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The 40 of Limburg

A group of UM professors, staff, students and relations opened the ’40 of Limburg’ route last Friday, which is a bike route through the hills of Limburg to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Maastricht University. The route is open for everyone so you can explore the hills in Limburg yourself!

The 40 of Limburg link

Here’s a piece written by sports journalist Robin van der Kloor who shares his experience in the peloton that opened the ’40 of Limburg’ route.

Text: Robin van der Kloor
Translation and Photography: Brian Megens

Photo by: Brian Megens Photography (www.brianmegens.com)

Among Professors (in lycra)
What do you talk about when you find yourself solely among scientists on a bike, for example, during a bike ride through the hills of Limburg in celebration of the UM 40th birthday? Must one talk about the regenerative medicines when you want to start a conversation with a scientist, who is let’s say the Tom Dumoulin of the UM?

A peloton of professors, researchers, students, teachers and doctors, all of whom are riding in lycra. Last Friday, an interesting mix of ‘UM people’ or ‘UM related people’ rode on the small, beautiful roads of South-Limburg. Some of them were business relations, one of them a former governor, who is a member of the MSM board. That’s reasonable, but me? “What is your link with the university?” Uhm, I write articles for a newspaper and for some time education was in my portfolio and now I write on cycling a lot. Is that a valid argument? “Uhm, I don’t think so”.

At a break in Gulpen, a young man entered the inn heavily sweating. He had missed the start at UM Sport due to a tire that blew up and he had to chase our group for over 50k. A sort of hide and seek with the peloton as on every point he was just too late or had already left when we reached it. Luckily, he can push the pedals quite well, he almost made it to professional cycling and he is also a former world top youth darts player, good for him as elsewise he probably wouldn’t have survived his road to unification with our group. We call him ‘the Talent’.

The Scientist meets the Talent, who decided to ride on a fixed gear (he thought it was fun, but I could only think: why?), the conversation didn’t focus on muscle tissue recovery, but on ‘giving it all’, watts, 40-20s and its use. During the evening, the Scientist saw that he had managed to get 4 KOM’s in his age category. Whatever that might be. His Strava profile is impressive by the way. He tends to ride 250k on average a week, a true cycling fanatic.

Impressive was also the former governor, whom I had never seen on a bike, but soon I couldn’t imagine him without one. Entwined on his hybrid bike, attacking on his climb like it was his last. To me, I witnessed a transformation going from politician to a cyclist from the early days. During the ride his posture got rougher, his hair wilder, his chain dryer, and his eyes more red. For a long time he missed the mud to become the true ‘laborer of the road’. He changed that immediately by pulling his front brake too hard to safely land on the grass of the Molenberg. There he lied, our Wim van Est.

Every now and then it seemed to be a chaotic Friday afternoon, with people from all different sport levels brought together on a bike to ride the ’40 of Limburg’, that turned out to be only 14 for us. Due to the organization, the motards, the people of UM Sport, and above all special guest, Hennie Kuiper. Against all laws of physics was the former World Champion of cycling present at several spots in the peloton at the same time. While he was instructing the guys at the front, he was also giving tips to the slower cyclists at the back (hands on the brakes, switch gears before the hills not on it), while also showing his fans how to ride to the front of the bunch by using the motors. A person with a high dosage of self-knowledge and humbleness. A man that can talk about himself for over half an hour without it becoming the ‘Hennie Kuiper Show’.

Also the maker of the route (what a one it became) deserves compliments. His claims that the UM is a place wherein the strong drive the weak to improve is true. Although the American woman gave the impression of quitting after the first hill, also she rolled back to Maastricht 4 hours later together with the group. Partially, because of her Transatlantic perseverance, partially because of the help by students, who by the way had to leave right after the ride as they had a 175k relay run to do. A cohesion like this is rarely found among the average leisure cyclists.

“What are you doing here?”, is a question I got asked again, this time during the pasta meal where I saw the former governor serving himself pasta like he just finished Bordeaux-Paris, which in his perception he probably did. Yet again I did not know how to respond. “But who invited you?” I pointed towards the Communication guy, who despite the sun and 18 degrees was wearing winter gloves all the time, also during the pasta meal. Not really a credible alibi. Until now, although I had an amazing day, it is not clear to me why I was there, maybe to write this?

Photo by: Brian Megens Photography (www.brianmegens.com)

Robin van der Kloor

Origineel, Nederlands:

Onder professoren (in lycra)

Waar praat je over als je je tussen louter wetenschappers begeeft op een fiets, bijvoorbeeld tijdens een toertocht door het Heuvelland ter ere van de veertigste verjaardag van de UM? Moet het gaan over regeneratieve medicijnen als je met een onderzoeker, laten we zeggen de Tom Dumoulin van de UM, een gesprek wilt aanknopen?

Een peloton van professoren, onderzoekers, studenten, docenten en artsen. En dat allemaal in lycra. Een bont gezelschap zocht vrijdag de mooie, smalle, soms zelfs onverharde weggetjes op. Enkele zakelijke relaties waren erbij, vooruit. Een oud-gouverneur, die in de Raad van Toezicht van de MSM zit. Moet kunnen. En ik. “En wat is jouw link met de universiteit?” Ehm, ik ben stukjesschrijver bij een krant en had ooit onderwijs in mijn portefeuille en nu wielrennen. Telt dat? “Ehm, nee.”

Bij de pauze in Gulpen kwam een bezwete jongeman de herberg binnengewandeld. Door een klapband miste hij de start bij UM Sport en probeerde vervolgens vijftig kilometer lang onze groep bij te halen, maar op elk punt was hij net te laat. Het scheelt dat hij hard kan fietsen – hij had het bijna tot beroepswielrenner geschopt en is overigens meervoudig Nederlands jeugdkampioen darten, maar dat terzijde –, anders had hij deze tantaluskwelling waarschijnlijk niet overleefd. We noemen hem het Talent.

De Onderzoeker ontdekte het Talent, dat besloot mee te rijden op een fixie (vond ie leuk, maar ik dacht alleen maar: waarom?) en het ging niet over weefselherstel, maar over ‘diep gaan’, wattages, de 40-20’s en het nut ervan. Het Talent concludeerde: het menselijk lichaam kan veel meer aan dan we denken. ‘s Avonds op Strava stelde de Onderzoeker tevreden vast dat hij ‘vier leeftijdskommetjes’ had gepakt. Wat dat ook moge zijn. Zijn Strava-profiel is indrukwekkend, trouwens. Hij rijdt per week minimaal 250 kilometer. De Onderzoeker is een trainingsbeest, in wielerjargon.

Imposant was ook de Oud-gouverneur, die ik nog nooit op een fiets had gezien, maar die ik me al snel niet anders dan fietsend kon voorstellen. Gebeiteld op zijn hybride attaqueerde hij elke meter omhoog alsof het zijn laatste was. Voor mijn ogen zag ik de Oud-gouverneur transformeren van politicus tot coureur van de oude stempel. Gedurende de rit werd zijn houding robuuster, zijn haren wilder, zijn ketting droger, zijn ogen roder. Waar in zijn poging om de eretitel ‘slaaf van de weg’ te bemachtigen het slijk op zijn lijf lange tijd ontbrak, bracht hij daar eigenhandig verandering in door vlak voor het einde iets te rigoureus in zijn voorrem te knijpen en in het gras van de Molenweg te duiken. Verdomd, daar lag Wim van Est.

Bij tijd en wijle leek het een redelijk chaotische vrijdagmiddag, een berg los zand in het Heuvelland. De 40 van Limburg bleken er 14 te zijn, het niveauverschil was aanzienlijk en er reden wat exoten mee van wie je je kunt afvragen wat zij in dat mooie shirt deden. Maar er was voldoende lijm aanwezig: de motards, de mensen van UM Sport en bovenal Hennie Kuiper. Geheel tegen de natuurwetten in was de oud-renner op meerdere plekken aanwezig op hetzelfde moment. Tegelijkertijd kon hij de voorsten mennen, de onwetenden onderwijzen (“handen aan de remmen”, “lichter schakelen voor de helling, niet erop.”) en de wielerfans demonstreren hoe je tussen de motards naar voren rijdt. Bezitter van een zeer plezierige dosis zelfkennis en bescheidenheid. Een man die een half uur over zichzelf kan praten zonder dat het de Hennie Kuiper-show wordt.

Ook de routemaker (fraaie ronde!) verdient een pluim. Zijn bewering ‘bij de UM maken de beteren de zwakkeren sterker’ klopte helemaal. Waar de Amerikaanse al na een helling de indruk wekte te willen afstappen, rolde ook zij vier uur later Maastricht binnen, in de groep. Deels door haar transatlantische onverzettelijkheid, deels door de duwtjes in de rug van studenten die – hoe is het in godsnaam mogelijk – meteen naar Nijmegen doorreisden om een 175 kilometer lange estafetterace te lopen. Zulke cohesie kom ik bij wielertoeristen zelden tegen.

“Wat doe jij hier eigenlijk?”, werd mij opnieuw gevraagd, dit maal bij het avondeten waar de Oud-gouverneur pasta stapelde alsof hij zojuist Bordeaux-Parijs had gereden (had ie ook, dat kon je zo zien). Weer had ik geen passend antwoord klaar. “Maar wie heeft je uitgenodigd dan?” Ik wees naar de Communicatieman, die ondanks de zon en 18 graden de hele rit dikke winterhandschoenen droeg en er ook pasta mee at. Niet bepaald een geloofwaardig alibi. Nu nog, ook al heb ik een zeer plezierige dag beleefd, is mij niet helemaal duidelijk waarom ik daar was. Om dit stukje te schrijven misschien.

Photo: Brian Megens

My Way to Make Money with Yagmur Masmas of aGreenStory

As bills don’t pay themselves an income is required, some obtain it by working for a wage, others by starting up their own business and some are so talented that they can make an income out of their hobby. In this column ‘My Way to Make Money’ we interview a student or a university employee about their job or business and ask them questions about how they experience their work. This week we interview Yagmur Masmas, the budding entrepreneur from aGreenStory. Although a UCM student, she is currently doing her minor at Wageningen University. She has been fortunate and talented enough to make a living out of her passion and establishing her own company. Yagmur has featured in a number of competitions in Maastricht and beyond, and has talked about aGreenStory on a number of platforms. 

My company is…
A supplier of sustainable office stationery and supplies and other accessories such laptop bags. People also use our products as promotion gifts for their company so we also do custom made orders for organisations. We sell our products online through our webshop and we deliver them to the customers via our pick-up services at university campuses, but we also join various fairs and markets.

My job is…
I’m in charge of customer service. My number and e-mail are on the website and I reply to people’s inquiries, like for example, students asking about the pick-up service or a company asking a quotation on a bulk order. I do part of the website, but this part is something my co-founder and I do together. I keep the website updates, take pictures of the products, write the text and deal with the SEO (search engine optimisation). For a long time, I did social media but now some interns have temporarily taken over that. I also coordinate the pick-up points, making sure everything goes well.

I also analyse in which ways our products are sustainable, so before we launch a new article, I do the research into the sustainability aspects. Sometimes you can find some of these details online like part of it is made of recycled materials, but then some information is missing, for example how much water is used. Quite often, the producers only state the good things and not the others and that counts. It’s a tough thing to do so it’s important to develop a personal relationship with the suppliers.

My company started…
Officially, last February when Sander (my co-founder) and I decided to work on it together, but the idea already started when I was in high school. I was looking for exercise books, but sustainable ones, and I could only find really expensive products. I thought that was ridiculous so I searched a bit further. In the end, I ended up doing a pilot in my high school with a little shop. We were fantasising it with friends on whether we could sell it in the whole of the Netherlands, but back then I didn’t have the knowledge and skills to make it happen yet.

Photo: Brian Megens

Yagmur of a GreenStory

A regular day at work looks like…
Me working everywhere. I travel a lot so I often work in trains or buses. My work is not structured so even during class, I’d be replying to e-mails. I would say I spend half of my time studying and the other half for aGreenStory, taking into account that during holidays I work full-time.

The thing that makes the job hard is…
That it’s very difficult to plan my time.

The main reason for choosing this job is…
Firstly because I thought it was missing in the Dutch market, and I’m in the position to fill it in. I’m also intrinsically motivated to contribute to sustainability and I like talking about it in different events. It helps that the work is flexible, so during exam weeks, I can devote my time to studying.

I didn’t expect..
For long distance collaboration to work. At first, I wasn’t sure about working with people from far away but for us, it works. Also, I didn’t expect how because we are a sustainable company, people are more critical of our practices. So for example, the delivery of our products are not 100% sustainable, but we’re working on it.

My goal for the next years…
Is to work on it full-time. Over the next few years, I hope to have an aGreenStory line so our own products designed by us in stores and to have a number of regular company customers who have integrated the practices of refilling pens and so on, instead of buying new articles. I’m also working on having the whole business process 100% sustainable, from the products itself to the delivery. We’re launching a new website in 2016 so I’m really excited about that too.

I love my job because…
Of the team, it’s a great and motivated team! I’m very happy to be doing something positive to make the world a little bit better. It’s also a nice feeling when you get positive feedbacks from the customers, that feeling of satisfaction.

 

Summer Internship Kuala Lumpur

Some people travel to the other part of the globe during the summer holiday, some choose to stay at home and work, while others combine both by doing an internship at the other side of the world. Last Summer, Karissa Atienza, our new social media reporter and blogger, did an internship at the Embassy of the Philippines in Kuala Lumpur. We asked her how she experienced her summer working and living in a new country.

Embassy Philippines Kuala Lumper Summer Internship 2015

Karissa with the H.E. Philippine Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya.

 

How does an average day looks like?
There was no such thing as an average day! Everyday was different, and that really was part of the charm. I’m always pleasantly surprised about the work the Ambassador gives me, the events I attend, and the people I meet. Normally, my work start at 9 am but I usually arrive earlier as there was always someone who cooks at home, brings in the food and we’d have breakfast together. Mondays are an exception as we start at 8.30 am because of the flag raising ceremony. In general, the mornings start easier, but as the afternoon starts, everyone shifts up a gear and doesn’t go home until work is done. In theory, I finish at 6 pm but my colleagues and I stay for another hour or so and when there are events, we don’t go until it finishes.

Embassy Philippines Kuala Lumpur Internship Summer 2015

How do you like Kuala Lumpur?
KL is a great city to live in. As a metropolis, you see all sorts of people from all walks of life from a number of different countries practicing various religions. Malaysia is notorious for the amazing street food! Jalan Alor, a famous food street in KL, is considered touristy but I can assure you that it’s a must if you’re ever in town. Various restaurants serving different cuisines sprawl along Jalan Alor. I especially love Fried Butter Prawn, Kangkong Belacan and Coconut ice-cream. I’d also recommend Chicken Fish, (yes, it’s called chicken fish).
I have to admit that I never really had much idea about domestic Malaysian politics but while working for the Philippines Embassy, I really got an insight into the state of Malaysian politics and the struggles that are going on in the country.

Streets of Kuala Lumpur

What does your function entail?
I worked for the Philippines Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. As a student intern, I was exposed to different sections in the embassy. These are the Political Section, the Economic, Cultural, and Information (ECI) Section, and the Consular section. In the Political Section, I would write reports on what’s happening in Malaysia and how this affects the Philippines politically, or the hundred of thousands of citizens living and/or working in Malaysia. I also attended a number of events, such as when I worked as part of the Philippine delegation to the 48th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and other related meetings, which was attended by a number of Foreign Ministers. In the ECI Section, I attended events such as the Opening Ceremony for the ASEAN Exhibition where I dressed up in traditional Filipino attire called Filipiniana. I also attended briefing sessions on cultural events and drafted reports afterwards. For the Consular Section, I did administrative work like processing passport and visa applications. I also went to Sabah to join the regular consular mission there and to court hearings of convicted Filipinos in Malaysia.

Embassy Philippines Kuala Lumper Summer Internship 2015

What do you consider a highlight in your internship?
I consider two highlights of my internship. First is the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. It was definitely a highlight as the event is one of the highest-level of politics in Asia, especially in South East Asia. I also felt proud to be part of the Philippine delegation and assist them in the event where they had bilaterel meetings with countries such as the EU, USA and Russia. It’s quite amazing for me, especially as I’ve been studying about these people in my Bachelor and my participation in MUNs. It’s embarrassing to admit, but there were a number of times where I was starstrucked. I saw the likes of Julie Bishop (she had amazing shoes) the Australian Foreign Minister, and Federica Mogherini, the EU High Commissioner. I even managed to take a personal souvenir of the event; I took a picture of the EU High Commissioner shaking hands with the Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Albert del Rosario, at the start of their bilateral meeting.
I also consider the consular mission to Sabah a highlight of my internship. The situation in Sabah is extremely complicated that despite a huge majority of Filipinos living and/or working there, the Philippines is unable to set up a mission to provide for them due to political difficulties. That’s why the Embassy arranges a consular mission every two to three weeks to visit the different parts of Sabah, and once a year or so, Sarawak. Sabah and Sarawak form the two Malaysian states in Borneo. The trip was an eye-opening experience and extremely humbling. We encountered a number of people who had travelled the evening before via bus to reach the mission in Kota Kinabalu in the early morning and were in a hurry to leave in order to reach their home before the curfew had started. There was also a time where a mother of one of our applicants came to the mission stating that her son had been arrested by the police for his lack of proper documentation.

What did you not expect to do in this work field?
There’s a stereotype of diplomats, that they have easy hours and dinner parties all the time. I experienced that working at an embassy is tough and that yes, there are dinner parties but you always have to be prepared as you’re representing your country. Diplomatic parties and events are actually extras to your work. So to say, they’re on top of whatever normal work you do but it’s a must to attend. As one of my colleagues said, it’s not the event itself but the people you meet.

Embassy Philippines Kuala Lumper Summer Internship 2015

What do you like most about your work?
The people, they were supportive and made work fun. It was an honour to work under Ambassador Malaya and the whole KLPE team. There were a lot of laughs. They actually thought I didn’t know how to speak Filipino so they were surprised when they met me and heard me speak Filipino with a strong provincial accent. There was also a lot of Filipino food! Eating all together is very typical in our culture so it felt quite home.

Embassy Philippines Kuala Lumpur Internship Summer 2015

What has the hardest thing been in your work?
The work is quite unpredictable, you never know what’s going to happen next or when you’d manage to go home that day but I was quite eager to do as much as I can during my time there, so it wasn’t an issue.

Do you want to pursue work in this field?
It’s on the top of my career list! I find the work tough, it never really stops. There’s no such thing as a strict 9-6 working hours or weekends, but the work is dynamic, interesting, and best of all, fulfilling.

Embassy Philippines Kuala Lumper Summer Internship 2015

If so, how is your next study choice affected by it?
The great thing with diplomacy is that you don’t necessarily need to be an expert in one particular field but rather knowledgeable in a number of subjects so there’s no strict academic requirement.

Embassy Philippines Kuala Lumper Summer Internship 2015

Embassy Philippines Kuala Lumper Summer Internship 2015

Photography: Brian Megens

Opening MyMaastricht.com

Opening MyMaastricht

© Brian Megens

Yesterday the website www.mymaastricht.com was officially launched. MyMaastricht.com aims at informing international students about life in Maastricht and the Netherlands. The website contains information varying from when the garbage is to be collected to sports & events. Check it out yourself and find everything you need to know about living in Maastricht!
About the opening, there was champagne and food, so yes it was a success!

Opening MyMaastricht

© Brian Megens

The Ultimate Guide to Dutch Style

So you are living in the Netherlands? Want to fit in/be cool etc etc? Well this is exactly what you need. The clear, essential and user-friendly: Ultimate Guide to Dutch Style.




The ‘Kakker’  (posh kids, well turned out)

 





Girls

 

Knee High Leather boots or plimsols

Jeans

White long-sleeved

Red leather laptop

Long natural (not dyed, maybe a
ponytail)


Hockey Stick MandatoryBoys

 

Brown leather formal shoes/all stars

Jeans with biggish brown belt

Striped shirt, unbuttoned a little (tucked into jeans?)

Brown leather bag (or hockey bag) and big watch

Long hair ‘Dutch style’ (ie. Too much gel, and flipped over to one side)

Hockey Stick Mandatory (possibly golfing gear too)

 

 

 

 

Sjonnys or ‘New Kids’ (chav-ish)

Girls

 

Black Shiny Nicholson Jacket (with furryhood)

Jeans

Moped

Lots of bling

CapBoys

 

Black or White Shiny Nicholson Jacket (fur optional)

‘Pimp’ Jeans

Moped

Big trainers

Cap

 

 

Field notes for non-Dutchies:

Many Dutch people find the following things undesirable:

– Make-up on girls (or guys!)

– High-Waisted Skirts

– Bouffant/Bee-hive hair on girls

 

and the following desirable:

– Simple jeans and t-shirt

– leather jackets on girls

– 1950s-style college sweaters (think American sororities/’Grease’)

– Hair gel for guys