The hunt for sound

In Culture
Wednesday, 21 December 2005 00:00

Maastricht contribution to Battle of the Universities

It is distinctly quiet in the corridor outside her office. From time to time the windows tremble in their grooves, when two floors down someone uses the main entrance. Otherwise you only hear the voice of Prof. Dr. Karin Bijsterveld, who is making a phone call, while her door is ajar. Bijsterveld, sound historian at Universiteit Maastricht, studies sound related to the technological development of sound equipment. Her article ‘What Do I Do with My Tape Recorder…?: sound hunting and the sounds of everyday Dutch life in the 1950s and 1960s’ is the basis for participation of the ‘Bijsterveld Team’ in the Battle of the Universities, where they represent Universiteit Maastricht.

The gothic novel and hidden conflict

In Culture
Tuesday, 19 July 2005 00:00

Agnes Andeweg relates literature to society

Since the 11th of September and the murders on the maverick politician Pim Fortuyn and the film maker Theo Van Gogh, the Netherlands has embarked on a quest to redefine its identity. The Dutch ask themselves whether they are as modern and enlightened as they had always thought, - and what these notions actually mean. Dutch society is faced with an identity conflict. Such conflicts are discussed in the public debate, but are also represented in literature, in particular in the gothic novel. Agnes Andeweg, of the Centre for Gender and Diversity at Maastricht University, researches the relationship between literature and society in Dutch gothic novels of the past 25 years.

Alternative medicine, quackery and the right to treat

Homeopathy, acupuncture, faith healing: is it quackery or alternative medicine? Should the patient be protected against it or should the citizen be free to make his own choice between alternative or regular medicine? A dilemma that is a regular topic of public debate. The chairman of the Association against Quackery, for example, who recently received his doctorate, is very clear in his opinion that alternative treatments are nonsense and that qualified doctors who lean toward the alternative are absolutely dangerous. In 2001, actress Sylvia Millecam died from the consequences of breast cancer. After her disease had been diagnosed, she chose the alternative circuit. She received treatment from about 28 alternative healers, one of whom was Jomanda. This choice, and the death that followed, set off once again the debate about the freedom that alternative practitioners have under the Individual Health Care Professions Act (Wet BIG/Wet Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg). The Health Care Inspectorate wants criminal proceedings against Jomanda, although Sylvia’s parents have explicitly asked to let the matter rest, since Sylvia consciously chose for alternative medicine. Historical research by Dr. Frank Huisman, attached to the department of History in the Faculty of Arts and Culture, shows that eighty years ago there was a similar debate in the Netherlands about the legal position of alternative medicine.

Light poetry with a melancholic undertone

In Culture
Thursday, 09 September 2004 00:00

Biography on the paradoxical Limburg poet Pierre Kemp

He lived in Maastricht practically all his life. And in those years hardly anything spectacular happened to change the daily routine. Always dressed soberly in black he spent most of his days writing figures in notebooks with squared paper. A civil servant, who daily took the train from Maastricht to his work as a wages administrator for the coal mine Laura in Eygelshoven. On the face of it, the life of poet Pierre Kemp seems little interesting. Not in any sense would Kemp remind you of the flamboyant, artistic bohemian that is usually associated with poetic licence. And yet, he is one of the biggest poets of the Netherlands. For his poems he received amongst others the P.C. Hooft award. Kusters: "His real life may not have been very interesting, but his imaginary world was all the more worthwhile. That was a world full of amazement about small and everyday things. Pierre Kemp's life was a world of imagination. His biography will therefore be more a reflection of his intellectual and emotional existence."

Not afraid of uncertainty

In Society
Wednesday, 30 June 2004 00:00

”Uncertainty can be the basis of better decision making”

The RMNO serves as an advisory board for the government and brokers knowledge between science, policy-making and society. "A club of grey-haired, wise men," Marjolein van Asselt states jokingly. "Together with one young whippersnapper in tow! Me, in other words. We do good work in the council. Thinking about uncertainty, for example, and how it could provide insight in dealing with new risks."

How does Europe handle risks?

In Culture
Monday, 28 June 2004 00:00

Brussels hardly follows enforcement European directives

Directives for the implementation of European policy are set up by the European Commission. They are binding, but national governments are free to decide how they want to realize the transposition into national legislation. Dr. Esther Versluis, university lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Culture studies the question what ultimately happens on the national level with European directives. "Particularly the enforcement style turns out to be very different from one country to another. Not every country has a tradition of strict control and enforcement. This difference will only increase with the accession of the new Eastern European member states to the EU," says Versluis.

Where is the A2 tunnel?

In Culture
Friday, 02 April 2004 00:00

International interest in ‘obduracy’ of urban structures

At the end of the eighties, the city of Utrecht decided to rebuild shopping centre Hoog Catharijne. Years later, Amsterdam wanted to start a large renovation of the Bijlmer district and ever since the seventies, Maastricht has had plans to tunnel the A2 motorway that runs through town. Every one of them ambitious projects that came to hardly anything in practice. According to Arts and Culture scientist dr. Anique Hommels urban renovation is often a tricky problem. "Once a city is built, a sort of ‘hardening’ of the existing architecture and infrastructure seems to occur, which makes it very difficult to change. An intriguing phenomenon."

How new Dutchmen enrich the culture

In Culture
Thursday, 19 February 2004 00:00

Series of books about culture and migration in the Netherlands

The influence of migrant streams in the past century on Dutch culture is indelible. Prof.dr. Maaike Meijer, professor of Women’s and Gender studies and director of the Centre for Gender and Diversity of Universiteit Maastricht, is the general editor of a surprising series of books about Culture and Migration in the Netherlands. The first book, titled ‘Kunsten in Beweging 1900-1980, was published in October 2003. The sequel to this volume (the period from 1980 until now) is expected in May of this year. The complete series of five volumes describes how the Dutch culture has changed by the arrival of new Dutchmen and it gives a unique picture of the past century. The series was published with financial support of the ‘Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds’.

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