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Best book review

“Nothing gives the human machine such an impetus as a supreme belief in one’s own abilities.” This is one of the life lessons as described in The Human Machine (1925). Miriam Engels, a third-year psychology student, picked this book to write a review about - see below. Engels was one of the honours programme students sent to the c...

Big change in third year

She is a third-year student of International Business, but her study has been put on the back burner for the moment. From February 2012 to February 2013, Tanja Heijne (21) is a board member of Integrand - the non-profit work placement mediating organisation that links university-trained students to businesses. She has always wanted to study busine...

 “Hitting below the belt, that's what I can’t stand”

“Hitting below the belt, that's what I can’t stand”

Rector Gerard Mols is to take his leave on 3 September. He will not be lost for things to do. “I will become a visiting professor at the Law School in Yogyakarta for a while, teach at the Law School in Denpasar on Bali, and then travel on to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for a few lectures on the abolition of the death penalty in Europe. When I ret...

Award for Green Office

The Green Office has received the oikos Student Leadership Award. This award is given to outstanding student projects or campaigns contributing to a sustainable campus and encouraging other students to start their own initiatives. Ulrich Scharf of the Green Office accepted the award on Wednesday at the award ceremony at the University of Oregon in ...

"It feels weird, not having it on"

Igor Petrenko is a second-year UCM student from Belgium

Scenesconnected, 14 July and Tickle me Pink

Scenesconnected The second cultural arts festival Scenesconnected will be held on Saturday 7 July at the Oude Nutsterrein at Maagdendries 1. The programme is crowdsourced, which means it will take shape during the festival, with input from the audience. There’ll be pop music, indie, disco and techno, theatre performances, dance, a lounge bar...

Six hundred thousand euros for ICIS

The Maastricht ICIS institute has received a subsidy of six hundred thousand euros from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) to work together with the Indonesian universities of Lampung and Yogyakarta on research into governance and socioeconomic developments in the field of sustainability. The Indonesian Ministry of Education ...

How to become a Nobel Prize winner?

How to become a Nobel Prize winner?

  Work hard now, to be able to work harder in your later life! This was the advice of the Nobel Prize winner Harald zur Hausen (1936) to medical students yesterday at the Maastricht School of Management. The German virologist gave insight into the do’s and don’ts of a successful academic career, building a network and landing gran...

Citizens complain about exchange students UM

For the past few months, residents on the Brouwersweg have been complaining bitterly about foreign UM students. In particular the Spanish-speaking exchange students cause such a disturbance that the housing corporation of the residents concerned has installed cameras and the police are threatening to issue fines. Drunk and disorderly behaviour: 60 ...

Mariaberg complaints about foreign UM-students

  For the past few months, residents on the Brouwersweg have been complaining bitterly about foreign UM students. In particular the Spanish-speaking exchange students cause such a disturbance that the housing corporation of the residents concerned has installed cameras and the police are threatening to issue fines. Drunk and disorderly behavi...

Miss Poland

Last week Joanna Gladysz, a student of the School of Business and Economics, was voted Miss Poland 2012 in Holland-Benelux.
The big family lunches

The big family lunches

Paulo Marangio, 18, from near Padua, Italy, is a first-year Science Programme student

“This is paradise”

“I’m learning Dutch. Ik kan het een beetje verstaan, maar nog niet zo goed spreken.” Renée Meijer – born in the USA and a second-year student at the University College – is half Dutch and half American. “I lived in Russia for eight years and after that ten years in South Korea. We always spoke English at home. Bu...

A love–hate relationship

  Doing a PhD: you love it, but you hate it, but really you love it. Yesterday, I was madly in love with mine. I was looking at progressives in Dutch people’s English, categorising thousands of them as correct or not. It’s more fun than it sounds. How is analysing –ing words fun, you ask? Oh, but it is. I can think of lots o...

Understanding pessimism in Europe

  There is no reason to resign ourselves to fatalism; to assume the golden days are over. It’s higher education that must invigorate Europe. This was the claim of Jo Ritzen, the former president of Maastricht University, in his inaugural lecture Can the University Save Europe? on 8 June. In February he was appointed honorary professor o...

BAM, Stadsparkconcert and Dour

BAM Festival Student association Koko is organising the BAM Festival for the second time in the Stadspark at the OLV Wall. Various DJs as well as regional bands like Solid Sun, Jimmy D and A Nameless Band Called Funk will perform on Friday 15 June from 15.00 until 23.00. The festival is free for everyone. For the full programme, please visit www.b...

Students want more entertainment venues

Many students feel that there are too few places to go out and socialise in the city, particularly for international students. In their opinion, if the Gemeente Maastricht have their way there will be even fewer by September, with much of the disagreement centred around various unlicensed venues in the centre. On Friday 8 June a demonstration took ...

Ali B to open Inkom

Ali B and Beppie Kraft will be the opening acts of Inkom 2012 on the Markt on 21 August. This was announced by the Inkom Working Group during a pre-Inkom drink on Tuesday. Next year’s programme is somewhat different from previous years. Registrations are no longer in Randwyck, but at the School of Business and Economics. Instead of a parade h...

“They always reply in English”

    Being slightly older than her fellow students, Sinéad Haywood (26), a first-year European Law School student from the United Kingdom, was used to the effort and work needed in the PBL system. “I had friends who studied here a few years ago and I’d also lived and worked with a lot of international people in my previous jo...

CD release of Serious Beans Project

  It starts with some sweet strumming on a Spanish guitar, after which a trumpet joins in with the melody and then a cool, dark voice follows with a rap. This is how one could describe one of the unconventional songs on the first album by UM student band Serious Beans Project. It is called Périple, which is French for ‘journey’, a...

Students feel frustrated by city council

“More and more, we get the impression that the city council does not want our kind of activities at all. They send the police out for every little thing, even in anti-riot kit.”
“Stop talking about integration: take action”

“Stop talking about integration: take action”

The turnout was not overwhelming, with some thirty students in the auditorium on the Minderbroedersberg last Thursday evening. However, this did not affect the liveliness of the debate about the integration of foreigners in the Netherlands.
Novum loses, Dope wins

Novum loses, Dope wins

“Whether I’m happy? I’m ecstatic!” Kevin Hol, chairman of Dope, his face red with excitement, is jumping for joy. Outside, Constanze Müller, last on the Novum list for the university council, is looking glum. “I could cry,” she says, to add immediately that this may be a little exaggerated.

Oranje vs Die Mannschaft

On 13 June, the Dutch and German football teams will face one another in the European Cup. What is left of the decades-old rivalry between these national teams?

Fashionclash, Kwaliteitenkabinet, Jeker Jazz

Fashionclash Over 100 young, talented designers will come together at Fashionclash 2012, with various fashion shows taking place from Friday 8 until Sunday 10 June in the SAM Decoorfabriek. A Fashionclash market will also be held in Centre Céramique, where visitors can buy clothes and accessories from the designers. For more information, please vi...

The principle vs the practical

  I’m not in love with the langstudeerdersregeling. Imposing it on students who incurred a study delay before it was implemented is wrong. But I am irritated by the bad arguments made against it. ‘It puts too much pressure on students.’ No. With a few exceptions, if a student honestly can't finish a bachelor’s degr...

“I’m fucking done with you”

“I’m fucking done with you”

A landlord who throws you to the ground, turns your visitor out onto the street, or leaves you in the cold for four weeks in the middle of winter when the heating goes off. All these are examples of inappropriate behaviour. Dutch UM students have just as many issues with badly behaved landlords, but international students are the most vulnerable, a...
The Dutch weather: so cold and grey

The Dutch weather: so cold and grey

Temko Doris is a first-year UCM student from Nairobi, Kenya

Dutch culture classes for the newly arrived

“Maastricht University could definitely be more international,” says Raluca Nicolae, a master student of Management of Learning, from Romania. She reckons it would help if there were more nationalities at the university. “It would be better if the students came from more diverse backgrounds, instead of mainly from two countries; G...

Luminous Landscape, Mosae Zappa and Cantos Animata

Luminous Landscapes Project What’s the role of the landscape in films? Students of the master study of Media Culture have created an exhibition regarding this question. It can be seen in the foyer of the Lumière Cinema and is called the Luminous Landscapes Project. There are, for example, three 1-minute films of the same story, but in differ...

A real choice

A real choice

As many as four student parties are taking part in this week’s University Council elections, twice as many as last year. And given the lively and at times fierce election debate, it would seem that students this year also have a real choice. The debate was led last Monday by the UCM dean Harm Hospers.

I’ll take the big stick

Funny things, graduations. I like wearing silly hats as much as the next person, but it does make you wonder. Whoever came up with the outfit? In the good old days, students wore full academic regalia every day. These days gowns are usually reserved for graduations, but if you decide to make a career of academia, you can still collect quite a numbe...

The warmth of Italy

The warmth of Italy

Valeria Pintus (23), Sardinia, Italy, graduate of the University College Maastricht and singer in the Maastricht student band The Serious Beans Project

“Music flows around us like water”

  Until recently, most people went to a store to buy CDs. Now they stream, download (illegally), use YouTube or buy music via iTunes. So which distribution model will prevail? This is one of the issues to be discussed at the M3 Event, a conference on the ‘future of music’ organised by students of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sci...
A new Maastricht Treaty

A new Maastricht Treaty

“We had to step back, we couldn’t take the recent changes – like the economic crisis – into account”, says European Studies student Tina Fanenbruck. She was one of the students representing the Netherlands at the historic European Council at EuroMUN, which took place in the MECC from 16 until 20 May. The European Model...

UM wants to dispose of Guesthouse

In principle, the decision has been taken: the university wants to discontinue the Guesthouse organisation, which offers and manages furnished rooms for foreign students. An external party is being sought to take over the operation. It remains to be seen if this will succeed.

Netherlands benefits from foreign students

Foreign students do not cost the Dutch state any more than they yield. On the contrary, the balance is ultimately a favourable one. This was the outcome of a special study by the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), carried out at the request of state secretary Zijlstra for Education.

University Choir, Pinkpop and Lysistrata

University Choir The University Choir will celebrate its 35th anniversary with two concerts on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May in La Bonbonnière. The choir will sing together with university choirs from Granada (Spain), Helsinki (Finland) and Halmstad (Sweden), with the theme ‘Summer nights’. Tickets cost €10 or €7 for students...

Dancing and integrating at the same time

  Nothing else will get you warmed up better for a great summer than a lovely day in the sun with the finest music and DJs. This is the text on the website pitching for Summer Deejays, a music festival at the Griend for students, next Friday. An ideal warm-up, undoubtedly true but what is more important, is the fact that the organisers &ndash...


  What are the business trends of 2012? ‘Trendspotting’ will be one of the main topics during the fourth Maastricht Week of Entrepreneurship (MeWeek), which revolves around ‘change-makers’ who can inspire young entrepreneurs. Social and ecological entrepreneurship has been a key trend in recent years, says lecturer Ge...

Sustainability Vision 2030

“A goal that guides us” – this is what the Green Office is looking for in its Sustainability Vision 2030. Just as there is a strategic plan for the future of the university, the Green Office wants to write a plan for the future of sustainability at UM. But, as they explained during their presentation to staff and students last Tue...

Knitting Image, Summer Deejays, KunstTour

Knitting Image It’s all about knitting at the new Uit de Keuken van Sam project. SAM is the Maastricht Ateliers Foundation, which rents studios to artists. On its invitation, artists Juul Sadée and Han Rameckers have created Knitting Image. This project kicks off on Saturday 12 May with a knitting session where participants will, under the s...

FASoS: just one extra course

How many extra courses can a student do on top of the regular bachelor’s programme? Three, as the students of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences wanted? Or just one, as the board argued? Last Thursday the council and board had a heated discussion on this topic during an extra Faculty Council meeting on the Education and Examination Regul...

“Spread the word that there’s an English track”

Her first encounter with Problem-Based Learning was quite a shock, laughs Ghada Almojadidi, a second-year Medicine student from Saudi Arabia, originally from Makkah. “I arrived in the middle of the year that prepares students from my country for Medicine. The first thing I noticed was that the teacher wasn’t talking; it was the students...

Ethical elections at UM

Good, clean elections, that is what Melissa Waßmuth, board member of the student representation party Novum, is pleading for. No more laptop-voting, no more chasing voters. To get ethical elections we need a code of conduct, she says.
Touring through the countryside

Touring through the countryside

Nahush Bhat, 22, from Karnataka, India, master’s student of bioinformatics

More student parties running for university council and FHS seats

Not just two - as was the case in 2011 - but five student parties are in the race for university council seats. The number of participating parties at the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences has also grown, from two to four.

But wait, there’s more

Reading study books all the time makes me a bit cross-eyed. So I wanted to rediscover the enjoyment of reading. Of course, I should have opted for a nice, easy English book. But I like to make life hard, so instead I chose a nice, ‘easy’ Dutch book. My first ever, since Jip en Janneke doesn’t count. And sure, I translate Dutch all...

Science programme growing

Science programme growing

  Last week, the first students from the Science Programme started their work in the science lab at the Chemelot campus in Geleen. Not all the boxes have been unpacked yet, says dean Thomas Cleij. “We got seven pallets, each of them with ten or more boxes. Filled with glassware such as vials and retorts.” About 140 new students -...

SBE at 49

The Maastricht economists have made a leap forward in the top 100 of the Tilburg University Economics Ranking, going from place 62 to 49. The international list is based on the number of publications from 2007 to 2011 in dozens of top journals. Five Dutch universities are listed, of which Tilburg holds the highest place (21). Nothing has changed at...

Joints will be hard to get

Joints will be hard to get

It is unclear how many students will be affected, but it seems irrefutable that some will be confronted with it: the grass pass.

Timothy Garton Ash on Europe’s illness

Half a year ago, British historian Timothy Garton Ash gave the following answer in Der Spiegel to the question what the illness was that Europe is suffering from: “Europe is a woman, now middle-aged, who has already had a number of heart attacks and is currently experiencing the biggest health crisis of her life, but one that need not be fatal.” I...

''It's polite to learn at least some Dutch”

''Being a student in International Business, you come across a lot of Germans'', says Simon Hast (23,),a third-year student from Germany at the School of Business and Economics. ''Yet most of the students already have an international background. A lot have travelled to places all over the world; some have even lived in other countries before comin...

No stacks of paper or lost notes

No stacks of paper or lost notes

“Can we start with the pre-discussion about the European council?” asks the chair of today. “We need a volunteer to write on the whiteboard.” One of the students from the PBL group on ‘European Politics’ raises his hand. Ten minutes later the chair takes a picture of the mind map drawn on the whiteboard and sends it to his fellow students. Beep, be...

First aid for research problems

A blog by and for researchers, full of helpful tips, tricks and tools for scientific research. SHARE-IT, created by a team of six UM researchers, went online last week.
"I definitely couldn't live without football"

"I definitely couldn't live without football"

Jacek Przybylski (25), from Wrocław, Poland, is a bachelor’s student in European Law

Students committed to the Al-Mansouri case

It’s been six years since Abdoullah al-Mansouri was arrested in Syria and extradited to Iran. Al-Masouri is an Iranian who fled to Maastricht in 1989 as a result of his work for the independence of the Ahwazi, an ethnic minority in Iran. In Maastricht he was an active member of the Dutch Council for Refugees, Amnesty International and GroenLinks. S...

Awaiting the Academic Spring

Ten thousand academics have now signed the petition to boycott journals by Elsevier, the Dutch-Brittish publishing giant now widely seen as the pin-up of profiteering. In a move that could kick off a revolution in the spread of scientific knowledge, the Wellcome Trust, one of the world’s largest funders of medical research, recently announced that ...

“Students feel in charge without a tutor”

“From one day to the next, the locations of the tutorial groups had changed and I couldn’t find my first-year group”, says Jonathan van Tilburg, lecturer at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. “So what happened: the students did it themselves. Afterwards they sent me their learning goals. They were of a very high level. The students ...

German UM students do not visit Dutch GPs

As clarified in EU legislation last year, European Union citizens are entitled to health care abroad and compensation of the expenses. The EU expects patient mobility to boom. However, PhD research by Irene Glinos among German UM students indicates that this remains to be seen. Hardly any of them ever visit a Dutch GP.

El Dunya, Master Peace and International Food Fair

El Dunya festival A tour around the world in your own town – this is what the El Dunya festival claims to be. On Sunday 6 May a big market will be held in the Stadspark with items from all around the globe, as well as world music, dance and workshops. The market will be open from 12.30 until 19.30; all performances and workshops are free of charge...

WE festival: more than just a party

The organisers of the WE festival are hoping that they will create a community. The festival, which is organised by students in co-operation with parties such as Landbouwbelang, Maastricht University, Novum and the Green Office, will be held for the third time, from 8 until 13 May. The programme is diverse: yoga in the park in the mornings, a veget...

Toilet time

Back in the good old days, scientists never wasted their time on tiresome ethics committee bureaucracy. In 1976, the US researchers Middlemist, Knowles and Matter tackled the burning research question: how do invasions of personal space affect men’s urination in a public toilet? Their unwitting urinators could choose from one of three urinals. A re...

UB adapts 19,000 documents

The university library is going to make new study documents (PDFs) available in such a way that the texts are searchable and suitable for highlighting and adding annotations. In the coming weeks, some 19,000 old documents will be adapted as well. The University Library is taking the measures mainly in reaction to a proposal by political student par...

Queen's Day, Clean Pete and Martin Visser

Queen’s Day The Dutch celebrate their Queen’s birthday on Monday 30 April with music, dance and the traditional Vrijmarkt, a large-scale unregulated street market. In Maastricht the party already starts on Sunday 29 April, with Queensnight. Bands and DJs will perform at pubs in the city centre and Wyck. On Monday, there is a children's market on t...

“Be stricter about speaking English in class”

“To me, the university seems pretty international,” says Ivan Dragonov, a first-year student of Econometrics and Operations Management from Bulgaria. “Although that may have to do with my programme: we’re a small group, so it’s easy to get to know everybody.” He chose Maastricht University after visiting a friend in Brussels. “I mentioned that I’d...

Policy proposal on internationalisation

By mid-June, the participants of the International Classroom project want to put forward a policy proposal on the internationalisation of Maastricht University. At the International Classroom symposium on Tuesday 17 April, the four working groups – focussing on the themes of identity building, Inkom and faculty orientation, mix-and-mingle events an...

“We teach too much”

Master’s students as tutors in the bachelor programme, a shorter academic year, less intensive courses, more students per PBL group. These are some of the possible solutions for reducing the teaching workload of junior staff (docent 3) at the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Working visit to Guest House

Working visit to Guest House

An empty single room, one to which the student will have to add a touch of homeliness, and a double room in which two American exchange students have managed to collect a considerable number of empty beer crates in just a few months time: this is what members of the university council were shown during their working visit to the Guest House at the ...

Open our doors to foreign students

The Netherlands should stop being afraid, according to chairman Bernard Wientjes of employers’ organisation VNO-NCW. “We should throw our doors wide open to foreign students.”
“I might have a slight clothing addiction"

“I might have a slight clothing addiction"

Kirby Lattwein, 26, from South Carolina, exchange student at UCM, soon to start her master’s in Global Health here at the UM

Observant is looking for a student columnist (m/f) for the English section

The editorial board of Observant is looking for a student columnist for its English section for the 2012-2013 academic year. The work consists of writing a total of 37 columns, which may be about any of a variety of topics (current affairs, student life, science, family, et cetera). The student will be coached by one of the editors and will be paid...

Students UCM want survey on study pressure

Student council members from the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences are calling for a thorough investigation into study pressure and stress among students at University College. Dean Harm Hospers refers to the measures that the board has already taken.

British presence a gross exaggeration

The Times Higher Education magazine has reported that claims of British students ‘flocking’ to the Netherlands are gross exaggerations. In reality, the article points out, he number of Dutch students in the UK is more than double that of British students in the Netherlands. Sure – but the fact that British students are now the fourth largest n...

Dissertations (2)

Professor Sterken, Rector Magnificus of the University of Groningen, proposes to shorten the PhD track to from four to three years (Observant 27) to make an end to the longer-than-planned duration of these tracks. My point of view differs from Professor Sterken's on the consequences. Is the PhD track best represented by the walk, or by its destina...

Toneelstad, Mission Statements en Kyteman

Maastricht Toneelstad What does Maastricht has to offer when it comes to theatre? See for yourself during the Maastricht Toneelstad Festival from Friday 20 April until Wednesday 25 April. The performances given by actors from the theatre academy, are suitable for an English-speaking audience and will be shown in various theatres all over town. Tic...

Extra police in the park

The Maastricht police have warned that they will take stringent measures against people who cause a nuisance in the park. “We’ve received complaints about youngsters driving their scooters through the park and students barbecuing – which damages the grass and causes a lot of smoke”, says police officer Will Schobbe. When the weather improves, extra...

Answers about Europe

What will the future of the European Union look like? Is the EU a credible role model? Why is right-wing radicalism on the rise in the EU? These and other questions about the EU will be addressed on the website, which will be launched on Friday 20 April. The website is an initiative of a group of Maastricht students who feel that the...

Seven students, eight songs

Seven students, eight songs

“That sounded great, guys”, says an enthusiastic producer. “Let’s try that last part again though.” During three sunny days at Periple en la demeurre, in the Ardennes, The Serious Beans Project – a band of seven Maastricht students – record their first album. Eight of their songs will be released this spring.

Jack of all trades, master of none

Studying a single discipline without an interdisciplinary perspective is blind. However: an interdisciplinary programme that lacks thorough training in any particular field is empty, according to Machiel Keestra. This assistant professor at the Amsterdam Institute for Disciplinary Studies was one of the members of the Fasos panel debate on ‘Th...

A sparse mix with foreigners

“When I finished high school I wanted to study abroad to broaden my horizons and to get a better education”, says Feras Alhazmi (23), a third-year medicine student from Saudi Arabia. “At home you only acquire scientific knowledge; abroad you also learn about other cultures, see different perspectives, and meet other people. That’s better for your p...

Tags around my wrist

Tags around my wrist

Sebastian Radermacher (19), German-American, from Zurich, Switzerland, first-year student of the Science Programme.

Advanced hindsight

My favourite academic this week is Dan Ariely, an Israeli-American professor of Behavioural Economics. He gave people a series of simple maths problems and said he would pay a dollar per correct answer. The result? People cheat more if they see someone else cheating whom they identify with. And they cheat twice as much when rewarded with a token th...


I would like to react to the column of "Albert Bergbroeder" concerning his view on MaasAction. He presents his very passionate point of view regarding the anonymity of this particular group, MaasAction. He considers them a "zooitje digitale bivakmutsen" as they do not make their name(s) public. Hereby I would like to ask him whether it is not extre...

Language Policy at UM

When Dutch students in my tutor groups suggest that international students should better integrate and learn the local language, I always ask them whether they would consider taking a course in German as well. After all, German is the language of the majority of our European Studies students and is pretty useful these days in business and politics....

More Dutch students go to Belgium

The number of Dutch students studying in Belgium on a student grant, has increased by 7 per cent, to 4,620. This new figure was published in de Volkskrant this week.

A Dutch or international university?

Let students focus on improving their English in stead of forcing them to learn Dutch, and give staff the opportunity, not the assignment, to learn Dutch, says Kevin Hol, chairman of student party Dope.

Stapelgate: fake data in twelve articles and three dissertations

At least twelve articles and three dissertations with which former professor Diederik Stapel was involved, turn out to have been based on fake data. This is one of the initial results published by the Levelt committee, working for Tilburg University.
The fat greasy food from Wendy's

The fat greasy food from Wendy's

Jonathan Alexander, 23, from Phoenix, Arizona, USA, student of the Research Master in European Studies

No coffee, no films, more contemplation

No sweets, no alcohol, no Facebook. The forty days of Lent before Easter, are traditionally a time of fasting, but is there anyone who takes fasting serious in 2012? Students from Tafelstraat 13 exercise restraint during these weeks.
“Stop glorifying suicide bombers!”

“Stop glorifying suicide bombers!”

When an Israeli and a Palestinian take part in a debate, especially when they both are the highest representatives of their country, the atmosphere is always loaded. As was the case at the second ambassador’s debate organised by Studium Generale and the Arab World Office (UM) on Tuesday night. The Minderbroedersberg Aula is packed with mainly forei...

1.750 euros for Ronald McDonald

Last week, eightteen American postgraduate students collected an amount of 1.750 euros for the Ronald McDonald House in Maastricht. The students, who came from Missouri, participated in a customised education programme (European Management Residency) created by the Maastricht Centre for Entrepreneurship, the Centre for European Studies and Postgrad...

“I never felt excluded”

“I never experienced difficulties making friends of all nationalities here. I think the university is a really international environment”, says Zhen Wang, a Chinese master’s student in Econometrics and Operations Management, thus rejecting the claim that students who are neither Dutch nor German fall between the cracks of the different groups. “In ...

Taste of Spring, Isbells and Comedy Night

Taste of Spring DJs Jochem (At the Villa), Flash (Solar, Castle of Love, Groove-A-licious) and Franco La Cara (High Heels) will kick off the Easter long weekend on Saturday 7 April at Taste of Spring. The profits from this festival, now being held for the fifth time, will go to charity. The event will take place in the Ipanema, the bar next to the...

Stricter rules for foreign student grants

Foreign students in the Netherlands will have to work longer as of next academic year if they want to receive student financing. European students in the Netherlands are currently entitled to student financing if they work at least eight hours a week. State secretary Zijlstra wants to increase this number to fourteen hours.

UM students: don’t stay in your ivory tower!

UM students, especially international education migrants, should show more interest in Dutch higher education politics, as it is not only a matter of integration, but also directly affects all of us. So don’t stay in your ivory tower, argues Tobias Bünder, University Council Student Representative, NovUM Faction.

Silent disco, BIP2012 and Gare du Nord

Silent disco The exhibition Silent Disco will open on Sunday 25 March at 15.00 in ‘t Brandweer, the exhibition hall at the Capucijnenstraat 21. With nothing more than a Bic pen, the artist Esther de Bont has made huge drawings of figures that seem to move through the room. The exhibition will be open until 29 April. For opening times, please check...

FASoS student garden

Students of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will be able to use the area around the common room as a model garden, to grow different types of herbs. This was decided during the latest meeting of the Faculty Council. 

UM Summer School to start in July

Maastricht University is starting a Summer School in July 2012. These two-weekly courses are primarily aimed at second- and third-year bachelors – both from the Netherlands and abroad – who want to broaden their academic knowledge, but at the same time want to have fun.

“Persistent stereotypes”

“I came here with the idea that I would acquire a large circle of German and Dutch friends,” says Dutch-German psychology student Lavinia Thelen. To immediately add: “That did not happen.” According to her, this has more to do with cultural differences than with the language barrier. “Of course it is easier to talk in your own language. I notice th...

68 districts, one love

68 districts, one love

Valentin Ciocan, 23, from Cologne, Germany, student of International Business

New pop stage plan

It looks like Maastricht will finally have a pop stage. The mayor and councillors have suggested that the Maastricht Music Hall (MMH, at the Griend near the Maas) be turned into a pop stage, and rooms at Kumulus (in Wyck) be used for recording and practising music. The discussion about a pop stage in Maastricht has been going on for years. One sta...

Everyone must learn Dutch

In due course, all Maastricht University employees will have to be proficient in both Dutch and English; newly appointed staff should even be so before they start their jobs. This is what rector Gerard Mols said to a committee of the university council last week. Foreign students will also be expected to learn Dutch.
“Our confidence in The Netherlands has been harmed”

“Our confidence in The Netherlands has been harmed”

A few hours after the European Parliament had officially condemned the anti-Eastern-European website of the PVV party as ‘discriminatory and malicious’ and urged Prime Minister Rutte to distance his cabinet from the PVV initiative, 150 UM-students were ready to debate with four Eastern-European ambassadors on labour mobility. The debate took place ...

Bad physics jokes

An atom walks into a bar and says to the barman, “I’ve lost my electron.” “Are you sure?” says the barman. The atom replies: “Yes, I’m positive.” It’s bad physics jokes like this that keep me going when my PhD feels like it’s sunk into, er, a black hole. And they get worse: Schrödinger’s cat walks into a bar. And doesn’t. Said to be true (though ve...

More and better UM jobs for students

More, but also better jobs for students within Maastricht University, is what UCM student Tobias Bünder, member of the university council for Novum, is advocating.

Language proficiency must be improved at the UM

Students who speak three languages, bilingual members of staff held accountable for their linguistic skills: a new note on language policy at Maastricht University sets high objectives.

FASoS lecturers set alarm bells ringing

Better supervision, more time for research, more hours for teaching. The present ‘lecturers 3’  at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences have insufficient opportunities to improve their career perspectives. This is what two of them wrote in a letter to the faculty council. Measures will be taken, says dean Rein de Wilde. “But we can’t print ...

SBE wins in Montréal

Two weeks ago, students from the School of Business and Economics won the ‘international case competition’ in Montréal. It is SBE’s fourth victory – after Bangkok, Copenhagen and Singapore. In a case competition, student teams have to solve a real-life business problem and prepare a presentation on the solution while being locked in a hotel room fo...

"Many Germans do not take part in Inkom”

“At the School of Business and Economics’ open day, the international environment was strongly promoted. You will be in a classroom with people from all corners of the world, we were told. Also that half the students would be from Germany. That is not completely true because in reality almost everyone is German at International Business. At least 7...

The stupid are so confident

After ‘Super Tuesday’ in the US last week, it looks likely that Mitt Romney will bring home the Republican nomination. It hasn’t been an easy race. Critics were quick to jump on Romney’s casual mention of the ‘couple of Cadillacs’ his wife owns; not something that will endear you to a country still deep in economic crisis. Still, all he had to do w...

Karma Police, St Patrick's Day and Het Geluid

Karma Police Indie pop band Karma Police will release their first album at the Muziekgieterij on Friday, 16 March. This young band recently won the Kunstbende in Belgium Limburg (an annual contest for young artists) and will go to the final in Gent in May. According to the jury, they play “catchy songs, that’ll stay in your head for a long time”. ...

Foreign students have more stress

Foreign students have more stress

43 per cent of all Maastricht students at times experience so much study stress that their private lives suffer. This figure is slightly above the national average of 40 per cent. It is one of the outcomes of a national survey held by newspapers of schools of higher education and universities, including Observant. A total of 5,497 students complete...

De-stressing in the lotus pose

All that stress! It's high time to relax a little. Observant wanted to find out whether yoga was the answer.
Crisis is forerunner of total collapse

Crisis is forerunner of total collapse

Is capitalism doomed to collapse? That was the leading question during the talk show with the anthropologist Paul Jorion last Wednesday, organised by Studium Generale. The auditorium on the Minderbroedersberg was quite full, mostly with students. Interviewer Joan Muysken, UM professor of macroeconomics, wants to know immediately. Is there going to ...

“It is all about the size of the portion”

Red wine, chocolate, coffee, blueberries, garlic, omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy or not? Say if you know. Headlines in newspapers but also scientific publications are constantly contradicting each other. Observant decided to make some phone calls.

Noble ambition

So Maastricht wants to be named European Capital of Culture 2018. A noble ambition, which puts us in the league of such esteemed former winners as Turku, the official ‘Christmas city’ of Finland, and Bruges, whose claim to fame remains a fleeting visit by the spunky Irish actor Colin Farrell. Not to mention Linz, once home to the mathematician Joha...

During Tefaf, Holy Cheese and Project Exit

During Tefaf Friday 16 March will see the start of the 25th edition of The European Fine Art Fair (Tefaf). Although the art might be a bit over a student’s budget, there’s still a lot to enjoy at the fair’s side programme During Tefaf, which will start on Tuesday 13 March. There’ll be jazz music, ballet, lectures, exhibitions and theatre performan...

UM helps with tuition fees

Nothing will change this year with regard to the instalment payments of tuition fees: students are expected to transfer an amount eight times a year, instead of the twelve monthly payments requested by the students in the university council.

Misbehaviour? Inform the home university

Serious misbehaviour by exchange students will no longer be tolerated by Maastricht University. The Executive Board has decided to evict troublemakers from the Guesthouse and to inform the home university from now on.
"In Israel there’s a great sense of feeling alive"

"In Israel there’s a great sense of feeling alive"

Shay Koren, 22, from Sydney, Australia, double major in psychology and sustainability, exchange student at UCM  
“In class we would never speak German”

“In class we would never speak German”

Annika Lübbert, now a third-year University College student from Germany, came to Maastricht for a bachelor’s in European Studies (ES) in 2009. She soon discovered that ES was a bit “too dry” for her. “For me it was hard to decide what to choose after high school. I liked maths and chemistry, and was also interested in society and culture.” She ma...

“The municipality would rather have students underground”

“The municipality would rather have students underground”

Cars with German registration plates taking up parking places for days on end? Garbage bags put by the roadside days before they are collected, drunkenness, bicycles parked everywhere except in the appointed racks? The familiar themes are not the discussion points during the Lower House debate on students and the city that Observant organised in a ...

More first-year medical students

From now on universities may select all their medical students themselves. Maastricht University, however, will not do so for the time being. Just like last year, the UM will select no more than 50 per cent in Spring, when selections are made.
“We have to de-mask the lies”

“We have to de-mask the lies”

“My mother had to sit with both hands on her desk in primary school. When I was at school we had to wait in the courtyard, standing in a row, before we could go – in complete silence – to our classes. We call it disciplining: it’s a subtle, ongoing process, a machinery, to create, in the end, more productive people. People who comply with the stand...
"We did everything together"

"We did everything together"

Ruoxin Hao, 21, born in Sichuan, China, master’s student of International Business
“Let's cut the circular argumentation”

“Let's cut the circular argumentation”

“It would be a huge step forward if all the administrative bodies of the faculties were in English as far as possible”, German Tom Dopstadt thinks. “Of course Maastricht University has a Dutch identity, but there should be a balance. There are a lot more international students than ten or fifteen years ago.”

Golden showers

I’m looking for the Yeti. Well, not literally. I’m looking, in my PhD, for a ‘Dutch English’, a legitimate variety of English like, say, Australian or Indian English. Like the Yeti, it’s something we’ve all heard of, but no-one’s ever seen. While it’s easy to make a theoretical case for Dutch English, actually pinpointing this mythical dialect is m...

Wherever we go, Nightscape sessions and Charity Ball

Wherever we go Young Norwegian theatre producer and Top Naeff award winner Øystein Johansen has delivered his first piece at the Huis van Bourgondië. In Wherever we go we meet three men who hide from the world and the end of everything. While they live in their isolated bubble, reality goes on. The first show will be held on Tuesday 6 March, follo...

Mix&Mingle Sports Night

The next Mix and Mingle will be a bit more active than students are used to. Mix and Mingle parties are organised every few months as a chance for international students to get together. This time, the event is being organised together with UM Sport. “It all started with an article in Observant about the International Classroom”, says Netty Bekkers...

Observant Lagerhuisdebat

‘After 35 years the student and the city are still with their backs turned to each other. A scandal!?’ This is one of the theorems which a panel of 35 people from Maastricht University and the city of Maastricht will debate on Monday March 5. Central theme: ‘The Maastricht student should be more involved in the city of Maastricht’. The debate will ...

Students’ orphaned metal steeds

Students’ orphaned metal steeds

UM has about one hundred bicycles removed every year

Not even wrong

“It’s not even wrong.” This was the criticism a friend recently received for his PhD work in maths. And it’s a damning allegation. Consider 1 + 1 = 3. This is simply wrong. But 1 + 1 = vodka is so bizarre it’s not even wrong – it’s nonsensical, and thus meaningless. The phrase “not even wrong” was coined by the Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli, wh...

Laïs, SuperBodies and Traces

Songs we embrace Jorunn Bauweraerts, Annelies Brosens and Nathalie Delcroix, also known as vocal group Laïs, will sing the songs they “always wanted to sing, but never had the chance to” in their show Songs we embrace. Together with Maandacht they’ll perform their own versions of well-known and less well-known songs in De Velinx in Tongeren on Fri...

Video of a leaking cell nucleus

Video of a leaking cell nucleus

How do biochemical reactions take place in living cells?

“It’s an investment in yourself”

“Low tuition fees make students lazy.” With statements like this, Wim Groot, professor of Evidence Based Education, didn’t make himself very popular at the Science Café The future of higher education; who pays?, organised by student party Novum and Studium Generale last Tuesday.
Mad Hatter meets Cleopatra

Mad Hatter meets Cleopatra

In three days – in fact, unofficially tomorrow – the Maastricht Carnival will hit the streets. People dressed up, the so-called ‘drunken harmonies’ all over the streets, and Prince Carnival on the Vrijthof. Are Maastricht students going to join this local festival?

BSA standard raised

Students who do not want to be sent away as a result of a binding study advice, will have to do better in first year. The School of Business and Economics is raising its BSA standard from 34 to 47 credits as of September 2012. The faculty council approved the measure last Thursday. The programme committee had already given the go-ahead in January. ...

Record number of visitors

Lumière art cinema welcomed a record number of visitors in 2011: 103,500.  Among them were 10,034 students (excluding the ‘discount’ Mondays when student IDs are not checked). The number of students has increased over the past few years, says business director Nico Haenen. “In 2010 the number was 7,946. The special performances together with S...

Terrestrial ignorance

A UFO was spotted above the Waddenzee last week, the NRC reported. Was it really a flying saucer with little green men? The speculation brings to mind a Richard Feynman lecture, now decades old and available on YouTube in all its black and white glory. Feynman was an American physicist, known as “the Great Explainer”. And you can see why, as he tel...

Tuition fee instalment compromise

No debate, but a working group. That was the rather surprising outcome of the action taken by University Council chairman Herman Kingma in the dispute between the Executive Board and the student fraction in the University Council about the instalment payments of the institute’s tuition fees.
“I just sent her an email about having this interview”

“I just sent her an email about having this interview”

Anastasia Pallo, 22, born in Estonia, first-year student of Arts and Culture

Maaslove, raggae and Japanese prints

Maaslove Party Romance is in the air; it's Valentine’s Day on Tuesday 14 February. hosts a Valentine’s party on this day at Il Cavo. The doors open at 22:00hrs, the party will go on until 2:00hrs. The organisers are going to give out romantic specials at the door. Entrance is €3. For more information, please visit ...

Looking back on the Maastricht Treaty

“We focused too much on the rules, instead of on who should apply those rules.” Former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok made this comment about the Maastricht Treaty – the treaty that led to the introduction of the euro – at the conference The Maastricht Treaty: taking stock after 20 years on Tuesday in the Statenzaal of the Limburg Government building...

UM wants different fee for different studies

During the next four years, the so-called institute's tuition fees will slowly rise and different rates will apply to different studies. Law or business administration students will pay less than medical students. This was an official advice, which was more or less accepted by the Executive Board.
"I miss being able to moan about traffic wardens"

"I miss being able to moan about traffic wardens"

Colin Behr, 24, born in Devon, United Kingdom, second-year student of European Studies

Stukafest, Holocaust Cantata and Redmond O'Hanlon

Stukafest A student room offers a lot of possibilities, as Stukafest proves every year with its student room festival. Music and dance, poetry and comedy; it can all happen in approximately 12 m2. Stukafest will be held in Maastricht on Tuesday 7 February. The first of three rounds starts at 20.30; the last ends at 23.00. Almost all acts are acces...

Tuition fee instalment compromise

No debate, but a working group. That was the rather surprising outcome of the action taken by University Council chairman Herman Kingma in the dispute between the Executive Board and the student fraction in the University Council about the instalment payments of the institute’s tuition fees.
A washing machine can learn

A washing machine can learn

Can machines help us to create knowledge from mounds of information?
“Are you really interested in me?”

“Are you really interested in me?”

Matching and Binding project FASOS: outcome is good indicator for study success

Desperate insecurity

My supervisor’s office, probably much to her dismay, has a fully glass front. So I can always see if she’s in, even if she’s trying to hide behind a plant pot. This is invaluable, because I seem to have hit the latest obstacle in the life of a PhD student: desperate, crippling insecurity. Am I going in the right direction? Or just going around in c...

Maastricht forecasts for UK students rise

Significantly fewer UK students have applied for a place at a university in their own country for next academic year. The number has dropped by nearly 9 percent, according to recent figures of the British admission service UCAS. The main reason for the fall is the high level of tuition fees. One of the European universities that benefits, is Maastr...
“I never wrote papers for Saif Gaddafi”

“I never wrote papers for Saif Gaddafi”

Philipp Dorstewitz, lecturer at Maastricht University since 2007, spent two years as a personal mentor to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son and envisaged successor of the former Libyan leader. Saif Gaddafi started his master’s in philosophy at the London School of Economics in 2002. Dorstewitz was a PhD student at the time. The Daily Telegraph published a...
"I like to have something personal with me"

"I like to have something personal with me"

Magdalena Cichoń, 21, from Kraków, Poland, third-year student of European Studies

Maastricht bells, Freakatronic and Movie Night

Maastricht bells Don’t panic when you hear a lot of bells ringing on Friday 27 January at 11.30. There’s no fire – it’s the Maastricht bells, the kick-off of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Maastricht Conservatory. All church bells and carillons across town will join in a bells concert, together with primary school children with h...

End to basic grants for master’s students

State secretary Zijlstra intends to deprive master’s students from their entitlement to a basic grant, with effect from September. This also affects students who started a two-year or three-year master’s study last September. The same applies to foreign master’s students who work in the Netherlands for 32 hours per month and hence have a right to a...

Sports hall not finished before mid-2014

A decision will be made next spring about a new sports hall. The Vice-President of the Executive Board, André Postema, announced this recently in a committee meeting of the University Council. At the earliest, a fully functional hall will be there after the summer of 2014.
Study group in a virtual classroom

Study group in a virtual classroom

More user-friendly, greater functionality and faster, because of less unnecessary content, those were the requirements of the new Eleum version. The School of Business and Economics and the Faculty of Psychology have been using it since 6 February, the rest of the university will follow next academic year.
Thinking about introducing the notorious fat tax

Thinking about introducing the notorious fat tax

How to improve health, prevention and care

Feeling guilty

All PhD students are masters of procrastination. Going to the movies is always a reliable form of procrastination, and I’ll watch anything (unless it has zombies, aliens or hobbits). On Wednesday, in the middle of the day, I went to see The Artist. Guiltily, because even I can’t deny that when it comes to procrastination, seeing a black and white F...

Rector Gerard Mols decorated with a royal honour

Rector Gerard Mols decorated with a royal honour

It was his very last foundation day speech as rector, during the celebrations in the St. Jans church last week. He will be stepping down in June. Professor Gerard Mols availed of the opportunity to reveal the outlines of Maastricht University’s new strategic programme, and also to express his strong support for the position of human sciences positi...

Cultural Square stripped down

The website Cultural Square, where students could find the cultural agenda for Maastricht and get discounts on cultural activities, will be shut down. This is due to the recent budget cuts at Maastricht University. Cultural Square will continue to exist in a more stripped down version on Facebook, where you can ‘like’ the page. It will give updates...

Winterreise, Nu of nooit and Prins Oetrope

Winterreise The Kameropera Festival Maastricht presents a special version of Schubert’s Winterreise. Here, the focus is more on the woman who broke the heart of Schubert’s main character (played by soprano Bibi van den Dijck). She now regrets this and – highly pregnant in the winter – decides to follow him on his journey. The concert will be held ...

Revolution is everywhere

Where is the revolution? This is the theme of the UCM Conference to be held on 25 and 26 January. “We want people to think about that, although we already kind of give the answer – namely, everywhere”, says Undine Rubeze, one of the twenty students who are organising the event. The conference looks at revolutions in a very broad perspective, from p...

"Food from home just tastes better"

"Food from home just tastes better"

Theresa Bullock, 19, from Redditch, Great Britain, first-year student of Arts and Culture
How do you measure poverty?

How do you measure poverty?

More students than ever won the Student Prize this year. The Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences awarded the prize to two students, and the winning thesis of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences was a group effort. The subjects of the theses were very broad, ranging from social media to malaria. Observant spoke with two of the winners....

Game jam

Think of a subject for a serious game in UM education! This appeal – under the heading of ‘Leading and Learning’ – was sent out by e-mail to students and staff last week. The deadline was 24 January. The idea came from a somewhat unexpected corner: the University Council. It explains why professor Wim Gijselaers, who is co-ordinating the Leading in...

Second Life discontinued

The School of Business and Economics has stopped the Second Life project as of September. The project – very popular among students – was part of the marketing course. The department concerned found it too expensive. The block does indeed cost a few thousand euros extra, says Gwen Noteborn, expert in the field of ICT innovations. "But I feel that ...

Where to sit?

Giving a presentation is not the scariest part of an academic conference. Far more frightening is deciding where to sit at the conference banquet. Either you want to climb the professional ladder by manoeuvring yourself next to the keynote speakers, or – if you can’t navigate a plate of wonton noodles with chopsticks (because ‘conference dinner’ is...

Military operations

Military operations

Military operations. It's one of the seven topics that will be presented by young researchers of Maastricht University tomorrow during the 36th foundation day of Maastricht University.
Overestimating yourself

Overestimating yourself

Overestimating your own learning capabilities. This is just one of the seven topics, presented by young UM researchers, tomorrow, during the morning symposium of the 36th Dies Natalis of Maastricht University.    
Arteriosclerosis and obesity

Arteriosclerosis and obesity

Arteriosclerosis and obesity. It's one of the seven topics that will be presented by young researchers of Maastricht University tomorrow during the 36th foundation day of Maastricht University.
"I miss my brother the most"

"I miss my brother the most"

Nathalie Stroobants, 19, from Isla Margarita, Venezuela, first-year student of European Law

Lunch concerts, Maastricht aan tafel and Circle Percussion

Lunch concerts Looking for a nice way to spend your lunch break? Check out the organ lunch concerts in the university auditorium at the Tongersestraat 53, where well-known organists will play the recently restored organ. The concerts start at 12.30 and take approximately 30 minutes; the auditorium opens at 12.15. The first concert will be on Wedne...

Zijlstra's words fall on deaf ears in Germany

Germany has no intention to compensate the Netherlands for German students who come here to study. They only want to make Europe-wide agreements.

Breaking down the walls

"Breaking down the walls" was the motto (a kind of guiding principle for the organisation) used by the President of the Executive Board, Martin Paul, for 2012. In doing so he referred not to a “new destructive real estate design”, he said last week during a well-attended New Year’s reception in the university restaurant on the Tongersestraat. His n...

A million dollar reward for the definitive answer!

A million dollar reward for the definitive answer!

Where is the line between the predictable and the unpredictable?
“You have to be on time in the Netherlands”

“You have to be on time in the Netherlands”

The International Classroom has much more to do with integration and group dynamics than education. So it is not a synonym for a tutorial group that includes a number of nationalities. It is about much, much more, write Fred Stevens and Jacqueline Goulbourne, authors of the UM memo ‘The international classroom project’.

Study marathon

It seems like only yesterday, yet two weeks of blissful holidays have passed since the last exams. Since not all students were disciplined enough to study at home, and right before Christmas the library was packed with students preparing for exams and writing essays, Jules & You came up with a solution, offering space and unlimited free caffein...

Miracolous Wednesday, Soirée Artistique and Admiral Freebee

Miraculous Wednesday The longing to control time and the wish to rewrite history – this is the theme of the new show by dance group Club Guy and Roni, called Miraculous Wednesday. What happens when you get a chance to do something over? The performance starts at 20.30 on Friday 6 January in the AINSI. For those who understand Dutch, there will be ...

The average chimpanzee and us

The average chimpanzee and us

What influence do ancient civilisations have on European culture today?

“Krom Engels” ain’t so bad

“It’s time to face the truth and stop this strange English”, wrote Rik Smits, a Dutch linguist and publicist, in last week’s Volkskrant. English in the Netherlands is “onverstaanbaar Dutchglish”, he says, and Dutch universities would better serve foreign students with good Dutch rather than cruddy English. What Smits doesn’t mention is the worldwid...

Enough jobs for academics

Employment opportunities for young academics in the Netherlands will remain good for the coming years. Economic prospects may not be great, but there will be enough jobs because older employees are about to retire.

Circus Request, Santa Run and New Year's Eve

Circus Request Serious Request is an annual project by Dutch radio station 3FM in which they collect money for Red Cross projects. This year, DJ Giel Beelen will travel around the country to collect money by doing special assignments. On Monday 19 December he’ll visit Sittard with his Circus Request. The day will start at 10.00 in the inner city a...

Even studying feels different in Maastricht

Even studying feels different in Maastricht

Marta Francia, 21, from Rieti, Italy, Erasmus student from Bocconi University in Milan, BA student of International Business

In their business they can only be a number

You’re frustrated, you work in a business where uniformity is the highest good, the world is about to end and you’re in desperate need of a smoke. Where do you go? To the roof of the office building. Apart from nicotine the staff have other needs, but what are they? The answer will be presented by student drama club Alles is Drama in After the Rain...

Honours programmes for everyone?

It is not just for the very best students, but for everyone that philosopher René Gabriëls started his own honours programme on Wednesday 14 December at five o’clock in the afternoon, in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ bar. As a protest and outside the curriculum.
Students will not be given insight into selection criteria

Students will not be given insight into selection criteria

Having received permission from the Ministry of Education earlier this year, the School of Business and Economics can now select all students for its programmes with a limited number of places. The students in the faculty council now want to know exactly according to which criteria this will be done, but the board is not giving away all the details...

Failing your thesis

From now on master’s students at the School of Business and Economics must complete their thesis within seven months, otherwise they will have officially ‘failed’. And anyone who does not manage within the resit period of three months, will have to start from scratch. The latter means finding a new subject and a new supervisor.  The regulatio...

Oddities of colour

Yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, black. This is the colour order in which you need to eat jellybeans, otherwise I come out in instant hives (a lumpy red rash that you might know as netelroos of galbulten, not to be mistaken for the Dutch social networking site Hyves). Until recently I thought I was alone as far as colour-related oddities g...

Deadly combination: Spinoza and four boisterous men watching telly

Deadly combination: Spinoza and four boisterous men watching telly

Iris Fraikin is a third-year student of Arts and Social Sciences. She tested various study spaces for Observant: at home, in the train, parents' home, in a pub, in the open air, and the university library.
Smartest kid in the classroom?

Smartest kid in the classroom?

If you receive a top 3% certificate, what kind of student are you? One without a social life, always studying in the attic? 460 Maastricht University students will be awarded a top 3% certificate and the accompanying grant equalling the tuition fees for the previous academic year. The grant is to be discontinued due to government cuts.  

Magic Music, Tango and Christmas decorations

Magic Music Maastricht Cafés in Maastricht (including Café Zondag and John Mullins) will open their doors for the first Magic Music festival on Friday 9, Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December. Artists such as Hellbound Glory, David Philips, Jamie Mc Donald and Arthur Ebeling will play in styles ranging from rock to soul and jazz. For the full program...

"I really miss my former Dormitory Dean"

"I really miss my former Dormitory Dean"

Eui Sup Lee, 19, from Seoul, South Korea, BA student of International Relations at UCM

Rotterdam gets European University Games

The Erasmus University Rotterdam has been chosen to organise the European University Games in 2014. The student sports event will conclude the celebratory year of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Rotterdam institute.
Tafelstraat 13 complains about interference with policies

Tafelstraat 13 complains about interference with policies

There is no agreement after all between the UM’s Student Services Centre and Ecumenical Student Chaplaincy 'Tafelstraat 13' on the nature of required cutbacks. During the latest meeting of the university council, it appeared that at least the location could be maintained. The T-13 board has written a pressing letter.
Talking a lot and listening well

Talking a lot and listening well

Maastricht University achieved third place in the category ‘other universities’ in the KeuzeGids 2012. Only Wageningen and Eindhoven University of Technology did better. The UM owed this third place partly to the exceptionally high score for University College. Having ended up in third place last year (with 7.2 on a 10-point scale), it now took the...

“Discuss capitalism”

“Discuss capitalism”

How to prevent new forms of social inequality

University College Maastricht undisputed leader in KeuzeGids

According to students and experts, University College Maastricht is the best college in the Netherlands. With a grade of 8.6 (on a 10-point scale), UCM is also the best UM study in the KeuzeGids 2012. European Law School received much less praise, dangling at the bottom of the Maastricht list with 5.0.
Working towards the international class room

Working towards the international class room

The International class room task force is providing students with the opportunity to get involved in the process of internationalizing the university, says Heiner Salomon, president of Student Representation Party NovUM in this opinion piece. Students should take this chance and participate, if not lead, this development.
I miss my catholic student group

I miss my catholic student group

Laura Garcia, 21, from Madrid, Spain, exchange student of Economics
Using English makes it easier

Using English makes it easier

We won’t find them at traditional Maastricht student associations, all those foreign students. But will we find them on the football pitch or on a sailing boat? The search for the most international student sports association is on.
More reports of undesirable behaviour at UM

More reports of undesirable behaviour at UM

The number of reports has increased, and in some cases also their severity; the 2010 annual report by the university’s confidential advisor Marloes Rikhof shows an increase in the number of reports of undesirable behaviour, from 57 in 2009 to 82 in 2010.

Fashionclash, Magisch Maastricht and 90's forever

Fashionclash market Young Maastricht designers will present their clothing, jewellery, furniture and other accessories on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December during the Fashionclash market at Centre Céramique. The market will be open from 10.00–15.00 on Saturday and 13.00–17.00 on Sunday. For more information on the designers, please check www.fashio...

The flying spaghetti monster

Last week I went to a talk by Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and God of all atheists. During question time, a philosophy student asked what Dawkins makes of the ideas of Descartes – what can we really know as true, without any doubt? – and Bertrand Russell – how do we know that we weren’t put on the Earth five minutes ago, with fossils in ...

Partying for a better environment

Making pubs in Maastricht greener. That is the aim of a new project, called Green Drinking, initiated by Sife, a student organisation that wants to inspire sustainable change by creating economic opportunities. The students will make sure that enough people turn up, the owner of the pub where the party will be held promises to invest part of the ta...

Magic Music Matinee, Thanksgiving and Flea Market

Magic Music Matinee The first of a series of Sunday afternoon concerts is on Sunday 27 November in the Magisch Theatertje. Irish singer Declan de Barra will perform songs from his latest album. Supporting act is Jimmy Dee & Friends. The show will start at 15:00hrs. Tickets are €10 if you book in advance. For reservations, please visit www.magi...

Green light for parking regulation

From 1 December, foreign students commuting to Maastricht every day may (again) use a permit to park in the neighbourhoods around the city centre. This was decided by the Maastricht city council last Tuesday.
The little boy from downstairs

The little boy from downstairs

David Darler, 31, from Lincoln, UK, master’s student of Globalisation and Development

Language Centre’s future

Collaboration with Hogeschool Zuyd, with the RWTH Aachen University or with other institutes in the Euroregion? The UM’s Language Centre is currently drawing up a strategic plan for the future. Everything is possible, rector Gerard Mols said last week during a meeting with the university council's I&S committee, who put the future of the Langua...

Waiting for the international classroom

Integration between the various nationalities at the UM is not successful yet, concludes the DOPE student fraction in the university council. What is the Executive Board doing to improve this? And what about the influx of Dutch students? Are the target figures (50 per cent in the bachelor's and master's phase) being reached?
Renew yourself!

Renew yourself!

Wise lessons for entrepreneurs from Dutch theatre producer Albert Verlinde
Plea for liberal arts

Plea for liberal arts

Is there a crisis in higher education? Are students being ‘made’ into citizens who are only after the latest iPhone and a really well-paid job? In her latest book - Not for Profit. Why Democracy Needs the Humanities - American philosopher Martha Nussbaum argues for broad bachelor's studies with a good measure of philosophy, art and literature. Thes...

27800,500,000 hours

People are getting smarter, and this is irritating. You used to be able to make smug comments like “You know, I read somewhere that [insert wildly inaccurate fact here: Geert Wilders was raised in a madrasa, Nederland is an Old Saxon word meaning ‘poor of weather but stellar with cheese’, etc.]”. Now, people want to know your source, and God forbid...

High costs, long travelling times, lots of transfers

Public transport to and from Maastricht is not great, according to a majority of students and employees who completed the university council’s quick scan last week. For sixty percent of them, the high costs, long travelling times and the many transfers are a source of aggravation.
This café called Borsa

This café called Borsa

Samar Saad, 24 from Assiut, Egypt, master’s student in Globalisation and Development

“There’s room for improvement”

How sustainable is Maastricht University? This is the question the Green Office – which initiates and coordinates ecological, social and economic sustainability projects and aims to raise sustainability awareness at UM – asked in its Climate Action Report. Their conclusion: “The first steps have been made, but the road to an ideally sustainable uni...
How to introduce a product to the market?

How to introduce a product to the market?

Wednesday morning in the Crowne Plaza Hotel. A low buzz comes from the lobby, where students are gathering for the second day of the Make a Move Career Week. For the first time, Make a Move has organised a day focused on German students and companies. “The students who come to this career week are mainly studying at the School of Business and Econo...

Showtime, Global Culture Festival and Rocco

Showtime! ‘International students and their way of art’ is the theme of this year’s Open Day at the Bonnefantenmuseum on Sunday 20 November. The programme – called Showtime! – includes performances, guided tours and workshops. For instance, drama club Alles is Drama will perform a special play for the Open Day in the room showing the work of Sol L...

How would you rate the connection home-Maastricht?

If you have to take the bus or train to visit your parents, how would you rate the connection? If you think the connection is poor, why do you think so? These are two questions from a survey that the university council placed on Facebook and the Maastricht University website this week.
“It is an indispensable instrument”

“It is an indispensable instrument”

Can the law protect the environment?

Sinterklaas, Design Academy and Arab Autemn

Sinterklaas Sinterklaas, the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus, is coming to town. On Saturday 12 November he will arrive at 11.00 at the Kesselsekade with his Zwarte Pieten on his steamship full of presents. Mayor Onno Hoes and hundreds of children will be there to welcome him, after which Sinterklaas will take a tour through Wyck and the city cent...

Very good research quality at Fasos

The overall quality of the research at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is ‘very good’. The relevance is even excellent. This is the conclusion of the international external review committee that visited the faculty in mid-September. Nonetheless, the committee identified a few weaknesses, one of them being the relatively low rate of success...

Copulating beetles

Last month, Maastricht’s own Professor Herman Kingma was granted an Ig Nobel Prize for his work on why discus throwers get dizzy. The Igs – an alternative to the real Nobel Prizes – are awarded annually at Harvard University to celebrate unusual (if not downright wacky) research. Further Igs were awarded for research on why Australian beetles try t...

Unused data costs energy

Unused data costs energy

Making additional copies of files, keeping useless e-mails because the inbox limit is infinite anyway, sharing photos with friends online, we all do it. “What people do not realise is that storing this data requires energy,” says Chiung Chang, who works at ICIS. We are talking about data stored both on your computer and on a server. “Your computer...

Jupp, the barkeeper of my favourite pub in Düsseldorf

Jupp, the barkeeper of my favourite pub in Düsseldorf

Lukas Jochum, 24, from Düsseldorf, Germany, master’s student of Globalisation and Development Studies.

Mr Wilders’s heartland

What kind of city is Maastricht, asks The Economist
Present generation is becoming globally interconnected.

Present generation is becoming globally interconnected.

It is the end result of having been Dutch youth representative for the United Nations: addressing the entire UN. UCM student Dirk Janssen was able to do this on 4 October, exactly one year after he was chosen as youth representative.

World Press Photo, Vollanog and Soap

World Press Photo Friday 4 November will see the opening of the World Press Photos 2011. Over 170 photos will be shown in the Maastricht exhibition, in categories like news, art, entertainment, nature and sport. At 13.30 there will be an English-language guided tour (cost: €3) with information on the photos and the photographers. The exhibition wi...

No UN for Schuivens

UCM student, Lauren Schuivens, failed to become the new Dutch UN youth representative. In the finals of the UN&me congress on 23 October, she lost to Kirty Matabadal from Leiden. CF

Large-scale fraud committed by Tilburg professor

Dismissed because of fraud, Tilburg professor of social psychology, Diederik Stapel, ruthlessly used his PhD students and employees. At least thirty publications in prestigious journals contain made-up data.

Austria: “Country of origin should pay study costs”

If it is up to Austria, a student’s country of origin will have to pay the cost of his/her study. According to the current EU regulations, the host country pays for the study of a foreign student. Maastricht University's dean of internationalisation of education, Tom van Veen, does not think much of the Austrian plan. “It is so un-European.”

Innovation can also be harmful

This year's Tans lecture (10 November) will be held by professor Luc Soete, economist and innovation specialist. Soete set up research institute Merit from the economics faculty in 1986, focussing on innovation and technology. His lecture is therefore about innovation, but not about the rewards, quite the contrary.
Your entire DNA on a USB stick

Your entire DNA on a USB stick

What good is the human genome to us?

I will not be silent

I am a slogan t-shirt geek. I like them nerdy, like one belonging to my friend, a chemist, which lists in alphabetical order the elements of a human body (65% oxygen, fyi). I like them political, as in “That's ok, I wasn't using my civil liberties anyway”. I’m a particular fan of the feminist kind, with a picture of [insert your choice of Germaine ]...

UM gone up in ranking Tilburg

The Maastricht economists have risen five places in the top 100 of the Tilburg University Economics Ranking. They went from 67th to 62nd place. Of the five Dutch universities on the international list, Maastricht and Amsterdam (VU) were the only ones to climb. The ranking is based on publications in leading journals in the past five years (2006-201...

Feeling stupid

Academics thrive on stupidity. In his article ‘The importance of stupidity in scientific research’, microbiologist Martin Schwartz points out that since the point of research is to find out that which we don’t know, it’s only natural that it makes us all feel stupid. (“if we don’t feel stupid it means we’re not really trying”). Another key skill, I...

UM needs more Brits, Yanks, and Aussies

“We should accept that our student body currently does not have the right composition in nationalities that we would need to get even close to becoming an international university”, says UCM-student and University Council member Peter Cernohorsky in a personal capacity in this opinion piece. His solution: attract more students from Britain, USA and...
"I miss my dog William"

"I miss my dog William"

Taïssia Umenc (19), a third-year International Business student from Paris.  

“Dutch higher education is world-class”

The best thing that countries that strive for top-notch research and education can do, is to start a whole new university. This is often easier than raising the level of an old university. That was one of the conclusions in a book by the World Bank on top universities.

Corporate social responsibility is a process that takes years

What are most businesses about? Exactly, making as much money as possible. But they could also try to produce in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Businesses that are socially responsible do much better in financial terms, according to Sybren de Hoo, extraordinary professor of Corporate Social Responsibility at the Faculty of Law...
Discovering the brain

Discovering the brain

Arousing curiosity among young people in science in general. That's the goal of the workshop held in Discovery Center Continium in Kerkrade yesterday (one of a series of five during the next few days). The workshop by the Maastricht Science Programme is linked to the current Brain exhibition in Continium.

Parking arrangement for foreign commuting students suspended

The parking arrangement for foreign students who commute to Maastricht every day has been temporarily suspended. The parking permits for areas around the city centre are likely be issued from 1 December, or as soon as the Maastricht city council has given its approval for the permanent regulation. The trial project that started in September last y...

Working in Maastricht, living in Portugal

Working in Maastricht, living in Portugal

How does the migration of people, objects and ideas influence the development of cultural identities?

Silent study room and new common room for FASoS

Long wooden tables, fresh flowers, cosy seating areas and – for when the sun shines – attractive outdoor seating. Last Monday, the new Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences common room and coffee corner – Bandito Espresso – at Grote Gracht 86 opened its doors. As an opening stunt, all visitors are allowed to determine for themselves how much they wan...

Intensive Care 3 am, Spinvis and Eric Vloeimans

Intensive care 3 a.m. A camera crew gets permission to shoot a film in a hospital. Some of the hospital staff get thoroughly irritated by the film crew’s behaviour. One night this irritation reaches its climax, but it also reveals unexpected perspectives as well. This, in short, is the story behind Intensive care 3 a.m., the new play by the Toneel...

International sports associations

In a reply to the article ‘Traditional student associations less popular’ in the Observant of October 6th, the first thing that came to mind was ‘Hey, where are the sports associations?’. In the piece I am talking about, the comparison was made between the traditional student associations (gaining less new members) on the one hand and MSRV Saurus ...

Maastricht moves up in Times Rankings

Almost all Dutch universities are in the worldwide top 200 of the British Times Higher Education (THE) magazine, four of which are in the top 100 this year. The UM is back in the top 200 and is in 197th place. Harvard University has been dethroned after eight years.

D-vers, The Umbilical Brothers and lecture restoration

D-vers To get a taste of what’s going on in pop music in Limburg, check out the D-vers festival on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 October in Sittard. New this year is the musicians’ day on 14 October, when pop musicians can follow workshops on how to get your band booked, how to improve your English lyrics and more. The performances will take place at ...

UCM student in race for UN

UCM student Lauren Schuivens is one of the last six candidates vying to become the Dutch UN youth representative. Previously, UCM student Dirk Janssen and FASoS student Anne Schepers were the UN youth representative and Unesco youth representative, respectively. To make it to the finals, Schuivens needs to collect as many votes as possible. This S...

“I’ve wanted a Mini Cooper since I was six years old"

“I’ve wanted a Mini Cooper since I was six years old"

Eugen Wollfarth (22) was born in Colombia, raised in Chile and attended school in the US and Germany, Berlin. He is a master’s student of International Business.

Hopelessly lost

The first time I ever gave a presentation of my own research terrified me. Picturing people naked just doesn’t help. The best advice I was ever given was to ‘act like an actor’; in other words, to play a role. Pretend you are the person you want to project (someone confident and engaging, not someone who wants to curl up in the corner in foetal pos...

Not only for the money

Not only for the money

As of early October, 137 new British students had enrolled at Maastricht University. What made them choose Maastricht? Was it the much lower tuition fees in the Netherlands, or is there more to it? Observant interviewed three British newcomers.
Managing the grey and rainy days

Managing the grey and rainy days

Eliza Malathouni, 29, born in Greece, junior researcher at the Faculty of Law

Traditional student associations less popular

The more traditional student associations in Maastricht are less popular among first-year students this year. Tragos inaugurated 89 new members (2010: 105) and Circumflex 113 (2010: 130). Tragos chair David Hageman is not sure what’s behind the drop in popularity. “We had more subscriptions, but a lot of people didn’t show up to the introduction, e...

Food too expensive, library too full

Students at Maastricht University are overall happy with the university buildings and the additional facilities like Studium Generale, UM Sports and EleUM. They’re less thrilled with the announcement of test results, the cafeteria, the number of workplaces in the inner city library and the Language Centre. These are the outcomes of Student Monitor,...

Elsevier ranking: IB and UCM do well

Elsevier ranking: IB and UCM do well

First places for the bachelor's programmes of International Business, Econometrics and Medicine, second places for University College Maastricht and Economics, and third places for International Law and European Law. Biomedical Sciences and Law ended up at the bottom.

Nobel Prize for research into supernovas

Three scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their research into exploding stars. On the basis of their observations they were able to prove that the universe is expanding at an accelerated pace.
One foot in the Netherlands and the other in Africa

One foot in the Netherlands and the other in Africa

Does cultural integration work differently today than in the past?

Moody PhD students

I have friends who are close to submitting their PhD dissertations. They are tired, moody and stressed out. “You’ll be so happy when it’s all over!”, people keep telling them. But that’s not the problem, my friends say. They are moody and stressed precisely because it’s nearly over. These are four years that you’ll never have again. Four years of y...

BodyTalks, Windmill day and Breakfest

BodyTalks From Friday 30 September until Sunday 23 October the exhibition BodyTalks – Video Art & Cinedans in Public Space will be held in the inner city of Maastricht. Every night 23 video artworks and dance films will be shown from shop windows, empty offices and homes, making BodyTalks the largest video art exhibition in Europe. Parallel to...

Tuna festival

Tuna festival

Tunas from all over the world came to Maastricht

Maastricht’s little Italy

Entering the Kiwi restaurant on Tuesday night was like embarking on a cruise trip to Italy. Accents from Tuscany, Milan, Bologna, Rome and Naples filled the air while almost forty chatty Italian students got to know each other, exchanging life stories and, of course, some of Mamma’s secret recipes. The Italian reunion at Kiwi was the first event of...

Student cop wants to be mediator

Paul Vermin, 'student cop' since last May, wants to be a mediator between students and the city. He thinks there is a lot of room for improvement in the relationship between the students and Maastricht. “At the moment, it is still often we –the people from Maastricht – and they – the students.” As far as he is concerned, the key word is discussion....

University Council wants better public transport to Aachen and Liege

University Council wants better public transport to Aachen and Liege

A faster connection between Maastricht and Aachen, a good train connection with Liege, a public transport season ticket that is valid (in the Veolia bus) all the way to Aachen, travelling expenses for German students, and Maastricht Randwijck station renamed into Health Campus Maastricht.  

UCM will ask a € 1,200 extra fee

University College Maastricht wants to raise lecture fees by 1,200 euros. This means that UCM students will have to pay almost 3,000 euros, unless they can prove that the extra amount is an insurmountable obstacle. The University Council is wondering who will and who won’t be eligible for dispensation (waiver).  

Little interest in cheap student parking

Foreign students make very little use of the free parking facility in Randwijck and only a small number of them applied for a student parking permit (5 euros per month, residents pay 3.50) for districts around the city centre.
"I miss the milkman"

"I miss the milkman"

Jitka Staworowska, 27, from Brno, Czech Republic, studied in London for her bachelor’s degree, and is now doing UM’s Master in Media Culture.
Learn to live with uncertainty

Learn to live with uncertainty

How to deal with potential risks of technological and scientific innovations?

5th time slot voluntary, provided that…

It was with whining and gnashing teeth, but then finally there was a compromise between the University Council - or at least a council committee - and the Executive Board on the introduction of regular evening classes at the UM. This so-called fifth time slot will become reality, probably from as early as January onwards, and initially on a volunta...

Looking hungry

When tuition fees are hiked up here and people start to fret about affordability, it always takes me back to my undergrad days in Sydney. Tuition fees there run into the tens of thousands of dollars and my university used to offer a free breakfast to poor students. ‘Poor’ seemed to be defined as anyone who showed up early enough, looking hungry eno...

Lost in Maastricht

Lost in Maastricht

Lost in the city centre of Maastricht, searching for a parking place, and wasting hours photocopying pages and pages. Every new start has its own difficulties. Claudia Costa (26) is newly arrived in Maastricht for the master’s in Media Culture. She comes from Milan, Italy, and tells us about her experiences in the first weeks of this new academic y...
A Barbie shoe

A Barbie shoe

Sandrinne Antony, 19, born and raised in London, second-year bachelor’s student of European Law School.

Europe: more united than we might realise

Will we soon live in the ‘united states of Europe?

Popronde, cross over music and beach club

Popronde There’ll be music all over town in Maastricht this weekend. Along with the Tuna festival, the Popronde (pop music round) will also take place, with dozens of bands playing at various cafés and clubs on Friday 23 September. The Popronde is a travelling festival that gives upcoming bands a chance to play for a bigger audience; well-known ba...

No automatic student grants for EU trainees

Students from EU countries who want to claim Dutch student grants, must work at least 32 hours per month. In principle, traineeship hours do not count. Labour party MP Tanja Jadnanansing had asked state secretary Zijlstra to make trainees exempt from this compulsory work requirement, but the latter is against the idea. European students in the Ne...

2011 Day of the Queen’s Speech: tighten your belts

Less money for research: not the current one billion euros, but a drop to nine hundred million in 2012, and a little more than eight hundred million in 2016. State secretary Zijlstra will even go as far as dividing up seven per cent of the existing budget for tertiary education among universities and schools of higher professional education that fu...

Balcony serenades and many traditions

Balcony serenades and many traditions

Men in mediaeval costumes serenading the beautiful ladies with their romantic Spanish music. That is what Maastricht can expect during the Tuna festival on 23, 24 and 25 September, when Tunas from around the world come to this city. The festival is organised by the Maastricht University Tuna association. “We have been to many such festivals in Spa...

TV doctors

I’ve talked about my celebrity academic crushes before. Here’s how not to leave a lasting, intelligent impression. Ben Goldacre writes a column in the Guardian called Bad Science (and published a book with the same name). Each week, he targets topical examples of science gone bad (e.g. all things homeopathy, or those ‘TV doctors’ who get their qual...

Miss Netherlands, no Miss Universe

Miss Netherlands, no Miss Universe

The recently graduated Maastricht psychology student Kelly Weekers did not win the Miss Universe 2011 title in Brazil last Monday. Her fellow-contestant from Angola, Leila Lopes, carried off the palm.
Successful Green Office barbecue

Successful Green Office barbecue

Over 400 meals were served at the vegetarian barbecue and info market organised by the Green Office at the Landbouwbelang last Friday night. The Green Office is an agency that coordinates and initiates ecological, social and economic sustainability projects at Maastricht University (UM) by empowering students and staff members. The event was organi...

Musica Sacra, Shaun Gladwell and CineAc

Musica Sacra The theme of the 29th Musica Sacra Festival is The Joy of the Law. From Thursday 15 until Sunday 18 September, various historical locations in the Maastricht inner city will form the setting for many concerts and performances – most of them free of charge – all related to this theme. For the full programme and information on where to ...

The vibe of a big city

Dominika Partyga, 19, born in Bergen, Norway and raised in Warsaw, Poland, second-year student at the University College Maastricht

Village mentality

How do national cultural identities change with time?

Fee increase for foreign students delayed

Pressure from the universities (including Maastricht University) and schools of higher professional education has resulted in Minister Leers postponing the fee increase for non-EU students until 1 September. The legal action taken by VSNU and the HBO Council has been called off.

Circus Renz, Notorious IBE and Parcours

The Parcours As usual, this year’s cultural season in Maastricht will kick off with the Parcours. On Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September, 168 performances and concerts will be held all over town, free of charge. At the same time, Heritage Day will also take place. On 11 September, various historical buildings and sites around Maastricht will be op...

Mad at cowardly politicians

Mad at cowardly politicians

Maastricht University is to have a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, the aim of which is to promote research on Europe and to further public debate. The latter, in particular, would be no luxury.
Four weddings and a funeral

Four weddings and a funeral

Confident about its own capabilities, firmly rooted in the province of Limburg, international (but with 50 per cent Dutch students), closely co-operating with institutes and businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. Professor Martin Paul, President of the Executive Board, outlined the future of ‘his’ Maastricht University in a glowing speech – not ...

Richard Dawkins

Don’t give me Brad Pitt or Matt Damon (well, ok, maybe Matt Damon). All my celebrity crushes are on big-name academics. A friend and I once saw Richard Dawkins on the street and started squealing like schoolgirls. Another friend is now heading to CERN in Geneva for a year’s worth of PhD research, and I am green with envy. Why? Professor Brian Cox, ...

UM climbs two places in QS ranking

Maastricht University is in 109th place in the World University Rankings. The UM has climbed two places compared to last year and is preceded by five Dutch universities. Highest in the ranking is the University of Amsterdam, in 63rd place.
Chaos is no chaos

Chaos is no chaos

What can we say about the future of a chaotic system? 

'Learning Dutch is crucial'

In last week’s Observant, local students advise new international students to learn Dutch. Learning the Dutch language will help these new students to better integrate into their new Maastricht study and living environment. It is said that students learn very well from each other. The university also puts great value on both formal and informal in...

Shut down

From this week, the University Library has a new procedure: computer workstations will be automatically shut down after 30 minutes of no activity.
“We share a love of Harry Potter”

“We share a love of Harry Potter”

Catriona O’Sullivan, a first-year UCM student from Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Bruis, Cultura Nova and local food

Festival Bruis Loads of upcoming bands, a food circus, exciting theatre performances and the band De Staat, which has already found quite some fame in the Netherlands. You’ll get all this and more at Bruis, a free festival held on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September at the Tapijnkazerne sports fields. For the full programme, please visit www.bruisma...

Play bridge in Maastricht

Every university city in the Netherlands has a student bridge club. Except Maastricht. This is about to change, however, because Koos Vrieze, former professor of Maastricht University, is starting a course in the upstairs room of Ma van Sloun pub on the Tongersestraat, on Tuesday 27 September. Free of charge.
“Learning Dutch is crucial”

“Learning Dutch is crucial”

Whether it helped much, only time will tell, but at least an attempt was made during this Inkom to inform foreign students in a separate meeting about Maastricht student life, with the aim of involving them more. In particular in the many associations and organisations that this university has. Maastricht University may claim to be an international...

New in Observant

New in Observant this academic year is the English-language column by Australian Alison Edwards, every week on the front page. Also new is our series on the main research topics in the Dutch research agenda. Every week, a different Maastricht researcher will talk about one of these themes. And finally: what’s the most precious or funny thing you br...

Maastricht-Brussels Express discontinued

The direct Maastricht-Liege-Brussels train connection ends on 11 December 2011. Travellers from Maastricht bound for Brussels will then need to change trains and incur longer travelling times. The reasons for the decision by the Belgian Railway (NMBS) to discontinue the service were general cutbacks as well as the many delays on this line. Petitio...

Record participants Inkom 2011

Record participants Inkom 2011

Inkom 2011 had more participants than ever: 2,250. Moreover, the weather gods were favourably disposed towards the students. With the exception of the film on Friday evening, all open-air events could take place as planned. Observant took a look, among others at the Culture Valley in the City Park on Thursday evening.
Tafelstraat 13 may have to move

Tafelstraat 13 may have to move

Is there actually going to be an end to Tafelstraat 13? The university wants to economise to such an extent that the building may have to be vacated. The ecumenical chaplaincy would have to move to office spaces in the student services centre.

Illegal parking

Enough is enough for the residents of Mariaberg. According to local citizen Mirjam Stax, they have started “an offensive” against German students who park their cars illegally, in particular five meters from a crossing. We notify the police each time. Stax claims that quite a number of traffic fines have already been issued. The reason for their a...

Join a group!

If I could give new students in Maastricht one suggestion, it would be to join a group. It doesn’t matter what group: capoeira, chess, debating ... The point is that this is where you’ll make friends with likeminded people, and it’s what will save your social life (and sanity) if you discover you don’t like your classmates. Of course, if your passi...

“I never felt out of place”

“I never felt out of place”

Most foreign students are somewhat wary of student associations. Are they not at the expense of your study? Isn’t it all about drinking beer? And then there is this hazing… Four foreign students explain why they did decide to join an association.  

Pure Alpha loses Jong Ondernemen final

The adventure of becoming the best Jong Ondernemer in Europe has come to an end for Pure Alpha, a company of six SBE students from Maastricht.

Back home

After a few months in Maastricht, I don’t miss my family, pets, or friends more than I miss my one comfort food that just doesn’t exist here. Texans are born and raised to cook and eat authentic Mexican food, so every week I yearn for the free endless servings of chips and salsa back home. Europe definitely has America beat in every other area of f...

"I'm a tea purist"

"I'm a tea purist"

Sara van Goozen (21), from the Netherlands, is a third-year student at UCM and will be graduating in July.  

Science College to go ahead

There will definitely be a Science College in Maastricht, as part of University College. The Ministry of Education has given its permission, as NVAO, the agency that ensures the quality of studies, has given a positive recommendation.

Dour Festival and Out of Storage

Dour Festival More than 200 bands and DJs will perform at the 23rd Dour Festival from 14 to 17 July in Dour, Belgium. Headliners this year are Cypress Hill, Papa Roach, Pulp and House of Pain. The Dour Festival aims to showcase a diversity of artists on its seven stages, with each stage flying the colours of its own particular genre. Observant is ...

Typical NL: fatty herring

What is the most typically Dutch food of all? Some would say friet, but Belgians would certainly object. The question who was first and more importantly who makes the best will never be answered. My favourite frituur developed a compromise: it uses Belgian potatoes, Dutch oil and for the mayonnaise you can choose between Belgian, Dutch or German. I...

SBE students want an extra seat in council

The functioning of the Faculty Council of the School of Business and Economics should be improved. This was a proposal of students and employees in the last meeting. The students want an extra seat to better represent their constituency.
“It has become a fairer competition”

“It has become a fairer competition”

What is the best way for a business to react to negative reviews on social media, blogs or personal websites? This question is the focal point of Tom van Laer's thesis, Return of the Narrative, on the basis of which he gained his doctor's title last Friday. “Avoid a business-like response!”

UCM wants higher lecture fees

University College Maastricht wants to drastically raise lecture fees for EU students from September 2012. This is because otherwise the quality of education can no longer be maintained, says the management of UCM.

Smoking cessation measures even more effective

“Ridiculous,” is what professor Onno van Schayck calls the government’s decision to stop funding smoking cessation therapies. In the meantime, new research has shown how effective something like the anti-smoking tablet can be for smokers selected on the basis of genetic characteristics.
Dreaming of Italy

Dreaming of Italy

Dominique Meyers (23), from the Netherlands, is a master’s student in Developmental Psychology

Buttery popcorn

I grew up playing basketball, baseball, and American football with my three siblings and neighbourhood friends in the front yard; we broke a few windows and wore our previously grassy yard into a dirt pit, but we had the time of our lives out there. I was shocked to discover that these sports are extremely rare in Europe and are replaced with sport...

Phone home

Phone home

It is perhaps hard to imagine, but only fifteen years ago international students and employees could only communicate with their friends and family back home through a letter in the mail. Now, social media, Skype and WhatsApp make instant communication possible. But internationals students still send real postcards.  

Summer Deejays and BAM Festival

As summer is coming, it’s time for Maastricht’s outdoor dance event for students: Summer Deejays. This is the third annual festival, and will take place on Friday 17 June. It promises a full day of dance music with DJs such as Michel de Hey and Peter Horrevorts. The event will be held at the Griend, which means you’ll be able to watch the sunset wh...

Explore European cinema

To explore European identity through European cinema; this is the aim of Project Cinemaas, a project by four Media Culture master’s students. “In the second semester of the master’s we have to do either an internship, a thesis or a collective project”, says Clarence Ceniza. “We chose the collective project.” The group attended three film festivals...

Alain Clark opens Inkom 2011

Dutch artist Alain Clark - known from Father & Friend, Blow me Away and This Ain’t Gonna Work - will open Inkom 2011 on the market square on Tuesday, 23 August. After a sensational performance last year, Maastricht singer Fabrizio (pronounced: Febries) will make another appearance this year. He sings Italian pop songs in Maastricht dialect and ...

Maastricht-Liege-Brussels line at risk

The Belgian Railway (NMBS) is considering cancelling the direct train connection between Maastricht and Brussels. This “problem line” is subject to delays. Maastricht University and the Limburg provincial authorities want to approach the Belgian railway to emphasise the importance of this line. The Walloon town of Visé has started a petition.  ...

Cultural festival during Inkom

For the first time, there will be a real festival in the city park, with shows, music, dance, film and other events. Called Culture Valley, it will feature popular Dutch band Kensington as a main act.

Shopping at midnight

When I’d procrastinated myself into a midnight session of studying back home, I could always count on Wal-Mart to be open and offering exactly what I’d need to get me through the night. Adapting to the work schedule of shop owners and grocery stores in Maastricht was a challenge – I’d forget and show up at the store after five just to walk back hom...

Africa Day at UCM

Africa Day at UCM

“Tonight we want to celebrate the continent of Africa”, says Shaun Matsheza, one of the organisers of the UCM Africa Day, to the very crowded common room. “Africa is not only the continent of troubles.” Africa Day is the annual commemoration on 25 May of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). On this day, leaders of 30 of th...

"I like my pancakes to be a bit crusty on the sides"

"I like my pancakes to be a bit crusty on the sides"

Charlotte Weinspach (21), a second-year European Law student from Cologne, Germany

Momentum, Fashionclash and pop-exhibition

Momentum Momentum is the debut of the young theatre producer Ananda Puyk, whose work has been received with open arms at a variety of international film festivals. In this show, she plays a woman tired of keeping up appearances in front of the rest of the world. The story is told through images, music and dolls only; there is no speaking. You can ...

“Back next year!”

“Back next year!”

With a broad smile and saying that he was “pleased as Punch”, Jos Lemmink, dean of the School of Business and Economics, accepted the large Faculty Fight challenge cup last Monday. “I feel that there should be another Faculty Fight next year. This initiative is good for the entire university community and for our faculty.” 
Faculty Fight: 'rafting' on the river Maas

Faculty Fight: 'rafting' on the river Maas

“One, two,” they shout fanatically from the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences’ boat. “Go, go,” sounds the Psychology and Neuroscience’s boat, which clearly has more trouble moving tightly around the three markers on the river Maas.

Typical NL: Double Dutch

Had we been born in the 17th century, you and I, we would not have been friends. This was the time of the Anglo-Dutch wars, the bloody quest for supremacy of the seas, when the Dutch hated the English and the English hated the Dutch. And while the hostilities are long past, their remnants still linger in the English language today. Even the word...

Cinema Arabe, Night of the Tip and Art Tour

Cinema Arabe festival Work by young Arab filmmakers, from countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, will be shown at the Cinema Arabe festival from Thursday 2 until Sunday 5 June at the Lumière cinema. The festival aims to provide alternative representations of life in Arab countries that contradict the stereotypical images. The films shown – ...

Language Centre recommended

The Maastricht University Language Centre is now permitted to call itself a Cambridge ESOL Preparation Centre.

Alumni return to Maastricht

About 1,100 alumni (of 37 different nationalities) are expected to attend the first major Alumni Day on Saturday 28 May, on the occasion of Maastricht University’s 35th anniversary. Every faculty will have its own morning programme. There will be a wine tasting event for former UCM students, discussions at Arts and Social Sciences about the rebell...

Spanish protests

On Saturday 28 May a demonstration to support the protests of young people in Spain will take place at the Vrijthof. A group of Spanish students will hand out flyers to give information on the situation in Spain. The demonstration will start at 17.00 and ends at 21.00. CF

Tuna Maastricht wins three prizes

This month Tuna Maastricht won three prizes during a festival organised by a local group from La Laguna in Tenerife. The first prize was for showing the most Tuna spirit (Tuna mas Tuna), the second for being the friendliest group (Tuna mas sympatico), and the last for playing the best serenades beneath a balcony (Premio de Ronda). The group has nev...

Dutch courses for council members

The University Council decided last week that there will be Dutch language courses for foreign council members who have no or insufficient command of Dutch. Immediately after the election results have become known, the newly appointed members will receive a letter from the chairman of the university council, prof. Herman Kingma.
"I just love everything British"

"I just love everything British"

Hannah Saija (22) from Middelburg, the Netherlands, is a third-year student of Arts and Culture

Inkom stays mixed

The next Inkom event will only have mixed groups after all. The Inkom Working Group is sticking to its guns after a consultation round of the student associations and organisations as well as a survey among all first-year students, bachelors and masters. According to Anne van Tetering and Sonja Bongard from the Working Group, mixed groups are the b...

In Memoriam Sofia Tussis

Our friend and colleague Sofia Tussis passed away last week. She was a third year student at University College Maastricht and a shining light in Maastricht’s student community. Her dedication to write about and engage in the things that mattered to her was an inspiration to all of us who knew and came to love her as the joyful and creative person ...

Mixed Inkom still uncertain

Whether there will only be mixed Inkom groups this year is still the subject of discussion.

“We expect students to have an open attitude”

No-one denies that SBE students should integrate more with other nationalities. But staff members should not be held responsible for its success. This was one of the outcomes of last Wednesday's lunch meeting about the International Classroom Development programme.  

And the winner is ... Porto

Last Friday, the Portuguese University of Porto – a relative outsider – won the finals of the second International Case Competition @ Maastricht (ICC@M) organised by the School of Business and Economics. In these competitions, held at universities all over the world, student teams have to solve a business problem and prepare a presentation on the s...

De Hoop Scheffer calls for more integration

“Can we be a financial and economic giant without being a political union?” asks Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, former Dutch foreign minister and former secretary-general of NATO, at the annual congress of financial study association FS Focus last Wednesday. “The answer is not less, but more integration.”
"Dachshunds are the coolest animals"

"Dachshunds are the coolest animals"

Laurens de Beukelaar (22), a third-year Marketing student from Belgium

WE Festival, Out of Fashion and Monsieur Dubois

WE Festival ‘Never alone’ is the slogan of the WE Festival 2011. Its aim is to bring together as many students as possible in activities organised in the Landbouwbelang from Wednesday 18 until Sunday 22 May. Workshops in graffiti, journalism, cooking, political activism and dancing are on the programme, as well as a student conference on sustaina...

Be healthy and vital

Be healthy and vital

Juggling can be a great way to take your mind off other things
Debate Dope vs. Novum: spot the differences

Debate Dope vs. Novum: spot the differences

What the purpose was, said moderator professor Harm Hospers at some stage during the great election debate between Dope and Novum last week, was that the differences between the two student parties would become clearer. With little stimulating interventions, he therefore did his very best to discover those differences. It turned out to be a difficu...

Typical NL: University for all

There are certain bizarre-but-endearing things about the Netherlands that everyone knows about. Clogs, for example. But what I only learned when I moved here was that there are no – or at least, few – selection criteria for university admission. I can just picture the reaction back home: “But how do they keep the dumbasses out?” The short answer, ...

Bridging the gap

Creating an international learning community in which no student feels excluded – this is the aim of the School of Business and Economics with its International Classroom Development programme. From September, all first-year bachelor’s students will learn how to communicate and cooperate with students from different cultural backgrounds.
“We want people to interpret the story for themselves”

“We want people to interpret the story for themselves”

A Thursday night. Four girls are running around a rehearsal space, going through a bag of clothes. “Only the skirts, right?” “No, put everything on.” Meanwhile, their director is busying himself with décor pieces and discussing the use of a smoke machine with the photographer. The girls are actors in KAS, the newest production of student drama clu...

No more Make Bar in d’n Hiemel

The Make Bar is closing down after two years. On 19 May the student café, located in d’n Hiemel at the Sint Bernardusstraat, will organise its final party.

King of the road

Coming from a place where the automobile is king of the road, it’s refreshing to bike around Maastricht and not fear for my life. When I tried biking to class in Texas, I was nearly clipped by cars or cut off by oblivious students who were texting while walking. After a week of riding my little blue bike here in Europe, I was excited to see that bi...

UM scores well again in German ranking

International Business, Economics, Psychology, Medicine and European Studies have scored well again in the latest ‘Hochschulranking’ by the German ‘Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung’ (CHE), published by the German magazine Die Zeit.
Monet just beats macaroons for what’s best about France

Monet just beats macaroons for what’s best about France

Emma Batchelor, 20, from Sydney, Australia, is an exchange student in Art Theory and History

No rush on parking places

Exactly 110 foreign students applied for parking permits this academic year. For five euros a month, they can park their cars in areas around the city centre, including Brusselse Poort, Mariaberg, Villapark, Sint Pieter, Jekerdal and the parking lot at Noorderbrug/Franciscus Romanusweg. This is not much, considering the fact that 275 places were re...

Pure Alpha best student company

Pure Alpha, a company of six SBE students, has won the regional finals of Jong Ondernemen, a non-profit organisation that aims to help as many young people as possible to become aware of entrepreneurship. The national semifinals and finals will be held in May and June.
Learn about the city while jogging

Learn about the city while jogging

It’s 19.00 on a sunny Tuesday. A group of people is gathering at Plein 1992 in front of the restaurant Beluga. These are the participants in the first guided jogging tour for the international community in Maastricht, organised by Maastricht Running Tours and the Knowledge Centre for International Staff (KCIS). For €10 they will jog for about an ho...

Queen's Day and Student Playback Show

Queen’s Day You might want to search your closet for an orange outfit: 30 April is Queen’s Day in the Netherlands. Activities and parties will be held in Maastricht the entire weekend. The events kick off with MY-Day on the 29th, an ‘interactive, informative market’ in the park. That evening, several cover bands and DJs will also be playing in the...

“Turn the UM into a European university”

Create a few European universities, financed with EU money. Maastricht University could be one of them. That would put an end to the grumbling about German students getting their diplomas at the expense of the Dutch taxpayer.  

“There is more to Europe than making money and creating jobs”

In Finland, the Euro-sceptical party True Finns won 19 per cent of the votes last weekend. Their main point: Finland pays Brussels too much. And the aid for Portugal – a multi-billion loan to give the country some breathing space to straighten out their economy – should not be given. Elsewhere in Europe, Euro-scepticism is on the up and up too (inc...
"Life can be pretty absurd"

"Life can be pretty absurd"

Lucian Watkins, 19, from Perth, Australia, exchange student at University College

Cowboys and shotguns

As a child in Texas, it was normal to spend a weeknight watching bull-riders and barrel-racers ride on the dirt-floored rodeo arena. I even joined in on the kiddy activities of chasing lambs for cash prizes when I was old enough. I never realised that all this wasn’t a typical family outing everywhere until I came to Europe, where when I mention to...

Free advice for A2 residents

Free advice for A2 residents

Students are going to help residents living in the neighbourhood of the A2 submitting complaints or claiming damages

English Unless?

Our Executive Board finds itself, with an intake of 43% international students in 2009, in a bit of an uncomfortable position. Stick to Dutch, or present the icing on Jo Ritzen's farewell cake and switch to English? The new Strategic Programme speaks of the 'English unless' approach. For example, will this be the end of pla...

Green tea to lose weight

Green tea to lose weight

Green tea has a preventative effect on cardiovascular diseases, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. But it is also a perfect drink for those who want to lose weight.
“You don’t just send away one of the clients”

“You don’t just send away one of the clients”

Last Saturday, the Faculty of Law hosted the finals of the International Client Consultation Competition (ICCC), in which teams of law students from all over the world tried to best one another during simulations of legal counsel. The pairs were confronted with actors playing prospective clients in need of legal services, and it was up to the stude...

One idea, twenty slides, 400 seconds

Present a new idea with the help of twenty slides, each of which you can comment on for twenty seconds. This – in a nutshell – is the idea behind PechaKucha (Japanese for chit-chat). Twelve people give such a presentation at each PechaKucha night. The idea came originally from two Tokyo architects, and PechaKucha nights have been held in Maastricht...

Smartlappen, Upload Cinema and Niki de Saint Phalle

On Friday 15 April, the Smartlappenfestival in Maastricht will be a great occasion to interact with Dutch culture. Artists will be performing tearjerkers, some with a funny twist, in a dozen crowded cafes in the city centre, including Edd’s Café and In den Ouden Vogelstruys. You can find the full programme here: The festival s...

Typical NL: Gezelligheid

The coolest Dutch words are those that don’t exist in English at all. The general concept might exist, but the Dutch flavour just gives it that something extra. Sure, everyone drinks. We all party. But only the Dutch have borrels. Likewise, we all get sick of having to peck the chalky cheeks of ageing relatives every time we see them. But the Dutch...


When I first saw a dog inside a restaurant in Maastricht, my eyes darted around the room to see everyone’s surprised reactions, but to my surprise nobody thought the dog was out of place. Almost every building in Texas has “no pets allowed” signs, and seeing an animal on a bus or in a restaurant means it’s a seeing-eye dog. In Europe, though, I faw...

UM Faculty Fight

Always wanted to battle it out with lawyers, economists, psychologists or medics? Now is your chance, at the first Faculty Fight organised by UM Sport to celebrate its anniversary on Wednesday, 25 May, together with the MUSST Sports Council and study and student sport associations.
Students attacked in Ghana

Students attacked in Ghana

Three Maastricht medical students were attacked by a group of armed men in Ghana at the end of March. The men took their telephones, money, bank cards, laptop, and a photo camera, but the students remained unharmed. The three women have returned to the Netherlands. The medical students were doing an internship in West Gonja Hospital, in the villag...

"I'm a very bad Dutch person"

"I'm a very bad Dutch person"

Merel Feije, 20, from Hoofddorp, Netherlands, student at the University College

The correlation between cooperation and integration

While sipping my coffee on a beautiful Monday morning disbelief stroke me when reading the Observant (28). I read an opinion article called The fraternity and nothing else, which implied that membership of an association leads to a more asocial attitude towards others. A huge photo of Tragos members during the Inkom showed whom this meant. Unbelie...

No position yet

No position yet

The fact that René Verspeek, director of Student Services (SSC), must leave, has to do with dissatisfaction about his performance and the Executive Board's idea that directors should change jobs from time to time. This was the explanation given by Executive Board member André Postema last Monday to the collected SSC employees. According to Postema,...


April 2011. The student parties are out again in order to warm-up for the up-coming elections. The challenge for everybody again: let's work on our legitimacy! With only around 30% participation in the elections, most students seem to be very reluctant to have confidence in their students parties. Where is the master topic to get the students to th...

English as official UM language

If the Executive Board gets its way, English will become the university’s official language. During the last university council meeting, Executive Board member André Postema announced that the next Strategic Programme speaks of ‘English, unless’, which means that Dutch more or less takes second place. “But this is still to be discussed,” he added. ...

Halt on vacancies criticised

There was a lot of criticism for the measure itself and certainly for the way in which it was announced in the university. The university council was not happy with the halt on vacancies and the ban on extending temporary contracts, last Wednesday. The Executive Board nevertheless strongly defended its necessity. 

Typical NL: Milk and butter

“Can you please write about the milk?” “What about it?” “Didn't you notice? There is milk everywhere in the Netherlands. It's so annoying!” To tell you the truth, I hadn't noticed, but once my friend had mentioned it, I became more observant and realized she is right. The Netherlands is probably the only country where you can order a glass of mi...

Starting a company in one weekend

How to enthuse students for entrepreneurship? Instead of holding another lecture, the Maastricht Centre for Entrepreneurship (MC4E) is hosting an event called 3 Day Startup (3DS). The concept consists of gathering forty students who will try to set up a technology company in 60 hours, from Friday (May 6th) to Sunday night, and present their busines...

Canteen food changed after complaints

Canteen food changed after complaints

Smaller rolls with less filling, different prices for the same product, and less tasty salads. This is a selection of the complaints that students and staff had about the food in the university canteen. Account manager Cees Vink from catering company Albron had a good talk with a group of students. He promised to take action. So now there will be l...

The Resident

Every year, three million single women in America move into an apartment for the first time. They do not know who lived in the apartment before them, they do not know their landlords, and they don’t bother to change the locks. This is the story of one such woman. After separating from her husband, pretty young doctor Juliet Dermer moves to Brooklyn...

Education attaché in Saudi Arabia

The Lower House has asked State Secretary of Education Halbe Zijlstra questions about the recruitment of students in Saudi Arabia. The Labour Party and the Socialist Party feel that this should not be a chief concern for Dutch universities.

Spoiled children

The first time I saw a European mini car from a distance, I mistook it as one of those American battery-operated toy cars; I use this funny memory as a reminder of the vast cultural and environmental differences between the U.S. and Europe. Like a coddling grandparent, America enjoys spoiling its residents like rotten grandchildren. As one of those...

The best way to relax: biking

The best way to relax: biking

Otto Couwenberg (23), from Naarden, the Netherlands, master’s student of Marketing and Finance (IB)
Typical Dutch: The fraternity and nothing else

Typical Dutch: The fraternity and nothing else

Where does being a member of a fraternity, including the rule of ‘having to socialize’, lead to, asks Nicola Cramarossa, who’s studying psychology. Taking less initiative in making contact with people outside the fraternity? 

Maintaining the Top 3% Award

Keep handing out the Top 3% Award – even without the grant – as a token of recognition. This is what students from the School of Business and Economics proposed in the Faculty Council this week. The regulation on reimbursing the tuition fees of the best 3% of UM students will be abolished as of the next academic year. The Executive Board would pre...

Museum Weekend, Haïti and Marike Jager

In Haiti, hundreds of people are still homeless after the earthquake in January 2010. They have not been forgotten by the group of Maastricht students who together form the band Sono. They will therefore give a benefit concert for Haiti on Friday 8 April in café D’n Hiemel at 20.00. Jazz, gospel and pop music will be on the programme, and there wil...

Baltic writing contest

What is the role of a university in the 21st century? This was the subject of a writing contest for students from the Baltic countries. The three winners won a four-day stay in Maastricht, where they met the ambassadors from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and got to know the city and Maastricht University. The contest was initiated by second-year UC...

Election journal after all

There will be an election journal after all, enclosed in Observant. This decision was taken by the Central Polling Committee after receiving a letter from the university council and “signals from various factions, of both students and employees,” says professor Philip Vergauwen, chairman of the polling committee. Initially the polling committee onl...

1000 cranes sold

1000 cranes sold

Last Saturday and Sunday, more than thirty students from Maastricht University and Hogeschool Zuyd, as well as eleven Japanese students who are at the moment teaching at the school of higher education, collected two thousand euros for the victims of the earthquake in Japan. They did this by selling the origami cranes that they had folded, on the Vr...

The right shirt for the right match

The right shirt for the right match

Adam Siemer (21), from Chicago, Illinois, studying for five months at the CES in Maastricht  

Harry Potter

Before coming overseas, I’d only thought of trains as old railroad systems used to transport coal or cattle. But trains as public transportation became a reality when I rode my first train from Amsterdam to Maastricht; in about two hours, I’d met five new people and was enchanted by all the different languages. A German man with a guitar serenaded ...

KCIS wins Expat Award

Maastricht University's Knowledge Centre for International Staff (KCIS) has won the Expat Service Provider Award 2011. The Expat Awards were handed out for the second time this year to the expat, the expat employer and the expat service provider who received a positive distinction within the international community in the Netherlands.
“People hated their identity as Arabs”

“People hated their identity as Arabs”

Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iran. Who’s next? Which regime's days are numbered too? Two UM employees with their roots in Morocco and Jordan - two countries that have escaped so far -  give their views on the situation. “I am not afraid of fundamentalists in power. A good Muslim does not seek aggression, not with Europe either.”

Printer problems continue

Enough is enough for the students of the School of Business and Economics. They claim that the printers still have long queues, paper runs out all the time, and machines keep breaking down for whatever reason. All problems were supposed to have been solved by 1 February; this deadline has now been postponed to 1 April. The students have only one pr...

Typical NL: Travelling with pindakaas

One wonderful aspect of living in the midst of Europe is that it's so easy to brush up your cultural perspective by visiting other countries. Take a train for two or three hours and bath in a different culture, mentality and language. I once got invited by a Dutch friend to visit Paris together with some friends of hers. Oh, the excitement! Paris, ...

Jazz Masters, Maaska, Insane the Brain and Hope for Japan

The ninth Jazz Maastricht Masters festival will take place at the Theater aan het Vrijthof on 25 and 26 March. The line-up features famous artists like James Hunter and Bobby McFerrin as well as up-and-comers playing on several stages. Take a look at for information on tickets (you can buy day tickets or a passe-partout) and ...

Typical NL: Art and austerity

The men are in tweed with elbow patches, smoking cigars and stroking their beards. The women wear fur and extreme amounts of orange makeup. This is TEFAF, the annual Maastricht event founded in the 1980s and billing itself as ‘the world’s leading art and antiques fair’. One of this year’s main attractions: a Rembrandt dating from 1658. ‘Portrait o...

TEFAF is all about business

TEFAF is all about business

It's like a museum with the most unexpected valuables; with no student reduction

Flip flops

Before leaving America, our group of students was warned that, if we didn’t want to stand out as foreigners in Maastricht, we should pack more fashionable clothes than we might normally wear in Texas. At our school, it’s completely normal to see a student lounging around campus on a cold day in his sweatpants and hooded sweatshirt (and maybe even a...

Completely covered in colours

Completely covered in colours

“Happy Holi!” a girl exclaims while pelting another in the face with brightly coloured powder. The Indian student’s association ISA Maastricht welcomed the arrival of spring with a celebration of the traditional Hindu Holi festival this weekend. After enjoying an ample Indian lunch, association members and other attendees proceeded to cover one ano...
The 2001 Toyota Camry

The 2001 Toyota Camry

Justin Lane, 21, from Baltimore, US, studying a Bachelor of Arts (double major in history and political science)

UM student wins Join the Best competition

It will be his first internship, but it’s one most second-year students can only dream of. Nils Kornder, a German bachelor’s student of International Business, won the MLP Join the Best competition and will fly to Shanghai this June, for a 2.5 month internship at the Jilin Investment Group.

UniPartners Maastricht crosses borders

UniPartners – an academic consultancy run by Maastricht students – wants to expand into Germany. For the past twenty years, budding economists and managers have been doing research (market research, employee satisfaction surveys, et cetera) for Dutch companies, says Tom Bettelheim, chairman of UniPartners Maastricht and a bachelor’s graduate of Int...

Film festival coming to town

Forty movies from all over Europe, twenty of them spoken or dubbed in English. The Made in Europe Festival 2011 – from 5 to 10 April – is definitely also intended for non-Dutch speakers.

Halt on vacancies, no contract renewals

Temporary contracts will not be renewed and vacancies will not be filled. In addition to the total halt on vacancies announced by the Executive Board this week and effective immediately, more economy measures will follow. The Executive Board wants to save at least 10 million euros, preferably already by 2011, as government contributions appear to b...

Typical NL: Banking bliss

If you’ve ever played the computer game Age of Empires – that’s the sort of geek I am – you’ll know that the Dutch are always bankers. And I for one – hold on to your hats – love Dutch banks. Oh, how I adore and treasure them. Now that I’ve made the switch to Britain’s eternally backwards Lloyds TSB, I appreciate what I had with ABN AMRO. It was on...

Student Film Night and UM Pride

True Grit, The King's Speech, The Way Back, Black Swan and 127 Hours. These and 18 other movies will be shown on Thursday 24 March at the Lumière cinema as part of the Maastricht Student Film Night, organised by Saurus debating society Nynève in cooperation with Lumière. Doors will open at 21.30, and the ‘night’ will end around 6.30. The pre-premiè...

"A professor is not a friend"

"A professor is not a friend"

120. This is the average number of friends of a typical Facebook user on this social network site. Colleagues, fellow students, family, sports mates, and increasingly also your lecturers or students. The question is whether the latter is a good idea. UM lecturer: “I would not want to know with whom and how my students spend their weekends.”

Finger food

As a Texas student who’d never left the US before venturing to the Netherlands, I was accustomed to having pizza delivered and eating it with my hands at home. But this lifelong understanding that pizza is a finger food and goes best with Coke has recently been demolished; apparently it is impolite not to cut your pizza with a knife and fork, and i...

"Discrimination makes me mad"

"Discrimination makes me mad"

Mervie Likouete, (20, born in Congo) a second-year student of European Studies from Belgium
Bridge of solidarity

Bridge of solidarity

It was not your typical flashmob at the St Servaas bridge on Tuesday afternoon. A flashmob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place and perform some sort of unusual act for a brief time. But this time, there was no singing or dancing. Instead, around 100 students simply formed a line holding hands. Hanging around their necks wer...

Carnival and Kensington

This weekend will mark the start of Carnival, a festival to celebrate the start of the fasting before Easter. For three days, the whole town will go crazy with people dressing up as anything they want. You could go as Bambi or even Yogi Bear – it’s up to you. All sorts of activities take place during Carnival. Here, we highlight two for you: On Sun...

Ten Tunas in Maastricht

If you happen to be in the Maastricht city centre on the weekend of 23, 24 and 25 September, you cannot miss them. More than two hundred members of Tuna groups from the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and probably South America – clearly recognisable by their clothing – will perform their traditional Spanish music on every square, terrace and street. ...

New look for Observant

A bilingual front page, a new font and a different logo. In short, after carnival, Observant will be published in a new layout, designed by Simone Golob.
The absurd humour

The absurd humour

Ross MacRae, 20, from Edinburgh, Scotland, third-year law student (on Erasmus exchange)

Not 33 but 42 ECTS points

If you obtain fewer than 42 ECTS points in one year, you may have to quit your bachelor’s programme at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. This is one of the proposals in the Education and Examination Regulations (OERs) for 2011/12 of European Studies, Arts and Culture, and Cultuurwetenschappen. 

Top 3% regulation scrapped

The regulation that meant that the best 3 per cent of UM students had their lecture fees reimbursed, has been abolished. The Executive Board wants to spend the money differently. The Top 3 per cent regulation will be cancelled as of the next academic year. Students who started this year, including those from February 2011, will still qualify. The ...

Sports hall not before autumn 2013

At the earliest, a new sports complex will be completed after the summer of 2013. But first, a feasibility study will have to be completed before July this year.

Christmas exams

Next year, no exams will be planned just before Christmas, rector Gerard Mols promised the University Council last week. During question time, Polish European Law School student Aleksandra Kwiek made a strong appeal to the UM management not make the same mistake as last year, when there were exams on 23 December. This was a day when many foreign st...

Mixed Inkom not abolished yet

The Inkom working group is still in favour of mixed introduction groups for the next Inkom, but they do not rule out that things are changing. This became clear during a meeting of a University Council committee.
Two-way traffic for cyclists in the Brusselsestraat

Two-way traffic for cyclists in the Brusselsestraat

At the beginning of next year, the Brusselsestraat will undergo some changes. After these changes have been implemented, cyclists will be allowed to cycle up and down the street.  

Plans for a new IArts culture study

Maastricht wants to start a new culture study in 2012, called IArts. The city council, provincial government, Hogeschool Zuyd and Maastricht University are signing a cooperation agreement in Kasteel Vaeshartelt today.
Fewer calories because of fat tax

Fewer calories because of fat tax

Hamburgers, brownies, crisps: people are more inclined to avoid fast food if they have to pay more for it. So fat tax works, but not always. This was proven in a study at Maastricht University, which is also going to experiment with a gastric band for obese adolescents.  

Reduced Shakespeae Company, Zorita and Suit-up Party

Do you feel like having a night of comedy while catching up on your cultural knowledge too? Then The Reduced Shakespeare Company is just right for you. On Friday 25 February they will show the entire works of Shakespeare in 97 minutes, while giving their own comical interpretation to the plays. The performance will be held in the C-mine culture cen...

Typical NL: Rotten, naked and headless

Living abroad means learning excellent new words. And Dutch names are among the most excellent of these. Me being me, I’m a big fan of all those names that mean something completely different in English. Having a girl? Try Joke, or perhaps even Floor. A boy? You can’t go past Flip. Or Taco. Or better yet: Harm (no-one’s messing with that kid in the...

"Cats have such personalities"

"Cats have such personalities"

Asiyah Arif (21), bachelor’s student in Law, from Singapore

Think of the environment, make fewer copies

The average UM student is responsible for 12 kilograms of CO2 per year caused by printing and copying, says the on-screen message on UM computers. This is a good initiative, thinks Beatrice Riley, a master’s student from Great Britain. But why does this message only target students as the main culprits? UM should do more to reduce printing and copy...

Typical NL: Bike theft

Fietsen (bikes) – is there anything more typically Dutch? Your standard omafiets by Gazelle or Batavus is so emblematic for Dutch culture that it's not only the most popular motif on postcards besides windmills and tulips, it's even simply known as the 'Dutch Bike' outside the Netherlands. But of course, Dutch biking culture is about much more than...

Gene for yo-yo dieting

Avoiding the yo-yo effect – that is, gaining weight again after slimming down – is not only a matter of will but of heredity as well. Dr Ping Wang of the Nutrim research institute has identified a gene involved in regulating blood pressure that predicts whether women are prone to yo-yo dieting. The findings were published on Monday in the online sc...

“I want a perfect grade and I’ll take the risk”

Students who commit fraud should pay a tough price, certain Dutch political parties have asserted in response to recent exam scandals at Dutch hogescholen. At UM, too, several law students have appeared recently before the Examinations Committee accused of copying parts of one another’s papers. They got a warning.  

Back to court in GeenStijl case

A new judgement has been handed down in the legal fight between a former Maastricht University law student and the Dutch website GeenStijl. This time, the judge sided with GeenStijl.

Debate on elections

Maastricht. It was fairly busy at last week’s debate on the States-Provincial elections, organised by student association Koko. On Wednesday 2 March the Dutch choose the States-Provincial, which is responsible for matters of sub-national or regional importance. Over a hundred students came to hear the opinions of the liberals (VVD), the labour par...

Nightrider, Cement Festival and Porgy&Bess

Want to check out the student nightlife in another city? Take a trip on the Student Nightrider. All you have to do is reserve a seat on the bus, and forget worrying how to get home. Admission to clubs, a map and a tour through the best bars is all arranged for you. The first trip will head to Cologne on 18 February. See fo...

“Where will we be in one year? Madagascar!”

“Where will we be in one year? Madagascar!”

Last Wednesday, seven Maastricht University students sold out the Muziekgieterij, the city’s only venue for music that falls slightly outside the mainstream. Their group, The Serious Beans Project, has been doing well in the past year, and last week’s performance was no different. Observant sat down with them in a kitchen to have a chat.
Dean of FHML to be new UM president

Dean of FHML to be new UM president

The dean of the Faculty of Health Medicine & Life sciences, Martin Paul, will be the new president of Maastricht University. This was announced by the supervisory board this morning. Paul - Jo Ritzen's successor – will start work on the first of May. The choice of the dean of HML is a bit of a surprise in the light of earlier remarks...

Typical NL: Agreeing to… agree

The saying goes, “God made the world, but the Dutch made the Netherlands”. This is because much of the country lies below sea level, and so consists of polders (land reclaimed from the sea). The upshot: if you lived in the Middle Ages and were at war with your neighbouring city, you still had no choice but to cooperate when it came to maintaining t...

"Feminine and sexy, without getting sexual”

"Feminine and sexy, without getting sexual”

Ineke Graafmans (25), from Valkenswaard, is a third-year student of the Bachelor in Arts and Culture.


Enjoy a dance performance between study books and pizza boxes, or join a drawing workshop while sitting on a beer crate. This, and more, will be possible during the fifth annual Stukafest on Tuesday 15 February. Stukafest is an abbreviation of Studentenkamerfestival (‘student room festival’), which means that for an entire evening, students in elev...

Maastricht Prince Carnival

Maastricht Prince Carnival

This year's Maastricht city carnival prince is a real ‘Sjeng’ (i.e. born and bred in Maastricht), but one with a Maastricht law diploma and more than 25 years of service at the university and therefore a true member of the UM community. Maurice “d’n ierste” (the first) Olivers was proclaimed prince carnival on the Vrijthof last Sunday. A boyhood d...

Cultural Square

A central meeting place where all culture-loving students in Maastricht can come together and find out what’s going on. This is the aim of Studium Generale’s new initiative, Cultural Square. Students can register via the website and get discounts on cultural activities, the chance to win tickets to various events, and mor...

Louis Boon in the shape of a robot

Louis Boon in the shape of a robot

Former dean Louis Boon bid farewell to outgoing president Jo Ritzen on Monday afternoon, during a ceremony at the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences. But was Boon not supposed to be on sabbatical leave in New York? That is correct. Boon was not actually present in the flesh in the building on the Kapoenstraat, but used a telepresence robot from the...

Nervous about the future

Nervous about the future

Where will I end up after my bachelor's? Which master's programme to choose? These are questions that make many students from University College Maastricht (UCM) nervous, says policy adviser Gerard Korsten. “They feel uncertain, even though they know that our alumni do well for themselves, from the London School of Economics to Columbia University....

“SBE never asked for more money”

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) has made a contribution to the Jo Ritzen Scholarship Foundation, which aims to attract talented students to Maastricht. Last Monday, SBE farewelled Ritzen during a debate on higher education.

Typical NL: Careless about privacy

A friend told me a story that many years ago he fell victim to a pickpocket in an Amsterdam café. The owner had a surveillance camera, so they were able to identify the thief. But when they turned to the police, the officer got angry: the recording was seen as an infringement of the thief's personal rights. Oh, how times have changed! It's hard to ...

Over-motivated first-year students can be quite annoying

Over-motivated first-year students can be quite annoying

Annika Lübbert, 20, from Hamburg, Germany. Second-year student of the Bachelor in Liberal Arts and Science, specialising in Psychology and Neurology
Selling books for charity

Selling books for charity

A bright orange colour decorates the wall, the bookshelves are stuffed with books and there are stools and tables ready for people to sit at and browse through a book or drink a cup of coffee. Books4Life, the charity bookshop managed by UM students, reopened last Friday in the cellar of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Grote Gracht 80–82). ...

Live & Die Like a Lion, debate on immigration and Oleta Adams

Live & Die Like a Lion? is the name of the first Dutch exhibition on the American painter Leon Golub. From 22 January until 25 April, Het Domein museum in Sittard will be showing about fifty drawings made between 1999 and the artist’s death in 2004. Although he is mainly known as a painter, these drawings form the core of Golub’s oeuvre. For mo...

Demonstration against animal experiments outside, festival of prizes inside

Demonstration against animal experiments outside, festival of prizes inside

They kept well away from the guests who had come to the university’s thirty-fifth anniversary; across the street, opposite the entrance of the Vrijthof Theatre, a group of animal activists led by a cantor relentlessly and loudly chanted: “Stop animal tests”, answered by the group as a choir: “All dogs free.” All in an uninterrupted rhythm. None of ...

“A few months before I was on my deathbed”

“A few months before I was on my deathbed”

One of the winners studied collaborative art, another one placenta cells. Seven graduates recently received the 2010 Student Award for best thesis. Observant finds out what their thesis was about, what the low point in their research process was, where they’ll be in five years and what they actually wanted to be when they were kids.

Facebooking in the classroom

Usually, Maastricht University benchmarks itself against Harvard and Oxford, but nowadays the strongest competitor of universities is Google, argues Professor Wim Gijselaers. He was one of the speakers during the Dies morning symposium ‘PBL for the next generation’.  
How can students get the most out of themselves?

How can students get the most out of themselves?

Dr. Dirk T. Tempelaar, senior lecturer, department of Quantitative Economics. This is how the winner of the 2010 Education Award is described on the homepage of the School of Business and Economics. And one does not get this award just like that; one has to have “delivered a major contribution to education”. What is so special or important about Te...

Typical NL: Registration

January, for me, has always meant sunshine, beach and barbecues. (This is because I’m one of those upside-down Australians.) And thankfully, that’s precisely the case this year: as I write, I’ve got one foot dangling in a creek and I’m watching a spider crawl idly over the other. Lovely. It’s a far cry from one year ago, when I was – somewhat hars...

Typical NL: Can’t stand (in) queues

Whenever I’m exploring another country, I also like to take an extensive look at the local supermarkets. Not that I like supermarkets as such, but I find that they allow a little peek into the character of a nation. Of course, there are tasty treats like vla, drop and stroopwafels, but there’s much more to discover. The most stunning observation I...

Klezmer, Poco Loco Disco and Cinema Brut

On Friday 21 January the AINSI (Lage Kanaaldijk 112–113) will be all about Klezmer music: Eastern European Jewish sounds, inspired by the culture of the Balkans. Saxophone player Job Chajes and his Amsterdam Klezmer Band will put on an exuberant live show with a large number of songs from their own repertoire. Afterwards DJs Hapu and Sòj, specialis...

“Good communication can change the flow of things”

“Good communication can change the flow of things”

How should you communicate during a crisis? This was the question of the day at the first UCM Conference last Tuesday. The conference was organised by a group of UM students and alumni, who hope it will become an annual event. It is not to be confused with the UCM Conferences that are organised by UCM students every year as part of their study prog...

Reunification Germany, not only a success story

Former student Jakob Miethe received the incentive prize from de Volkskrant and the Duitsland Instituut of the University of Amsterdam last week. He was awarded 500 euros for his bachelor’s thesis on the economic developments in East Germany after 1991. An article on his thesis will also be published in the newspaper.  
Role models for young researchers

Role models for young researchers

Not six, but five internationally renowned researchers will receive an honorary doctorate from Maastricht University today, during the foundation day celebrations at the Vrijthof Theatre. They are professors Henry Levin, Kamil Ugurbil, Philip Alston, Parsu Parasuraman and Beate Kohler. Prospective honorary doctor Alfred Goldberg cannot attend the p...

Demonstrating in The Hague

Professors and students are worried about the cutbacks in tertiary education. Tomorrow (Friday), there will be a demonstration in The Hague. Anyone else coming along from Maastricht? On Wednesday morning, 285 students had registered – enough to fill six coaches – as well as 21 professors. The professors' coach will depart at 06:15hrs on Friday mor...

Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning

Students would like to have a mobile version of their study schedules and EleUM messages on their mobile phones would also be appreciated. These are just two of the outcomes from a survey by Maarten van Wesel, digital education and research support consultant at the University Library, carried out among 600 Maastricht students.
"Rain is depressing"

"Rain is depressing"

Karen Weitzel (23), a German second-year student of International Business

Maastricht debating club

Rhetorica is the name of a new Maastricht student debating club.

Crisis hits European universities

While some European universities and schools of professional education have to cut costs, others receive extra money from the government. A quick scan of the situation in the European member states shows that the damage in the Netherlands is not too bad.

Typical NL: ‘Directness’

We're having lunch at a café, a Dutch friend and I. The waiter brings out the food. Thank you, I say as she sets it down in front of us. Thank you very much. So what’s wrong with this picture? Far too many thank yous, according to my Dutch friend. What am I supposed to say to a waiter? Not a damn thing, says my friend: a genuine Cloggie (granted, ...

Good cop Bad cop, the Nature of Time and the Battle of the Bands

Do you ever think about how your life is, and how your life could be? On the evening of Friday 14 January Het Huis van Bourgondië will present Good Cop Bad Cop: a sharp-minded and humorous reflection on everyone’s need to be normal and desire for attention. Tickets cost €5 for students. For more information about this show, which is essentially 50%...

Not 6.2 but 7.2

Not 6.2 but 7.2

University College Maastricht did not receive a score of 6.2 - as the KeuzeGids 2011 mistakenly reported just before Christmas - but 7.2, just like the year before. The Executive Board want the editors of the KeuzeGids to publish the correct figures in advertisements in newspapers during the Open Days.

Typical NL: Cautious about treating foreigners in hospitals

 What you absolutely don't want to happen to you while you’re abroad is to get sick. The health system in your own country is probably intimidating and complicated enough, so adding a foreign language, culture and customs to that is no fun at all! Funnily enough, people – at least in Western countries – seem to believe that their healthcare s...

No free riders in tutorials

No free riders in tutorials

Amiran Yaghout (21) originally from Teheran, Iraq, is a second-year student of International Business
Turning point for UM

Turning point for UM

Leading in learning. In the eighties and nineties, Maastricht University was at the forefront in the Netherlands, but since then it has become the victim of the dialectics of progress. The Back to Basics project was introduced to breathe new life into the education system. Every faculty is experimenting with something new at the moment. If things ...

Four UM Economists in Top 40

The latest Economists Top 40, published at the end of last year, lists four researchers from Maastricht University. The highest on the list - at number 15 - is professor Co de Ruyter (marketing); two places below, we find the American professor Daniel Hamermesh (labour economics), followed by John Hagedoorn (strategy and international business) at ...

Lose those negative thoughts

A good posture and taking regular breaks remain important, but the patient’s character seems a decisive factor in RSI complaints. A perfectionist or anxious nature is by far the greatest hazard. This is one of the outcomes described in rehabilitation specialist Marjon van Eijsden's thesis, for which she received her doctorate last month. 
Awards for Kidzcollege and Corine de Ruiter

Awards for Kidzcollege and Corine de Ruiter

Yesterday, during the university New Year’s reception, the UM Employee Prize 2010 was awarded to Corine de Ruiter, professor of forensic psychology, and to the Kidzcollege Maastricht team. De Ruiter's efforts for the two-year master's programme of forensic psychology and her many appearances in the media were decisive, says administrative spokesper...

Dance, film and a tribute to Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell is said to have been one of the most influential singer/songwriters of the past decades. She is known for songs such as Big Yellow Taxi and Both Sides Now. The Dutch singer Charlie Dée will be playing a tribute to Joni Mitchell, who quit performing in 2007, on Friday 7 January in the Theater aan het Vrijthof. She will sing Mitchell’s ...

People with an open mind and football offences

People with an open mind and football offences

Thomas Hoekstra (22), a Dutch fourth-year Law student and chair of the Christian student association Lux ad Mosam
“Look at the Chinese person!”

“Look at the Chinese person!”

What could you do without in 2011? The question isn’t that difficult, because it seems that there’s always something to find ridiculous, annoying or useless. Even the smallest things, like the traffic light around the corner, can be upsetting. Observant asked two students, and a PhD student wrote a personal story.  

Defending European values

At 16.00 today, a group of students will hold a demonstration by the statue of Minckeleers (holding a burning torch) at the Markt to call for a democratic and free Belarus. “It’s a country where you end up in prison because of such a demonstration”, says Vincent Venus (21), a second-year German student of European Studies. “Along with Maastricht, 7...

Typical NL: Gingerbread lovers

Kruidnoten. Pepernoten. Taai-taai. Speculaas. My flatmate in Cambridge is Dutch – just can’t get away, can I? – and this was the shopping list she gave me when I popped back to Maastricht for a weekend recently. They’re all really Dutch things, she said, and she’s missing them now that Christmas is on its way once again. What they all are, I reali...

SBE, four first places in KeuzeGids 2011

The four bachelor's programmes of the School of Business and Economics have all reached first places in the KeuzeGids 2011 (Study Guide) ranking. University College has dropped to a disappointing fourth place. European Studies received little praise. As a whole, Maastricht University ended in the top three.

'Change Weeks', Mr. and Mrs. Murphy and street concerts

Mr and Mrs Murphy are not that pleasant to visit at Christmas. They’re grumpy and stern and when everything goes wrong they only have each other to blame. On 21, 22, 28, 29 and 30 December, actors Wanda Eyckerman and Roel Swanenberg (known from the play Alone in the World), will bring these speechless characters alive in the Theater aan het Vrijtho...

Barbie and Ken and the dreary Christmas traditions

Barbie and Ken and the dreary Christmas traditions

Romy Heutz (21) from Heerlen, the Netherlands, is a third-year student of Arts and Culture.

Typical NL: Trains without toilets

Even after many years, I can't get rid of it. Whenever I hear the abbreviation 'NS', I think of National Socialists and get an uneasy feeling. Ever seen the posters 'Werken bij NS?’ But of course, in the Netherlands NS stands for Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the Dutch railway company. Without the NS, nothing would work in the Netherlands; it's vital to ...

Strictly Vinyl, Blackgospel and Holiday on Ice

On Saturday 10 December the kick-off of Strictly Vinyl, a party that will take place monthly thereafter, will be held at De Kadans. The aim of the parties is to invigorate the electric music scene in Maastricht. DJ volt.mar from the German-Swiss minimal techno label Minimood and local resident DJ dialog will play minimal techno house. Tickets cost ...

Anonymous complaints about Musketruwe flats

Anonymous complaints about Musketruwe flats

There was an anonymous letter, signed by the “friendly students Musketruwes” with complaints about harassment in their neighbourhood Malberg and the distance to the city centre. Observant and the Executive Board found the letter in their letterboxes recently. “If they do not report matters to us, then we cannot do anything for them,” reacted the Ka...

You'd better suppress your anger!

We use only 10 per cent of our brain capacity. In love, opposites attract. It is better to give vent to anger than to suppress. These are just a handful of misconceptions from the book Great Myths of Popular Psychology. One of its authors, Scott Lilienfeld, will give a lecture at the Faculty of Psychology and neurosciences next week. The professor ...

Magisch Maastricht, Mintzkov and Opgetekend en Vastgelegd

Christmas in Maastricht is going to be magical this year. On Friday 3 December Magisch Maastricht, a programme with various activities all over town, will kick off with a spectacular show by the artists from Corpus Acrobatics at the Vrijthof. Ice-skating, Christmas markets, street theatre and music performances will all be on offer in the streets a...

“There are many students who need it more than I do”

“There are many students who need it more than I do”

“When I look at you I don’t see nerds, I see young people eager to take part in and contribute to society”, said rector Gerard Mols to the winners at the top 3 percent awards ceremony last Thursday at the Theater aan het Vrijthof. This was the third year that the awards were presented to the 413 students whose study results belong to the top 3 perc...

Who is going to be the next manager?

Who is going to be the next manager?

Quite a few Maastricht students choose International Business Administration and especially the master's programme of entrepreneurship because they grew up in a family business. But what is it like to have your father or mother as a boss? And who will take over from him or her?

New Inkom Working Group

At the moment, the five members of the Inkom 2011 Working Group spend about twenty hours a week on the preparations, but from 1 January they will go full steam ahead. Four of the five students – Sonja Bongard, Jeroen de Boer, Marianne Boschloo and chairperson Anne van Tetering – have won their spurs in previous years as members of the Central Post,...

Serious Request Maastricht

A sport’s subscription, a tailcoat, a dinner for fifteen people, and a wine tasting event. These will be auctioned off during the Serious Request Party in the Circumflex club on Wednesday 8 December. The organisation is in the hands of the Red Cross Student Desk and the Maastricht Chamber of Associations. The proceeds from this auction (all goods a...

Penalty for study delays

Students who need more than one year extra to complete their studies, will have to pay €3,000 euros additional lecture fees from next year onwards. This means that they will have to come up with a total of 4,700 euros. In addition, universities will receive a ‘penalty cut’ of another three thousand euros for every slow student. It is not clear at t...

Criticism of top 3 percent awards

Criticism of top 3 percent awards

Last Thursday it was top 3 percent-day in the Theater aan het Vrijthof. More than 400 students received a grant. But criticism is rising: is this really a good publicity measure or should UM use the money for other purposes?

Binding deportation advice postponed

For the time being, institutes of higher education do not need to report the study progress of their non-European students to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

Compulsory registration with the city suspended

A temporary end has come to the Kafkaesque situation concerning the compulsory registration of foreign students in the municipal register (gemeentelijke basisadministratie, or GBA). The ministry of Education has abolished this obligation for the current academic year.
"I hate hate right wing media"

"I hate hate right wing media"

Johanna Auberger (20, Linz, Austria), first-year student of European Studies, after taking a year out to participate in a Worldwide Opportunities for Organic Farming (WWOOF) project

Matching and following

Anyone who wishes to follow a study at the Maastricht Faculties of Law or Arts and Social Sciences next year, will first have to complete a questionnaire. Based on that, an interview may take place.  
Dreaming of being the stockbroker of the year

Dreaming of being the stockbroker of the year

This Monday, financial study association FS Focus organized the Maastricht leg of the international Traders Trophy, a competition in which students with a knack for the stock market attempt to become the most successful stockbroker during a simulated day of hectic trading. The day’s five best performing students would advance to the national finals...

“She faces having to fly home on Christmas day”

A great deal of commotion surrounds the exam schedules for block period 2. The final exams of the law faculty and the School of Business and Economics (SBE) take place on Thursday afternoon 23 December. The complaints are mostly from international students, who want to catch a train or a flight home. The exam schedule means they will only be able t...

Typical NL: This old man arriving by boat

Every year it’s the same procedure, and I assume it’s the same in every country. The weeks preceding Christmas are dominated on the one hand by preparations for the big festivity, and on the other by critical voices complaining that Christmas has allegedly lost its true meaning and is now dominated by purely commercial interests. “The shopkeepers a...

Anton Pieck, Reiki and John Cage

Icy landscapes and idyllic winter scenes: There can be no Dutch Christmas without Anton Pieck. Throughout the course of his life, this beloved artist published over 300 books with drawings inspired by the 19th century. He also created numerous paintings for calendars and Christmas cards, all reflecting the work of Charles Dickens. From 21 November ...

Oikos branch in Maastricht

Maastricht. The international student organisation for sustainable economics and management, Oikos, now has a branch in Maastricht. Oikos aims to promote sustainability among students, whom they describe on their website as “the world future leaders. We feel one major challenge our time faces is to find innovative solutions how to use natural resou...

Fleamarket in Liège

Are you keen to dance to disco music in a tiny café? On Friday 19 November the DJs Sidi El Karchi and Ramazan will get your body swinging in Café Zondag. From 22.00, Wijckerbrugstraat 42. For students who like old-fashioned games like Trivial Pursuit and know just about everything about everything, you can join the trivia quiz – complete with pict...

File-sharing is here to stay

File-sharing is here to stay

Prosecuting illegal music downloaders is unwise. It would harm prosperity in the Netherlands considerably. This is one of the conclusions that Maastricht economist Michael Yang reaches in the PhD thesis that he will defend next week.
“The top 3 percent rule is inefficient”

“The top 3 percent rule is inefficient”

There are two sides to every story. This was the main conclusion of Tuesday’s Studium Generale debate on graduation achievement levels. Yes, it’s important for students to do extracurricular activities to develop themselves into well-rounded individuals. But also: yes, we need money to accommodate this, and is it fair to ask society to pay for the ...

Typical NL: “It’s always the Dutch ones”

As a country, your English is just tops. Really. It’s a credit to your education system and your international outlook. But. Stop. Correcting. My. English. Now, this isn’t just me. The phenomenon of Dutch people correcting other people’s English found its way into the academic literature back in 1998, when the British-but-Netherlands-based editor...

"You can be who you really are"

"You can be who you really are"

Emmelie Odberg Rosengren (25) from Varberg, Sweden, master’s student of European Studies and A-member of the Onafhankelijk DamesDispuut Diablo
 I love listening to the sounds of the birds

I love listening to the sounds of the birds

Katie Baldonieri (20), third-year history major and UCM exchange student from Oberlin College, United States

No extra contribution at UCM, for now

New students who register with University College Maastricht next academic year, will not be asked for an extra contribution, the so-called ‘institutional fee’.  The fee was having a deep divisive effect, splitting staff and students and creating too much noise, wrote Dean Louis Boon from the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences in an e-mail to ...

Sinterklaas and his Zwarte Pieten

Sinterklaas is coming to town. With his red cape, red mitre and long white beard, he is scheduled to arrive by boat in Maastricht on Saturday 13 November. Mayor Onno Hoes and hundreds of children will be there to welcome the Sint and his helpers, the Zwarte Pieten. After his arrival at the Kesselskade, he will make his way through the city towards ...

Typical NL: Combining old and modern

Thanks to Schengen, crossing the borders to Belgium or Germany is mostly free of hassle. The days of heavy border controls are almost as far away as the Dark Ages. Not too long ago, the situation was different, and much more hostile. It's hard to imagine, but in the first decade after the war, more than thirty people were killed in fights between s...

Single complaints office

In the past, a psychology student contesting an exam grade or an economics student who is a victim of sexual harassment had to approach the Secretariat of the Board of Appeal for Examinations and a confidential advisor, respectively. Now there is one office for all student complaints. The office, which falls under Student Services, does not deal w...

“The future consists of those who create it”

“The future consists of those who create it”

Banks demand solid business plans from new entrepreneurs, certainly in times of crisis, but in practice, everything depends on creativity. This is what prominent American professor Saras Sarasvathy will argue during the four-day academic conference on entrepreneurship RENT, the largest in Europe and for the first time in the Netherlands.

“Go Dutch, save money”

The British government is planning on raising lecture fees considerably, to a level of nine thousand pounds, which is more than ten thousand euros. This is three times more than the present level. Will the Netherlands be a cheap alternative for the British?

Debate between students and staff

Maastricht. The pressure on universities to increase the number of students who graduate with their bachelor’s degree within four years is rising. Should measures be taken? How would this influence student life? These and more topics will form the subject of a debate on Tuesday 16 November. Studium Generale has invited a panel including Faculty of ...

Bike repair

I am referring to page 5 of the newspaper from 28 October 2010 and the article concerning free bike repairs. The article has nothing to do with what actually happened on 2 November. I, personally, decided to go and let my broken bike light be repaired. The men from Veilig Verkeer Nederland took a look at my bike light and told me that it will cost...

Institutional fee UCM

The additional fee of 950 euro that would have been asked from 2011 onwards to new UCM students, caused a lot of turmoil in the College. It was announced, without informing students or staff about it. That was a mistake. However bad the communication was, it does not render the arguments for the fee invalid. The implementation of the fee was not c...

Salaris collegevoorzitter

In antwoord op vragen van Observant stelt Ad Veenhof, voorzitter van de Raad van Toezicht, dat de nieuwe voorzitter van het CvB niet méér zal gaan verdienen dan de wopt-norm, laat staan de hogere Balkenende-norm. Hij voegt dan toe: “Om dan nog van die norm af te wijken moeten er wel héél goede redenen zijn.” Ik vraag me af wat die redenen zouden ku...

“This is the height of hypocrisy”

New students who start at the University College in Maastricht next September, will have to pay not only their lecture fees, but also an extra contribution – called institutional fee – of 950 euros per year. UCM students are angry, especially about what they consider as a lack of clear communication.

Article second-year PhD student in Psychological Bulletin

An article published this week in the Psychological Bulletin, and one still to come in Psychology and Aging. For most starting PhD students it’s something to dream of – but not for Maria de Sousa Guerreiro, researcher at the Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology.

Balkan beat is coming to town!

The next destination of the World Press Photo Exhibition is Maastricht. From Friday 5 to Sunday 28 November, Centre Céramique will be showing the outcome of the annual photography competition for photojournalists. At 14.00 on 5 November, an English-language tour of the travelling exhibition will be held specially for students. If you’d like to take...

Balkan Beat is coming to town!

Balkan Beat is coming to town!

What used to be just one evening of world music has now become a four-day festival. Instead of three open-air concerts, there are eight, plus a dance performance in the Vrijthof Theatre and AINSI. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of tickets available for the Global Cultural Festival that opens its doors today, Thursday 4 November. Festival dire...

UM Science causes irritation

The new bachelor’s programme of Science that will be offered by University College the next academic year has caused irritation among various Dutch sister universities. In particular Eindhoven University of Technology is vexed. The latter fears fragmentation of science studies and accuses Maastricht of breaking the agreement made at a national leve...

Salary freeze does not apply to UM managers

University employees will not receive a 500-euros bonus this autumn, nor will there be a half-percent wage rise. The association of universities has turned down a draft proposal with the unions. Maastricht University was one of the institutes that felt that there was no room for compensations of any kind. The unions are preparing for action. André ...

Typical NL: Battle of the sixes

It’s not as readily apparent as Geert Wilders’s hair or, you know, the orange stuff everywhere. The zesjescultuur is subtler than that. It won’t hit you over the head like a glass of Heineken. But it’s there. For the uninitiated, the ‘sixes culture’ is a sort of complacency, apparently the spawn of the Dutch educational system where you only ever ...

“Squatting is positive for Dutch cities”

Since 1 October, the occupation of abandoned buildings – squatting – has become illegal in the Netherlands. Still, the students, anarchists, punks, travellers and even families who live in a building called Kraak (Old Hickoryplein) aren’t worried.

First in Singapore

Last week, students from the School of Business and Economics won an ‘international case competition’, this time held in Singapore. This represents their third victory – after Bangkok and Copenhagen – in 14 months. In a case competition, student teams have to solve a real-life business problem and prepare a presentation on the solution while being ...

New mayor Onno Hoes

Next Monday the city of Maastricht will have a new mayor: Onno Hoes (49). He’s member of the liberal party VVD and former regional minister in the province of North-Brabant. With his choice ends a long tradition of Christian Democrat mayors in the university’s city. Hoes replaces Gerd Leers – now integration Minister in the new Dutch cabinet. ...

Typical NL: Extremely well organised

Coming from a German university, I was initially surprised to see how organised and efficient everything at UM is. You might not believe me, but compared to other European universities, Maastricht is bliss. Students here tend to complain if they have to wait a few weeks to get their exam results. I graduated recently from a Belgian university and w...

Free bike repairs

Maastricht. Being the well-integrated international student that you are, naturally you bought yourself a bike as soon as you stepped on Dutch soil. So it could well be that by now the light has stopped working. If so, it’s your lucky day. On 2 November from 11 am until 5 pm, volunteers from the Dutch cycling federation and traffic safety organisat...

Poetry, Shoes and Jazz

Did you know Maastricht is the poetry capital of Europe? At least, that’s the case in October 2010. From 28 until 30 October, the La Bonbonniѐre theatre is organising The Maastricht International Poetry Nights, where well-established poets from all over the world will share their work with the audience. All verses will be recited in the original la...

UCM student wins UN contest

UCM student wins UN contest

“Amazing!” This was the first reaction of newly elected Dutch UN youth representative Dirk Janssen (20) when he saw the surprise welcome-back party his fellow UCM students had arranged for him. Janssen is just back from The Hague, where he won the final round in the competition to become the UN youth representative on Sunday. Before the final, Jans...

Seeking heroes

Seeking heroes

Our world needs heroes, people who show us how we can live, who show courage, who take risks without putting their lives at risk, who think carefully how they can achieve their goals and know what compromises are required to succeed in their missions. This is what American-German philosopher Susan Neiman will argue next week, when she gives Maastr...

The SBE brand

Forward thinking, inspiring and value exchange. These are the three core values that the School of Business and Economics (SBE) should use to characterise itself, said students, staff and alumni in a series of discussion sessions.
“People keep dancing even when the lights come on”

“People keep dancing even when the lights come on”

It has its benefits, locating your bar in a fortress wall. As you approach d’n Hiemel, the bar that turns into the Make Bar three times a week, not a sound is heard. Only when the door is opened does the buzz of music and people talking spill over onto the street. Inside, it’s ‘make it jamming’ night. On stage a few musicians take the lead. Whoeve...

Jekerjazz, Open Mic and Week of History

Jekerjazz is back on track. After years of successful corporation with Jazz Maastricht, both organisations have decided to return to their roots. This year, the popular jazz festival, located mainly in the inner city neighbourhood Jekerkwartier, will celebrate its 20th anniversary. From 14 until 17 October, about 120 blues, funk and other jazz-rela...

After Sex detergent, anyone?

After Sex detergent, anyone?

Tuesday, 13.15. A small, hidden part of the School of Business and Economics has morphed into a fair where more than 100 students are selling all kinds of crazy laundry, pet and baby products.

Classes in New York

Samanta Wexselblatt, (24, Buenos Aires, Argentina), fourth-year bachelor’s student of Business Management and Administration, all the way from the University of Buenos Aires.
“You can never start early enough”

“You can never start early enough”

Catch that Coach: working on your career while being droven on the motor way towards Brussels. Sounds nice, is it not? Last Friday some 100 students joined this event of UM Career Services. Before they jump on the bus, they check their name, cause they have been assigned to one of the three coaches.    

No run on parking permits yet

So far, a little more than forty foreign students – Germans and Belgians – have submitted an application for a parking permit in an area surrounding the centre. Not what one would call a run.

No top position for UM in Elsevier classification

Three first places for Maastricht bachelor's studies according to students, but only one bachelor's programme at the top when the professors passed their judgement. That is Maastricht University’s score in the latest Elsevier classification.

New Basic Dutch courses being made

New courses for non-Dutch speaking students will become available, with a mixture of online and live classroom teaching. These courses will be for basic Dutch, providing students with everyday survival phrases.

Lecture fees for non-European students should not be too low

Not only the cost price of a study programme, but also the international market are the cause of the huge differences in lecture fee rates for non-European students. This is one of the outcomes of an inventory by Transfer among schools of higher education and universities. Non-European students pay a small fortune to do a bachelor's or master's st...

I chose, you chose, we chose a master’s

I chose, you chose, we chose a master’s

How to choose the most promising or appropriate master’s programme? Don’t make a checklist of do’s and don’ts, says a Dutch selection adviser, but trust your intuition. International master’s students studying on Dutch scholarships talk about their choice for a Maastricht degree, and how difficult or easy it was to get a scholarship. “You have to b...

Hans Klok, House of Wonders and Design Biennal

Want to see fascinating tricks that no one understands? It’s possible. World-famous Dutch illusionist Hans Klok is touring the country with his new show, called Hurricane. He will try to deceive the audience’s senses with his dazzling conjuring tricks. Knowing Klok, he will bowl over many of his spectators. Hurricane can be seen at the Vrijthof The...

Typical NL: Squatting an abandoned house

Last Friday marked a significant change for the Netherlands. No, I’m not talking about the scary fact that far-right populist Geert Wilders gained decisive influence in the national government, but something else: since 1 October, kraken (which in Dutch refers to squatting an abandoned house, not a monster from the depth of the seas) is illegal in ...

Only for the very best

Only for the very best

They come from Singapore, Ukraine, Romania, Singapore, Russia and many other countries. Around 120 international students at Maastricht University are studying with a scholarship. Last week they received their official certificates from rector Gerard Mols during a festive afternoon. Directly after the ceremony they went on to party at UM’s fourth M...
Money, money, money

Money, money, money

Ali Gharaviri (27, Tehran, Iran), PhD candidate, Department of Physiology
Scrap those lists of pros and cons!

Scrap those lists of pros and cons!

A tough research master's, or rather one of those one-year master's programmes that the labour market is crying out for? Choosing the right follow-up study - the Netherlands alone has some eleven hundred master's studies - can be a stressful experience. Renske Roet, study choice expert, recommends following your intuition.

Organised hypocrisy

“When graduating from university, I applied – like millions before and after me – for an internship at the European Commission”, said Prof. Thomas Christiansen (1965) in his inaugural lecture at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences two weeks ago. As an applicant he didn’t rely on his CV but went through a contact, who told him that the competiti...

Dance Days, Tim Knol and For Real

Students into dance should stay in Maastricht during the weekend of 1–3 October, when Maastricht will host the Nederlandse Dansdagen (Dutch Dance Days) at the Theater aan het Vrijthof and other locations. The line-up includes acts ranging from urban to classical dance and makes way for both well-known and newer dance companies. Visit www.nederlands...

Concerns about council

The council elections are in May, but at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences there is already concern about staff representation. The Faculty Council discussed this in its meeting yesterday.

Maastricht International Week

Maastricht International Week starts at the beginning of October. Or rather: International Weeks, because for fifteen days the city will be dominated by the theme of internationalisation.
“Just put mayonnaise on everything”

“Just put mayonnaise on everything”

Ready steady cook. This is how most students want to prepare their dinner: a reasonably decent dish in less than half an hour. Often, due to a lack of time and inspiration, they stick to boring spaghetti, pancakes or fresh meals from Albert Heijn. For those occasions when you want to impress a friend or your mother: try a Persian eggplant dip, Dutc...
Palestinians'rights blatantly violated

Palestinians'rights blatantly violated

She views the present - umpteenth - attempt by Israel and the Palestinians (in Washington this time) to wrestle free from their mutual stranglehold, which has been ongoing for decades, with some scepticism. Mariolina Eliantonio, a 32-year-old Italian jurist, assistant professor at the UM, travelled with a group of some 20 others through Israel and ...

Right-wing coalition reaches agreement

The Netherlands. The Christian democrats of the CDA, the conservative party VVD and the anti-Islamic party of Geert Wilders (PVV) have reached an agreement. Wilders called it a historic moment. “Left-wing politics have no role to play in the upcoming years. That’s good for the Netherlands, good for my party and good for the voters.”  A right-...

Typical NL: Political what-ness?

I’ve just landed at Schiphol airport. Near Arrivals, I spot one of those stands holding free advertising postcards. I like colourful things – and I love free things – so I take a handful to browse through in the passport control queue. There’s a photo of an absurdly attractive couple in head-to-toe H&M. Close-ups of grinning mouths with shiny d...

The lovely pub in Amsterdam

The lovely pub in Amsterdam

Susanne Eijgenraam (23, raised in Rotterdam), has a bachelor’s in Biomedical Sciences from Amsterdam, now a first-year student of the research master’s Physician–Clinical Investigator at UM

UM not in new Times ranking

Dutch universities do less well in the thoroughly renewed World University Rankings by Times Higher Education. Maastricht University has even completely disappeared from the top 200, as have Nijmegen and Tilburg.

Typical NL: Not smoking weed

There are many clichés about the Netherlands: tulips, windmills, cheese, the red light district in Amsterdam and its liberal drug laws. Like all clichés, they are far from accurate and nobody takes them very seriously. The Dutch drug laws, however, are a special case. While one can easily laugh about any cliché, many Dutch people seem to be quite a...

Wall painting in the basement

Wall painting in the basement

They had to get permission from the Faculty Board, but as of a couple of days ago the European Studies association Concordantia can be proud of its bicycle shed. It’s now the fanciest shed in the university; perhaps even in Maastricht.  

SBE lip dub

“Amazing” and “In one word: gay; in two words: super gay”. These are two reactions to the lip dub of the Maastricht University School of Business and Economics (SBE). The YouTube video has been viewed 20,000 times over the last five days. A music video that was made in a single take, it shows a group of students dancing and lip synching to Queen’s ...

Popronde and Flikkendag Maastricht

Pop, rock, jazz and hip hop; Maastricht will have it all. On the night of Friday 24 September, Popronde, a travelling Dutch music festival, will drop by and present a selection of the last word in the music industry. Over thirty fresh, talented, but still unknown bands will perform at several locations in the city centre (including the Lumiѐre and ...

Too few credits? Leave the country!

From 2011 onwards, students from outside Europe who come to study in the Netherlands, must earn at least half of their credits each year. If they don't, they will lose their residency permits. Maastricht rector Gerard Mols speaks of a “harsh measure”.
"You were the pioneers, and not everything was perfect"

"You were the pioneers, and not everything was perfect"

The first Saudi Arabian medical students have passed their bachelor’s degrees. Last week they were the radiant guests of honour at a special ceremony

“One cannot live with ambiguous bosses”

The appointment was made weeks before. It was to be a serene farewell interview with Chris de Neubourg, about his move to that UNICEF research institute in Florence with the beautiful name: the Innocenti Research Center. And about leaving his brainchild behind: the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance that had finally entered smooth waters, or ...

Koko popular

Student association Koko scores well among foreign students. They registered 29 new non-Dutch members this year (against 25 last year, and ten in 2008). The number is not definite, as Koko still has to inaugurate its new members. The counter stopped at eleven for Saurus, at eight for Circumflex and five for Tragos. Koko received a total of 191 (ag...

Pecha Kucha, Musica Sacra and International Comedy

It doesn’t have to take long to present a good idea. The Pecha Kucha Night, on Monday 20 September, is living proof of this. With just twenty slides and twenty seconds of explanation per slide, Maastricht’s most creative brains will try to convince you of their latest ideas. The concept of Pecha Kucha (meaning ‘chit-chat’ in Japanese) allows archit...

New sports hall for UM

UM SPORT will most likely set up a new temporary sports hall in the former building of Dagblad De Limburger on the Duboisdomein in Randwyck. Maastricht University has rented this building since 1 August. The general and technical support services, the administrative service centre and a few departments from the Faculty of Health Medicine ...

Russia wants BaMa

Russia is considering a remodelling of its universities and introducing a bachelor-master system.

Long queues at the city office

European (EU and EEA) students who live and study in The Netherlands, this year face new rules issued by the ministry of Education. They could be in for an unpleasant surprise.

Tuesday Prinsjesdag

Every third Tuesday in September, the Dutch queen Beatrix delivers a speech outlining the government’s vision for the coming year.

Windows 7 next year

Although it has been some time ago since Microsoft introduced Windows 7 and received high praise, Maastricht University does not yet support the new operating system. Why not? “Other projects were higher on our list of priorities, but the proposal is being put together at the moment,” says Jo Weijers, head of ICT Service Centre. As far as he is con...

Parking on the outskirts of the centre for 5 euros per month

Parking on the outskirts of the centre for 5 euros per month

Foreign UM students who do not have accommodation in Maastricht or its immediate vicinity, and who need to commute for every tutorial group meeting, can now apply for a parking permit for certain areas around the city centre for 5 euros a month. Foreign students who do live in or near Maastricht have been allowed to park free of charge on the campu...

Fucking fairytale stuff

You’ve got lots of old stuff in the Netherlands. Old ruins. Old churches. The oldest theme park in the world. The oldest stock exchange. Old people. In fact, you were building windmills here a good 400 years before my country was even discovered. By your very own Willem Janszoon, as it happens, who accidentally bumped into Australia in 1606, took o...

New trouble at the School of Governance

Relations at managerial level at the Maastricht School of Governance are on edge again as dean Peter de Gijsel has decided to quit. Professor De Gijsel was appointed a year ago to straighten things out at the school. The dean of the faculty (FHS) that controls the School of Governance, professor Louis Boon, washed his hands of the school after conf...

the Parcours, Heritage Days and Arthur Guinness Day

Following on from the opening of the academic year, the Theater aan het Vrijthof is hosting the opening of the cultural season. At the Parcours, Maastricht’s theatres, museums, drama societies and other cultural organisations present themselves on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September. For instance, you can join in the celebrations for the sixtieth a...

“This project doesn’t end with us”

“This project doesn’t end with us”

When Oliver Neumann and Patrick Ganter, both third-year International Business students, came to Maastricht, they felt somehow lost. “We didn’t know where to go to. Other students said there wasn’t much to do in Maastricht, but we discovered all sorts of events”, says Neumann. “We felt that it lacked an event planner specially for international stu...

The puzzle of the caravans

A few famous man-made structures can be seen from space, like the Great Wall of China or the Belgian highways at night. What would be the characteristic landmarks of the NetherlandsIf Google Earth had a live view option, no doubt you’d be able to witness a peculiar phenomenon at least once a year: the great vacation migration. Seemingly endless flo...

UM’s Green Office

Last Monday, during the opening of the academic year, the new sustainability centre was opened and UCM students Felix Spira and Ardjan Vermue, who belong to the group of initiators, gave a presentation. At the Green Office, temporarily located in the Language Centre at Sint Servaasklooster, employees and students can drop by with their ideas or que...

New chance for right-wing coalition

The Christian democrats of the CDA, the conservative party VVD and the anti-Islamic party of Geert Wilders (PVV) want to restart their negotiations. It was only last Friday that Wilders decided to pull out of talks to form a coalition government, claiming that he had lost confidence in supporting a Liberal (VVD)–Christian Democrat (CDA) cabinet. Th...

Film theatre Lumière moves to Timmerfabriek

In 2012 the Lumière cinema, now located at the Bogaardenstraat, will move to the Timmerfabriek in the Boschstraat. There are plans to establish six theatres there with a total of 500 seats (the current Lumière has 326 seats). The Timmerfabriek – a former joinery works belonging to the Sphinx factory – is set to become the new cultural centre of Maa...

"I miss the sea"

"I miss the sea"

Erika Lindholm (21, Åland, a Finnish island where Swedish is spoken), second-year student of European Law School, board member of UNSA Maastricht

No major problems with MUSL anymore

No queues of students ignorant of their timetables or even of their status as registered students, no lecturers waiting resignedly for their students to show up; problems resulting from bugs in the student registration system MUSL last year, have been resolved. The university's top IT manager, CIO René Kocken has confirmed this. “It works for stude...

The trouble with titles

The first time I saw it, I thought it was quaint. The second time, so-so. But from the third to the fifty billionth time, it’s just made me want to scratch my eyeballs out. No, I’m not talking about Geert Wilders. I’m talking about the Dutch love of titles – lots of them. Like Dr. ing. Whatshisname. Or Mrs Prof. Whatsherface. Not to mention the mo...

Bruis, Cultural Nova and Mythe Berlijn

On Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 September, the Markt in Maastricht will form the stage for the festival Bruis. Saturday is pop and rock day, with the Belgium band dEus set to take the spotlight. This will be one of only few performances that they will give in the Netherlands this summer. Sungrazer, Oi Va Voi and the Dudes will also be present. On Sunday...

Hates: housing situation in Maastricht

Hates: housing situation in Maastricht

Veronika Brantová (20), second-year at University College Maastricht, from the Czech Republic, new member of the university council, member of the board of Universalis.
UCM merchandise profits go to charity

UCM merchandise profits go to charity

The profits of UCM merchandise – a student project that sells official UCM T-shirts and sweaters – don’t disappear into the pockets of the students. Rather, they end up in the bank account of a selected charity. This year, the money will go to an organisation that helps street children in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  

UL open until midnight

Since Monday the Inner City University Library has been open until midnight, seven days a week. In the Coffee Corner you can buy refreshments until 20.30. Previously, the UL’s doors were only open till late in the evening during exam periods. “You see this a lot in foreign countries. Some libraries are even open 24/7”, says UL director Ingrid Wijk...

Still no Dutch Governement

The elections were held in June, but the Netherlands is still waiting for a new government. Negotiations between the Christian democrats of the CDA, the conservative party VVD and the anti-Islamic party of Geert Wilders (PVV) are interrupted. Tuesday evening and Wednesday the Christian democrats held a crisis meeting whether to continue negotiation...

Local Health Authority: Get mumps vaccination

More than 530 Maastricht students have already had themselves inoculated against mumps, according to the Local Health Authority (GGD). The GGD advises students to have themselves vaccinated, regardless of whether they were vaccinated as children (which is often the case in The Netherlands and the rest of Europe) or not. Dozens of cases of mumps we...

Maastricht alumna wins lawsuit

A former law student of Maastricht University and former columnist for Observant is to receive compensation from GeenStijl. GeenStijl is a Dutch website where the news and light-hearted subjects are discussed. They have a reputation for their use of a direct, often rude and offensive tone. The court in Amsterdam has ruled that GeenStijl should pay...

26 percent more master’s applications

The popularity of master’s programmes in Maastricht is growing strongly, having received 26 percent more applications than last year (5633 in total). The number of bachelor’s applications is also on the rise, but by a somewhat less dramatic 6 percent, reaching a total of 11,201. In 2010, all Dutch universities together count 42,500 newcomers among...

What to do in Maastricht?

What to do in Maastricht?

Where are the good bars? What shops should you go to? Which restaurants have the best food and low prices? When you’re new in town, it’s always hard to find out where the hot spots are. Observant gives you a hand, with four routes for four different days out.

"Trying to cook by myself"

What are you going to miss the most? “My cat. He’s five years old and just turned up at our home one Christmas. It was a wild cat. I can’t bring him with me to Maastricht. I’ll also miss my friends of course. Whether we’ll see each other on a regular basis? Well, we could skype. In the holidays I’ll take the Eurostar from Brussels. That’s the eas...

“Nothing will be easy"

Whats gonna be easy? “Nothing will be easy. I have to build up a life in a new country with a different language. Even buying a bike will be hard, I suppose.”   What will you miss the most? “My family of course. My mother and my sister, who live in Riga. And my friends. Actually, my best friend is going to the Netherlands as well. He’ll b...

What to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon?

What to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon?

Where are the good bars? What shops should you go to? Which restaurants have the best food and low prices? When you’re new in town, it’s always hard to find out where the hot spots are. Observant gives you a hand, with four routes for four different days out.

"I’m not concerned about my social life"

What’s going to be easy? “I like the fact that Dutch education is well-organised. You get all this information in advance about study schemes, for example. In my country it’s total chaos. First you need to search for the institution, and then you have to chase the people who can give you the information you want.”   What are you afraid of? ...

What to do when your parents are in town?

What to do when your parents are in town?

Where are the good bars? What shops should you go to? Which restaurants have the best food and low prices? When you’re new in town, it’s always hard to find out where the hot spots are. Observant gives you a hand, with four routes for four different days out.
What to do when you want to take the alternative route?

What to do when you want to take the alternative route?

Where are the good bars? What shops should you go to? Which restaurants have the best food and low prices? When you’re new in town, it’s always hard to find out where the hot spots are. Observant gives you a hand, with four routes for four different days out.
To join or not to join, that’s the question

To join or not to join, that’s the question

Should you become a member of a student society or not? For Dutch students, this is an easier question to answer than for foreign students. They often have a brother, sister or friend who is a member, so they know what to expect. To give foreign students some more insight, Observant has created a list of what it means to be a member of a society.

"I'm here to fight for my diploma"

Whats gonna be easy? “Learning the Dutch language. Dutch in my opinion is something like a mix between German and English. I had Greek and Latin at school. That makes it easier to learn foreign languages.”   What are you afraid of? “My roommate in Maastricht, who studied psychology last year, said that it’s very difficult. And – this is th...

Don’t be afraid

Don’t be afraid

Welcome to Maastricht. The fact that you’re reading this English-language piece says something about you: you’re either German (likely), or otherwise non-Dutch (less likely). You’re probably out of your teens already, you might own a car, and you have a whole different set of priorities and dilemmas than the Dutch people in your Inkom group. Appare...



Observant maakte dit jaar het eerste nummer van Inkommentaar
Dutch pop star opens Inkom

Dutch pop star opens Inkom

He’s a rising star in the Netherlands, his voice can handle both rock and soul, and he is the first Dutchman to have a contract with the legendary  American label Motown, the home of stars like Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and Michael Jackson. This afternoon around 17.00 at the Maastricht Markt, Waylon will open the Inkom of 2010. His first ...

Latest news!

Are you keen to stay informed of the latest news, and to read great stories about Maastricht’s student life and university? Then grab your fresh copy of the Observant from around 11.00 every Thursday, from the stands near the entrance to your faculty. Observant is Maastricht University’s independent newspaper, produced each week by a team of profe...

MECC party hall

MECC party hall

Monday 23 August, 15.05, at the MECC in Maastricht. More than 30 students, 14 lighting and sound technicians, Dutch beer brewery staff and other company representatives are setting up the party hall. “We’re on schedule”, says logistics manager Tom Roth, as a small lorry full of soft drinks makes its way through the hall. Today’s MECC Party and the...

Running against the system

He died on 25 April at the age of 82. And yet, Alan Sillitoe was still regarded as the Angry (Young) Man who wrote the novella The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1959). The first time I read this well-known story was in high school. And I have to admit: it was obligatory. I didn’t remember a lot of it. Except for the title, which I still r...

Business competition

Last year, only 25 women applied for the female business plan competition, organised by the Maastricht Centre for Entrepreneurship (MC4E) in cooperation with the city of Maastricht. This is remarkable, says Veroniek Collewaert, assistant professor at the MC4E, given the number of well-educated female students, employees and alumni in the region. Th...

Change clothes

Change clothes

Whether Alex Eichner and Daniel Maciejewski will go home with the clothes they are wearing in the photo is the question. There’s a big chance they won’t. “I hope someone else is interested in my leather pants”, Eichner laughs. Last Tuesday, a Clothes Exchange Party was held in the student café Make! in d’n Hiemel, near the park. “We’ve already had ...

35 thousand euros for ten student entrepreneurs

35 thousand euros for ten student entrepreneurs

A festival kit with a sleeping bag and a toothbrush, a day programme for the handicapped, video CVs, text message marketing, and a sensor sticker in incontinence products. This is a selection of services and products from enterprising students who were awarded for their efforts. Limburg Development and Investment Company LIOF celebrates its 35th an...

Coup Maastricht

This year, for the 16th time, Zuyd University’s Department of Arts presents the Coup Maastricht: a festival at which fresh alumni from the Conservatory and the Academies for Fine Arts, Dramatic Art and Architecture will put their thesis subjects on display. Since all kinds of exhibitions and performances will be at lots of different places around ...

“He lacks contact with the average employee”

Jo Ritzen, President of the Executive Board, hasn’t give any explanation yet, but fact is that he will leave Maastricht University in February. He doesn’t aspire a third term as President. What were his strengths and weaknesses?

“He is too cool for school”

He did not even know that students were voting for the best lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Nevertheless, Dr. Nico Baakman won the award last Thursday during the faculty education afternoon.  “He is too cool for school,” said one of the students, who felt that Baakman was entitled to the challenge cup, the certificate, a ...

"Learn Dutch!"

"Learn Dutch!"

The 36 German students interviewed for the series Grüsse aus Holland have more in common than their nationality: they were strikingly polite and friendly and all are taking their studies seriously. Here, Observant draws up the balance. The main question in every interview was: Do you feel integrated? Most of the interviewees said they did feel mor...

Dancetour Maastricht 2010

The Markt in Maastricht will transform into one big dance floor on Sunday 20 June. From 14.30–15.00 the winner of the DJ Knock Out, DJ Dee-on, will get you moving with his house beats. Later that day, famous DJs like Don Diablo and Marco V will take the stage. The Dutch Don Diablo, born Don Pepijn Schipper, got his breakthrough in 2008 when his alb...

Observant on Facebook

Observant is now also on Facebook. On our page, you can find the latest news, updates from the editors and links, photos and short films. You can also respond to articles or start a discussion. If you’re interested in becoming a member, please visit CF

“Wilders creates a hostile environment for Muslims”

PVV, the ‘Freedom Party’ of Geert Wilders, emerged as the third force in Dutch politics last week. Wilders wants to be a part of the government. But what if? Wilders’s party is controversial. His film Fitna, about Islam in the Netherlands, received international attention. And some time ago he dismissed Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan as a “total f...

Campus UM in Brussels

Maastricht University’s ‘campus’ in Brussels was officially opened last week. The listed historic building is situated on the Legerlaan between the two central metro stations Merode and Montgomery. The building is primarily used for postgraduate courses. “We focus on mid-career education,”, Vivianne Heijnen, head of the campus. “Many civil servants...

Football at the UM

The match between Denmark and the Netherlands last Monday was watched in various places at Maastricht University. Some employees had to officially apply for leave.
An orange T-shirt and 'lion hat'

An orange T-shirt and 'lion hat'

Markus Tozman – a second-year German student from Berlin and the founding father of student gymnastics club Saturnus - is wearing an orange T-shirt with a print of the Dutch flag and the word oranje on it. He also possesses an orange ‘lion hat’, some orange make-up and other orange party stuff. Why aren’t you wearing the German black and white shi...

Dream final from 1974

Dream final from 1974

“Nederland-Denemarken, live at the mensa”, reads a note at the entrance to the mensa at the Tongersestraat. It’s Monday afternoon, 13.45. Around 90 to 100 students and staff members are watching the big screen in the dining room. No yelling, no singing and no vuvuzelas. It’s so quiet that Nick Mulder, a second-year student of Economics, can still s...

No one to talk to on a plane

If you’ve been following the media closely over the last few days, you might have – among all the news about Dutch elections, Belgian elections and of course the World Cup – read that there is civil unrest in Kyrgysistan. News from this distant part of the globe hardly ever comes to our attention. Who can, honestly, locate on a map or even distingu...

Journalists are storytellers, no more and no less

Two years ago the US presidential elections were in full swing. The primaries finally over and election day fewer than six months away, Obama and McCain were the last men standing and news correspondents from around the world descended upon America to cover that fascinating race with that unlikely – given his African American background – contender...

Upcoming events student societies

If you want to integrate more into Dutch student life, you might want to visit one of these upcoming events, hosted by the four biggest student associations.   On Saturday 12 June, rowers from all over the Netherlands will come to Maastricht to battle it out at the Fortis Maas Regatta, organised by rowing club Saurus. Boats with four men and...

“We are not going to force anyone, it would spoil the atmosphere”

“We are not going to force anyone, it would spoil the atmosphere”

They are allegedly a group of boozing students, who do the most terrible things to each other under group pressure, and who find hanging around in the pub more important than studying. Student societies do not have a good reputation among foreign students – and especially among the Germans. Is this justified? Observant asked the chairmen of the fou...

Expat Guide for Maastricht region

A typical Dutch birthday tradition: the celebrant treats colleagues to pie, cakes or vlaai. This is just one of the many tips that can be found in the first Expat Guide for the Maastricht region, which was presented last Sunday. The guide was compiled by the Regiobranding Zuid-Limburg Foundation, to show expats their way around this region. In the...

PhD defence for three Italians

Until Wednesday 2 June, it had never occurred in the history of Maastricht University: a PhD defence for three researchers at the same time. Let alone all of them being Italian. And all three did their research on the relationship between nutrition and cardiovascular diseases. Augusto Di Castelnuovo found that the expectation of death resulting fro...

Fright and friendship

Much hyped in the United States at the moment is the writer Philipp Meyer (1974). He has already been compared with Steinbeck and Kerouac thanks to his choice of literary theme: the economic problems involved in rural labour. His tone has been linked with that of Salinger. And his first novel, American Rust (2009), has already been translated into ...


Fashionclash was organised for the first time in 2009 by a couple of friends to encourage young and talented designers to show their work. At Fashionclash, all different kinds of fashion, including textiles, jewellery and photography, are exhibited or displayed on the catwalk. But it is the ‘clash’ between designers from different countries with d...

“The Eurovision’s level is generally low”

Fourteenth place in the semi-final. That’s as far as the Dutch contestant Sieneke got in the Eurovision Song Contest, which was won by German singer Lena. Critics claimed that Sieneke didn’t stand a chance against the modern English songs most countries presented. The Dutch entry was written by Pierre Kartner, who is known as Father Abraham and for...

Read the news on the loo

How can you nominate your favourite tutor for the Education Award 2010? You can find out by reading the first ‘loo paper’ (pleekrant, a newspaper put on the walls to read on the toilet), produced by the student representative body of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “We came up with the idea after having read about a similar initiative in ...

DOPE big winner

DOPE big winner

The turnout of the ‘minor’ university elections – only students and department councils –was lower than last year. DOPE, the student party that came out as the big winner with 23 seats, and NovUM (total 15 seats) blamed the low turnout on the voting problems during the first two days of the election week in the middle of May.
Spain will win the World Championship

Spain will win the World Championship

Matthias Schmidtblaicher, a first-year student of economics, saw (and heard) some of the performances of the Eurovision song contest last weekend. “It wasn’t voluntary, but I did see five performances, including Germany’s.” Are you proud your country won? “Actually, no. It’s a good question. I would be proud if the German football team was winnin...

"I'm not planning to go back to Germany"

"I'm not planning to go back to Germany"

She doesn’t know if she is elected. Not yet. Irenah Klink, a second-year European Law with a minor in Dutch law, was second on the list for the university council for NovUM. “Now we have four seats in the council. It’s not sure we will gain the same amount in this election. My personal goal is to get more transparency. I want that the student know ...

“She has violated the boy’s privacy”

The interview with the only survivor of the air crash in Tripoli – the nine-year-old boy Ruben – has cost Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf thousands of subscribers (670,000 copies a day). Many people were very critical about the press coverage – not only by De Telegraaf but also by other Dutch media – of the accident that killed 103 people, including 7...

Otaku by Joost Vandecasteele

“So what?” What would your answer to this question be? “I don’t know.” Maybe: “What do you mean?” Or: “Yes, what about it?” Belgian performer Joost Vandecasteele explores the different answers to this question in his show Otaku. In his search for the right response, he uses predictions, graphs, different opinions and perspectives, known facts and –...

Jo Ritzen wants to be Euro MP

Jo Ritzen, President of the Executive Board, would like to become a member of the European Parliament. He said this in an interview with the newspaper Trouw this weekend, in which he looked backed on his career. Having been asked what he was going to do when his contract with the UM expires (beginning of 2011), he answered: “I have always felt that...

Are things really what they seem?

Right from the first page, The Little Stranger promises to be a gripping tale. And indeed it is – sometimes even a chilling one. The Welsh author Sarah Waters (1966) is known for locating her stories against well-documented historical backdrops; this tale takes place in the post-war period. The Little Stranger is about an upper-class family living...

Laptop use

The use of laptops during the tutorials at Law has led to very few complaints from tutors. An evaluation at the Faculty of Law has shown that tutors are reasonably neutral to positive about these devices. The use of laptops is allowed during most of the blocks. Students find it handy, especially when taking and ordering their notes and because of ...

Dealing with internationalisation

Maastricht University calls itself the most international university in the Netherlands. But what is international? If there are loads of German and Belgian students? Karlijn Jans, master's student at the European Law School, explored “the state of internationalisation” among forty or so universities and schools of professional education in the Net...
Making friends and gaining a new perspective

Making friends and gaining a new perspective

“Reconsider your privileges and let go of your beliefs.” This is the advice that Wannes Lint, president of the United Nations Student Association (UNSA), gives in his speech at the opening ceremony of the EuroMUN 2010, at the MECC on Wednesday 5 May. According to Lint, putting yourself in the shoes of people from another country, without holding on...

“Make love, not war”

“Make love, not war”

The Drama Committee of the study association for European Studies, Concordantia, this week presented the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, written by Aristophanes three times. The show, which is organised, acted and directed by students, tells the story of a woman, Lysistrata, desperately seeking to end the war between Athens and Sparta. She convinc...

From Aachen to Maastricht

I am a German student studying in Maastricht but living in Aachen. Furthermore, I do not get the Dutch OV-card, with which Dutch students can travel free of charge during the week or during the weekend. However, I am gravely dependent on daily bus travel with the bus company Veolia from Aachen main station to Maastricht main station (there is no di...


Your Spanish is as good as your German is bad. But you still want to study business administration in Berlin for half a year. What to do? Strike a deal with a German student who wants to learn Spanish! This can be done on the SBE student council website, accessible via Eleum. The new initiative of students of economics and business administration i...

"The Dutch are more informal"

"The Dutch are more informal"

Wat vind jij typisch Nederlands? “Consensus zoeken”, says Frederike Kaltheuner in Dutch. She is 22, a second-year student at the University College and a member of the University Council for student party NovUM. “In the beginning I was surprised; it seemed all quite harmonious between the council and the board. It took some time for me to underst...

“My brain is exploding”

If you thought that illustrated books were a paragon of childhood exclusivity, think again. Maira Kalman, a Tel Aviv-born, New York-raised illustrator and designer has, indeed, illustrated many a children’s book. But her drawings have also graced the cover of The New Yorker more than once, recognisable always for their colourful, swirly style; and ...

“A good team is driven by peace and conflict”

“A good team is driven by peace and conflict”

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Between self-righteousness and self-loathing

A humorous book about Andrew's life, which is a mess
"I love it here"

"I love it here"

Julia Schmidtt (23), a second-year student of European Public Health, was born and raised in the Eifel, Germany. She knows this to be a well-known and very popular area among Dutch tourists, but she visits her hometown of Mendig only once in a while. In fluent Dutch: “Not every month. I always go to my favourite hairdresser there. And the doctor, i...

Integration of foreign students must improve

Integration of foreign students must improve

A project group chaired by the rector feels that something should be done about the increasing segregation of groups of students based on nationality. If only for the reason that it obstructs the functioning of the problem-based learning.

Digitally UnReel

What is the impact of the digitisation of cinema on the experience of watching movies? That’s the main question at Digitally UnReel, a film event organised by four master’s students of Arts and Sciences. On Saturday 15 May, three designers, Nic Benns, Olivier Marquezy and Balder Westein, will introduce and discuss the design process behind some of...

Tuna stuck in Spain due to ash cloud

Tuna, a group of Maastricht students who play traditional Spanish music, was stranded last week in the south of Spain. The band was in Spain to take part in a tuna-band championship, and their flight home was cancelled because of the Icelandic ash cloud that has hindered air traffic in recent weeks. Four Tuna members decided to hitchhike home. “The...

Mix & Mingle party

The third International Mix & Mingle party is coming up. On 7 May at 19.00, Fort Sint Pieter will turn into a beach party. There will be a hula-hoop contest, a sangria fountain and prizes for the best-dressed beach boy and girl. Groups like study associations and country teams are invited to rent an island; for €1 they will get an inflatable is...

Service Council without members

There are no candidates for the Service Council of the Maastricht University Office. And this is not the first time director Nick Bos will have to look at empty seats. Four years ago – the Service Council terms last two years – the same thing happened. So why aren’t there any candidates?

Economists earn most

The national WO Monitor 2009 has been published, which draws a picture of the employment situation of alumni and their satisfaction with the studies they did. The UM’s report looks good, with an average of a 7.2 on a 10-point scale. The highest appreciation was for the subject-specific expertise of lecturers (8.0). With a mark of 5.7, providing inf...

Ragweek yields 21,500 euros

This year's Ragweek has raised 21,500 euros. There is an upward trend in the amount raised during Ragweek: in 2007, it was 15 thousand euros and in 2008 almost 17 thousand euros. Last year, a peak was reached, with a record amount of 31,500 euros for two good causes. This great result was mainly because of a sponsored walk held by fifteen Maastrich...

“The Dutch language will not die”

What’s the value of a small language? Why not just give it up and and turn to English instead? These were just some of the radical ideas addressed at last Friday’s seminar at the University College Maastricht, ‘Small languages in a globalising culture’.  
The black servant of the holy man

The black servant of the holy man

“Ik praat een beetje Nederlands. I did a course. I can understand it, I can read Dutch documents and I’m able to speak it on a conversational level.” Isabel Skierka, a second-year student of European Studies from Hamburg, thinks that at least a little knowledge of Dutch is necessary to integrate into Dutch culture. “I want to integrate into the cul...

Student Playback Show

For the thirteenth time in a row, student association Hesperides is organising the Maastricht Student Playback Show. A total of 29 fraternities and sororities will perform either individually or together, and will do their utmost to convince a panel of judges that they deserve the prize. On the panel will be several people who are well known in the...

Rugby team gets promoted without playing

Rugby team gets promoted without playing

Maastricht’s rugby association, the Maraboes, were supposed to play for their promotion from the fourth to the third division last Sunday. But the game was cancelled when the opposition, a team from Rotterdam, did not show up. This was good for the Maraboes, because it meant they could be promoted without actually having to step onto the field. Fro...

Ash cloud hinders student competition

The international ICC@M case competition organised by the Maastricht School of Business and Economics for the first time this week, suffered great disruption as a result of the Iceland volcanic ash cloud. Only a handful of teams from a total of sixteen managed to reach Maastricht. Several teams were stranded along the way, in places such as Singapo...

Best European Fiction: uncomfortable, uncanny

Americans are good at anthologies. Every year you can expect to find your local bookstore’s shelves lined with such titles as The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Essays, or The Best American Travel Writing. Europe doesn’t have an equivalent tradition, for obvious reasons perhaps: Europe is not a country, there is no European language...

Students concerned about elections

Student members of the university council are very concerned about the possible consequences of the ill-functioning MUSL system for the upcoming elections. They fear that students who are not registered, through no fault of their own, will not be able to vote. The university's Central Polling Committee, however, says that everything is being done t...

"There's a bell ringing"

"There's a bell ringing"

English or Dutch? “Let’s do the interview in Dutch, I need to practise as much as possible.” Estrella Frevel (21), a first-year student of Psychology, was raised in the German Sauerland. Since she followed an extended Dutch course last summer in Maastricht, all kinds of Dutch words pop out when she speaks English. Laughing: “I can’t speak it anym...

Start of the Amstel Gold Race

As the weather gets milder, more and more cyclists can be seen in their shiny suits, racing up and down the streets of Limburg. Perhaps some of them are preparing for the well-known Amstel Gold Race, in which 238 competitors from 24 different international teams will take part on April 18, starting from the Markt in Maastricht. This will be the 45t...

Saurus not in Varsity finals

For the fifth time in a row, Rotterdam student rowing association Skadi has won the Varsity, the national university rowing competition. De Maastricht rowers from Saurus were knocked out in the preliminary rounds, where they ended in fifth place. “We crashed into another boat at the start,” says competition official Ronald Nijenhuis from Saurus. “T...

“It’s worse not to apologise”

Last week the Dutch government apologised to Selma Wijnberg, the only Dutch survivor of the Nazi extermination camp Sobibor. After her marriage to a Polish Jew, the Dutch ‘aliens police’ no longer considered her Dutch, and she and her husband were threatened with deportation to Poland. She accepted the apology, but also said it came too late. Does ...
“Freedom is the most that people can give themselves”

“Freedom is the most that people can give themselves”

Freedom is “our biggest common treasure”, and a free person is able to play with life. This is, among other things, what the Hungarian writer György Konrad argues in his lecture ‘On liberty’, organised by Studium Generale.

The therapeutic potential of drugs

Pihkal - A Chemical Love Story by Ann and Alexander Shulgin is about love and chemicals, in the most literal sense. Officially, it's a work of fiction. Thus, when agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) came to raid the Shulgin's home some years after the first publication in 1991, the couple could always claim that specific persons or events w...

Chopwood concert by Odilo Girod

Drug abuse, depression, or the loss of an important person in your life – these are all nasty things to deal with. On the positive side, they have proven to lead to exceptional songs. And Coparck frontman Odilo Girod has found another appalling source of inspiration: insomnia. He spent his sleepless nights writing electronic and acoustic songs abou...

“There shouldn’t be a systematic link between police and university”

Thomas Luijken of student party NovUM during the latest university council meeting whether it’s true that the police report students who misbehave to the university. Rector Gerard Mols announced that he was not interested in that kind of information. But it did happen to a German student who organised a party at Sint Pietersberg Should the universi...

Friendship and cyborgs

I was in a bookstore when I caught sight of this amusing cover with self-designed cyborgs and the extraordinary title The boy who couldn’t sleep and never had to (2010). When I read the back cover I was even more fascinated by the story, which is a combination of literature and science fiction. It was written by D.C Pierson, who was raised in Arizo...

Questions about drugs in university library

Are students taking drugs in the university library? This question was asked in the latest university council meeting. “Rumours have reached us from various corners about students taking drugs in the university library,” says Willemijn de Nooij, who asked the question as council member for DOPE. “We want this to be investigated. Rector Gerard Mols ...

Maastricht attracts many youngsters

More than one third of all newcomers in Maastricht are between 18 and 21 years of age. In percentages, Maastricht scores well above Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Groningen is number one: almost half of all newcomers there are between 18 and 21 years old. The results come from figures over the years 2006-2008, published by Statistics Netherlands...

'Zadelhoesjes' with flowers

'Zadelhoesjes' with flowers

She speaks English with American accent. “I was in the United States for a year when I was 16. I had a sports scholarship”, explains Magdalena Schmidt, a first-year student of European Studies from Berlin who celebrated her 20th birthday last Tuesday. “I joined a synchronised ice-skating team: Sixteen people on the ice making all kinds of figures a...

“Try to integrate with Facebook”

“Try to integrate with Facebook”

Cultural organisations in Maastricht are all dealing with the same problem: what’s the best way to gain a bigger audience? In other words: help us with our marketing! And the helpers in this case are third-year students of European Studies, who last Tuesday presented their surveys and recommendations in the AINSI theatre.  

First World Clash Dance Party

Curious about other cultures and disciplines in today’s music world? If so, don’t miss the first World Clash Dance Party this Friday. Loosen up to the music of DJs Ramazan, Jp, Slackman, Bill Splate and Mucho Calor, who will give you a passionate mix of world grooves, funky dance, gipsy tunes and Balkan beats. For an extra groove Khygy will give a ...

“Every party is brought to an end”

“Every party is brought to an end”

Sint-Pietersberg, Het Rondeel, De Ossekop. All locations in Maastricht where dance parties have been held for hundreds of international students over the past few months. Time and again, the police end them prematurely, claiming that safety was an issue or neighbours complained about the noise. “Students want something that the city doesn’t offer, ...

The magic is in how the story unfolds

Browsing through new books at my favourite book store, I feel somewhat ambivalent about the marketing blurbs on the back covers. I want to know what the book is about, but the plot synopses often give away too much of the story. So, when I read the back of The Other Hand (American title: Little Bee) by Chris Cleave, I was intrigued: “We don't want ...

One, two, three tequila for Anna

One, two, three tequila for Anna

“I’d really appreciate it if you could mention our women’s rugby team Margrieten in the article. I get one tequila for every time the word rugby is written down.” Anna Veit (21), a first-year student of European Studies, laughs really hard. She has been a rugby player since she was sixteen. “It can be pretty aggressive and you mustn’t be afraid of ...

Different parties, different musical preferences, different language

Different parties, different musical preferences, different language

They do not go to the same parties, the same associations and do not have the same musical preferences. Outside tutorial groups, Dutch and foreign students have very little contact and generally move in separate social worlds.

Former rector Cohen might become PM

A former rector of this university, Job Cohen (62), could well be the next prime minister of the Netherlands if his Labour Party does well in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Cohen came to Maastricht in 1981 to set up the Faculty of Law and became rector in 1991. Two years later, he made his way to The Hague to become State Secretary of Educat...

Traffic survey

Maastricht University is taking part in a traffic survey among people who travel to and from Maastricht, set up by ‘Maastricht Bereikbaar’ (Maastricht Accessible), a joint initiative of various public authorities. All employees will receive an e-mail in the upcoming week, containing a link to the questionnaire. Those who live in Maastrich...

Conservatorium Festival 2010

For the 21st time, the Conservatorium Maastricht is organising its annual festival. As Dutch composer Otto Ketting will celebrate his 75th birthday this year, the festival will focus on him and his sources of inspiration. As the son of a famous but old-fashioned musician, Ketting found himself caught in the middle of a clash between the old and new...

A very, very bright student

A very, very bright student

A very, very bright student. This definition suits Ines Reith (19), a first-year student of European Public Health, perfectly. Her average secondary school marks (1.3 in Germany, around a 10 in the Netherlands) were high enough to study anything she wanted in Germany. She started with medicine and biology in her last years of high school. “It was a...

Made in Europe

Don’t be afraid, choose adventure. This could be the slogan of the Made in Europe film festival, which will take place in the Lumière cinema from 24–28 March. Most of the movies are small films by young European directors, says festival director David Deprez. They tell the stories of ordinary people who want to make the best of life. “You won’t fi...

Working for an NGO in Kabul

Working for an NGO in Kabul

Mihaela works for an Afghan organisation in Kabul. And indeed, she has woken at times to missile attacks but on the whole she experiences her stay as “fulfilling”. She will talk about her experiences during the UM seminar Career Development in Development Work next Tuesday, an event for students who are looking for jobs in developing countries.

Celebrations for student party DOPE

DOPE, the Deskundige Ongebonden Pragmatische Eenheid (or Expert Free Pragmatic Unit), celebrates its 20th anniversary. It was officially founded on 13 March 1990. Unofficially, however, the party was created a year earlier, because in May 1989 it participated in the university elections for the very first time. Just like NovUM, it is a Maastricht s...

concert by Moke

Dutch Britpop band Moke got off to a flying start three years ago. After releasing their first single, the five men became the resident band of one of the most popular TV shows in the Netherlands, De Wereld Draait Door, and had their songs used for two commercials. The album soon went gold (over 30,000 copies sold) and the band went on tour with Pa...

No students in the city council

None of the students who stood as candidates for the city council managed to win a seat. Two university employees succeeded in being elected. Manon Fokke, registrar for the university council, will return for the Labour Party (see the interview on page 7) and Franca Tonnaer, PhD student at psychology, will make her debut in the council for D66. Fo...

“Maybe something went wrong in his upbringing”

Right-wing politician Geert Wilders visited London last week to show his anti-Koran film Fitna in the House of Lords. At a press conference prior to the presentation, he called the Turkish prime minister a nut and the prophet Mohammed a barbarian, a mass killer and a paedophile. Is this rude (or direct, as some might say) way of expressing yourself...

Struggle for identity

The story of the illegitimate son may seem a little old-fashioned in the West, but in Morocco it is both believable and ordinary. Secret Son is the debut of novelist Laila Lalami (1970). She was born and raised in Morocco and lives in the United States. Lalami writes literary criticism and political essays for many newspapers, including The New Yor...

Striptease for rack-renter

Every year, the Netherlands has the Rack-renter of the Year election. The man or woman who treats the tenants the worst or charges extortionate rates receives the award from the Dutch Student Union and Rood, the youth branch of the Socialist Party. The union has seen the number of complaints made by tenants rise in recent years, in particular the ...

Lux ad Mosam

Next month, Maastricht will have one Christian student association: Lux ad Mosam. The two Christian student associations - Navigators and Ichthus - decided at the beginning of this year to merge and continue as one. Ichthus chairperson and law student Sanne Salverda: “We had our own elections on the same day as the local elections, 3 March. Our mem...

An old Renault Clio

An old Renault Clio

He drives a Renault Clio, but not for much longer. Next month, his MOT expires and then he has to take his car off the road. It is beyond repair. “I must choose: buy a new car or use public transport,” says Bob Vogel, first-year student of psychology. He isn't looking forward to travelling by public transport. “My parents live in Krefeld, a hundred...

Thieves target student laptops

Since last November, 105 laptops have been stolen from houses in the city centre. New cases are reported to the police every day. The Maastricht police says that about 45 per cent of the thefts are made from student buildings. The thieves do not just strike at night but also in broad daylight, says local policeman Paul Vermin. “Sometimes the other...

"I don’t like Dutch Schlagers"

"I don’t like Dutch Schlagers"

She’s not in a hurry this Tuesday morning. “It’s not a problem if I’m a little late for my statistics class,” laughs Carolin Hoffmann (22), a second-year student of Molecular Life Sciences a student member of the MLS management team. A few minutes later, we know why: “I studied statistics and chemistry in Germany for one year.” Why did you come to...

“A car is cheaper and faster”

A hundred free parking places for students of Maastricht University in Randwijck. That’s how the municipality and UM want to solve the parking problems in Maastricht. But is this a solution that will work? The right-wing party VVD doubts it. They plead for a railway connection between Maastricht and Aachen. Let students take the bus or the train, a...

Life Science Career Event

If you have almost finished your studies and you are interested in a job in the field of life sciences, the Life Science Career Event is the event for you. On 10 March, students will be able to meet a variety of companies and discover the spectrum of job opportunities outside academia. There will be an information market, short presentations by the...

Successful businessman destroys himself

The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce

When is a person dead?

In the Blauwe Zaal (UNS 50), visitors are looking at a large screen showing the beating heart of a patient during a transplantation operation. The arteries are disconnected and the heart is cooled with ice water to stop the beating. Then a hand grabs the muscle, takes it out, puts it into another chest and connects it to the arteries. As if it were...

Student movie night

This is your opportunity to enjoy a full night of the latest movies and old movie classics, along with Red Bull, snacks, wine and beer at the bar. During the Maastrichtse studenten filmnacht (student movie night), 19 movies will be shown. You can pick your favourite movies in four different rounds. It’s your first chance to see The Road, which has ...

Free parking for students

A hundred free parking spaces for UM students in Randwijck. This is how the university and city council are hoping to solve the parking problems caused by students in town. It should also reduce the risk of cars being vandalised. In particular German students often suffer smashed windshields, deep scratches or broken mirrors. Even before the summe...

City council elections

Adequate and inexpensive parking for German students, more bicycle racks and a nice discotheque. These are some of the wishes of the students on the lists of candidates for the various political parties in Maastricht. On Wednesday 3 March, they are hoping to gain a seat on the Maastricht city council. EU students who are registered as inhabitants ...

Euregional opera and musical theatre festival

After surviving (or avoiding) Carnival and its characteristic music, costumes and beer-drinking, you might be wanting to indulge in one of the ‘higher’ art forms, like opera or musical theatre. The Euregional opera and music theatre festival is currently being organised by the Theatre aan het Vrijthof and Opera Zuid, featuring entire operas as well...

US ambassador visits Maastricht University

US ambassador visits Maastricht University

Don’t forget to bring a bag to the supermarket – you’ll have to pack your own groceries; don’t be afraid to cross the street on foot – the cars will stop for you; and always double check the opening hours of the shops. This and other advice about living in the Netherlands was what American students gave to the US ambassador, Fay Hartog-Levin, upon ...

35 thousand euros for a business plan

Studying and starting a business at the same time. Sounds nice, but if you haven't got a fat bank account, you'll have to find the necessary investment capital somewhere else. The Limburg Development and Investment Company LIOF is celebrating its 35th anniversary this Spring and offers the ten best student entrepreneurs a starter's pack worth 35 th...

"If you don’t vote, you can’t complain later"

 Next week it’s voting time. The Dutch are heading for the polling stations to vote in local government elections. Registered non-Dutch can also take part, but will they do that?  
I love it here, it couldn't be better

I love it here, it couldn't be better

“In Germany it’s pretty hard to get into a medical programme. You have to be in the top 5 or 3 percent. I wasn’t good enough, so I applied in Austria, Hungary and the Netherlands”, says Leonard Föhr, a 22-year-old first-year student of medicine. “I was lucky in the medicine lottery. All the international students who want to do medicine have 50 per...

No Wi-Fi

Maastricht University has decided to withdraw its support of the wireless Internet trial project in the centre of Maastricht. The UM states that it is giving priority to other projects, such as the MUSL student registration system. The city council is disappointed and has now also pulled out.

“The students cause the biggest problems”

Last week a student house in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands, burned down. One student was killed and several others were wounded. The mayor of the town has asked for an investigation. How safe are the houses in Maastricht?
Dutch girls: so tall, so thin

Dutch girls: so tall, so thin

“Dutch girls are taller and thinner than German girls. That was the striking thing my friend and I saw when we visited Maastricht for the first time.” Matheus Dyczynski (26), a second-year student of Moleculaire Levenswetenschappen (MLW) and president of study association Helix, has a big smile on his face. “But there are no serious differences.” ...

Extreme hatred for human life

Ask a Dutch person and a non-Dutch person to name a famous Dutch writer, and there’s big chance the latter will come up with Nooteboom, while the former mightn’t think of him at all. Perhaps this is because Nooteboom’s work has been translated into many languages all over the world. But happily, in November Cees Nooteboom (76) won what he deserves ...

Turkish dinner party at Refter

Turkish dinner party at Refter

“My student days were the best days of my life. I hope they will be for you too.” These were the warm words from the Turkish consul, Esen Altuğ, at the opening of the Turkish dinner party on Tuesday night at the Refter (Minderbroedersberg). Turkish students and staff members were invited to get to know each other and enjoy some food from their home...

Is non-integration a problem?

Is non-integration a problem?

Is Maastricht a student city? That was the leading question of the debate that the Green Party organised last Monday evening in the Bonbonnière. The answer: not really.

1.5 million

Maastricht University has obtained two Vici grants. One is for research on arteriosclerosis by Prof. Christian Weber (Carim), the other for historical ‘listening’ research by Prof. Karin Bijsterveld (CMW). This is the first time that the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has managed to get a Vici subsidy. It is the most important grant - with a ...

IPCC under fire

Here we go again: The Guardian revealed yesterday that their research had shown that a British climate expert had purposely used incorrect weather data, which was later included in a UN publication. Last week, there was the ‘slip-up’ in the latest IPCC (the UN climate panel) report, when information about the ice in such places as the Andes turned ...

Maastricht aan Tafel

What: Maastricht aan Tafel When: Monday 1–Sunday 7 February Where: restaurants across the city centre Admission: €25.20 for a three-course meal Despite the fact that Maastricht has the highest restaurant density of all Dutch cities, you may not have been able to explore its culinary diversity yet, being part of the generally poor student popu...

Fallen in love with the Netherlands

Fallen in love with the Netherlands

“I can imagine staying here after graduation. I’ve fallen in love with the Netherlands a little bit. The people are more open, they enjoy life more. Even in winter they sit on the terraces. I think Germans take life more seriously.” Sarah Wilke, a third-year Health Sciences student who was born and raised in the north of Germany, laughs a bit shyly...

Surviving in Maastricht

Surviving in Maastricht

Some thirty exchange students made their way to the upstairs room of the Twee Heeren pub last Friday. They were there for a ‘Surviving in Maastricht’ course, which is part of the Mentors' Programme that was set up this year. The mentors’ programme is an initiative of study association Concordantia and the student representatives from the Faculty o...

An antidote to Western prejudices

It starts with a giant explosion, confusion and terror. Dr Amin Jaafari, a Bedouin surgeon who has become a well-integrated Israeli citizen, is right in the middle of his lunch break when a bomb explodes in a restaurant near the hospital. Amin and his colleagues do their best to save as many people as they can. Finally at home, however, he is calle...

“I have to be careful, but I work it out somehow”

“I have to be careful, but I work it out somehow”

Every student in the Netherlands gets at least a basic grant from the government and a card for free public transportation in the Netherlands. But what do students from Germany, India, Poland or the United Kingdom get from their governments? Observant tried to find the facts and figures, and spoke with six international students about their houseke...
Searching for student’s heaven on earth

Searching for student’s heaven on earth

Which country takes really good care of its students? Is it the Netherlands, where all students get a basic grant that they don’t have to pay back? Or are you better off in Belgium, or maybe the United Kingdom or India? Observant tried to find the facts and figures of the studiefinanciering of seven of Maastricht University’s ‘target countries’.
Two SBE students win sustainability award

Two SBE students win sustainability award

Their Be Clever Be Green proposal has made German students Arne Tutschapsky and Sven Weber 500 euros richer last Monday. They submitted their detailed idea in a suggestion box. The box was installed after the national Sustainability Day, held on 9 September 2009 in many places, including Maastricht. The sustainable policy working group thought that...

The important stuff is always in the footnotes

It appears that vegetarianism is all the rage these days. Recently, most newspapers’ Saturday supplements tend to carry at least one or two articles about the pros resp. cons of meat eating, and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals hit the bestseller list last week – just as he came to The Netherlands, to talk about his life as a vegetarian in a s...


What: Stukafest When: 4 February, 19.30 Where: various student rooms, closing party at De Kadans Admission: open passes €12.50 From the comfort of a student room, here is your chance to get up close and personal with artists at the annual student room party (studentenkamerfeest, abbreviated as Stukafest). Accompanied by a beer and someone else’...

UM is a microcosmos

UM is a microcosmos

Her telephone rings. “It will be a friend of mine who wants to tell me that I’m missing my Bestuurlijk Nederlands class right now.” Claire Leifert is a second-year European Studies student. “It’s a very nice course, financed by the faculty. Its aim is to improve the political integration of foreign students at UM. It’s meant for students of the fac...

“Paying tax is not the same as being punished”

“Paying tax is not the same as being punished”

A study grant for every student? Or just for children with relatively poor parents? These and other topics made the debate, organised by the political student organisation DOPE last Thursday in café Ad Fundum, not only lively but also well-attended.

An opera inspired by a novel

A few months ago I went to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam to hear the opening performance of a requiem, part of the opera Wake by the Dutch composer Klaas de Vries. He had been asked to compose an opera to commemorate the fireworks explosion ten years ago in the city of Enschede, which had taken 22 lives. At first, De Vries didn’t want to, because ...

Millennium Trilogy Marathon

Page-turning plots and inspiring characters at a tearing pace – Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series has it all. People have been captured by the trilogy around the world. Both the books and the film have swept through various countries, gathering awards and praise. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked...

Abandoned things in UL

A red wallet, a mobile phone, lipgloss, a small bottle of water and some books. The owner is nowhere in sight. It’s Monday afternoon and the University Library (UL) in the inner city is crowded. After a few seconds, fourth-year law student Ellen Aarts walks towards her possessions. “I was gone for a moment, but my friend here will keep an eye on my...

“Please stay in China. They need you”

Google wants to stop censoring itself in China now it has become clear that the Chinese government has been trying to hack into dissidents’ Gmail accounts. Isn’t this a little too late? Wasn’t it wrong from the start to deny the Chinese people access to certain sites? Or was this a strategic move: starting with a censored Google and then bit by bit...
Living in the student-life bubble

Living in the student-life bubble

Hoe komt het dat je zo goed Nederlands spreekt? “My grandmother was Dutch”, says Arian Meyer (22), a second-year European Studies student who was born in Hamburg. “My mother was raised bilingually. I picked up a lot from her. We had a holiday house in Terneuzen, Zeeuws Vlaanderen. So I’ve visited the Netherlands many times. And besides that, in Ju...

Holocaust Memorial Day Lecture & Debate

“Just as for Eve there was no way back to the Garden of Eden, after reading Holofaust there is no way back to naivety.” This is just one of the praising comments on the book Holofaust, by writer Govert Derix. On the evening of 21 January you will have the chance to meet him and, better yet, to join the debate about the Holocaust and other genocides...

The ultimate bartender

Second-year Tax Law student Elroy Richter (24) can call himself best ‘flirttender’ of the Netherlands. A flirttender is a bartender who knows how to flirt. “It’s businesslike flirting we’re talking about; making your customer comfortable and trying to find out what they want.” Richter works at Shake and Serve, a company that makes cocktails on loca...

2010: The Year of Education

2010: The Year of Education

Seven thesis awards, an education award, three lectures, a musical intermezzo and a demonstration by animal activists outside the entrance to the St. Janskerk. The programme for the celebration of the 34th anniversary of Maastricht University last Thursday was a full one. Rector Gerard Mols announced an innovation of the problem-based learning syst...

“It’s not like you can lead a life of luxury on €260”

The Dutch National Student Union is scared. Why? The Minister of Education is considering getting rid of the basic student grant, about €260 a month. If this becomes reality, Dutch students will have to turn to their parents, start working longer hours or take out loans. Are Dutch students spoiled? Is it ridiculous that the government contributes t...
"The best time of my life"