuition fees to rise substantially

Science Programme tuition fees to rise substantially

MAASTRICHT. The tuition fee for the Maastricht Science Programme (MSP) is going to increase considerably. From the next academic year, it will go from 2,143 euro (the statutory amount) to 3,545 euro per year.
Positive response to digital exams, despite teething problems

Positive response to digital exams, despite teething problems

MAASTRICHT. A loud “YESSS!!!!” sounds at the main entrance of the MECC on Tuesday morning. Second-year students of International Business Thom Metselaar and Tim Schmid have passed their computer exam ‘Management of Organizations’. They have just pressed Enter for the last time, but the answers are already online.
Associate Professors can also be promotors

Associate Professors can also be promotors

MAASTRICHT. From January 2020, all Maastricht Associate Professors who have obtained a doctorate degree will receive the ius promovendi: the right to act as a PhD thesis supervisor. Until this year, this was restricted to professors or, in exceptional case, those who had obtained a PhD and had permission from the Board of Deans.
Study Saturday: weekend studying at the faculty during the exam period

Study Saturday: weekend studying at the faculty during the exam period

MAASTRICHT. Is the university library full and your room not really a great place to study? Student representatives of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences organised another ‘Study Saturday’ in the building on the Grote Gracht 76 last Saturday. All classrooms and the regular study spaces were available. Café Banditos was open to...

“If people think I look a bit weird, I’m totally fine with that”

“If people think I look a bit weird, I’m totally fine with that”

Emma van Tuyll (20), third-year student of International Medicine Track, describes her style as “I have no clue really, I guess ‘alternative’ would cover it”
“I had to be in enough pain to start doing things differently”

“I had to be in enough pain to start doing things differently”

Life has calmed down for her. Working as a programme manager at a coaching business, being with Onno (“I met him at the pub on my 31st birthday”): the past years have been the happiest of Jorien Knevel’s life. Getting there wasn’t smooth sailing, though. She enjoyed studying and working well enough, but she lacked a sen...
UM Sports should be more diverse

UM Sports should be more diverse

​MAASTRICHT. In the areas of diversity and inclusivity – two of Maastricht University's focal areas – some work is still needed at the university sports centre in Maastricht. Especially diversity requires attention, according to the outcome of the first phase of the UM study ‘UM Sports for Every Body’.
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...
“As it turned out, I liked neither reading nor writing”

“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.