Dinner under a bright light and on to 40,000 students?

Dinner under a bright light and on to 40,000 students?

Short news from Maastricht and elsewhere in the country


Dining by fluorescent lighting

Would you like to enjoy your food more? Forget fancy dining by candlelight. According to Maastricht researcher Kimberley van der Heijden, people taste food much better in a well-lit room. “They are more aware of what they eat, they focus more,” she told De Limburger.

In an experiment in a restaurant, test subjects ate with dimmed lights (13 lux) or brighter lights (300 lux). They thought that they had come to test the chef’s latest creations. The first group marked the intensity of the taste with a 4, the second group with a 6. According to Van der Heijden, that is because people are more alert to the taste, because they are in a bright room and can also see the food better.

Restaurants should do something with these results, she said in the newspaper. “Chefs want their dishes to be served in the best possible conditions.” She herself, at any rate, switches the light on more often when she eats.

UM is growing, but not so fast

It was quite a shock for everyone who is already concerned about the shortage of rooms. Last week, De Limburger wrote that Maastricht University is expecting 40 thousand students in a few years’ time. Things won’t be as extreme as that, the UM wrote on Twitter, hoping to rectify what was said in the news article. What will the number of students be then?

“In the most realistic prognosis, we are expecting a growth of 25 to 26 thousand students in the next five years,” spokesperson Koen Augustijn informed us in an e-mail. Some of those will not come to Maastricht, but to the study programmes in Venlo.

The past few years, the UM has grown more quickly, partly because it has set up the Faculty of Science and Engineering and new bachelor’s programmes. Even though the university wants to keep adding new study programmes, there are no plans for big steps. “That is why we expect the growth to level off”, says Augustijn.

He emphasises that the numbers are estimates and not set in stone. The UM has previously noticed that things can go different than expected. While the proposal by the then rector Luc Soete to grow to 25 thousand students was rejected in 2012, the UM is already well on its way towards that figure with an expected 22 thousand students this year.

Not high-skilled, but what then?

Political parties Bij1 and the BoerBurgerBeweging want to ban the terms ‘low-skilled’ and ‘high-skilled’, reports the Higher Education Press Agency. Last week, the parties submitted a motion to abolish the terms, “so that people with whatever kind of education always feel valued”. But what should we say then?

Bij1 and BBB suggest ‘practice-trained’ for intermediate vocational education (MBO), ‘theoretically trained’ for higher professional education (HBO), and ‘academically trained’ for universities (WO). But Prime Minister Rutte doesn’t agree. “In MBO, there are also theoretically trained people and in HBO, there are people who have had practical training,” he said during the debate. "Academic training is very theoretical, except of course when you train to be a doctor. That is very practical.”

The Ministry of Education has been wrestling with this matter for some time. In 2019, minister Van Engelshoven told Radio 1 programme Spraakmakers that the terms higher and lower education hardly ever appear in policy documents. If it is included, the document will be returned. The minister did not say which alternative terms the civil servants use.