Hemker’s brains

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 12:45

“I remember a sign in your room that says, ‘Science is difficult, people are impossible’.” “That’s right,” chuckles Coen Hemker, “a gift from my professor in Oxford.” Anecdotes and memories tumble over one another in the discussion about the PhD training of Marja van Dieijen, professor of Clinical Chemistry and president of MUMC +. In January 1981, she earned her PhD under professor emeritus of Biochemistry, Coen Hemker, who at 82 is still knee-deep in science.


Vic Bonke was succeeded in 1991 by Job Cohen. Cohen served two terms as rector until 1998, interrupted by his appointment as state secretary for Education and Science between 1993 and 1995. It was Maastricht University’s first rector, the educationalist Wynand Wijnen, who brought Cohen into contact with UM. At the time Cohen was working at Leiden’s educational research centre and found his interest piqued by Problem-Based Learning (PBL). One thing led to another and, in 1981, Cohen moved to Maastricht to establish the law faculty.


The collectors

Tuesday, 07 June 2016 14:18

From the moment you step inside, it is clear you’ve entered the domain of collectors. Law professors René de Groot and Hildegard Schneider collect everything from old books, shells, ostrich eggs and fossils to textiles and old-fashioned crocheting. But their special passion is reserved for non-European art and utensils: over the last 35 years, they have amassed an overwhelming collection of tribal art. “We’re not great at setting limits”, says De Groot. “That’s a nice quote, isn’t it?”


Social in heart and mind

In People
Thursday, 05 February 2015 12:43

Her parents founded the Michelin star restaurant De Echoput in Apeldoorn, now run by her brother. As a child she helped out by washing dishes, and from the age of 14 she ran the souvenir shop with her sister. She learned from her parents the value of hard work and independence. “And from my father I learned to be authentic. To stand up for your beliefs and stay true to yourself.” Rather than follow her brother into the family business, she decided to spread her wings. Now professor of Social Law specialising in labour and social security law, Saskia Klosse was appointed to the Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER) in August.  


He’s a lumberjack and he’s OK

Wednesday, 17 September 2014 09:51
Isn’t that just always the way it goes: now that the photographer and the interviewer are watching you work, the chainsaw doesn’t want to start. After a few attempts, the shrill sound at last cuts through the silence of the village of Wahlwiller. The professor lowers the saw into one of the many tree trunks lying ready to be cut into chunks. Soon after, his axe whizzes down with deadly accuracy: chop! Chop! CHOP!! With every stroke, Professor Albert Scherpbier clears his mind. “And then lighting the fire – that’s just fun.”

A porcelain vase for a regiment

Thursday, 06 February 2014 10:47

During his PhD in chemistry in Utrecht, Thomas Cleij could only process his research data in the lab at night; by day, the equipment was being used. That meant killing time until the data had been processed. Out of boredom, he would surf the internet. In 1997 that was a lesser beast than it is today. Amazon and Ebay were still in their infancy – and for Cleij, that was no bad thing. He became one of the first sellers of antique Chinese and Japanese porcelain on the internet.


Excessive alcohol consumption fosters risk behaviour and addiction. But government action is often a long time coming, observe addiction researchers Ronald Knibbe and Dike van de Mheen. Health services for alcoholics may have greatly improved, but they are no substitute for changing drinking behaviour and preventing alcoholism in the first place. And until the government takes action, researchers must stay on its case.


“We were adults in miniature”

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:14

The three gowns – two red ones from Maastricht University and a black one from the University of Amsterdam – are lugged along in grocery bags for the photo session. It’s not often that three brothers, born into a middle-class family, all become professors. “True. But you might do better to ask why only three of the seven of us became professors”, jokes the oldest of the three. Gynaecologist Jan Nijhuis (UM), psychologist Frans Nijhuis (UM) and cultural scientist Ton Nijhuis (now UvA, but formerly of UM) talk about injustice, courage and long hair.


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