“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 progre...

“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 progre...

SBE master’s students accused of plagiarism

MAASTRICHT. Now that the first online exams have been made, there are also the first cases of fraud. For example, ten out of the hundred master’s students who did the take-home exam for the subject of Behavioural Finance this week, used exactly the same words to answer a number of questions. They will get a NG (No Grade) for their exams and each will be asked to individually provide an explanation to the Examination Board.

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 ann...

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 t...

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 a...

“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 Observant.

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 ha...

“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 almost every day. The exam period for block 4 is scheduled to start on Monday, 30 March.

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 ...

"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?

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 wa...

“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 social media channels last Thursday. About a hundred people attended the webinar, watching a panel of experts offer tips and answer questions from the studio (at an appropriate distance from each other) or via Skype.

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 ag...

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.

“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 go...

Maastricht has cancelled all face-to-face education until summer

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. Maastricht University and Leiden University have cancelled all face-to-face education for the rest of the academic year. Other universities and universities of applied sciences are considering doing the same.

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,...

"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 partially on the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Area Health Authority (GGD).”

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 students that the RIVM guidelines must be observed: 1.5 metre distance, place shopping on the ground and have money ready (or pay by bank card).

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 Maurice Evers, department head Maastricht Housing. There are also students who don’t want to go home because they are afraid of increasing their family members’ chances of getting infected.

“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 ...

UPDATE: UM shifts to online teaching

UPDATE: UM shifts to online teaching

MAASTRICHT. As of Monday 16 March 2020, UM has shifted completely to online teaching. How exactly are faculties going about this? Have they come up with alternatives for large-scale exams that needed to be cancelled? Will exams be postponed to the summer, potentially ruining both lecturers and students’ holiday plans?

 
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.

Covid-19 measures: how are students reacting?

Covid-19 measures: how are students reacting?

MAASTRICHT. What do the preventative measures that have been taken to curtail the spreading of the coronavirus mean for student associations and organisations? Observant asked the four largest – Koko, Tragos, Circumflex and Saurus – and found out that they immediately closed their doors on Thursday. Initially, Saurus wanted its rowers to continue training, but cancelled that as well on Saturday. The associations have also asked their members not to come together anywhere else, but to stay at home. Board members work from home as much as possible.

“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...

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 l...

NWO also on hold

NETHERLANDS. Dutch Research Council and funding organisation NWO is not conducting any interviews with applicants for research grants for the time being. Applicants will most likely have to wait a few anxious months more because of the corona crisis.

UPDATE: University Library closes its doors, all UM buildings closed for students and staff as of 16 March.

UPDATE: University Library closes its doors, all UM buildings closed for students and staff as of 16 March.   MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has closed its doors for students with effect from 16 March. This includes the University Libra...

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 for drastic measures yet, but is preparing for a variety of scenarios.

XIOR disputes rent tribunal judgment

MAASTRICHT. Student housing company XIOR, owner of the Carré building on the Tongersestraat and other property, is going to court to appeal against two decisions taken by the rent tribunal. The tribunal, which is an independent organisation that formally settles conflicts between tenants and property owners, recently ruled in favour of two tenants renting studios in the Carré building. The rent agreed was said be too high and a serious fault was identified (mould in the bathroom), for which the students should receive a discount on their rent.

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 measures in the hospital. They are called on to avoid the MUMC as much as possible; interns are not allowed in the operating theatres until further notice.

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 other tasks that require the use of face masks. The latter is because of the scarcity of protective materials.

Fewer evening patrols by city law enforcement units

Fewer evening patrols by city law enforcement units

MAASTRICHT. The city of  Maastricht is facing a budget deficit of 12 million and needs to economise. Part of the measures presented by the Mayor and Aldermen last week, is reducing the number of evenings on which law enforcement units patrol. This has caused great disappointment in the Buurtbalans residents’ platform.

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 Vri...

No corona virus diagnosis at UM, but some students have reported sick

No corona virus diagnosis at UM, but some students have reported sick

MAASTRICHT. So far, 25 students from Maastricht University have reported sick for education activities. They will stay at home because they are sneezing or coughing or have a fever in combination with having recently returned from a high-risk area for the corona virus, such as Northern Italy. In such cases, the UM advises to remain at home for two days and see how the illness progresses. No student or member of staff has yet been diagnosed with the so-called Covid-19 virus.

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’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.

Corona in the Netherlands; classes continue

THE NETHERLANDS. Wash your hands, sneeze in your sleeve and use paper tissues. Beyond that, says the Dutch government, there’s little students and schools can do to stop the coronavirus.

“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”.

The posters say it all

The posters say it all

Carly Sunol (19, Barcelona), studies Biology and Philosophy at UCM, pays 470 Euros for a 15m2 room in Daalhof, where she lives with two housemates.

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 succeed Professor Albert Scherpbier at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences as of 1 June. The latter is going to retire.

UM researchers get involved in discussions during film festival

UM researchers get involved in discussions during film festival

What could the future look like by the year of 2040 if we simply embraced the best available solutions to improve our planet? If we would shift them rapidly into the mainstream? Questions from the documentary 2040 by the Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau. The film was set up as letter to his 4-year-old daughter. What kind of world is she heading towards? Full of hope, Gameau goes in search of the best solutions at our finger tips right now.

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 of the list for years? And is Psychology in Maastricht the preferred choice rather than the programmes in Amsterdam and Leiden, which dangle at the bottom of the list?

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&rsqu...

Seven languages to say: “comfort, relax and simplicity”

Seven languages to say: “comfort, relax and simplicity”

Shanice Benson (18, German-Irish), first-year student Maastricht Science Programme (FSE) pays 351 Euros per month for an 8 m2 room at the Guesthouse

More university lectures should be available to everyone online: VVD

THE NETHERLANDS. Far more university and college lectures should be available remotely for the general population to watch, according to MPs from the right-wing Liberal VVD.

‘New start’ for student services bureau Jules

‘New start’ for student services bureau Jules

MAASTRICHT. The real estate management of student services bureau Jules, which was declared bankrupt in December, is to be taken over by GeWOON in Geulle, curator Joep Tummers from Paulussen Advocaten announced. It is not really a new start, bec...

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.

“Good hope” that neither scientific data nor personal information has been stolen

MAASTRICHT. Was or is scientific data in danger as a result of the cyberattack on 23 December? It appears that this was not the case. What about the privacy of students and staff? If personal information has been hacked, that would be a risk. But the UM’s management is optimistic.

“It shouldn’t be weird that a colleague takes a moment to sit on the floor and do a breathing exercise”

“It shouldn’t be weird that a colleague takes a moment to sit on the floor and do a breathing exercise”

He travelled the world, became a yoga teacher and now combines that with being a student. When he came to Maastricht University to study at the University College Venlo, Filippo Oglialoro hoped to find scientific evidence for what he experiences with yoga. Fast forward three years and Oglialoro is about to finish his bachelor’s thesis, for which he developed his own holistic yoga programme for the work environment.

“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 voices in the audience – were more critical: they feel not enough is happening and time is running out.

One million euro a year extra for FSE

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University has officially received access to the experiments with CERN’s particle accelerator, the European organisation for nuclear research. There, to the west of Geneva, Maastricht researchers can now carry out extensive research.

FPN wants to spend the money for educational improvements differently

MAASTRICHT. The agreement made by students in the University Council and the Executive Board last year was for more intensive contact hours for all first- and second-year students. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences now thinks that they can spend the money in a better way.

UM Medical bachelor’s students invited to renowned UK congress

MAASTRICHT. A group of ten honours students from the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences (FHML) was selected to hold a poster presentation at the renowned British Society for Immunology Congress. And no, that is not common. Normally, only researchers – not seldomly from Harvard, Oxford and Berkeley – are given that privilege.

Inkom theme: Enter the unknown

The theme of Inkom 2020 was announced by the Inkom Working Group during a constitution event on Friday. This year, ‘Enter the unknown’ has been chosen. “We see Inkom as something comparable to diving in at the deep end,” says ...

Parliamentary debate on UM cyberattack

MAASTRICHT. ​There is soon to be a parliamentary debate on the cyberattack that hit Maastricht University just before Christmas. The exact date is not yet known. On 5 February, the UM itself will “reveal all” during a public meeting in Maastricht. The hack will be subject of discussion during a private meeting of the University Council today, Wednesday 15 January.

"The question about the ransom will also be answered then”

MAASTRICHT. On 5 February (rather than 6 February, as was initially stated by the Executive Board), Maastricht University will “reveal all” about the cyberattack. During a public meeting, the UM intends to present its findings concerning the ongoing investigation into the hack, and provide answers to (almost) all the questions. That includes the question as to whether a ransom was paid and if so, how much.

Participation councils and student boards more accessible to international students

THE NETHERLANDS. As of this year, it will be much easier for international students to join a participation council or sit on the board of a student association. Internationalisation organisation Nuffic and the Dutch National Student Association (ISO) are pleased with the news.

 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 the Appointments Advisory Committee (benoemingsadviescommissie, BAC), and that recruitment for a suitable candidate will first take place internally. 

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 hou...

Eliminating the effects of the cyberattack could take weeks

MAASTRICHT. It could take weeks before all the effects of the cyberattack have been eliminated. But last Monday, education programmes started up again with hardly any problems. On Tuesday, the e-mail system was back online again and the network disks that are so important to researchers, were fully accessible. Sister universities are meanwhile taking additional measures.

“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...

“Colleagues here at DKE said: “If everything is up and running again within a month, they will have paid”

“Colleagues here at DKE said: “If everything is up and running again within a month, they will have paid”

MAASTRICHT. To everyone’s relief, the e-mail system could be used this Tuesday. But on the first Monday of 2020, that wasn’t possible yet. How did that day go? And what do students and staff think about paying ransom money?

“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.”

Monday 6 January and e-mail system still not up and running

MAASTRICHT. Monday, 6 January 2020, the first day back after the Christmas holidays, staff and students still cannot use the UM’s e-mail system. There is no access to the Internet and the data files on network disks either. It may take a few more days before all of this is up and running again, the UM announced in Update #12.

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 address have been expanded by eight information desks in a number of buildings. Observant went to have a look.

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 systems necessary for education and students will be back online on 2 January. This includes the UM Student Portal, Blackboard, Eleum and the system that provides access to the study timetables.

UM wants to set up ‘help lines’ for students and staff

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University buildings will open on Thursday 2 January, no matter what, so even if the consequences of the cyber-attack have not yet been solved by then. Furthermore, ‘help lines’ (on faculty, central and service centre level) will be set up for students and staff who have questions.

More than 250 concerned students and staff e-mail the UM

MAASTRICHT. About 250 employees and students have contacted the university after the cyber-attack on the night of 23 December, using the special e-mail address info@m-u.nl set up for this purpose. The primary questions for them include: Which systems have been affected? How long will all this take? What about my data? Are my exam results safe?

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.

Cyber-attack on Maastricht University

MAASTRICHT. On the night of 23 December, Maastricht University fell victim to a serious cyber-attack with the so-called Clop virus (ransomware). This made access to a lot of scientific data impossible. The e-mail system is down too, and the Student Portal and the library are offline. Exactly how this happened is now being investigated, says spokesman Gert van Doorn.

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. The management of student accommodation was later added. For the latter, the bureau was discredited on several occasions.

“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 Globalisatio...

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.

“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 European Law School alumna Marlies van de Wiel (37) about fifteen years later. Would it suit her, though? Was her skin thick enough? She also played with the idea of a career in journalism, courtesy of her student job at Observant. But how would she, a law student, even go about that?

What should an influencer do and not do?

What should an influencer do and not do?

MAASTRICHT. Is a vlogger allowed to advertise a product in a video diary and not state that it is advertising? Is it all right for a YouTuber with a lot of underage followers to promote energy drinks? Influencers have become an established part of the online media landscape, but for legislators it is still a very new phenomenon. The Maastricht ‘Influencer Law Clinic’ wants to create clarity, both for the influencers and for consumers.

New offensive against PhD ‘student’ status

THE NETHERLANDS. PhD students at the University of Groningen have written a manifesto: they want to be employees rather than students and have started a petition.

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.

Student clubs ‘given 75% discounts’ to encourage heavy drinking

THE NETHERLANDS. Students’ associations are continuing to sign up to deals with breweries that reward heavy drinking by their members despite pledging to change the ‘alcohol culture’ at universities.

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, NSE), however, tell a different story.

University Council student members saddled with extra work

MAASTRICHT. Student members of the University Council often have to do an extra study assignment, because they miss out on part of the education programme due to their council or committee duties. During a University Council meeting last Wednesday, they asked rector Rianne Letschert whether a solution could be found for this. The rector promised to take a closer look at the problem.

“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 came to University College Maastricht in 2007. As a UCM student, she studied subjects related to politics, society and philosophy and worked at Observant. Her plans changed after an exchange programme in Ecuador.

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 Heer. With this, the city is exceeding the required number of 485.

UM budget: uncertain future because of Van Rijn committee

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University will end up in the red in 2020, but there is no need to panic. The six million shortage - coming from the reserves - is meant for investments already planned for new bachelor’s and master’s programmes, IT upgrades and housing.

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 ones.

Academic career: teaching and impact to carry more weight

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. For a career in science you will no longer need to solely focus yourself on research. Knowledge institutes and science funders feel that being a good teacher and doing useful research are also very important.

Numbers of students with mental health problems not on the rise

Anyone who reads a newspaper almost always come to the same conclusion: life is tough for students. They have to deal with stress, anxiety disorders and symptoms of burn-out. And with the increased pressure to achieve and the abolition of the basic s...

No more sponsored medical students from the Middle East

MAASTRICHT. The special grant programmes for students from the Middle East who come to study Medicine in Maastricht, have been discontinued. The Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) has pulled the plug: too much hassle with the governments that provide the grants and subsequently want to set all kinds of requirements for the programme.

“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 M...

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.

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 following in Thea Beckman’s footsteps to become an author of children’s books. The desire to write still lingers, though.

Brexit: British students warned to tread carefully with illegal room rental

THE NETHERLANDS. British citizens studying in the Netherlands should be sure they are registered in their local municipality if and when the United Kingdom actually leaves the European Union. Failure to do so could mean being faced with all kinds of problems.

 “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? Shoot, there goes my chance of meeting the woman of my dreams I’d quit smoking for.”

Work-to-rule action: “Thanks for your email, but it will have to wait”

THE NETHERLANDS. In November, activist scientists will be sending automated replies to emails they receive stating they are too busy to send quick replies.

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 the committee, and the University Council would like to keep it that way. The conflict – a dispute, in legal terms – now lies with the Supervisory Board.

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 her inside pocket and begins to read a passage from the interview with the then 19-year-old student of Law out loud. “‘I’m enjoying it here in Maastricht. I’d like to come back here after seeing the rest of the world. I wouldn’t mind living in Sint Pieter.’”

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.

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 ...

Not the rector, but the entire Appointments Advisory Committee selects dean application letters

MAASTRICHT. It is no longer the rector who will carry out the initial selection of job application letters for the appointment of deans. Such letters will again be submitted to the Appointments Advisory Committee as a whole.

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 for Dutch women in top management positions is a little more grounded. “I’m not a superwoman. I, too, make mistakes.” And she, too, gets “ticked off” sometimes, like when she’s accused of being power hungry. “Anyone who knows me knows I’m not like that.”

“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 contain brochures on such topics as fear of failure, depression, negative self-perception and – relatable to every student – procrastination. The bookcase and its contents belong to Sibren Fetter (37), career counsellor at UM.

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.

Research master's of Health Sciences to stop in 2020

MAASTRICHT. The Health Sciences Research Master (HSRM) will be discontinued with effect from September 2020. The University Council approved the request for discontinuance last week. The master's didn't attract enough students to be cost-effective. The current students will be able to complete the two-year programme.

New University Council chairperson left a visiting card

New University Council chairperson left a visiting card

MAASTRICHT. The first plenary session of the new University Council and its newly appointed chairperson, Amanda Kluveld, immediately caused fireworks. At the request of the Council, she put the new procedure for the appointing of deans as an additional item on the agenda. The Executive Board wanted to prevent this, but Kluveld stuck to her guns.

Putting the brakes on English in higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. Minister of Education Ingrid van Engelshoven has announced plans to introduce more stringent language policies for Dutch higher education. This could mean that a number of programmes currently being taught in English will have to switch back to Dutch. But how likely is that to actually happen?

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.

Of course foreign students should learn Dutch, says OECD

THE NETHERLANDS. Great education is more than the right combination of quality and equity, say two researchers from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Language and culture also matter.

Municipality has no idea how many students have or have not registered

Municipality has no idea how many students have or have not registered

MAASTRICHT. It is unclear how much income the city of Maastricht loses out on every year because students fail to register as residents. Municipalities receive a sum of money from central government from the Municipality Fund, based on various criteria, such as the number of inhabitants. The city council actually has no idea how many students have or have not registered in their administration. This is laid down in the Wet Basisregistratie Personen (Basic Persons Registration Act) and that does not include registration whether someone is a student or not.

“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 eyes.” Five of the people in her group – which consisted of twenty journalists, supervised by park rangers ­– were killed. “I was perplexed. I wanted to run away, but I had no idea where to go.”

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 ...

British nationals in NL dismayed by dual nationality change of plan

THE NETHERLANDS. British nationals in the Netherlands have reacted with dismay to the decision to drop them from draft legislation allowing people caught up in the Brexit chaos to have both Dutch and British nationality.

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 Council committee meeting.

Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

Extra cutbacks: “damaging” and “an obstruction”

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. 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 technical universities.

“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 event from the history books?

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 authority.

 “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.

Why isn't anyone talking about the profits generated by foreign students?

THE NETHERLANDS. Amid the wide range of concerns raised about the huge influx of foreign students, one thing can be said for certain: they are a source of public revenue. Shouldn't this knowledge help put the worries to rest?

Foreign students permitted to stay longer in the United Kingdom

UNITED KINGDOM. With Brexit fast approaching, prime minister Boris Johnson is showing a willingness to accommodate international students. As far as the PM is concerned, students may stay in the United Kingdom for up to two years after graduation, allowing them the opportunity to find a job.  

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 wanted a globe bar filled with cognac and whisky, a Chesterfield chair and fat cigars to smoke. He wanted a large swimming pool in the garden and a Mercedes in the driveway. And sure, he’d be willing to write a strategy plan to achieve world peace as the president of Israel.

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).

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 i...

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 a Maastricht restaurant. Competition is fierce, with new restaurants opening all the time. So Dadawan must be doing something right. Let’s find out what that is.

Foreign students may face higher fees, be offered Dutch language lessons

THE NETHERLANDS. Foreign students in the Netherlands will be offered help in learning Dutch, and students from outside the EU may face higher fees, if new proposals on dealing with the internationalisation of the Dutch higher education system come into force.

Foreign students are an asset to the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. Foreign students generate substantial revenues for the Dutch treasury, especially university students from outside Europe. However, the scale of this influx may pose a risk to the quality of education.

“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 later, not much has changed. Frouke Verhagen (33) is married, drives a Skoda and lives in a cute, decent house in a “quiet, family-friendly neighbourhood” in The Hague where the streets are named after fruits. Inside, toys are scattered everywhere. There’s an Ikea play kitchen and a large finger painting above the fireplace, presumably made by her four-year-old son Fedde.

“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.

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 die.” There is a burst of laughter in the hall. “But we are not going to let that happen to you,” Wyatt grins. On the contrary, dean Sophie Vanhoonacker stated only ten minutes before. “You are our first batch and we will spoil you rotten.”

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 how do we bring science to the attention of a broad public.

Labour party does u-turn, says student grants should be brought back

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch Labour party has done a u-turn and is now calling for the return of student grants, which were abolished under a Labour minister in 2015.
 

Leiden ‘host’ lashes out at minister

THE NETHERLANDS. Carel Stolker, rector magnificus of Leiden University, believes the relationship between our politicians and our universities is at a low point. He has directed some harsh words towards Minister of Education Van Engelshoven, who he will be receiving as a guest at the university later today.

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 rap over the knuckles.

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.

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 2003, Niels van der Laan was the student journalist who wrote the majority of these interview articles. He’ll write a fair share of this year’s articles as well. Today, though, the spotlight is on him: the little boy who couldn’t stand injustice, loved legal drama series and became a criminal defence lawyer at 24, just like he intended.

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 programme consisted of a film, a tour of the caves or having a meal together.

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 the door. Dropped off by mum and dad, loaded down with large overnight bags, or arriving alone by bicycle, searching, looking around.

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 cooks. Easy, tasty and cheap.

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 An...

“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 wh...

“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 ga...

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 learni...

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 dif...

“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...

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. 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...

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 Lipto...

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” but everything points in the direction of a temporary suspension.

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 sessions and workshops. The leaders have sounded the alarm.

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, s...

“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

Universities must be more strict about who they let in: report

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities are too much alike in the Netherlands and too many students fail at the first hurdle, independent government science and technology advisory body AWTI has said in a report on how to make higher education future proof.

Foreign students find it difficult to connect

THE NETHERLANDS. International students miss the contact with their Dutch fellow students, shows a survey by three student organisations. They also suffer from stress a lot.

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)

City more involved in Inkom

MAASTRICHT. The city of Maastricht plays a greater role than ever before in the Inkom programme for 2019. For example, the first-year students can participate in a city walk (led by a guide from the tourist information centre), they will eat in Maastricht restaurants and during the event ‘Maastricht is Yours’ they can take part in activities in the city, such as a boat trip or guided tour of the caves.

“What do you do when someone starts crying?”

“What do you do when someone starts crying?”

“I know that most of the teaching and mentor staff finds it difficult when a student confronts them with an extremely emotional story. What do you do when someone starts crying? Should you give him a hug, offer a tissue?” It’s the question that Pia Harbers, student advisor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, drops in her ten-minute talk during EDLAB’s teach-meet last Tuesday afternoon. Staff from all UM faculties and service centres discuss the issue of student well-being and how it affects them.

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

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

Why is it that so many young people today feel stressed, anxious, depressed and burned out? Many have tried to find an answer. The panellists and the audience at the Sphinx debate about the topic, Wednesday 29 May at Lumière, took another stab at it. Their conclusion: structural changes have to be made at Maastricht University.

"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

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 for the University Library. Because of neighbourhood protests, the planned night-time opening was not possible at the city centre location of the University Library. They normally wouldn't study so late, but “we underestimated the course,” says Brunner as he eats a take-away. They will stay for another hour, at the most.

Maastricht students start European Citizens’ Initiative

MAASTRICHT. A group of Maastricht University students has started a European Citizens’ Initiative to end tax exemption for jet fuel in the EU

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 identity. According to both, freedom has become ‘ordinary’. But it isn't.

“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 doesn’t like pretending.

Meet Maastricht Festival

Meet Maastricht Festival

From 24-26 May you get the chance to learn about Maastricht’s culture, history, monuments and food at the third edition of the Meet Maastricht Festival. New this year is a sleepover at the Museum aan het Vrijthof, a big opening party at the Cod...

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.

Students call for rethink on loan interest rates, threaten legal action

THE NETHERLANDS. Student organisations say they will take legal action against the government if it presses ahead with plans to increase the interest rate on student loans.

“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 him to discuss PBL, democracy and Europe with a number of his students.

UM Pride launch event

UM Pride launch event

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

“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 really boils down to is how much will we leave up to Europe?

“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

Young people taking longer to find homes, jobs and families

THE NETHERLANDS. People in their twenties are taking longer to reach key milestones such as getting their first job and leaving their parents’ home, according to the statistics agency CBS.

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.”

“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 European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the remaining candidates discussed climate change, digitalisation and the future of Europe. Observant asked three students who attended what they thought of the debate.

“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 mistakeargue Stephanie Blom, Giulia Frinzi and Saskia Stolk from the Law Faculty. They call the policy elitist, unsympathetic and in clear contrast with the historical background and founding principles of Maastricht University.

On tech giants, fake news and dinosaurs

On tech giants, fake news and dinosaurs

MAASTRICHT. A social democrat appealing to vote green? This is what happened last Monday in the Vrijthof Theatre during the first, large party leader debate for the European elections on 23 May. Who will take over from President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker? Five Spitzenkandidaten entered into debate before 750 students. “It is scandalous that Europe is home to 120 million people living in poverty and 21 million unemployed.”

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

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

MAASTRICHT. Who will succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission? In Maastricht, on April 29, five Spitzenkandidaten will go into a debate in front of 750 students. The media, including BBC World News and the Dutch NOS, will be omnipresent. At the Vrijthof, people can follow the debate on screens.

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

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

Hidde Bobbink/ 21/ third-year student of International Business/ works on average 10 hours per week/ earning 9 euros per hour

Match project wins Stadsgoud

Match project wins Stadsgoud

MAASTRICHT. Prize: 3,500 euro for creating a meeting place on a wasteland in Pottenberg. This project by master's students Debbie Markusse and Rachita Munshi won a prize in the annual 'Stadsgoud' competition, organised by the Elisabeth St...

Big feminist questions and party music at Ladyfest

Big feminist questions and party music at Ladyfest

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

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

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

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

Digital exams in MECC from June

Digital exams in MECC from June

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

Students in vacant offices and care complex

Students in vacant offices and care complex

MAASTRICHT. Three proposals for temporary (student) accommodation in Maastricht await a permit. It concerns the reallocation of vacant office buildings on the Franciscus Romanusweg 2 (31 rooms) and the Gebroeders Hermansstraat 2 (34 rooms). In the fo...

Ragweek: Support charity with a luminous football

Ragweek: Support charity with a luminous football

“Children with a serious attachment disorder and behavioural problems who can no longer be placed in 'normal' foster homes live in the Maastricht Bibihuis,” says Eva Vleer, PR commissioner & vice-chairperson of Ragweek Maastri...

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

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

It's quiet at the University Library counter in Randwyck during the XXL weeks of the exam period, when both University Libraries have longer opening hours. “There are hardly any queries. Everyone is engrossed in their books,” student ...

Museumnacht 2019: conspiracy theorists, a meteorite impact and Nightwatchmen

Museumnacht 2019: conspiracy theorists, a meteorite impact and Nightwatchmen

The Young Office has created a spacescape in the Bonnefanten Museum, at Bureau Europa you can immerse yourself in a world of conspiracy theorists, big data and artificial intelligence, and Marres is brimming with sculptures and moulded portraits of people in everyday situations. Museumnacht Maastricht is almost upon us once again. On Friday, 12 April from 20:00-1:00hrs, thirteen Maastricht art institutes will open their doors, for the fourth year in a row.

The most common leftover item: bread crusts

The most common leftover item: bread crusts


Carlijn Jansen (20), third-year student of International Business, supervises three lunch breaks per week, earning 8 euros per lunch break

Erasmus exchange programme can be completed in the case of a hard Brexit

THE NETHERLANDS. Students and lecturers – including British ones – who are on an exchange visit with an Erasmus grant, need not worry about their study or work placement in the event of a hard Brexit. They will be allowed to complete it.

UM starts fundraiser for university in Mozambique

UM starts fundraiser for university in Mozambique

MAASTRICHT. Three faculty buildings were completely destroyed, as were the small hospital and training clinic that belonged to it. Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in the city of Beira, Mozambique on Thursday 14 March, destroyed a large part of Universidade Católica de Moçambique (UCM). Maastricht University has close links with UCM and has started a fundraiser.

The battle for the Maastricht Cup

The battle for the Maastricht Cup

Once a year, the Indonesian Students Association of Maastricht presents the Maastricht Cup, a badminton and table tennis tournament. On Sunday 14 April the 15th edition takes place. Students and other interested people from the Netherlands, Belgium a...

Almost certain: Digital Society to start in September

Almost certain: Digital Society to start in September

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

ROA: there are plenty of jobs, but students are not aware

MAASTRICHT. There are enough jobs in the Euregion for the higher educated, but more than half of the alumni are unaware of that. On average, 80 per cent of them have left the region five years after graduation. 

Laudatory report from NVAO on UM's quality of education

Laudatory report from NVAO on UM's quality of education

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

The way to the Rembrandt

The way to the Rembrandt


Lisa Hulshof/ 24/ master’s student of Public Policy and Human Development/ works about 20 hours per week via food service and hospitality staffing agency Mise en Place/ earning around 10 euros per hour 

Europe: stories about love and hate

Europe: stories about love and hate

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

Alles is Drama puts on morality tale

The Choice – that’s the name of the play student drama association Alles is Drama will bring to the stage on 21, 22 and 23 March. The story begins when a stranger comes to a small village that has been dying for years. The young leave to ...

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

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

MAASTRICHT. Open, not elitist but inclusive, concerned with society, innovative, focussed on the future, with and for students, and - last but not least – working together towards a better Europe. These are a handful of the ‘core values’ of the YUFE alliance (Young Universities for the Future of Europe); a European University that Maastricht University hopes to set up together with seven other universities.

First climate march in Maastricht

First climate march in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. After Brussels, Berlin and Amsterdam, the climate march has come to Maastricht. On Friday 15 March the protesters will start their march on the Vrijthof at 11.00 hrs. “We think you should protest where you live. Changes have to be made on every level,” says Arthur Bribosia, UCM student and member of Students 4 Climate, which organises the march. They have also set in place a three-month action plan with weekly activities.

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

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


On March 15th the entire Dutch education sector will go on strike. The chances are that you’ve heard something about this, since the initiative is supported by the Executive Board of our university. However, we can imagine that many of you are thinking: a strike? Is that really relevant to Maastricht University? Is that something I should support and get involved with?

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

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

Hannah Lou Kings/ second-year student of Arts and Culture/ teaches 1 weekly one-hour BodyBalance class at fitness centre MAC Maastricht/ earning 13.50 gross per hour

Students criticise the UM Economics education

Students criticise the UM Economics education

MAASTRICHT. UM students have published an open letter in which they criticise the education at the School of Business and Economics (SBE), especially regarding some theories on banking. The letter went “viral” on Twitter and was supported by a few leading economists. The students hope that SBE will adjust the curriculum.

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

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

Luc Joosten/ 22/ fourth-year student of Medicine/ works on average 100 hours per month/ earning €10.59 net per hour

“People had no idea what they were voting for”

“People had no idea what they were voting for”

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

“I’ve lost my room key”

“I’ve lost my room key”

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

Golden walls and high ceilings

Golden walls and high ceilings

Sophie van Leeuwen (Dutch, 22), student of Interdisciplinary Art, an autonomous programme of the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts, pays 550 Euros for a 35m2 room across the street from SBE on the Tongersestraat.  

Becoming more democratic through the Liberal Arts

Becoming more democratic through the Liberal Arts

To prepare students to be good citizens in a democratic society is the central concern of education for Teun Dekker, recently made first professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Europe. Dekker intended his inaugural lecture on Thursday, the 31st of January, to be a “celebration of Liberal Arts education” and hence introduced his idea of the seven democratic virtues fostered by a Liberal Arts and Sciences education.

Green light for FPN's quality agreements

MAASTRICHT. The University Council endorsed the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences' quality agreements last week. All faculties have now been given the go-ahead.

Head of UM Sports leaves after eight months

Head of UM Sports leaves after eight months

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

“Your wife isn’t pregnant?”

“Your wife isn’t pregnant?”

Luc van Galen/ 23/ fourth-year student of Medicine/ works about eight hours per week/ earning 11.35 euros per hour excluding evening and weekend surcharges

Experiment with pass/fail assessment at FPN

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences are going to experiment with a pass/fail assessment. In the upcoming second-year block of Man and Machine, students will not receive a grade for their exam, but just a pass or a fail. Block co-ordinator Herco Fonteijn, initiator of the experiment, hopes that because of this students will feel freer to study the material that they find interesting and in doing so experience less stress.

‘Don’t take academic freedom for granted’

‘Don’t take academic freedom for granted’

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

Painful knees and superintelligence

Painful knees and superintelligence

Topics varied from the influence of European democracy on civilian participation in Africa to the optimal income tax system, but the common factor of all theses that were rewarded with a Student Award last  Friday was they were the best of their year. Seventeen bachelor's and nine master's students received their prizes during the foundation day celebration. Observant singled out two.

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

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

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

York President: “It prevents us from darkness”

York President: “It prevents us from darkness”

MAASTRICHT. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is increasing, which is precisely the reason why Maastricht University has started a close collaboration with the University of York. The two universities will jointly invest more than three million euros in research and postgraduate education over the next three years. This ‘Maastricht Treaty’ at university level “prevents us from darkness”, says the President of the University of York.

Appearing in court

Appearing in court

Sanne Schauwaert/ 21/ recently completed a bachelor’s degree in Dutch Law/ works about two to three days per week/ earning 130 euros per session

Jules blamed for not returning deposits

Jules blamed for not returning deposits


MAASTRICHT. Maastricht students have been complaining on Facebook about unreturned or partially unreturned deposits by student services agency Jules Maastricht. With more and more houses under their management and an administration that for a long time was carried out manually, it couldn't but go wrong. The tenants are the victims. Karin van der Ven, owner of the student services agency, acknowledges blame and promises to do better.

Chakula Uponya: T-shirts for hospital meals

Chakula Uponya: T-shirts for hospital meals

MAASTRICHT. Two years ago, Victoria von Salmuth - currently a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences - won the Student Award for the Shirati Food Programme when she was a student of Medicine. She set up this initiative in Tanzania, which supplies meals for patients in the Shirati hospital, as they themselves don't have the necessary budget. Now she has set up a new project to collect money for the Food Programme.

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

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

Gemma van der Elsen/ 20/ third-year student of Medicine/ works 5-12 hours per week/ earning about 9 euros per hour

British students keep their rights after ‘hard’ Brexit

British students keep their rights after ‘hard’ Brexit

If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal, British students studying in the Netherlands need not worry. They can continue their studies under the same conditions. Chances of a ‘hard’ Brexit have increased, after a ...

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

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

Quinten Eitjes/ 20/ second-year student of Arts and Culture/ works sixteen hours per week/ earning 10.50 euros net per hour

Shorter waiting times UM psychologists, emphasis on prevention

Shorter waiting times UM psychologists, emphasis on prevention


MAASTRICHT. Not more psychologists, initially, but shorter waiting times of a maximum of four weeks. How does the team of student supervisors at Maastricht University plan on managing that? Among others by focussing more on prevention, says the new plan for student well-being. The magic word is communication about what the UM has to offer for students who want more insight into their problems or look for support.

Global Surgery: surgery for everyone

Global Surgery: surgery for everyone

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

FPN: plugging the gap is unrealistic

MAASTRICHT. Both the board and the Faculty Council of Psychology and Neurosciences were completely taken aback when the University Council did not approve their quality agreements. The University Council could not look past the gap of 1.8 million euro between the income and expenses for education. But this deficit has always been there and never before has it been a problem, the Faculty Council stated a week later.

University Council gives go-ahead for quality agreements, except for Psychology

MAASTRICHT. The University Council did not approve the quality agreements for the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences in its last meeting before Christmas. The controversial issue was the fact that Psychology would not actually spend all their funds for education on education. All other faculties were given the go-ahead, even if it was a struggle for the Faculty of Law.

The Middle East in Maastricht

The Middle East in Maastricht

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

The mysterious disappearance of the meds

The mysterious disappearance of the meds

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

UM budget: more students, more buildings, fewer reserves

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University is going to spend 2.2 million more next year than it receives. This has to do with previously planned investments in faculties and sustainability measures at Tapijn. Money has already been set-aside for this (designated reserves).

University Council is critical, quality agreements not a formality

MAASTRICHT. The quality agreements, which were on the University Council's agenda yesterday afternoon after Observant had gone to press, are not likely to be approved without a struggle. This was apparent last week during the joint meeting of two University Council committees.

“I am a big fan of the morning shifts”

“I am a big fan of the morning shifts”

Kristel Zaal/ 22/ third-year student of Psychology/ works on average 7.5 hours per week/ earns €10.95 per hour

Women in film: small steps, big dreams

Women in film: small steps, big dreams

“Small steps and big dreams” illustrates perfectly the sentiment that the visitors could feel in  the room  4 of the Lumière Cinema on Saturday afternoon. The discussion regarding the Women in Film Post- #Metoo was part of the Shift Film Festival. This festival happens every year. Throughout conferences, discussion, movie screening and diverse activities the major and current societal and political shifts are put in the spotlights. Meet Maastricht, a cultural foundation gave the opportunity to students to participate  to  multiple events.

University Library only for the UM from 1 January

University Library only for the UM from 1 January

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

Meet Selke, your guest happiness server

Meet Selke, your guest happiness server

Selke Ruijssenaars / 22/ master’s student of Human Decision Science/ works about 16 hours per week/ earning 10 euros net per hour

Alcohol-free beer is just as much fun to drink, claim researchers

THE NETHERLANDS. Alcohol-free beer has the same effect on the brain’s pleasure centres as the genuine article, researchers at Wageningen University have found.

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

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

MAASTRICHT. More and more items on the University Council’s and Faculty Councils’ agendas are confidential. Usually at the request of the board that wants to brainstorm about new plans in seclusion for fear of rumours and unrest. Occasionally, a council closes the doors because there is no pressure from the people they represent (“no interest”) to deal with something in public. Sometimes the council members are not aware that they are shutting out these people.

Walloon students in a fix

MAASTRICHT. The number of Walloon students at Maastricht University has grown explosively over the past years. This has given rise to additional problems because the Walloons cannot produce their secondary school diplomas on time. The UM now settles for a provisional declaration.

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

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

"All the spices used come directly from India"

Imagine having various authentic international dishes being cooked by chefs right in front of you. Imagine interacting with the chefs and getting to know more about their culture. With those sentences, the organisers of the International Food Festiva...

With two small clay hedgehogs in the playground

With two small clay hedgehogs in the playground

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

“This is where my life is”

“This is where my life is”

Louisa Stupp (22, German), master's student European Studies on Society, Science and Technology, pays 295 euro per month for a 16m2 room near Scharneweg

A world behind reality

A world behind reality

MAASTRICHT. As iconic as his films (Blue VelvetTwin Peaks) have become, his visual artwork has remained all the more obscure. This is one of the reasons why Bonnefanten museum has set up a retrospective of David Lynch. But why has he earned so little appreciation as an artist? An interview with Bonnefanten director Stijn Huijts.

International student club has to move out of Timmerfabriek

International student club has to move out of Timmerfabriek

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

Students find themselves more settled

Students find themselves more settled

MAASTRICHT. On 1 September, when about two hundred foreign students moved into their new rooms at the Annadal complex, it turned out that the renovations had not yet been completed. Students found themselves in a mess. How are things three months on? The list of complaints has now reached “normal proportions,” they say at the Guesthouse. Although there is still one pressing issue: ventilation. “We want to be able to open our windows.”

“Two hundred kilos of ice on a busy night”

“Two hundred kilos of ice on a busy night”

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

"Having my dad to help was a blessing"

"Having my dad to help was a blessing"

Ada Garcia-Gesto Lopez (18, Spanish), first-year European Law, pays €445 per month for a 18m2 room close to Central Station

Discovering pre-industrial Maastricht

Discovering pre-industrial Maastricht

It’s a drizzling Saturday morning on the 10th of November,  when Meet Maastricht offers the L’Art Pour Elkaar// Post-industrial Maastricht Free Tour. The “miezerige” weather adds to the historical atmosphere of the city. About 10 participants from all over the globe, from  North Holland and Italy to Kyrgyzstan and Peru, are buzzing with genuine excitement to further explore Maastricht, which they now all call home.

“Everyone thinks Maastricht is far away, even farther away than Germany”

“Everyone thinks Maastricht is far away, even farther away than Germany”

Gwynne Janssen/ 19/ second-year bachelor’s student at University College Maastricht/ works a varying number of hours per month/ earning about 9.50 euros net per hour

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

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

MAASTRICHT. Just like last year, the three young, broad bachelor's programmes at Maastricht - University College Maastricht, University College Venlo and the Science Program - are a cut above the rest of the UM bachelor's. Their resounding results, all eight plus, cast a shadow on the fives, sixes and the odd seven of the rest.

Sharing food, sharing cultures

Sharing food, sharing cultures

MAASTRICHT. Food brings people together. This is not only the theme of the Week of the International Student that is taking place this week, but also the motto of Supratip Nag, co-founder of HomeHandi, a delivery service for home-cooked meals. This is why he, together with, amongst others, the United Nations Student Association, has organized an International Food Festival on Saturday 17 November.

World citizen looking for a home

World citizen looking for a home

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

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

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

MAASTRICHT. The measure introduced by the Maastricht city council to only allow a maximum of 120 new rooms annually, the so-called 40-40-40 rule, has put the brakes on the proliferation of student housing. Other rules, such as the requirement of bicycle parking facilities and a shed for rubbish bags, have had much less effect. An evaluation report has been published regarding the property division policy, introduced in 2016. There is a considerable conflict of opinions. Where the students detest the measures for being too strict, neighbourhoods believe they should be even stricter.

Led by the hand or trip and fall

Led by the hand or trip and fall

A single educational institution with six faculties, all of which pride themselves in the same education system. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is Maastricht University's showpiece. In tutorial groups, twelve to fifteen students discuss a case from actual practice in order to get to grips with the subject matter. For a successful debate with different perspectives, the presence of students is crucial. But should you make attendance compulsory in the bachelor phase? Some faculties feel that you should, others don’t.

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

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

Thomas Diemel/ 24/ master’s student of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/ works approximately three shifts (ten hours) per week/ earning 10 euros per hour

“I’m not very popular for 45 minutes”

“I’m not very popular for 45 minutes”

Tom Phillips/ 25/is from Great Britain and currently learning Dutch to be able to continue with the master’s in Medicine/ works on average 10 hours per week/ earns sixteen euros per hour

Good, good, and good again

Good, good, and good again

MAASTRICHT. “Do you know what the committee said: ‘If we were eighteen now, we would all want to study at Maastricht University’.” Rector Rianne Letschert repeats with a broad grin the words of the chairman of the NVAO committee that investigated the education, quality agreements and internationalisation at the UM last week. The (preliminary) results can be guessed: good, good, and good.

A six is good enough

A six is good enough

MAASTRICHT. ‘When I do something, I want it to be perfect’. It seems like a good characteristic, but if it is up to Anita Jansen, dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, we need to rid ourselves of this as soon as possible. In extreme cases, perfectionism can lead to death. Within the framework of Well-being Week – an annual event around the theme of physical and mental health, with lectures and training sessions on such things as study techniques, yoga, mindfulness, sports (see photo) and stress – she gave a lecture on stress and perfectionism to an overcrowded Akenzaal on Universiteitssingel 40 last Tuesday.

Getting lost in some of the greatest mysteries of our time

Getting lost in some of the greatest mysteries of our time

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

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

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

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

Change the patent system for medicine

Change the patent system for medicine

The patent system for medicine should be reviewed, so that pharmaceutical companies cannot use loopholes anymore to keep their patent – and therefore their monopoly – on medicine forever, says Universities Allied for Essential Medicine, a student-led global movement for access to medicine, in this opinion article in the light of Access to Medicine week (first week of November.

“No one excels at everything”

“No one excels at everything”

Roel Niemark/ 26/ third-year student of Law/ works about eight hours per week/ earning approximately 11 euros per hour

German students are finding their way to UM again

MAASTRICHT. The number of first-years who started a bachelors' or master's in Maastricht after the summer has risen by 3.8 per cent to a total of 7,396. In addition, another 103 pre-master's (bridging programme students) also started their studies, increasing the total number of newcomers by 5.3 per cent. This is the outcome of the ‘provisional 1 October count’ by Maastricht University.

PBL 2.0 is on its way: flexible, creative and tailor-made

MAASTRICHT. It is time for a flexible PBL system, one that provides room for creativity, a personal interpretation by lecturers, and one that may differ per study programme. Those were the most important outcomes of the EDview project. Rector Rianne Letschert announced last Tuesday that a steering group would now implement the recommendations in the faculties.

Amsterdam University student denied entry to UK for conference

THE NETHERLANDS. Legal experts have denounced the decision to refuse an Amsterdam University student from Bosnia entry to the UK to attend an academic conference as ‘irrational’ and ‘nonsensical’.

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

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

Emily Burger (21, South African), second-year Arts and Culture

Rent/m2: 465 euro, around 18 m2

General Area: Close to FaSoS, central

Response very low: 7,3 percent

Response very low: 7,3 percent

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

24/7 opening library quashed after protests

24/7 opening library quashed after protests

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

Maastricht students slightly less positive about their studies

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht students are a little less positive about their study programmes than last years. This is one of the outcomes of the Dutch National Student Survey, held at the beginning of this year. Despite the drop, the UM still scores above the national average.

More and more international students leave after graduation

THE NETHERLANDS. Once they have received their diploma, many foreign students leave the Netherlands. But even then thousands remain here.

Don't put a coat hanger in your mouth

Don't put a coat hanger in your mouth

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

“I’m bored of trans and other gender issues to be put under feminism”

“I’m bored of trans and other gender issues to be put under feminism”

Erick Jackaman (20, half British, half American), Liberal Arts and Sciences student

Size of room: 20m2

Rent: 450 Euros

Location: Jekerdal

Viva España

Viva España

My colleague Juan Francisco Palacios Temprano has a large family in Asturias, Northern Spain. This region boasts a rich tradition of making cured meats from a famous Spanish breed of pig. Every winter, when the weather is forecast to be cold and dry,...

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

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

Julia Olislagers/ 20/ second-year student of Medicine/ works about eight hours per week/ earning on average 400 euro per month

iArts students create conceptual clothing line with fabrics from the Maas

iArts students create conceptual clothing line with fabrics from the Maas

What kind of waste do you think ends up in the river Maas most? Plastic? Glass? Actually, second- and third-year students of iArts, an interdisciplinary arts programme of Zuyd Hogeschool to which also UM teachers contribute, found a lot of clothing and textiles. Commissioned by Dutch Earth Week – which starts next Monday – to do a project about nomadic waste in the river, they designed a clothing line made from fabrics found in the Maas.

Maastricht drops in new THE Rankings

Maastricht drops in new THE Rankings

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

Catering system reviewed – ideas invited

Catering system reviewed – ideas invited

MAASTRICHT. What is Maastricht University's catering going to look like in the future? Will  there be lots of small and large university restaurants, will local businesses be given an opportunity, will you still be able to buy a ' kroket ' or will the selection be purely vegetarian or even vegan; these types of questions were asked in a series of meetings with students and members of staff over the past year.

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

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

Hannah Vleugels/ 23/ third-year student of Arts and Culture/ gives three tours per week on average/ earning a little over 11 euros per hour

The Netherlands: 70 thousand foreign students by 2023

NETHERLANDS. The number of university students is going to rise considerably in the coming years, says the Ministry of Education in its latest forecasts. The ministry looks ahead as far as the end of 2060

Language proficiency not up to scratch? Then take a course

Language proficiency not up to scratch? Then take a course

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

Young European Federalists make own version of Bella Ciao

Young European Federalists make own version of Bella Ciao

Bella Ciao – thanks to the Netflix series La Casa de Papel, this very old song was the summer hit of 2018. Since there are no copyrights to the song, hundreds of different versions have been made all over Europe. The Young European Federalists Maastricht – amongst them many students – decided to make their own version: Treaty, ciao!

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

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

Teun Verhagen/ 19/ second-year student of Fiscal Law/ works 18, 20 hours per week, more during the summer months/ earns €10.34 per hour

Maybe container accommodation in Randwyck after all

Maybe container accommodation in Randwyck after all

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

Delay renovation Annadal: students disadvantaged

Delay renovation Annadal: students disadvantaged

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

“If one person gets sick, everyone will follow”

“If one person gets sick, everyone will follow”

Anyone who enters the former nurses flat on the Annadal complex, will receive a friendly greeting from the builders. “Don't fall over the materials.” This person is sanding and painting, another is putting up shower units like you wou...

“I wouldn't have been conned if I'd had a buddy”

“I wouldn't have been conned if I'd had a buddy”

MAASTRICHT. What is the best place for students to open a bank account? ING Bank, “because they have a free account for students,” says Grace Marshall from student platform  MyMaastricht . The fact that this bank was in the news regarding a major money laundering scandal this week doesn't seem to bother her. She was the third speaker last week during the opening ceremony for the International Student Ambassador Program (ISAP), the programme in which senior students (buddies) take care of and accompany new students (newbies). There is a buzzing during the speeches, a sign that the newbies feel that they are taking too long.

Collecting data during a bloody hot summer

Collecting data during a bloody hot summer

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

PAS workshop: I write, so I stay

PAS workshop: I write, so I stay

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

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

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

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

“Students, learn Frans Timmermans’ speech by heart”

“Students, learn Frans Timmermans’ speech by heart”

MAASTRICHT. Five lecturers, a quiz, a brief panel discussion, two awards, an appeal to participate in the Green Impact competition, videos, vegan biscuits and a lot of beautiful music by the Famara Quartet. This is the overfull programme of the Opening of the Academic Year in the Mecc last Monday. “Sorry that it took so long,” said President of the Executive Board Martin Paul at the end of his speech to the listeners in the hall - by then it was 17:40hrs. Only to add with a grin: “But just think how many computers weren't used in the past few hours, how much energy was saved and how sustainable that was.” After all, this afternoon was about sustainability.

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

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

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

Carrot or stick

Carrot or stick

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

Relax, take it easy

Relax, take it easy

You may have heard on the news that many students feel pressured, stressed or anxious. Are you afraid that will happen to you too? Don’t panic! We have laid out a plan – follow these tips and you will be one relaxed first-year student. 

Psychological pressure on first-year students: minister takes action

THE NETHERLANDS. Education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven is to introduce a limit to the amount of ‘points’ universities and colleges can demand first year students to earn in order to proceed to the second year of their course.

Large influx for bachelor's of Data Sciences

Large influx for bachelor's of Data Sciences

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

Meet the freshmen of 2018

Meet the freshmen of 2018

Why did they come to Maastricht, how did they like the Inkom and was it easy to find a room? Observant wandered around the Inkom and asked the first-years all about it.

From wrongly convicted prisoner to motivational speaker

From wrongly convicted prisoner to motivational speaker

There is a rare moment of intense silence during the Inkom in the lecture hall of Business and Economics when author and motivational speaker Joseph Oubelkas shows pictures of a Moroccan jail. It’s not unlike the one he spent 1,637 days in after being unjustly convicted for smuggling drugs. Men are sleeping on the floor of a dirty cell – and even on the toilet – packed upon one another. “And in the pictures you don’t see the cockroaches, you don’t smell the indescribable stench,” Oubelkas adds.

Maastricht student accommodation shortages appear less than anticipated

Maastricht student accommodation shortages appear less than anticipated

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

A hint in exchange for the Macarena

A hint in exchange for the Macarena

Michelle van Kleef/ 21/  third-year student of Fiscal Economics/ staff member Room Escape Maastrichtworks varying shifts and hours/  earns on average 600 euros per month

Discrimination of MBO trainees: minister announces measures

THE NETHERLANDS. Education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven (D66) has called on schools, institutions and companies to end the discrimination of MBO vocational school students who apply for traineeships.

No longer a pupil but a student

No longer a pupil but a student

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

Two or three kisses on the cheek?

Two or three kisses on the cheek?

Doga Kordel (19) from Istanbul is going to study International Business. He chose Maastricht because he wanted to study in Europe and he didn’t want to make it too expensive. However, the most important reason is that he wants to learn a new la...

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

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

Mrinal Gupta (19) is a soccer player, but he’s thinking about  joining Saurus this year. His Inkom mentors got him really excited about rowing, he tells during the Sports Event at the Griend on Thursday. He came all the way from New Delhi ...

Dancing next to the paintings

Dancing next to the paintings

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

A tattoo as a memory of Costa Rica

A tattoo as a memory of Costa Rica

As she stands in front of the wall, ready to be photographed, Italian Lisa Scanu (18) tells about the tattoo under her left collarbone. The word zussen – Dutch for sisters – remembers her of her time in Costa Rica. It sounds crazy: a Dutc...

Settling in Maastricht after a year of traveling

Settling in Maastricht after a year of traveling

Actually, German Katharina Meyes-Landrut (18) is still not completely sure what to study. That’s why she chose University College. “I like that you can figure out what you want to do along the way. In Germany there is nothing really like ...

Enjoying the games and the international atmosphere

Enjoying the games and the international atmosphere

“Relaxed” is how Maxim Scholma (17) from Alphen aan de Rijn describes his Inkom up until now. The biomedical sciences student particularly enjoyed the Ozon Festival on Tuesday. “I tried out all those games they had, I especially lik...

Left in the park

Left in the park

Sure, journalism still has her interest, but German Marijke Eissing (19) chose European Studies instead. The reason? Her gap year in which she worked as a volunteer in Dublin with homeless people. When she came across the European Commission’s ...

Drinking tea, thinking of Lithuania

Drinking tea, thinking of Lithuania

Sitting on a bench in the garden of her faculty – the School of Business and Economics – newbie Aleksandra Stasyté is waiting for the keynote speech of a motivational speaker who spent 1637 days in a Moroccan jail while innocent. Within a...

Three minutes by bike

Three minutes by bike

Jannick Neudert (24) from Germany, master International Business: “What I like about Maastricht? I arrived this morning and parked my car not far from SBE. I had to walk through parks to reach the faculty, I like the green atmosphere. I want to...

Kicking Inkom off with guilty pleasure medleys

Kicking Inkom off with guilty pleasure medleys

MAASTRICHT. Where do you see people in doctor’s’ coats drinking beer, devil’s horns in front of  fire  (on the stage) and balloons in all  colours  floating away? At the opening of the Inkom 2018, Monday evening at the Market. Here freshmen and their mentors from different sororities, fraternities and sports associations (including the future doctors of e Causa Ignota and the ‘devilish’ girls of Diablo) gather to kick the introduction week off with a party.

Close to Düsseldorf

Close to Düsseldorf

“I have only been once in Maastricht before. I like it. It’s a pretty city; I like the architecture, the size.” Florian Bergs (24) from Germany, is a master student Human Decision Science.  He chose Maastricht because of the pr...

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

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

For 18-year-old Amber Rerimassie, Maastricht is already a familiar place. She lives in the nearby city of Heerlen, she tells during the Welcome to Maastricht market. “That’s why I’ll keep living with my parents for now. It’s o...

Students blackmail, threaten and put pressure on lecturers

Students blackmail, threaten and put pressure on lecturers

MAASTRICHT. The misconduct by students at the School of Business and Economics hit a wrong chord with two lecturers: partly because of this, one has left and the other is considering to leave the faculty. It also appeared recently that SBE students complain in an organised fashion after an exam and go in search of questions that could lead to a complaint.

Herbs from Limburg, forgotten vegetables and medieval potsherds

Herbs from Limburg, forgotten vegetables and medieval potsherds

MAASTRICHT. A colourful oasis in an endless plain of mud. That is how one could describe the Tapijn Garden, the way it stands out in the corner of the churned-up barracks grounds. The “city vegetable garden” itself looks very well cared f...

Psychology dean: BON foreman Verbrugge is a “Scary Man”

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. After years of columns and debates, the association 'Beter Onderwijs Nederland (BON, or Better Education Netherlands)' has filed a lawsuit to stop the advance of English in higher education: the association feels that no other study programmes should be allowed to be taught in English until more thought has been given to the desirability of this trend. Last week, they filed a lawsuit against two universities (Maastricht and Twente) that offer a large number of programmes in English, as well as against the Education Inspectorate, which should uphold the law more strictly.  Verdict  will be given on 6 July.

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

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

MAASTRICHT. Tuesday evening. As the clock strikes six, the front door of the student house at Vrijthof 27 rattles. Two bright eyes peep through the mail slot into the corridor. It’s rector Rianne Letschert, pressing the doorbell in vain. In June last year, she joined the students for dinner for the Observant series Guess who's coming to dinner?! They agreed to meet again in a year’s time to see how everyone has got on.

Former top volleyball player head of UM Sports

Former top volleyball player head of UM Sports

MAASTRICHT. He played as many as 347 times for the Dutch national volleyball team, including at the 2004 Olympic Games. At the moment he is putting the finishing touches to his thesis for the executive MBA Sports Management at the Maastricht School of Management. Nico Freriks (36) started as the new head of UM Sports last Monday.

25 years of knowledge engineering: time to look ahead

25 years of knowledge engineering: time to look ahead

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

Sounds from the Central African Republic in a classroom in Heerlen

Sounds from the Central African Republic in a classroom in Heerlen

Bang! Playwright Daniel van den Broeke beats on an old-fashioned school desk with a  chicotte , a whip made from wood and several strands of rubber, used in schools in the Central African Republic (CAR). The three VWO4 pupils from Sintermeertencollege in Heerlen who are sitting at the desk jump with fright. With their classmates, they will be shown today not just what it is like to be a child in CAR, but also what research Marieke Hopman carried out into the right to education while she was there.

“Just cut it out in the editing”

“Just cut it out in the editing”

MAASTRICHT. Two microphones and a recording device are set up in a corner of the Kruithuis at the School of Business and Economics on this warm Thursday afternoon. The recording of an episode of Maastricht Cultured is about to start. It’s one of the podcast series on the new Student Radio Maastricht platform.

English at university is fine, says minister, as long as standards don’t suffer

THE NETHERLANDS. The Dutch higher education system can continue to offer more courses and degrees in English, as long as it leads to an improvement in standards and that Dutch students are not forced out, education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven said on Monday.

GDPR imposes more careful attention

GDPR imposes more careful attention

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

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

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

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

Dope again the big winner in university elections

Dope again the big winner in university elections

MAASTRICHT. As was the case in the past three years, Dope came out of the university elections - this year only for students and service councils - as the big winner. The party lost a seat, but with a total of 22 seats in the faculty councils and the University Council, it is the largest.

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

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

MAASTRICHT. It will be 'Helemaal naar de klote' and 'rampeneren' to the beat during the 2018 Inkom. Partysquad will perform as the final act for Inkom 2018 in the MECC. This was announced last Thursday and met with loud applause in the Kruithuis at the School of Business and Economics. Furthermore, Inkom is more sustainable than ever this year and mentors will not just be association members.

No UM-wide resit policy

MAASTRICHT. Resits: one faculty organises them one way, another faculty some other way. A single extra chance, or more often. Or no resits at all. The setup may even differ within faculties. The University Council discussed the question whether the p...

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

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

They have to perform. Be the very best. Do a great internship, get high marks, graduate cum laude. Oh, and sit on a student board if at all possible. Little wonder that students are crumbling under the pressure and end up depressed. Walking around like zombies, if we’re to believe the newspapers. Are things in Maastricht, too, all that bad? There are no figures, but the long waiting lists for the UM psychologists point to the need for action.

Meet Maastricht: from vlaai to Bonnefanten Museum

MAASTRICHT. Discovering the mysteries of Maastricht – those places off the beaten tourist track – learning how to bake a vlaai at the Bisschopsmolen or exploring the  neighbouring  caves. Every week, Meet Maastricht organizes an activity for foreign students and expats to discover the local culture. This weekend – Friday 24 until Sunday 26 – all activities will take place once more to conclude the academic year at the Meet Maastricht Festival.

Professor Heringa: lawsuit against the UM for anglicisation “stands no chance”

MAASTRICHT. The lawsuit filed by the association 'Beter Onderwijs Nederland (BON, or Better Education Netherlands)' against the education inspectorate and the universities of Maastricht and Twente, seems to “stand no reasonable chance”, according to Professor of Public Law, Aalt-Willem Heringa. The UM's Executive Board has also issued a written statement, saying that it has little doubt about a successful outcome. BON is protesting against the ‘anglicisation’ of higher education.

Higher education wants more foreign students

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities and schools of higher professional education are looking forward to welcoming a lot more students from abroad. But for this they want more money and to be able to select their students better.

Additional rooms on Annadal Campus

Additional rooms on Annadal Campus

MAASTRICHT. There will be 329 temporary student rooms  realised  at the  Annadal  complex on the Brouwersweg. This is to prevent students from still searching for decent and affordable accommodation weeks after their studies have started, as happened last year. With the choice falling on  Annadal , the alternative - container units in Randwyck - has been scrapped. The latter plan turned out to be unfeasible.

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

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

Songs about ‘sluts’ and ‘whores’ in Utrecht. First-year students who are made to sleep with rancid fish. A bad Carnival joke by students from Eindhoven: de wil van de vrouw doet er #nietoo (roughly, ‘what women want doesn’t matter’, where #nietoo rhymes with #metoo). And very recently, Vindicat in Groningen simply ‘forgetting’ to report an abuse, and subsequently having its board grants withdrawn. Every incident that takes place within student associations is widely reported in the national press, and can count on being met with indignation. Is all this negative publicity justified? Is there no longer room in our society for students’ excesses? Where do the sanctions imposed on Tragos and Circumflex fit in this picture? Observant sat down with the presidents (two men, two women) of the four main student associations: KoKo (the only one that does not haze new students), Tragos, Circumflex and the rowing club Saurus. They are willing to talk about anything – except their own hazing practices. 

Playing badminton and enjoying food from home

Playing badminton and enjoying food from home

Once a year, Indonesian students from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany come together to play badminton – the most popular sport in their home country. At this year’s Maastricht Cup - last Saturday - fifty players competed for the...

Learning to think about the impact of your research

Learning to think about the impact of your research

MAASTRICHT. Neuroethics – all ethical questions concerning brain research – is a field of study that is becoming more and more important with all the technological and other developments. The more we know about the brain, the more we should think about what we are going to do with that information. What are the consequences for research, applications, patients, and humanity as a whole? That is what the NeuroEthics Symposium on 4 May is about, which is  organised  by students from the research master’s of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience.

Second edition Ladyfest in Maastricht

Second edition Ladyfest in Maastricht

Celebrating feminist, women, trans and gender-non conforming people – that’s what Ladyfest all about. This worldwide concept of a festival created within the community came to Maastricht for the first time last year. Now, the second editi...

When storytellers become activists

When storytellers become activists

MAASTRICHT. How do storytellers relate to current pressing issues? When and why do writers, filmmakers and artists become activists? That’s the theme of the fourth Story-Line event, this Saturday in Lumiere Cinama. The English programme include...

Combatting stress with yoga and workshops

MAASTRICHT. The Educational Programme Committee of the Maastricht Science Programme was wondering how stressed their students actually are. A survey among 129 MSP students showed that the situation was more  favourable  than anticipated. It is true that they are practically all stressed at some time – especially during exam periods – but the majority feel that it is part of student life and sometimes it even works as a motivator.

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

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

MAASTRICHT. A pianist starts playing at the official opening of the International Client Consultation Competition (ICCC), hosted last Wednesday by the Maastricht Faculty of Law. All of a sudden a tenor stands up from the audience and starts to sing, as three others join him in performing the satirical composition So You Want to Write a Fugue? That’s not what the 22 student teams will do in the next three days – but theirs is no small feat either. They are here to determine who the best client consultant is.

First UM-wide bachelor’s programme being created

MAASTRICHT. If all goes as planned, the first real university-wide bachelor's programme will open its doors in September 2019. It is called Global Studies and is developed and produced by all of Maastricht University’s six faculties. The plan is about to be put before the University Council, after which the education minister will also have to give the go-ahead. 

XXL weeks at University Library

XXL weeks at University Library

MAASTRICHT. It is time for the XXL weeks at the University Library again. This means that the library is bursting at its seams with students studying. Elise Abraham, second-year student of Economics from Belgium and Mimi Ahlsrog, second-year student ...

Psychology awarding grants again

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences is going to award seven scholarships annually to bachelor's students. Three of those will be for Dutch students, three for students from within the EU and one for a student from outside the EU. They will either be exempt from paying tuition fees for three years or will be reimbursed.

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

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

After oncology, most research money goes to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Among people over 80 years of age, dementia prevalence exceeds 20%. Paradoxically though, our knowledge of the brain has increased more than ever in the past decades, yet this is not yielding more new medicines. This is one of the challenges faced by students of the unique new UM research master specialization Drug Development and Neurohealth.

New Party M:OED earns two seats in city council

New Party M:OED earns two seats in city council

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

“Vote, and don’t shut up”

“Vote, and don’t shut up”

MAASTRICHT “The name of the party tonight is ‘SHUT UP and VOTE’, but I prefer to say: ‘Vote, and don’t shut up’.” With these words, UM president Martin Paul opened Maastricht’s first polling station, on the first floor of the Muziekgieterij, shortly before midnight.

Library of Things wins Student Idea Competition

Library of Things wins Student Idea Competition

MAASTRICHT. The Library of Things has won the Student Idea Competition 2018, the annual contest organised by the Student Project Team. Five teams pitched their ideas to improve student life at Maastricht University in the Student Service Centre (SSC) last Monday. A jury selected three winners. The Library of Things – where people can borrow tools they rarely use, such as a drill, instead of buying them – will use their 400 euros in prize money to expand their collection.

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

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

MAASTRICHT. Eleven Maastricht master's courses are among the very best in the Netherlands, is the opinion of the Keuzegids Masters 2018, which took a close look at 43 UM master's. The research master's programme of European Studies with a grade of nine is the very best. At the very bottom are Movement Sciences and Epidemiology. Those curricula have been completely revised as of September 2017.

About the challenges of a young tutor

About the challenges of a young tutor

Three actors play a short scene for the audience. We see a female student who is waiting for her friend in a pub. In the meantime, a young man offers her a drink. She declines. ‘Ah, don't be like that,’ he says, and before she knows it, a beer has been put in front of her. She takes it without looking at him. She goes onto the dance floor; he joins her and is becoming more and more pushy. When the friend arrives, she is ‘rescued’ from the young man. Then it's the next morning, the student and her friend are waiting for their new tutor in the classroom. Lo and behold, it's the rejected, inebriated young man from the night before. “I’m glad to see familiar faces,” he says loudly. The girls would like the earth to open up and swallow them.

Greater absenteeism during blocks leads to lower grades

MAASTRICHT. First-year students who faithfully attend all tutorial group meetings, perform considerably better than those who just about meet the attendance standard. This was one of the outcomes of a survey carried out by Patrick Bijsmans and Arjan Schakel among first-year students of European Studies, which was recently published in Higher Education.

“I hear there are some communists in the room”

“I hear there are some communists in the room”

“Why did Napoleon never attack Geneva? Napoleon: ‘Geneva? Why would I attack Geneva? Everybody speaks English there.’”, according to ringmaster Teun Dekker, using these words to present the introductory video that accompanies ...

Age is often forgotten when we speak about diversity

Age is often forgotten when we speak about diversity

A student who is 48, a professor who is eighteen and someone defending his or her thesis at 70 years of age. Intuitively we know what ‘fits’ with what age. So age is much more than the actual years on a calendar, there are numerous cultural connotations attached. “It is not just what you are (four, sixteen, fifty or eighty), but also what you do,” says professor Aagje Swinnen at the beginning of the diversity afternoon on the age-friendly university, last Thursday at the Kumulus theatre.

Navigation tools and works of art

Navigation tools and works of art

MAASTRICHT. Throughout the centuries, atlases have been more than just navigation tools. They can also be works of art, tell a story about how the world was depicted at that time, and hint at the opinions of the cartographer. Jonathan Stockhorst...

Big student debate elections at SBE

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

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

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

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

Student funding body to close digital access point for a month for upgrade

THE NETHERLANDS. Students will be unable to access details of their funding online for a month while the service provider upgrades its user portal.

UM Sports cafe reopens at the beginning of March

UM Sports cafe reopens at the beginning of March

MAASTRICHT. At the beginning of March, the sport's cafe in the UM Sports complex will reopen its doors. Rivazza, which is the new name, will be the first tramezzini shop (small Italian rolls) in Maastricht. For the time being, it will be open every day from 10:00 to 20:00 hrs.

Minister wants to discuss internationalisation with lecturers and students

NETHERLANDS. The newspapers are filled with opinions and analyses about foreign students and the use of English in higher education. But education minister Van Engelshoven is taking the time before she puts forward her vision. First of all, some working visits.

Annadal Campus or Randwyck

Annadal Campus or Randwyck

MAASTRICHT. On Tuesday evening, Maastricht University presented to the city council a second solution for the shortage of affordable student rooms: expansion of the Annadal Campus. In December, the university already argued in favour of 250 container units in Randwyck. Asked which option was preferable, Nick Bos, vice-president of the UM’s Executive Board answered: “The most feasible one.”

Student associations dissatisfied with city accommodation policy

Student associations dissatisfied with city accommodation policy

MAASTRICHT. The present Maastricht city accommodation policy is useless. Students are too often depicted as a necessary evil. The three large Maastricht student associations Circumflex, Tragos and Koko have written a letter to the city council this week to express their discontent. In doing so, they are involving themselves in the discussion about student accommodation in Maastricht that has been going on for a couple of weeks now. “How are you going to ensure, having introduced this policy, that it will not add to the feeling that students already have of not being welcome?”

Student loan group can access private info about student travel

THE NETHERLANDS. Student loan group Duo can ask for information about the movement of students suspected of committing fraud by pretending to live at home, the highest Dutch administrative court said on Monday.

New language policy: (good) English where necessary, Dutch must improve

New language policy: (good) English where necessary, Dutch must improve

MAASTRICHT. The choice of English or Dutch in classrooms should depend on the content and the objective of the study programme. If it is for the international labour market, English should prevail. Dutch students should also pay more attention to their proficiency in Dutch. Foreign staff should also learn to speak Dutch.

From tax benefit to the secret of charisma

From tax benefit to the secret of charisma

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

Do’s, don’ts and don’t knows of PBL

MAASTRICHT. Is Problem-Based Learning the best methodology that exists in the field of education? Or should we return to the classic system with lectures in which the lecturer is able to elaborate uninhibitedly about his research? The EDview project is looking for the PBL system of the future and hopes that the entire UM will think along.

Petition to make UM fossil free

Petition to make UM fossil free

MAASTRICHT. Fossil Free Maastricht has started an online petition to ask the Executive Board to commit to a fossil-free and ethical financial strategy. So far they have gathered 185 signatures.

Extra student rooms: UM is waiting on the city council

Extra student rooms: UM is waiting on the city council

MAASTRICHT. Before the start of the next academic year, Maastricht University want to place 250 renovated container dwellings for students on their own premises in Randwyck, where once the Calatrava campus should have been built. The units previously stood in Amsterdam, but need to be removed after a designated period of ten years. The UM sees it as a quick and temporary solution to the shortage of affordable student accommodation. Now it is just waiting on the go-ahead from the city council.

Exchange students also allowed to vote

Exchange students also allowed to vote

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

Frisbee: more than a game

Frisbee: more than a game

MAASTRICHT. Five Ultimate Frisbee men's teams from the Netherlands came to Maastricht on Sunday to compete against each other. It was the third day of competitions (of a total of four) in the third division, in which Maastricht's own Ultimaas...

University challenge: more students squash into Dutch lecture theatres

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of teaching staff at Dutch universities rose by 6% between 2012 and 2016 but the number of students rose 11% over the same period, the Dutch students union LSVB has told the NRC.

“It is time for a new generation of politicians”

“It is time for a new generation of politicians”

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

No more student rooms in another sixteen streets

No more student rooms in another sixteen streets

Last year, the city council ‘locked down’ 71 streets, meaning that in those areas the number of student rooms could not be increased. This week, another sixteen streets have been added to the list. This now concerns a total of 6 per cent of all Maastricht streets.

Portraits of human rights defenders

Portraits of human rights defenders

“Richard fights for the rights of prisoners in Burundi.” Under the impressive photo of this African human rights defender, with the Servaas Bridge in the background, visitors to the exhibition in the Faculty of Law's Lenculenhal can r...

UM sounds alarm about shortage of affordable student rooms

UM sounds alarm about shortage of affordable student rooms

MAASTRICHT. Great concerns in Maastricht about the shortage of affordable student rooms. Both Maastricht University and the Maastricht Association of Living Accommodation Letters (Vereniging Verhuurders Woonruimtes Maastricht, or VVWM) sounded the alarm in a letter to the city council before Christmas. The UM proposed some solutions – expansion of the Annadal Guesthouse and 250 container apartments in Randwijck – but counts on the city council’s cooperation. The willingness is there, says Fred Bunk, accommodation policy advisor, because the city council also expects problems in the cheaper segment.

Brothers on the karate mat

Brothers on the karate mat

Greed. Brian: “I’m not affected by it. I don’t care much about clothes or other things. If my phone’s worn out, I’ll buy a new one, but it doesn’t have to be the latest iPhone. I’m mainly focused on the ...

British researchers and students keep the same rights after Brexit

EUROPE. It looks as if British students and researchers - for the time being - may continue to participate in European programmes such as Erasmus+ and Horizon2020 after the Brexit.   

‘German Run’ under control

‘German Run’ under control

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

EU agencies in the future Europe

EU agencies in the future Europe

MAASTRICHT. Visitors to the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, should know exactly where they need to be, says director James Calleja, because taxi drivers won't be able to find...

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

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

Greed. I have a shoe tic: I have twelve pairs of running shoes, three pairs of cycling shoes and another ten or so pairs of ‘normal’ shoes. Obviously you can only wear one pair at a time, but I change them depending on the type of trainin...

ROA: even more work for academics

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. Engineers and IT experts are sitting pretty: in the coming years they will easily find employment. But the outlook on the labour market for psychologists and university lecturers has also improved.

ROA: even more work for academics

NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Engineers and IT experts are sitting pretty: in the coming years they will easily find employment. But the outlook on the labour market for psychologists and university lecturers has also improved.

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

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

After the controversial referendum, the declaration of independence, the harsh reaction from the Spanish government, and the ‘flight’ of dismissed Catalan president Puigdemont to Belgium, the Catalans will return to the polling stations on 21 December to elect new regional representatives. How are Catalan students and staff at the UM viewing all this? Are they going to vote? Are they in favour of or against independence? Observant spoke with them.

Eat a sandwich and donate to charity

Eat a sandwich and donate to charity

MAASTRICHT. Mozzarella, salami and pesto – this is what’s on the special Maastricht Science Programme sandwich (notice the similar abbreviation) for sale at Bread&More, a sandwich shop close to the MSP building at the Kapoenstraat. Cu...

“During the Limburg derby we fight tooth and nail”

“During the Limburg derby we fight tooth and nail”

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

Record number of visitors at open day

Record number of visitors at open day

MAASTRICHT. The bachelor’s open day last Saturday saw more visitors than ever, with at least 3,600 school students – a new record – finding their way to Maastricht University. That figure was around 3,100 in November 2015 and 2016. Between them the visitors managed to drink some 1,540 litres of coffee and 345 litres of tea.

What do mums and dads do at an Open Day?

What do mums and dads do at an Open Day?

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

Thanksgiving in Maastricht

Thanksgiving in Maastricht

Big turkeys, yams, pumpkin pies and pecan pies – all the traditional staples of a Thanksgiving dinner were present at the Tapijnkazerne last Thursday. Over a hundred American students gathered to spend this family holiday together. It was the f...

“Nothing but football in your head is not good”

“Nothing but football in your head is not good”

Greed. During a match, you can show that you’re up to the task: coaching my defenders, giving them faith that they can play the ball back, stopping attackers. So I want to play as much as possible. When it comes to my outfit, I prefer not to ha...

Maastricht’s not-so-dead Poets Society

Maastricht’s not-so-dead Poets Society

As the meek face of morning

Peered, winking generously

Over the woken earth

Came a lonely boat,

Slaving to the tide

Soothing solemnly by

As a sailing thought

 Slowly making its way

 Across the pallid waters

 Of my liquid mind.

(Alfie Marsden-Smedley)

“I eat around 4500 calories a day”

“I eat around 4500 calories a day”

  Greed. I’m not materialistic. I only need the essentials; a belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, weightlifting shoes for squats, and a singlet for competitions. In powerlifting there are two big brands; SBD and Titan, but with shoes I ...

Students take to the Feesfebrik or stay at home

Students take to the Feesfebrik or stay at home

MAASTRICHT. With the closure of Club Alla, Maastricht has lost a popular place of entertainment. The night pub was liked especially by students because of the very long opening hours. They now largely take to the Feesfebrik or stay at home. Observant carried out a small random check.

Psychology students and board clash about switching tutorial groups

Psychology students and board clash about switching tutorial groups

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

“Sacrifice one submarine to move forward in regenerative medicine”

“Sacrifice one submarine to move forward in regenerative medicine”

“He is not only an idol, he is my hero!”, were Professor Clemens van Blitterswijk’s words leaving the curious audience tempted to learn about the identity of this mystery man. His talk was one of the many that were given during TEDx Maastricht’s 5th anniversary, which took place this year at the MECC forum. This year’s theme ‘The process of inception’ was entertained by various speakers taking the stage, attempting to awe, inspire and motivate the public.

Debate: Speed up diversity policy, please

Debate: Speed up diversity policy, please

MAASTRICHT. Take the board of governors of Duke University, a top American university. It now includes women, but they are a minority. The point is that the conference table is too small, so a second row has been created, against the wall. That is where the women usually sit.

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

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

Greed. I need my equipment to be in good order. I always want a new grip and the strings on my racket done before a match or a tournament. My shoes are always Nike, and I like having a Nike top, shorts and socks on as well. Outside the sport I’...

“Try and take the stairs this week”

“Try and take the stairs this week”

Of course, you should exercise regularly, but actually getting down to doing so, is another story. Within the framework of Active Campus Europe – a two-year collaboration project of sixteen European universities to stimulate sports among students and employees – UM Sports will motivate ‘inactive’ students until the beginning of December to start exercising. Halfway through the eight-week ‘Move more, feel better’ project, Observant went to take a look at the participants.

Keuzegids 2018: University Colleges UM extraordinarily good

Keuzegids 2018: University Colleges UM extraordinarily good

MAASTRICHT. The real Maastricht toppers in the Keuzegids 2018 are the broad bachelor's programmes University College Maastricht, University College Venlo, and the Maastricht Science Programme. They may call themselves 2018 Top Programmes. There was also a lot of praise for the quality of the English used by the Maastricht lecturers. They received a 7.4 and score better than their colleagues in the rest of the country.

Rich, richer, richest

MAASTRICHT. If you want to earn a lot of money later, you would be best off by studying Dentistry (€5,330 gross), International Business (€3,260 gross), Medicine (€3,140), Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (€2,950), or for example Fiscal and Notarial Law (€2,970). A study in the fields of Arts and Culture is not a good idea (€1,670 gross) from this perspective.

Recruitment of foreign students: more and more rivals in the field

MAASTRICHT. The influx of foreign students at Maastricht University is still the highest in the Netherlands, but there are more and more rivals, not just in the Netherlands, but also abroad. This was shown by the latest figures from Marketing & Communicatie.

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

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

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

Trapped in a mind set

Trapped in a mind set

MAASTRICHT. The idea was conceived seven years ago and has been popular at universities ever since: train alumni to prepare students for or assist them on the labour market. The alumni, themselves already well-established in their fields, receive a c...

Not for profit, but for people

​MAASTRICHT. Make medicines for people, not for profit. That is the message from Universities Allied for Essential Medicine (UAEM), the worldwide organisation that also has a Maastricht department. For next week, these students have organised Access to Medicine (A2M) Week.

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

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

Greed. I always want the puck. If you’ve got possession, you can leave your mark on the match. I’ve got a pretty decent trophy collection at home. But success always leaves you wanting more. The ones I cherish most are the medals for the ...

“The real heroes of war are women”

“The real heroes of war are women”

MAASTRICHT. She has been ambushed by the Taliban, abducted by Pakistan’s ISI, narrowly escaped the suicide bombing of a hotel and was on Benazir Bhutto’s bus when it was blown up. In the Tans lecture, bestselling author Christina Lamb will talk about her work as a female war correspondent.

Housing crisis seems to be averted

Housing crisis seems to be averted

MAASTRICHT. Where a handful of ‘homeless’ students were protesting in front of the Student Services Centre in Maastricht at the beginning of September, under the heading #MaastrichtHousingCrisis, there has been no activity for weeks on th...

Well-being Week: Yoga in between classes

Well-being Week: Yoga in between classes

MAASTRICHT. Student life involves a lot of changes: a university study, living by yourself, and new friends. During the Well-being Week by University College Maastricht (UCM), the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (FPN) and the Student Service Centre (SSC), students will get tips to become healthier and more resilient.

Food Truck as temporary help for UM Sports

Food Truck as temporary help for UM Sports

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

Fake it till you make it

Fake it till you make it

Greed. To be quite clear: Latin dance is not ballroom dancing [just so that we know what we are talking about, Zef Orbons laughs. He dances the rumba, samba, jive, cha-cha and paso doble]. I have always wanted to look beautiful and I love stylishness...

Meet our big boys and girls

Meet our big boys and girls

We all know the stereotypes about ‘he-men’ and ‘she-women’: they eat chicken all day long, their IQs barely crack 100 and they drop their weights hard enough to make the floor shake. In the run-up to the Dutch Student National...

More first-year UM students

MAASTRICHT. The preliminary figures indicate that the number of first-year bachelor's and master's students has risen by 4.7 per cent to a total of 7,114, after a minor dip last year. Almost all faculties have contributed to this increase, except for Psychology and Neurosciences (minus 2.4 per cent).

1,000-euro discount for first-year students

THE NETHERLANDS. In the hot-from-the-press Dutch coalition agreement, political parties have agreed that first-year students will receive a 1,000-euro tuition fee reduction. Will universities have to pick up the tab?

Swapping clothes while eating leftovers

Swapping clothes while eating leftovers

MAASTRICHT. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. This could have been the theme of the Sustainability Day gathering, organised by the study association of the master's programme of Sustainability, Science and Policy (ASAP)...

“I sit in class with wet hair”

“I sit in class with wet hair”

Greed. I’d rather call myself eager. I always want to win. In daily life I’m not greedy at all. I can be very happy with the little things. My gear has to be good, not expensive or beautiful; that’s the way I was raised. My sunglass...

University Council sends public away during debate on hazing

MAASTRICHT. Last week, the University Council decided to ask the Executive Board questions about sanctions against two student associations - Tragos and Circumflex - but would do so without an audience. Only then would the Executive Board give true answers, was their idea.

Who is coming out to play?

Who is coming out to play?

Imagine you have a couple of hours off this afternoon and you fancy a game of table tennis. It’s just, who to play with? Maybe you are new to Maastricht and don't know a lot of people. Or you do have friends here, but they don't have th...

UM students (very) satisfied with study programmes

UM students (very) satisfied with study programmes

MAASTRICHT. Compared to students from institutes elsewhere in the country, Maastricht students are satisfied to very satisfied with their study programmes at Maastricht University. This is one of the outcomes of the National Student Survey (held in spring 2017), processed by the Centre for Higher Education Information (Centrum voor Hoger Onderwijs Informatie, CHOI).

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

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

Greed. Handball has taken me to many places around the world: Brazil, Qatar, Denmark, Turkey, Sweden. I want more, but my parents say it’s been great already and I’d do better to concentrate fully on my studies. I want to show everyone th...

Sanctions for Tragos and Circumflex because of hazing

Sanctions for Tragos and Circumflex because of hazing

MAASTRICHT. Student association Tragos is being punished for breaking Maastricht University's Code of Conduct during their latest hazing. One third of their subsidy will be revoked. Tragos denies the allegations. Circumflex supposedly also violated the Code of Conduct. The latter association received a warning, which could also result in revoking part of their subsidy next year. The Executive Board announced its decisions on Monday.

“Creating a community is like brushing your teeth”

“Creating a community is like brushing your teeth”

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

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

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

Greed. I always want to win, to bring home medals. I cycled a lot in my youth and have a bookcase full of trophies at my parents’ place. I was junior Benelux champion and won silver at the Netherlands Championships for newcomers. I want to get ...

Staff and students about German elections

Staff and students about German elections

Who are you going to vote for on Sunday? Observant discovered that this is a question that many German students and staff members would prefer not to answer. What you do in the polling booth, is private. But they do definitely have - often a well thought out - opinion about the Chancellor Angela Merkel, SPD leader Martin Schulz, the extreme right AfD, the Grünen, Die Linke, in short the up-coming German elections.  

“Victims of sexual assault often feel caged”

“Victims of sexual assault often feel caged”

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

FASoS research review: much praise and food for thought

FASoS research review: much praise and food for thought

MAASTRICHT. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was showered with praise late last week by the committee that came to assess its research. Plaudits went not only to the quality of the research (“very good”) and the PhD programme (“very professional”), but also to the “focus on people”. However, the workload was judged to be “still very high”.

“I’m never ever satisfied about myself”

“I’m never ever satisfied about myself”

Greed. I’m not greedy at all; I don’t desire material possessions. I’m happy with what I have. Okay, I have to admit: show jumping is an elite equestrian sport. You have to look good and your outfit must be presentable, but I don&rs...

ISN withdraws from international student club

ISN withdraws from international student club

MAASTRICHT. Before the summer the International Student Network (ISN) withdrew as the organisation responsible for Kaleido, the international student club in the Timmerfabriek. This means it will not be the club’s main operator. Within Maastricht University there had long been doubts about the enormous task ahead of the ISN, a small organisation with a rotating board that had difficulties getting the programming and marketing off the ground. Last year UM established its own project team to carry the load temporarily.

Sport's cafe Time Out in financial difficulty

MAASTRICHT. Sport's cafe Time Out in the UM Sports’ centre is in financial difficulty. The Tax Office, where the manager of Concepts&More has a debt, had already ordered the forced sale of the inventory on Wednesday, 13 September, but this was called off at the last minute.

Finding a solution for the problem of temporary scarcity

Finding a solution for the problem of temporary scarcity

MAASTRICHT. The housing problem of foreign students in Maastricht will be discussed with the city council. Managing director of Student & Staff Housing, Maurice Evers, said so after a meeting with Hungarian student Ilona Kraft, one of the initiat...

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

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

  Greed. I don’t have time to be greedy. I train and I study, that’s it. That said, I do always like to have the best bike, the best wetsuit and the best shoes. I have them now and am very happy with them. I’m an only chi...

Protest #MaastrichtHousingCrisis @SSC Maastricht

Protest #MaastrichtHousingCrisis @SSC Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. #MaastrichtHousingCrisis, reads the piece of paper in a student’s hand. In front of the Student Services Centre on Wednesday afternoon, she is surrounded by a handful of likeminded students from Romania, Italy and India. The call for a quiet protest about the lack of decent rooms was spread via Facebook. But is it really that hard to find accommodation in Maastricht?

One meal a day for every patient

One meal a day for every patient

These are exciting times for Victoria von Salmuth. In early November, after she graduates, the sixth-year medical student from Germany will be heading back to the Shirati KMT hospital in Tanzania. Two years ago she set up the Food Programme there. For her efforts, she was presented during the opening of the academic year last Monday with the Student Award 2017.

Swim eat sleep repeat

Swim eat sleep repeat

Greed. I’m crazy about training swimsuits, I like buying them in all sorts of bright colours and prints. They tend to wear out quickly because of the chlorine. Fortunately, there are always new collections: a good excuse to go looking for the n...

Celebrations in Venlo too

Celebrations in Venlo too

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht has Inkom. Venlo has VID, Venlo Introduction Day. Last Thursday, the city in the North of the province of Limburg experienced its first central introduction day. Two schools of higher education and the Venlo campus – with one UM bachelor's and two master's programmes – joined forces. However, as far as the numbers were concerned, it was more of a school of higher education party: of the 1,200 participants, only about forty were from university.

Top athletes finally have an advantage at the UM

Top athletes finally have an advantage at the UM

Maastricht. Students who do sports at a high level, will from now on receive extra support from Maastricht University. Not only will their study programme be tailored to their needs as much as possible and will they have free access to UM Sport's gym, they will also receive five (instead of the regular three) months of financial support from the UM ‘Profileringsfonds’.

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

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

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

Far from home

Far from home

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

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

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

  Greed. I’m not so into things, but when I do the groceries I always come home with more than was on the list. Gluttony. I’m addicted to boxing, am always either doing it myself or watching it. I have to watch every...

Bringing students safely to Maastricht

Bringing students safely to Maastricht

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

Hangover or not: Legendary Workout

Hangover or not: Legendary Workout

MAASTRICHT. It's Friday, the fifth day of the Inkom. Most freshmen will be exhausted, but UM Sports had the guts to schedule the Legendary Work at 10.30h. And they were right. Over a hunderd fresmen joined the "body and mind m...

“I’m really happy with my room”

“I’m really happy with my room”

The Sports Event at the Griend has only just started, but Armin Dorrani (18) a European Law School student from Eindhoven, has already made his choice. “I’m going to join the badminton association. I already play, it’s fun because i...

Looking at art and collecting ball

Looking at art and collecting ball

A lot of students are sporting unique linen bags at Cultifest, held Wednesday night at the Bonnefantenmuseum. They have painted them themselves at one of the many activities going on in and around the building. Inspiration can be found at the Raymond...

“Finnish people never get hangovers”

“Finnish people never get hangovers”

Pietari Pitzen (21), from Finland, lost track of his Inkom group. “We had a party in the Mecc yesterday, called Legends of Tomorrow”, says Pitzen at the Picnic on Wednesday afternoon. “I guess that my group stayed in bed with a hang...

Burgers and an allergy on the side

Burgers and an allergy on the side

MAASTRICHT. The girl at the first hamburger handout is suffering. Today it is about thirty degrees, which makes it not nice to have to hang your head over a hot grill. And she can’t step backwards because the hamburgers need turning around ever...

Bouncing through the Stadspark

Bouncing through the Stadspark

MAASTRICHT. You could make your way through the Stadspark bouncing, Tuesday afternoon at the Festival. Avoiding spinning beams, playing a game of volleyball or just lazily enjoying the sun: it can all be done on a bouncing castle. What else is going ...

“I expected rain”

“I expected rain”

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

In love with Maastricht

In love with Maastricht

Big sunglasses and an African head wrap. “I didn’t feel like doing my hair today”, laughs the first year student University College, “it’s easy and it looks nice.” Indeed it does. Her name is Annemiek Cuppen (18), ...

Bringing your laundry to Cologne

Bringing your laundry to Cologne

“Toast met tartaar.” German Franziska Flossbach laughs a bit as she tells about her Dutch skills. She didn’t take an official course, “she practiced just for fun”, with a friend who is doing a study program in Rotterdam....

Born in Seychelles

Born in Seychelles

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

Ready, set, go!

Ready, set, go!

MAASTRICHT. A band that has both Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine as Super Trooper by ABBA on their set list, can rightfully call themselves all-round.  The Daredevils set the mood Monday night at the Markt, just before the offici...

Record number of participants for Inkom 2017

Record number of participants for Inkom 2017

MAASTRICHT. No tropical heat or dull Dutch weather, but a mild sun with a cloud here or there. Today, Monday 21 August, 2900 new students start their Maastricht Inkom - a lot more than last year (2735). It means the introduction week for freshmen is ...

New city, new haircut

New city, new haircut

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

How to abolish a numerus fixus

How to abolish a numerus fixus

MAASTRICHT. The numerus fixus for the study programme of Economics and Business Economics has never been reached. So, let’s get rid of it, says the SBE Faculty Board. The students think this a bad idea. The restriction works as a mark of quality and that scares off unmotivated students. In the Faculty Council meeting, the students unanimously voted the proposal down. In the meantime, it has become clear that the Faculty Council has no say in the matter, and maybe the University Council doesn't either.

UPDATE: Student protests against sharing of personal details

UPDATE: Student protests against sharing of personal details

MAASTRICHT. The UM provides personal details of students to external parties such as Flycatcher and Studiekeuze 123. Is that allowed? And if so, why are students not informed about this and asked for their permission? FHML student Patrick Pilipiec has demanded access to university documents on the basis of the Dutch Personal Data Protection Act. The UM has meanwhile let the deadline pass, under penalty for non-compliance.

No letter about HP from the University Council to the Executive Board after all

MAASTRICHT. Are the students in the University Council going to send a letter about HP to the Executive Board, requesting further investigation into the company, or not? It is becoming more and more unlikely.

Judges throw out student fraud cases because of unauthorised inspectors

THE NETHERLANDS. At least 200 students who were suspected of claiming too much student funding will not have to pay back the extra money because of an administrative error.

University Council students: “HP's role in Israel needs to be investigated”

MAASTRICHT. Students from the University Council expect the Executive Board to carry out an investigation into the role of IT manufacturer HP in Israel and the occupied territory. The Board will receive a letter on this the matter in the next few days, says Thomas Vaessen from Novum.

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

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

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

Lots of DJs during Inkom

MAASTRICHT. Lyrics by Nirvana poured like a sauce over the music of the Final Countdown. It's those types of mash-ups that new first-years can expect when Daredevils play during the Inkom opening event on the Markt. They are one of the few bands ...

More intensive UM supervision during hazing

More intensive UM supervision during hazing

MAASTRICHT. “I haven't received any signals that things happen during hazing here in Maastricht that shouldn't be allowed,” says rector Rianne Letschert. But she admits that things aren't all that clear. Also, the SSC director will carry out unannounced visits.

Education Prize FPN

MAASTRICHT. This year’s education prize at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience went to Course Coordinator Nick Broers. He is being honoured for his outstanding commitment to statistics at the faculty. It was the third time he won. Furthe...

“Banning corruption won’t happen”

“Banning corruption won’t happen”

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

Dope is the largest student party again

MAASTRICHT. With a total of 23 seats - spread out over various councils - Dope is again the largest student party in Maastricht, while Novum, with fourteen seats, takes second place. The new party WE R SBE acquired two seats in the School of Business and Economics council, but was left empty-handed when it comes to the University Council. The seats in the latter will be divided up between Dope (six) and Novum (three).

End-of-Year Event

End-of-Year Event

MAASTRICHT. Sun, music by the Tuna guys, drinks, and a brand-new issue of Mosaïek, otherwise known as the interdisciplinary cultural magazine of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, which seemed to be defunct for a while, but has now been restore...

“An open discussion about sexuality is taboo”

“An open discussion about sexuality is taboo”

Her life is at risk in Nigeria, because Judith (whose surname will be withheld for privacy reasons) is quite open about her sexual orientation in her home country. She is a lesbian, living and working as a human rights activist and who is now in Maas...

A friend with a framework

A friend with a framework

MAASTRICHT. Imagine you’re a first-year who is feeling a bit lonely. You’d like to make more friends, but don’t know where to start. This is where the new peer support system that the student guidance team at the Student Service Centre is developing comes in. Student volunteers will be trained to help their peers in various ways, from stress management to referring them to the correct resources if they need professional assistance. Similar programs have been implemented at different universities globally, such as the University of Oxford and the KU Leuven.

Cyclist Tom Dumoulin is first Dutchman to win Giro D’Italia

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. Former Maastricht university student Tom Dumoulin has won the 100th Giro d’Italia in Milan – becoming the first Dutchman ever to win the round Italy cycle race.

"This is a unique drama"

"This is a unique drama"

Carré, a former cigar factory, was transformed into a student complex last summer. Studios with your own shower, partly furnished, supermarket on the ground floor, the city centre within walking distance, and 24-hour service: that was the marketing pitch. It sounded great, and pricey with a monthly rent of more than 700 euro. But since the first students moved in, lots of things have gone wrong: leaks, bicycle theft, junkies in the stairwell, and a humming ventilation system. Inhabitants say that they are being ignored by management company Jules. “That is incorrect, we have shown our involvement from the beginning.”

Discover cultural Maastricht

Discover cultural Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. What does Maastricht have to offer in the cultural field? Young international people living in Maastricht can discover the city’s ‘hidden treasures’ at the new Meet Maastricht Festival from 26 until 28 May. There are ove...

From a non-insulated factory building to luxury student rooms

From a non-insulated factory building to luxury student rooms

MAASTRICHT. “And this is where the lobby will be. Imagine students with laptops and pizzas.” The guide giving the tour through the Sphinx building, points around him. At the moment, it is a construction site with wooden planks, dust, and ...

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

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

“I found the house more quickly than I thought,” says Mien Segers, professor of Corporate Learning, as she enters Inge Tielen's apartment. “The address was a white stain on Google Maps. And Belgians always lose their way in the ...

Tackling gender stereotypes at the Maastricht Open debating competition

Tackling gender stereotypes at the Maastricht Open debating competition

MAASTRICHT. “These people have been unemployed for more than 15 years!”, was one of the participants’ motion during the discussion of gender stereotypes in the workplace and measures to break them. This was the topic discussed during the first round of the Maastricht Open, an international debating event organized by the Maastricht Debating Association Rhetorica.

‘Anti-Zionist event’ in UM building cancelled

‘Anti-Zionist event’ in UM building cancelled

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

“Randwyck? That is the dark side”

“Randwyck? That is the dark side”

Annelot Pannekoek makes her way up the stairs with difficulty. Someone stood on her toe yesterday; it was completely blue this morning. “Maybe even broken, but it appears that they can't do anything about that, so it would be useless to go ...

Guaranteed a room in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. New students who are unsure as to whether they will be able to find a room in Maastricht on time, may - as a one-off - use the so-called 'room guarantee arrangement'. The action is an initiative of the Executive Board. Two-hundred-and-fifty rooms have been reserved at the Guesthouse between 15 April and 15 June.

Global Challenges: Nuclear Warfare and Extension Cords

Global Challenges: Nuclear Warfare and Extension Cords

MAASTRICHT. It is Friday morning 28 April in Maastricht, and the infamous MECC is buzzing with life. 512 student delegates, sitting in 13 regional, UN, and European simulation bodies are in session at the convention centre for EuroMUN, the annual Model United Nations. This year’s theme: Global Challenges – Pursuing Integration. This year’s crises: finding the lunch delivery and extra extension cords.

Students: introduce video recording of lectures across UM

MAASTRICHT. It is high time that all compulsory bachelor's lectures are recorded, say students in the University Council.

Celebrating women at Ladyfest

Celebrating women at Ladyfest

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

Maastricht 6th-best young university worldwide

Maastricht 6th-best young university worldwide

MAASTRICHT/BRISBANE. Maastricht University (UM) has dropped two places - from fourth to sixth - in the Young University Rankings for best young universities in the world. This has put the UM back in the same place as in 2015. The rankings were publis...

How research became part of a bachelor’s programme

How research became part of a bachelor’s programme

MAASTRICHT. How do you give students the chance to do research during their bachelor’s degree? This was the question Maastricht University asked in 2008. The answer: the Maastricht Research-Based Learning programme for Excellence (MaRBLe). If there were initial doubts – should it really be only for excellent students? Will researchers be willing to supervise bachelor’s students? – they have since been replaced with enthusiasm. Ellen Bastiaens, Jonathan van Tilburg and Jeroen van Merriënboer have written the book on the programme, literally: Research-Based Learning: Case Studies from Maastricht University.

Playing in the museum during Museum Night

Playing in the museum during Museum Night

MAASTRICHT. Swooshing down a slide in the Bonnefanten Museum, lip-syncing to Elvis, or dancing to night-time sounds of nature. All of these are possible during the Maastricht Museum Night on Friday 7 April. Thirteen art institutions will open their doors for the evening. Visitors can go to the Muziekgieterij after 1 o'clock for the after-party.

Ringing the doorbell in case of noise

Ringing the doorbell in case of noise

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

It all started with a box of bananas

It all started with a box of bananas

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

Slow information for busy FASoS students

Slow information for busy FASoS students

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

Halal and vegan on the way

Complaints work, concludes student member of the University Council, Thomas Vaessen. Last December, he held a minisurvey among students and employees on the selection of products offered in the university restaurants and the other catering ‘con...

FASoS: proposal submitted and immediately brushed aside

MAASTRICHT. Would it not be a good idea if student council members were to receive ECTS credits for their work? This idea was proposed by some of the student members during the last council meeting at the Faculty of Arts and Culture. This was not for...

Unemployment among UM graduates drops, but not for all

MAASTRICHT. Things are looking up for graduates of this university: unemployment among them is dropping steadily, although Psychology and especially Law graduates are lagging behind considerably. The latter faculty is surprised at the results.  

How to pick a mandrake without being killed

How to pick a mandrake without being killed

MAASTRICHT. A beetroot up your nose will do wonders for a cold, tobacco improves a sore throat and mandrakes should always be picked by a dog. Folklore abounds in the historic herbal books on display at Realm of Herbs (Kruidenrijk), three mini-exhibitions curated by students and spread around Maastricht: Centre Céramique, the University Library and the Natural History Museum.

“It’s difficult not to envy others”

“It’s difficult not to envy others”

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

Start practising your lobbying-skills

MAASTRICHT. Hundreds of students from all over the world will get a taste of what it is like to be a country’s delegate at an international conference during EuroMUN, 26-30 April in the MECC. They will form thirteen committees which will think about and come up with solutions for global issues during this simulation event. 

Executive Board does not convince SJP students

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht department of the Students for Justice in Palestine organisation says that they are “extremely disappointed” with the viewpoint and the argumentation given by the Executive Board regarding SJP’s proposed boycott of IT company Hewlett-Packard.

Eating cakes and dancing for a good cause

Eating cakes and dancing for a good cause

MAASTRICHT. Is there anyone here with salsa experience? Two hands are raised. “Great, there is a lot of work to be done,” concludes instructor Saiyd Sinlae, who is leading this Rag Week workshop on behalf of student dancing association Le...

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