‘More and more students paying way too much rent’

THE NETHERLANDS. National student union LSVb has issued a warning about the extremely high rents students currently pay for their rooms. Especially in cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht, access to accommodation requires deep pockets. The cheapest rooms are found in Enschede.

‘More and more students paying way too much rent’

THE NETHERLANDS. National student union LSVb has issued a warning about the extremely high rents students currently pay for their rooms. Especially in cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht, access to accommodation requires deep pockets. The cheapest rooms are found in Enschede.

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

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

MAASTRICHT. It was quite a shock for her parents when they heard that their daughter would have to move out in order to study Health Sciences. Nobody does that in Syria: “Everyone lives at home. We certainly don’t let girls live alone.” The rest of her family also told her not to do it over Skype. But on 31 August 2020, Hadeel Khawatmy (pronounced “Adele”) moved to Maastricht. “My father eventually said, ‘This is your dream, I trust you, you’re an independent person, you should go’.”

Alumna at Law with nursing roots

Alumna at Law with nursing roots

She wrote her final thesis on euthanasia and dementia. In it, she focussed on the Dutch case of a geriatrician who had ended the life of a patient suffering from dementia. The woman had signed a declaration when she was able to give informed consent....

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

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

What crime would you associate with a white and well-educated young man? And which one with a black rapper driving an expensive car? These are some of the questions the participants to the zoom lecture “Ethnic Profiling in the Netherlands” were asked. This event, that took place last Wednesday, was organized by Amnesty International in collaboration with Black Lives Matter Maastricht, and is part of the Anti-Racism Action Week, which started Monday 14th of September with the Vigil for Tomy Holten and will end on Sunday with the BLMM Protest.

State budget: no extra money for education

THE NETHERLANDS. No out-of-the-blue budget cuts, but no extra funding either to ensure high-quality education during the coronavirus crisis. The government’s Budget Memorandum underscores the importance of good education but does not provide a generous budget. 

Keeping up the spirit during lockdown

Keeping up the spirit during lockdown

Look, I Zoom in And I Zoom out But can I really focus? It all started last March on Twitter with these four lines of poetry by Paul Stephenson, assistant professor of Political Science and poet. Sally Wyatt, professor Digital Cultures and...

Fasos: tutorial group in a tent

Fasos: tutorial group in a tent

MAASTRICHT. Two large white tents, model festival tent, have recently been installed behind the Turnzaal on the Grote Gracht. Since the start of the academic year, they function as additional tutorial rooms. The largest (25 by 15 meters) can accommodate 55 students in a Covid-19-proof setting, the second (15 by 15 meters) 40 students.

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

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

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

SBE-graduate: "I have adapted my search"

She has had plenty of student jobs: as a receptionist at a hotel, working for an Escape Room, street vendor for regional daily newspapers. But now the time has come for a real job, and that is a different kettle of fish. ‘Currently open to new job opportunities’, it says at the top of the LinkedIn profile of the 24-year-old Selke Ruijssenaars. Sure, she is not the only person in her twenties who is now entering the labour market and making that known via social media, she realises all too well, but it is worth a try. 

20 billion for knowledge, innovation and infrastructure

THE NETHERLANDS. Ministers Hoekstra and Wiebes announced that the government has allocated 20 billion euros to help boost knowledge, innovation and infrastructure in the next five years.

New studios are going like hot cakes

New studios are going like hot cakes

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht boasts a number of large extra student complexes since this summer. Former offices on the Bassin, the Hertogsingel and on the Dokter Nevenstraat in Scharn have been completely stripped and renovated. In total, more than three hundred independent studios were added. The letting agents are not complaining about lack of occupancy. “Everything was gone within five weeks.” In Randwyck, where prefabricated ‘container homes’ arrived at premises of Maastricht University in June, things are progressing a little slower.

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

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

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

Number of Koko registrations doubled

Number of Koko registrations doubled

The number of students who signed up with a student association has risen considerably this year compared to last year. Nationally, the number has grown more than fifty per cent, especially Eindhoven (79 per cent), Utrecht and Groningen (66 per cent)...

“UM could do so much more for sustainability”

“UM could do so much more for sustainability”

With one arm in a cast, UCM student Arthur Bribosia (23) accepted the annual Student Award last Monday. A few days earlier, when he heard that his movement Students for Climate had won the award, the Belgian student was overjoyed, climbed a tree, fel...

Maastricht rises slightly in the worldwide Times Higher ranking

THE NETHERLANDS / MAASTRICHT.The Netherlands still has eleven universities in the global top 200 of the British magazine Times Higher Education, but again most of them drop a few places. Wageningen, the national number one, drops from 59 to 62. Maastricht rises a few places to 121.

UPDATE 2: 18 students UM with Covid-19

UPDATE 2: 18 students UM with Covid-19

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University is dealing with an increasing number of corona infections. The counter now (31 August) stands at 18 students who tested positive for Covid-19. The cause could be sought in student houses where the rules have not always been observed.

UM is growing rapidly: almost twenty thousand students

UM is growing rapidly: almost twenty thousand students

MAASTRICHT. Nearly twenty thousand students have enrolled at Maastricht University for this academic year. Last year there were about 19 thousand. The share of Dutch students is growing by 10 percent; that of the foreign students by 15 percent, says interim spokesperson Fons Elbersen. These are preliminary enrollment figures. Definitive data will not be available until December.

PNN: PhD students also suffer from heavy workload

THE NETHERLANDS. PhD students at Dutch universities often burn the candle at both ends, working long hours that sometimes result in burnouts and other psychological problems. Something needs to be done about the workload, says the Dutch network for PhD students, Promovendi Netwerk Nederland (PNN).

“From an emotional viewpoint it was a difficult year"

“From an emotional viewpoint it was a difficult year"

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

“I had a really fun Inkom group”

“I had a really fun Inkom group”

This year, the Inkom, the introduction week by Maastricht University, took place mainly online. Was it worth it? Did the first-year students meet new people? Has Maastricht become their city? We asked four freshmen.

Two students tested positive for Covid-19

MAASTRICHT. Two students who participated in the Inkom, digital and on campus, tested positive for Covid-19. UM has heard this today, the university writes in a recently issued press release. The GGD (public health authority) is conducting a source and contact investigation

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

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

MAASTRICHT. Student associations and debating societies are trying to recruit new members, but the COVID-19 measures don’t make it easy for them. Especially because the rules keep changing. First, actual physical recruiting was allowed, then only online, and now it is different again, but how exactly? In the meantime, by-passing the strictest rules is not too difficult.

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

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

“Our dream is becoming reality because of you, students,” says an enthusiastic head of the Development Team Valentina Mazzucato. After three years of preparations, Monday 24 August is the kick-off for Global Studies, the new UM bachelor’s programme that is a collaboration between the six Maastricht faculties. Not all of the seventy or so students were present at the Vrijthof theatre. At least ten have travelling restrictions because of Covid-19.

Minister: cheating limited during online exams

THE NETHERLANDS. Education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven claims that students have not cheated en masse since universities switched to online exams this spring. Or at least, they haven’t cheated more than usual.

Foreign students in voluntary quarantine in Guesthouse

Foreign students in voluntary quarantine in Guesthouse

MAASTRICHT. At the moment six foreign students are in voluntary quarantine in the Annadal Guesthouse. They 've arrived from an orange or red area in the world. None of them is showing any symptoms or have tested positive for corona at the moment, says Roel van der Nat, manager of the Guesthouse. The ‘isolation corridor’ is empty. “Let us try and keep it that way.”

“I really can’t cook”

“I really can’t cook”

Eindhoven, Nijmegen, Maastricht. You can study Biomedical Sciences in all three cities, but there is a restricted entry in Nijmegen and the study programme in Eindhoven is fairly technical. So, Robin Beurskens (19) registered in Maastricht at the las...

Is André Rieu from Maastricht?

Is André Rieu from Maastricht?

Somewhere between the University Library and the City Park, the INKOM city walk participants take a wrong turn. They go left onto Begijnenstraat instead of continuing straight ahead to the checkpoint in the park. The students are almost at Café Sjiek...

Mozzarella in carrozza

Mozzarella in carrozza

Giovanni Bava was dropped off in Maastricht by his parents and brother to study Economics & Business Economics. All the way from Italy by car. “My brother is going to study in Canada, so this was like a last family trip.” Initially, i...

“Moving to another country is not scary”

“Moving to another country is not scary”

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

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

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

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

Digital pizza

Digital pizza

‘Learn to cook like a real Maastricht resident.’ That’s the promising description of the virtual event Meals of Maastricht, part of the Inkom 2020. It’s Wednesday August 19, 6 pm, and I‘m standing in my kitchen i...

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

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

MAASTRICHT. No Inkom in the MECC this year, but this Tuesday afternoon three doctors to be and a psychology student will be having their own ‘party’ in white protective suits. Well, it certainly isn’t a party, although things are quite relaxed in the GGD (local health authority) Zuid Limburg’s new testing facility, it being very quiet. In the MECC’s multi-storey car park on the Paul-Henri Spaaklaan, throat-and-nose swabs are taken for Covid-19 research. Students test students.

Chicken phobia and a serenade for number 95623489

Chicken phobia and a serenade for number 95623489

“What song would you like to hear, number 95623489?” The Inkom participants who logged in to the serenade evening by Tuna de Maastricht – part of the CultiNight – on Tuesday night, are assigned a random number as user name. Well, that is rather difficult to put into a romantic song. “Maybe we need to give them Spanish names,” one of the members suggests. “Like Esmeralda.” “Or Henk,” grins another.

“Ten more seconds, come on”

“Ten more seconds, come on”

The workout was fully COVID-proof. At the entrance to the sports hall, people were asked to scan a QR code and fill in a list of questions on their phone. If their screen turned green, they were allowed inside. The entire hall was being used so that ...

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

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

Callie Mak (18) from Singapore moved from Singapore to Spain with her parents so that she could do her A levels. This academic year she will start at the Maastricht Science Programme. “I wanted to move to a new place and do a study programme th...

A hybrid Inkom

A hybrid Inkom

Will I or will I not go to Maastricht during the Inkom?’ Derck Dolmans (20) asked himself a couple of weeks ago. He opted for a combination. “I will stay at home the first three days, most of the programme is online, and I will attend the...

Even in times of COVID-19 the UM will grow

MAASTRICHT. Definite figures or growth percentages are not being given, the situation at the moment is “still too unsure,” say interim spokesperson Fons Elbersen. But it is no secret that Maastricht University can bank on more enrolments this academic year.
 

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

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

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

Jumping while wearing high heels

Jumping while wearing high heels

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

Student associations get green light for face-to-face events after all

THE NETHERLANDS. Student associations will be allowed to host introduction events for prospective members after all. After some initial hesitation, the Dutch government conceded to pressure from the House of Representatives.

Top-class study and sports

Top-class study and sports

Cedric Pots (18) grew up in Scharn, so yes, it is logical that he is going study at Maastricht University. But in Pots’ case, things are a little different. From the time he was in fourth year of secondary school, Pots has known that he wants t...

“Don’t forget the 1.5 metres”

“Don’t forget the 1.5 metres”

“Could you please keep one and a half metres’ distance?” The new students at the entrance to the information market at Tapijn take a few steps to the side. “Thank you very much,” says the senior-year student, wearing an ...

A cycling doctor to be

A cycling doctor to be

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

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

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

A few days before the introduction week Inkom kicks off, eighteen-year-old Renée Moers is still in Luxembourg, on a campsite. “I’m taking a little break with friends.” She was initially scheduled to fly to Alicante wi...

Inkom 2020: a lot online, but also physical meetings

Inkom 2020: a lot online, but also physical meetings

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

From textbook to paper reviewing

From textbook to paper reviewing

Covid-19 changed a lot for everybody, but for the second-year students of the International Medicine Track, it changed the content of their entire course. Instead of learning about drug development, they dived into all the research that has been coming out about the new virus worldwide.

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

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

MAASTRICHT. "Do we actually have a chance of changing any of your decisions or are we just here to listen to hear you explain them?” Last Friday afternoon, the School of Business and Economics held an online town hall meeting via Zoom for worried, angry and disappointed students who did not pass the first-year subject of Quantitative Methods 2. The exam was declared invalid because of fraud. The Faculty board is at a loss with the situation and is trying to find solutions where possible. Students (among 160 were present during the meeting) have questions. A lot of questions.

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

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

International Business alumnus Arjan Tiessen This interview with wine importer Arjan Tiessen (37) has been about a year and a half in the making. It all started when Arjan, who lives in Tanzania, replied to my request for an interview on Facebook ...

“UM should not say that Zwarte Piet is racist”

MAASTRICHT.  University Council member Sjaak Koenis feels that the university should not involve itself in political discussions. The Executive Board is doing that by saying that Zwarte Piet is racist.

Texting using during exams: new ways of cheating during the crisis

MAASTRICHT/THE NETHERLANDS. The number of suspected cases of academic misconduct during online exams is on the rise. In recent weeks cheating occurred at various universities, from Maastricht to Twente, to Rotterdam and Nijmegen. “We trust our students, but we are not naive.”

Allocation of 40 percent of the abolished student grants is still unclear

Allocation of 40 percent of the abolished student grants is still unclear

THE NETHERLANDS. After the abolition of the student grant in 2015, students were promised educational improvements. But will the 2.5 billion euros that is being made available up until 2024 also be spent on that? Research carried out by Folia shows that one in three universities and academic institutions do not as yet have a realistic spending plan in place.

Literally: Fit & Fun Outdoor

Literally: Fit & Fun Outdoor

For the time being UM Sports is taking things outside now indoor sports are still not allowed. As of 1 July, sport centres may open their doors again, but UM Sports does not have official approval yet, they report on Facebook. ...

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

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

MAASTRICHT. On campus when possible, online if necessary. That is Maastricht University’s slogan for its education activities in the new academic year. This slogan goes hand in hand with the appeal to students: come to Maastricht. How does the slogan work in practice? How many hours a week will a student spend in the university buildings? Observant took a tour of the various faculties.

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

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

MAASTRICHT. The Board of Examiners of the School of Business and Economics had “no other choice” than to declare the Quantitative Methods 2 exam invalid, says chairman Erik de Regt. “We stand for the integrity of exams.” Still, he does understand all too well that “this is very bitter for many students”. The faculty board wants to organise an online town hall meeting to give a proper explanation.

"We shouldn't suffer because of their mistake"

"We shouldn't suffer because of their mistake"

MAASTRICHT. The first-year exam of Quantitative Methods 2 was declared invalid this week, because some students had cheated. Students are outraged, disappointed and angry. Not in the least because the School of Business and Economics changed the rules after the exam, as a result of which ‘insignificant’ little intermediate tests have suddenly become decisive factors in passing or failing the course.

Having drinks sitting at a picnic table

Having drinks sitting at a picnic table

No coughing the past few days? No temperature or runny nose? Nor any roommates with such symptoms? Good, says the girl at the entrance to the Koko grounds, to the rear of the railway lines on the Gebroeders Hermansstraat. The visitor subsequently receives a dose of disinfectant spray on his hands and is allowed to continue. Just like the rest of the catering industry, student association bars are open again. How does that work? Observant visited Koko to have a look.

The Ultimate Freiburger Recipe

The Ultimate Freiburger Recipe

Now that UM students are starting to toss their backpacks into the corners of their rooms and pack their suitcases to get away from stress and deadlines, I too am awfully confronted with the fact that my year abroad is slowly but steadily dawning to ...

Building the Maastricht Law Faculty in Minecraft

Building the Maastricht Law Faculty in Minecraft

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

Cheated: Test 1,200 SBE students declared invalid

MAASTRICHT. An exam of 1,200 students of the School of Business and Economics has been declared invalid due to cheating. That is what news website nu.nl has just reported. It would be Quantitative Methods 2, which was taken online on June 12.

#Metoo: can you act on an anonymous complaint?

THE NETHERLANDS. Touching, intimidation, indecent comments… It did not lead to a formal complaint at the University of Amsterdam. Can institutions of higher education take action in such cases? Three lawyers on the complications.

Quarantine sessions for SBE students

Quarantine sessions for SBE students

Albert Vijghen and Jim Bemelen studied Econometrics together at Maastricht University, after which they both became teachers. Vijghen teaches at the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and Bemelen at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. In additio...

ISO: Tens of thousands of students behind in their studies due to corona

THE NETHERLANDS. The number of students with a study delay has risen by 54,000, says the Dutch National Student Association (ISO) based on new research. According to ISO, this increase is due to the coronavirus crisis.

UvA lecturer discredited for ‘touching’

THE NETHERLANDS. For years, Master’s students at the University of Amsterdam have complained about the unacceptable behaviour of one lecturer, writes NRC Handelsblad. The University of Amsterdam says the article is very one-sided. The lecturer in question is still employed by the university.

"Maastricht is no longer a ghost town"

"Maastricht is no longer a ghost town"

She had been looking forward to it all year: spring, the moment when she would only have to write her thesis and would be free to explore the Netherlands. But two weeks before her last exam, the country went into lockdown. Now, master’s student...

Hello, 'above the keyboard' dressing!

Hello, 'above the keyboard' dressing!

I sharpened all my pencils. Cleaned and neatly organised my desk. Requested permission to access all Google docs and Zoom meetings. A tingling in my stomach affirms it: My second semester in Freiburg starts in two days and I am excited! Wait, back...

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

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

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

Novum party leader accused of misconduct in University Council elections

Novum party leader accused of misconduct in University Council elections

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

"I feel lonely sometimes”

"I feel lonely sometimes”

In March, master’s student of Strategic Marketing Belén Sánchez Ortigosa was faced with a difficult dilemma: should she get on a plane to Madrid to be with her family, or stay in Maastricht during the lockdown? She chose the second option. &ldq...

Court sides with University of Amsterdam on use of surveillance software

THE NETHERLANDS. The University of Amsterdam (UvA) can continue to use surveillance software during online exams. This is the outcome of preliminary proceedings brought before the Amsterdam District Court by two student councils and a UvA student.

“What happens when you lose your Internet connection?”

“What happens when you lose your Internet connection?”

MAASTRICHT. Online proctoring, or testing with an invigilator who can see into the student’s room. It was introduced in great haste in three Maastricht University faculties. Students were consulted at the very last moment, but not in public council meetings. Privacy objections? Dean Thomas Cleij from the Faculty of Science and Engineering: “Should I have said to five hundred students: Sorry, but because of privacy reasons you will have to add a year onto your study? I don’t think so.”

Rectors: a generation of students could be lost

THE NETHERLANDS. The rectors of Dutch universities write in an opinion piece that they fear for their students’ development if options for lecture hours remain limited. The school leaders call for more room for students.

Analysis: Racism in higher education

THE NETHERLANDS. After George Floyd was killed by an American police officer, many hundreds of thousands of people all over the world took to the streets to protest against racism. But what is the current situation in terms of racism in Dutch higher education?

Peaceful Black Lives Matters demonstration in Maastricht

Peaceful Black Lives Matters demonstration in Maastricht

MAASTRICHT. Some 1,400 people protested yesterday (Sunday) on the Griend against racism and police brutality. Among them also many (international) students.

“Racism is not a debate, it’s a fact”

“Racism is not a debate, it’s a fact”

Around the world, protests have been held against racism and police violence against black people and people of colour the past few days. These were prompted by the death of George Floyd in the USA, who died after having been held down with a policeman’s knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. In Maastricht too, some two hundred people gathered to give support to the Black Lives Matter movement. Observant spoke with a few students who were there.

First prefabricated units for students have arrived

First prefabricated units for students have arrived

MAASTRICHT. The first prefabricated student units arrived in Randwyck last Tuesday. They still have to be furnished and hooked up to water and electricity. In two months’ time, from August, 252 students can move into this accommodation on the grounds of the former sports hall.

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

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

Sabine Kemper, master’s student of Healthcare Policy, Innovation and Management, was supposed to be doing a research internship at the hospital right now. It would have been the perfect opportunity for her to gain practical experience. Due to t...

Petition: Students must keep their average

MAASTRICHT. A student of the School of Business and Economics wants Maastricht University to introduce a "no detriment policy" due to the corona crisis. He has started a petition and hopes that the average grade that students have achieved so far will not decrease if they score worse for the upcoming exams.

SBE abolishes online proctoring for large-scale exams

SBE abolishes online proctoring for large-scale exams

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

Juggling lots of balls even during corona

Juggling lots of balls even during corona

Work placement, thesis, study, politics. These are just a few of the things that keep Jonathan Felix, master’s student of Law and Labour, busy at the moment. Even during the pandemic, he has his hands full. “Three days a week, I do a dist...

A sip of water against exam stress or not?

A sip of water against exam stress or not?

Podcasts are extremely popular and are shooting up all over the place. News, sports, food and unsolved murders: you name it and there is a podcast about it. About almost everything, thought Katinka van Kan (28) from Maastricht, who is an consciousnes...

Tinnitus, experience days and playing the piano

Tinnitus, experience days and playing the piano

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

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

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

MAASTRICHT. The University Library doors were ajar this week, the first researchers are allowed back in their laboratories, and on the Tongersestraat a trial project is being run to test the social-distancing campus. The UM is preparing itself for the ‘new normal’. “But much is still uncertain. We are preparing ourselves for something that is ever-changing, we must consider various scenarios,” says Nick Bos, vice President of the Executive Board.

Corona crisis: a quarter of non-EU students scrap plans to study in the Netherlands

THE NETHERLANDS. Only four in ten prospective students from outside Europe are still determined to come to the Netherlands to study, according to a survey by Nuffic. Due to the corona crisis, 25 percent have abandoned their application, while the rest are still in doubt.

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

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

Two sisters in times of corona writing about their lives in these strange and difficult times. “The surveillance society got a new dimension, at least for me. Drones fly overhead and alert you in at least 5 languages that you are walking or sitting too close to others.”

Christine Neuhold is Professor of European Democratic Governance at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University. Stephanie Neuhold is Head of the Intensive Care Unit, Kaiser Franz Joseph Hospital Vienna.

UM students clean up litter

UM students clean up litter

MAASTRICHT. The Klimaat Actie Netwerk is encouraging students to pick up plastic waste that has been littered. The party calls it the UM-Clean up action. Students are to fill a bag with plastic waste, take a picture of themselves at the spot they cle...

University library reopens with limitations

University library reopens with limitations

MAASTRICHT. The University Library in the city centre has re-opened. The first 75 students found a place at the library on the Grote Looiersstraat 17 last Monday.

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

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

She had imagined her last weeks in Maastricht to be very different: enjoying the sidewalk cafes, going out to dinner or just chilling with friends in the garden of her student house. But after four years of studying, Noortje van Nunen (21) is temporarily back living with her parents in Wilnis. “I made some wonderful friends in Maastricht and instead of having a great farewell party, we now hardly see each other. That makes me really fed up.”

Supermarket Sneeze

Supermarket Sneeze

Months ago, I wrote a paean of praise for the Mensa Canteen here in Freiburg. Needless to say, I was shaken to my core when I heard that its doors shut weeks ago due to the ongoing Corona pandemic, and a tear still manages to escape from my eye when ...

41 candidates for ten seats on the University Council

MAASTRICHT. With no fewer than 41 candidates for ten seats on the University Council, students in Maastricht are really spoilt for choice in these university elections (from 25 -28 May). This is quite different at most other universities. At the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, for example, there are just enough candidates to fill the seats and so there will be no elections. Why are people in Maastricht so enthusiastic? Observant visited the candidates.

Petition against online proctoring at the UM

Petition against online proctoring at the UM

MAASTRICHT. Student party Novum has started a petition against online proctoring of exams at Maastricht University. Three faculties apply this form of digital examination, in which students are supervised by webcam. A considerable breach of privacy, which Novum feels is not allowed. In the petition, the student party refers to this type of examination as “unlawful and unconstitutional”. These are “Orwellian developments”.

Dutch Research Council and the lockdown: ‘Women harder hit than men’

THE NETHERLANDS/MAASTRICHT. The current crisis has thrown the allocation of research funding by the Dutch Research Council into chaos. But when it comes to shifting deadlines, the action group Athena's Angels fears female scientists are at a disadvantage.

Yes, the doors are opening again

THE NETHERLANDS. Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed yesterday evening that institutes of higher education will open their doors again starting on 15 June for practicals, exams and guidance for vulnerable students.

DKE designs motivational posters

DKE designs motivational posters

MAASTRICHT. The Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering has come up with an original way to motivate students for the exams, which will start in two weeks. Students can download motivational posters with their favorite teachers. Ass...

Poems and strawberries for the elderly

Poems and strawberries for the elderly

Strawberries are red, the sky is blue, Sadly no visitors, but people are thinking of you! With these types of cheerful poems and other uplifting messages, the students from the ‘Maastricht Chamber of Associations’ (Circumflex, Trago...

Again the cyber attack, now on TV

Again the cyber attack, now on TV

What exactly happened during the cyberhack last December? Next Wednesday, UM will once again disclose what happened in the TV programme De Kennis van Nu (The Knowledge of Now). The research institute for water technology Wetsus from Leeuwarden, which...

Coronavirus: a €535 tuition-fee refund for those graduating late

THE NETHERLANDS. The government is allocating €200 million to support students during the current crisis. These funds will be deployed to benefit students in vocational education and training (MBO), higher professional education (HBO) and university education.

Cabinet: “No students in public transport during peak hours”

THE NETHERLANDS. Universities and universities of applied sciences will most likely be able to open their doors for essential practicals and exams in mid-June. But students should minimise their use of public transport.

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

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

MAASTRICHT. Unless the government throws a spanner in the works, all students will come to Maastricht again after the Summer, as far as the UM is concerned. Education activities will take place partly ‘on campus’ and partly online. Students who cannot come to Maastricht (yet), for example because they are not allowed to leave their country or are sick, will receive a “full-scale online offer”.

Online election campaign will be “a lot tougher”

Online election campaign will be “a lot tougher”

MAASTRICHT. No stands in the university buildings, no flyers to hand out, no chance to speak directly with passing fellow students. It will be a lot more difficult to campaign now that it must be done digitally, expect the student parties participating in the university elections from 25 to 28 May. That is when the new student members will be chosen for the Faculty Councils and University Council. “You are dependent on the people who already follow you on social media, it is difficult to reach the wider audience.”

“I started with my PhD in the bachelor”

“I started with my PhD in the bachelor”

Although Britt Schuurman began her master’s degree in Medicine in March, she has yet to do any clinical rotations. She was supposed to be doing a rotation in the Department of Surgery at the Laurentius Hospital in Roermond right now. “I w...

Solo rowers at Saurus are allowed to get going again

Solo rowers at Saurus are allowed to get going again

MAASTRICHT. Student sports association Saurus is (partially) open. Single-person boats (skiffs) are permitted in the water again. The rowers must adhere to a strict corona protocol. With this, Saurus is the first Maastricht student association to get going again. It is expected that other associations will follow soon.

Election Magazine online

Election Magazine online

The Election Magazine can only be viewed online this year. Normally, the magazine goes along with the paper Observant two weeks before the university elections, this year from May 25-28. Because Observant is not published due to the Co...

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

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

It has been a strange academic year for Femke de Haan, a third-year student at University College Maastricht. Last September, she went on exchange to Canada. Soon after her return to the Netherlands in January, Maastricht University closed its doors ...

UM Guesthouse half empty; new room reservations trickling in

UM Guesthouse half empty; new room reservations trickling in

MAASTRICHT. The UM Guesthouse is currently half empty. “About 450 students have left early. Some of them even left behind all their belongings”, says Maurice Evers, head of department at Maastricht Housing. As of this week, students at the Guesthouse who decided to stay despite the coronavirus crisis and students who decided to leave early will be given the option of extending their stay for a maximum of twelve months so that they can complete their degree or exchange.

Unclear how many new students will enrol

Unclear how many new students will enrol

MAASTRICHT. How many international students have already enrolled to study at Maastricht University next academic year? Is there cause for concern, or no reason to worry? The Executive Board won’t publish the numbers. “The situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic is exceptional, complex, and very uncertain”, says interim spokesperson Fons Elbersen.

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

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

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

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

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

Olsi Sokolli is a bachelor’s student of European Studies. His original plan was to go into self-quarantine at home with his family in Altamura, in southern Italy. He had already bought his ticket, but his flight was cancelled at the last minute...

Rector Rianne Letschert warns of potential ‘collapse’ of Dutch universities

MAASTRICHT. If the universities can no longer open for the foreseeable future and students stay away, there is a chance that some could collapse. Student cities could also be badly hit, warns Rianne Letschert, Rector Magnificus at Maastricht University.

Studying in September: ‘On campus if possible’

Universities are doing their level best to provide online working groups and lectures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The question is whether up-coming students want distance education. Is studying during the pandemic worth the bother? It certainly ...

Postponement but no cancellation for international students

THE NETHERLANDS. International students still want to come to Europe, but more than half want to delay it by a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the outcome of a large survey by the QS Intelligence Unit.

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

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

Bernardo Centofanti from Rome is a master’s student of International Business who works as a tutor teaching the course Finance 1.5. Just before the university closed, he moved out of his semi-studio flat and into a student house with five other...

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I want to make sure everyone is doing well”

“I want to make sure everyone is doing well”

Jeanine Brouwer teaches three courses: a research practical and an academic writing course for psychologists, and a course on Addiction to third-year students of the Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences. She sometimes feels like her studen...

‘Give foreign graduates more time to find a job’

THE NETHERLANDS. Corona crisis or not, students from outside Europe must find a job within a year after graduating. Otherwise they will be sent back to their own country, the ministry of Justice and Security confirmed.

Prime Minister Rutte (briefly) joined a Maastricht tutorial group

Prime Minister Rutte (briefly) joined a Maastricht tutorial group

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

Youths protest against online proctoring

THE NETHERLANDS. Having your webcam on while you take an exam? Preferably not, say young politicians and students. They have serious objections against ‘online proctoring’ and demand an alternative.

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

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

Alexander Carlo teaches Financing Emerging Markets, a second-year course in the bachelor’s programme International Business, as well as Corporate Finance in the master’s programme. Things have been going well so far, he says, although it ...

The many shades of deconfinement

The many shades of deconfinement

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

Alternative Inkom: mainly digital

Alternative Inkom: mainly digital

MAASTRICHT. Two weeks ago, Maastricht University’s crisis management team decided that there would not be a normal Inkom this year. The decision was taken in consultation with the Working Group Inkom (WGI). “Initially, we were of course very disappointed,” says chairperson Milou Berdenis van Berlekom. But after a brief period of time to recover, the working group is now slowly looking towards the future, to see what is still possible. Student associations meanwhile fear that the number of members will drop.

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

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

Anja Dekanski works as a tutor at University College Maastricht. This block, she’s teaching a first-year course called Research Methods 2, as well as a course called Strategy & Negotiation for second- and third-year students. “Within ...

"I can't plan anything"

"I can't plan anything"

(Wo)man at work. That was the name of a series about students and the jobs they do, published last academic year. How are they doing during the corona crisis? Can they do anything for their employers or have they been sent home? Aside from the students in the series, we will also hear from others. This time: Emmy Maas, master’s student of Medicine. Having returned from three months’ travel in Asia, she is now –“getting used to” – staying with her parents.

University Council against FPN’s alternative plans for money for quality agreements

MAASTRICHT. May the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences adapt the quality agreements? Can the money that has been freed up with the abolishing of the basic grant be used differently than was previously agreed? The University Council does not think so.​

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

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

Nici Friedman, third-year student at University College Maastricht, still lives in her student house in Maastricht. She went to her parents for Eastern. But she couldn’t go home for a longer period of time even if she wanted to, she jokes. &ldq...

Countdown to Germany

Countdown to Germany

Friday the 10th of April, 7 am, Singapore. A small group of three headed over to the bus station, wearing face masks and desperately trying not to touch their faces that nowadays seem to start itching as soon as you set foot outside. Fifteen minutes ...

First applications from students in financial difficulties being processed

MAASTRICHT. The first sixty applications by students in financial difficulties are being dealt with by the University Fund, SWOL. Two weeks ago, the fund started a crowdfunding venture for students who were skint because of the corona crisis. More than 34 thousand euro has been collected since then. A maximum of 1,500 euro is awarded per application.

Job number one, two and three

Job number one, two and three

(Wo)man at work. That was the name of a series about students and the jobs they do, published last academic year. How are they doing during the corona crisis? Can they do anything for their employers or have they been sent home? Aside from the students in the series, we will also hear from others. This time: Roel Niemark, master’s student of Forensics, Criminology and Law. He is student member of the Faculty Board, student tutor and clerk at the court of justice.

Corona virus: majority of Summer School courses cancelled

MAASTRICHT. Most of the 55 courses offered by the Maastricht Summer School will not take place because of the corona crisis. A selection of eighteen that are also suitable for online distribution, will go ahead. That is to say, if there are sufficient enrolments.

Being a Future Graduate in Times of Corona

Being a Future Graduate in Times of Corona

Let’s go on a short time travel journey: the date is February 2020. A time when the Corona outbreak has not reached a global pandemic level yet. I am working slightly stressed but focused towards my master’s degree, screening the job mark...

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

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

MAASTRICHT. Not in the usual small hall but online: last Wednesday (8 April), the University Council had a meeting via Zoom for the first time since the corona crisis. It was especially the student fraction that is worried about the impact.

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

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

(Wo)man at work. That was the name of a series about students and the jobs they do, published last academic year. How are they doing during the corona crisis? Can they do anything for their employers or have they been sent home? Aside from the students in the series, we will also hear from others. This time: Cyriel Huntjens, master’s student of Forensics, Criminology and Law. His work at Centre Ville is on hold for the moment.

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

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

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

Number of students stranded abroad is decreasing

MAASTRICHT. Today (9 April) there are still 24 Maastricht students who are stranded abroad and want to return home. It concerns students who were on an exchange visit outside Europe. Last Wednesday, the number was 36 people.

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

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

Law student Leonie Frissen is one of the students who live in the building used by Lux ad Mosam, the Christian student association in Maastricht. Although many students have left the city, Frissen’s student house is still quite full. “Ele...

UM psychologist: students can’t find us online

MAASTRICHT. The Maastricht University psychologists have noticed that it is tougher to reach students who are not actually present at the university. “They are receiving a lot of information, you can tell that they are focussing mainly on their education,” says team leader Mieke Jansen. The students that do come to us have remarkably few corona-related questions.

Cleaning ambulances as a Red Cross volunteer

Cleaning ambulances as a Red Cross volunteer

Thierry Bleijswijk, master’s student of Public Policy and Human Development, has been a volunteer with the Netherlands Red Cross for four years. He usually works at music festival Pinkpop or André Rieu concerts, but he’s currently doing v...

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

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

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

Exam only in June

Exam only in June

Second-year student of Psychology Victoria Ebert has “gone back to her childhood days”, she says via Skype, laughing. She has returned to her father’s vineyard house, where she lived until 2011. “After that, I went to school a...

“You wouldn’t put a student from Vancouver in the morning group”

MAASTRICHT. The School of Business and Economics has adapted its schedules for 120 foreign students for period 5 (starting on April 14) in order to prevent those students from having to attend tutorial group meetings at ungodly hours. The students concerned are exchange students – from countries such as Australia or the  US – who live in different time zones.

Changing role of student association: keeping in contact and boosting morale

Changing role of student association: keeping in contact and boosting morale

MAASTRICHT. Online drinks, answering pupils’ questions, and challenging each other through Instagram challenges: all activities having been cancelled, student associations are attempting to keep in contact with their members through all kinds of ways in order to keep spirits up. The reduced activity will have no influence on the boards’ subsidies, says Pascal Breuls, director of the Student Services Centre.

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

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

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

Wearing a face mask while training for a half marathon

Wearing a face mask while training for a half marathon

Jasmina Peneva, a research master’s student of Cognitive Neuroscience, travelled back to her home country of Bulgaria last Sunday. She’s not staying with her parents, but in a family friend’s flat. “As the Netherlands is a &ls...

“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.

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