Secondary schools to reopen, no changes for higher education

Secondary schools to reopen, no changes for higher education

High schools and secondary vocational schools are to reopen for at least one day per week from March 1 on, outgoing prime minister Mark Rutte has announced. For universities, things will stay the same: they can only continue with on-site exams and practical classes.
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24 February om 10:10 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 24 February 2021
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Rutte said in Tuesday evening’s press conference that the Netherlands has reached a phase in which ‘we’re prepared to take a bit more of a risk’ and acknowledged that school is important for teenagers not only in terms of education, but also ’socially and emotionally’.

Hairdressers and non-essential stores

The curfew will be extended until March 15, but Rutte did announce a relaxation of a few other coronavirus measures. As of March 3, non-essential shops will be allowed to receive customers by appointment, provided that there will be a maximum of two shoppers per floor and every customer will have a time slot of at least ten minutes. You can book your slot four hours in advance. 

Contact-based professionals such as hairdressers and masseurs can also resume their work from that date, but only by appointment.  

From March 3, all young people up to twenty-seven years old can train in groups and play team sports again, outside. Formal competitions remain prohibited, though. 

Neglecting the rules

Rutte warned that a quarter of people who test positive still neglect the rules of self-isolation, which he denounced as dangerous and ‘potentially life-threatening’. That is why everyone’s behaviour counts for the further relaxation of restrictions, he said. 

The government will reassess the situation on March 8 to decide which restrictions should be followed from March 16 on.

Tuition for non-EU students has almost doubled in some cases

‘Internationals aren’t a money-making opportunity’

Tuition for non-EU students has almost doubled in some cases

The institutional tuition fees at the UG have increased by a lot over the past ten years. That was unavoidable, says the university: the Dutch government wants fees for non-EU students to cover the actual cost of their education.

23 February om 17:23 uur.
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om 13:26 uur.
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23 February om 17:23 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 24 February 2021
om 13:26 uur.

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Last modified on February 24, 2021
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If you’re not from the EU or the European Economic Area and you want to do a master’s degree at the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) this autumn, you’ll have to dig deep into your pockets: you’ll be paying 18,500 euros in tuition fees. In 2011, master students at FSE ‘only’ paid 9,600 euros, which means the current fees increased by 93 percent. A bachelor’s degree now costs 57 percent more: up from 9,400 euros to 14,800 euros. 

At other faculties – excluding the medical faculty, which has kept its fee at 32,000 euros for years – you’ll pay 45 percent more in fees if you’re doing a bachelor as opposed to ten years ago – 6,900 to 10,000 euros – and 66 to 81 percent more for a master, according to UG data.   

Statutory tuition fee

In comparison, the statutory tuition fee for EU students who haven’t yet received their master’s degree has gone from 1,713 to 2,168 euros in that period, an increase of less than 27 percent.

Every year, the Dutch government determines the tuition fees for EU students. EU students are subsidised; they don’t pay the actual cost of their education. If you’re not from the EU, it’s different: educational institutes can decide for themselves what your tuition will be. The UG decides on an amount after consultation with the university council.

Can’t be helped

According to spokesperson Riepko Buikema with the UG, the increase of the institutional fees can’t be helped. ‘The Dutch government has charged universities to make sure tuition fees for non-EU students cover the cost of their education’, he says. ‘The UG has been implementing the increase in steps. The cost-effective fee will be reached in the academic year 2021-2022.’ 

As of 2022-2023, both the statutory fee and the institutional fee will be indexed by the same percentage annually, Buikema explains.  

University council

The Vrije Student faction in the university council stands with the university, says chair David Jan Meijer. If the money from non-EU students would no longer cover the rising costs of their education, Dutch taxpayers would be responsible for compensating them, he explains.

But DAG and Lijst Calimero are critical. ‘Seeing the rise in student numbers and that the university is not hiring as many teachers to match that, I do not see how costs could have increased this much’, says Ivi Kussmaul, faction chair for DAG.

Calculating costs

How do you calculate the cost of one non-EU student? According to Buikema, it can’t be done. ‘The differences between studies are too big’, he says. ‘An arts student doesn’t cost the same as a medical student.’

The cost-effective fee is calculated based on the total number of students, the tuition fees, and the total contribution from the government, Buikema explains. ‘Compared to other universities, our fees have not changed significantly over the past two years. We remain in the mid-range.’

Free education

Nevertheless, Lijst Calimero isn’t ready to give up just yet. ‘I already raised the matter of the fast increase in fees earlier, and the board will speak to the ministry of Education and VSNU to see whether there are more universities with this problem’, says faction chair Rozemarijn Gierkink. 

‘International students shouldn’t be seen as a money-making machine for the university’, says Kussmaul. ‘All students should pay the same, or an amount based on their financial situation. And, ideally, we want education to ultimately be free for everyone.’

Curfew to remain in effect until appeal on Friday (UPDATE)

Curfew to remain in effect until appeal on Friday (update)

The curfew in the Netherlands will remain in effect for now, the Court of Appeal decided on Tuesday evening. Earlier that day, a lower court ruled that the government was wrong to impose a curfew using its emergency powers and that the measure should be lifted immediately.
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February 16 at 17:00 PM.
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om 22:38 uur.

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The Court of Appeal said that the government’s interest was greater than that of Viruswaarheid, the anti-lockdown group that brought the plea to end the curfew to court. The curfew will now remain in effect until the appeal on Friday.

The nationwide measure was imposed under an emergency law, meaning the government didn’t need the parliament’s permission. But according to the lower court, there was no acute emergency and therefore no proper legal basis for the curfew.

The government immediately appealed the decision. At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, outgoing prime minister Mark Rutte urged people to stay at home after 9 p.m. even if the court moved forward with scrapping the curfew. The government is currently working on a new law to keep the curfew in place.

More money for free Dutch language courses

More money for free Dutch language courses

The university has increased this year’s budget for Dutch language courses at the Language Centre to 725,000 euros. That means 2,850 international students, PhDs and postdocs will be able to learn Dutch for free up to level B1.
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om 10:38 uur.
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26 January om 10:00 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 27 January 2021
om 10:38 uur.

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The UG’s contribution is up almost 125,000 euros from last year. An additional 50,000 euros has been allocated for the transition to online education. 

Even though all language classes went online due to the coronavirus regulations, there was ‘a great interest in the Dutch language courses’, the board of directors said in the institutional budget for 2021. The Language Centre will be able to teach 217 extra students Dutch this year, up from 2,633 in 2020. 

‘It’s very nice that people are interested in learning the language’, says Berna de Boer, head of the Dutch section of the Language Centre. ‘Sometimes we hear from students that they couldn’t find a slot, so now I hope as many students as possible can take the course.’  

FEB recruits help other faculties with extra minor students [correction]

FEB recruits help with extra minor students [correction]

The Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) was faced with hundreds of students this year who couldn’t do a minor abroad as planned. They couldn’t all be accommodated at FEB, so the faculty had to get creative.
25 January om 16:27 uur.
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om 20:12 uur.
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25 January om 16:27 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 26 January 2021
om 20:12 uur.

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Under normal circumstances, the 350 third-year international business bachelor students would take 30 ECTS worth of courses at partner universities abroad. But since all exchange programmes have been cancelled because of the coronavirus restrictions, FEB had to offer them a fitting alternative.

‘Not being able to complete their exchange minor was a huge issue for our students’, says Alan Muller, director of the international business bachelor. ‘They needed options in order to graduate on time.’ 

Alternative minor

During the first semester of this year, 113 students followed a minor at FEB and 45 others took courses at a different UG faculty. It wasn’t as easy the second semester, however, as there were no minors available at other faculties FEB students could join.  

The faculty does offer its own minor this coming semester, but ‘if we had to accommodate eighty or ninety students within FEB, that would be difficult’, Muller says. He had to arrange for extra courses at other faculties. ‘We are glad we didn’t have to shoulder the entire burden ourselves.’ 

In total, sixty students are taking a minor at FEB in the second semester. Thirty students signed up for a substitute minor in social psychology at the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences. ‘It was hugely popular, all thirty spots filled in no time’, says Muller.

Thirty-two students signed up for courses at the Faculty of Arts, nine at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, and eight at the Faculty of Law.

Other alternative solutions for the missed exchange include an online exchange programme or an online internship. So far, thirty students have declined the offer to pursue an alternative programme this academic year, preferring to wait for the options available next year.

This article was rewritten to reflect that FEB never planned to accommodate all students internally.

Dutch cabinet wants curfew, but needs approval of House

Dutch cabinet wants curfew, but needs approval of House

The Dutch cabinet wants to implement a national curfew, prime minister Mark Rutte announced at a press conference on Wednesday. It still needs the approval of the Lower House for that, however. The measure will be debated on Thursday.
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om 15:50 uur.
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‘Nobody wants the curfew’, said Rutte, but the cabinet feels it is a necessary measure to curb the spread of the highly contagious British mutation of the virus, known as B117. If a majority of the House agrees with the curfew, it will be in effect from January 23 until February 9.

The curfew would mean people aren’t allowed outside from 8.30 p.m. until 4.30 a.m. Those who do leave their house risk a 95 euro fine. 

Exceptions will be made for those who need to go to work and informal carers. It will also still be allowed to walk your dog. If you go out during curfew, you’ll need a signed declaration or an employer’s statement. Supermarkets will have to close earlier, too. 

One visitor per day

Other measures include a new maximum of one visitor at home per day instead of two and, starting this Monday, a maximum of fifty people at weddings and funerals. 

Rutte also announced a passenger flight ban for seventeen countries starting this Saturday, including the UK, South Africa and all of South America. This restriction will be in place until the cabinet has made new legislation for a mandatory quarantine for incoming travellers. 

Education

There are no new measures for higher education. Universities can continue to offer on-site exams and practical training. 

Lockdown extended until February 9, on-site exams can go on

Lockdown extended, on-site exams can go on

The five-week lockdown introduced for the Netherlands last month will continue until at least February 9, prime minister Mark Rutte announced at a press conference on Tuesday. In addition to the previous measures, the government is considering implementing a national curfew.
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om 9:55 uur.
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om 9:55 uur.

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Acknowledging that it is especially hard for young people to put their social life on hold, Rutte stressed that the measures cannot be relaxed. Even though the coronavirus infection numbers have finally started to drop, the spread of a highly contagious mutation of the virus, first detected in the United Kingdom, is ‘alarming’.

Curfew

In order to reduce the infection rate, the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) is now looking into the benefits of an evening curfew, which is said to minimise in-person contact. Although Rutte called it a drastic measure, he says the government will take the OMT recommendations ‘very seriously’. Whether a curfew will be implemented or not will be discussed next week, as the OMT is also still looking into alternatives.

Education

The OMT will analyse the effects of the new covid-19 variant on children. Depending on their instructions, primary schools and childcare facilities could reopen from January 25. In any case, exceptions still apply to vulnerable students and teens in their final year of high school. Universities are also still allowed to offer exams and practical training on site. 

Ask for help

All non-essential businesses and public venues will remain closed. No more than two adults are allowed to exercise together, and only outside. In general, people should go outside only when necessary and are strongly advised not to host more than two visitors per day. They are also encouraged to ask volunteers to help with groceries or walking their dog when they stay home while awaiting their test results. 

People shouldn’t book any trips until April, unless it is for highly impactful jobs or serious family circumstances.

Vaccination

‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ is gleaming thanks to vaccination, says Rutte. Since January 6, around 45,000 health care workers have been vaccinated. By the summer, everyone over sixty years old will be given a covid-19 vaccine, while the rest of the population is scheduled to be vaccinated by autumn. 

Covid costs Europeans their Dutch student benefits

The DUO building in Groningen.

No job, no DUO money

Covid costs Europeans their Dutch student benefits

The shutdown of the hospitality sector has hit international students who receive Dutch student finance hard. Without a part-time job, they lose their right to DUO benefits.
7 January om 12:52 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 11 January 2021
om 17:35 uur.
January 7 at 12:52 PM.
Last modified on January 11, 2021
at 17:35 PM.


Door Yelena Kilina

7 January om 12:52 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 11 January 2021
om 17:35 uur.

By Yelena Kilina

January 7 at 12:52 PM.
Last modified on January 11, 2021
at 17:35 PM.

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As a financially self-sufficient student, Tereza Kubistova from the Czech Republic knew that she had to work at least 56 hours per month to qualify for DUO benefits. So in addition to studying for her master’s degree in cultural geography, she had been working at a hotel 80 hours per month. But then the corona pandemic hit, and she lost both sources of income. 

The hotel closed its doors at the start of the November lockdown, and since she had an on-call contract, that meant she didn’t get any salary. When her contract ended shortly afterwards, she also lost her student finance. Hoping DUO might be lenient because of the corona crisis, she reapplied for it. ‘They told me that I cannot ask for benefits if I don’t have a job and declined my request’, she says. 

Requirements

Residents of countries in the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland who study in the Netherlands are eligible for Dutch student finance, but they do have to meet the 56-hour work requirement despite the pandemic, DUO spokesperson Martijn Grimmius says. 

In some cases, the government agency can be more flexible. ‘DUO will look at the hours worked before March 2020 and if afterwards they fall below the 56-hour limit due to corona, then the right to student finance will not lapse.’ Students do need to still have a work contract, though.

Four-month contract 

Because of these rules, Denitsa Prodanova from Bulgaria received student finance from March last year to the end of June. The journalism student had signed a four-month contract with a restaurant in early March. Just two weeks later, the restaurant had to shut down. 

‘I was really worried about losing DUO benefits because I wouldn’t get paid by the restaurant’, says Denitsa. But even though she couldn’t work any hours, she could prove with a letter from her employer that she lost her job due to the pandemic.   

Confusing 

In contrast, Tereza lost her benefits almost immediately, because her contract ended shortly after the hotel shut down. She had started her job before March and continuously worked more than 56 hours per month, but that didn’t make a difference. ‘It’s really annoying and confusing’, she says of her dealings with DUO. ‘I’ve had various answers to my questions and it feels like they are very disorganised.’ 

Hospitality jobs

Tereza has been applying for other vacancies, but even with seven years of work experience, she’s had a hard time finding another part-time job. International students often work in hospitality and so are hit doubly by the shutdown. Tereza had to turn to her parents to be able to continue with her master’s degree. 

Dealing with her money issues in addition to her studies has drained Tereza mentally, she says. She even worked with a broken arm to fulfill the required hours. ‘I was gobsmacked to learn that this is the standard students have to go through with DUO, even though they have been doing everything they can.’

Five-week lockdown in the Netherlands, online teaching only

Unis go back to online teaching only

Five-week lockdown in the Netherlands

The Netherlands will be on lockdown from December 15 until January 19, prime minister Mark Rutte announced in a live speech Monday evening. Whether the measures will be lifted afterwards will be announced on January 12.
15 December om 10:26 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 15 December 2020
om 12:25 uur.
December 15 at 10:26 AM.
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15 December om 10:26 uur.
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om 12:25 uur.

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Although he acknowledged how harsh these new measures are for everyone just days before the winter holidays, Rutte said there is no leeway anymore. The number of patients with covid-19 keeps increasing. In order to minimise in-person contact, all public venues will be closed. 

Online teaching

University buildings, schools, and daycare facilities will close as of this Wednesday, although exceptions are allowed for teens in their final year of school, vulnerable children, and those whose parents have essential jobs. That means unis will have to shift back to online classes only.

Libraries, gyms and museums must close their doors too. Outdoor sports with a maximum of two people are still allowed, and the libraries will remain open for people to exchange books.

Essential shops

All but essential shops, such as supermarkets, markets and drugstores, will also be shut down. It is not possible to visit hairdressers and other non-medical contact-based professionals until mid-January.

Hotels can remain open, but not their restaurants where many people started to eat out. In general, all catering establishments must stay closed. You can still order takeaway meals. 

Christmas

This year, the need to be together around the Christmas tree is greater than ever, said Rutte. That is why you are allowed to receive a maximum of three guests on 24, 25 and 26 December. All other days, the maximum is two guests per day, with no exception for New Year’s Eve. The maximum group size outdoors was reduced from four people to two, again.

Foreign travel

Rutte pleaded with people not to travel or book any unnecessary trips until mid-March. If you arrive in the Netherlands from a non-EU country, you will have to present a negative covid-19 test result at the airport. 

Partial lockdown continues, young people to receive 58.5 million euros

Photo Reyer Boxem

Partial lockdown continues, young people to receive 58.5 million euros

The partial lockdown in the Netherlands will continue during the festive season, prime minister Mark Rutte announced in a press conference yesterday evening.
9 December om 11:46 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 14 December 2020
om 16:55 uur.
December 9 at 11:46 AM.
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9 December om 11:46 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 14 December 2020
om 16:55 uur.

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While it means that Christmas will be different this year, the government recognises that this is a difficult time for young people.

The Youth Package of 58.5 million euros is being prepared for activities to combat corona loneliness. With the money, municipalities can organise small-scale events for and with young people during the winter holidays.

Events include sports tournaments, museum visits or, theater shows organised specifically for young people. On top of that, people up to 27 years old are allowed to participate in team sports again.

Winter holidays

Nevertheless, the number of ICU admissions is still too high. Healthcare workers are under growing pressure, so everyone should follow the basic rules. As in the weeks before, you can receive three guests per day.

Don’t forget to keep your distance, wear a face mask and shop alone even if you have no symptoms. Also, stay in quarantine if you test positive or if anyone in your household does. This way we can hope for more freedom by mid-January.

If the number of infections doesn’t drop, however, Rutte may introduce stricter measures before Christmas.

New year

From mid-January the government will start running trials for opening up society. In order to see how to safely give people more freedom, there will be carefully organised sports matches and theatre plays with more spectators.

As for vaccination, the municipal health service (GGD) will set up approximately thirty centres around the country. Care professionals working at nursing homes will be the first ones to get vaccinated in January 2021 at the earliest.

Face masks now mandatory in public buildings

Face masks now mandatory in public buildings

Wearing a face mask in public buildings is mandatory starting today. Anyone over the age of thirteen who’s caught without a mask risks a 95 euro fine.
1 December om 11:47 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 1 December 2020
om 12:36 uur.
December 1 at 11:47 AM.
Last modified on December 1, 2020
at 12:36 PM.


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1 December om 11:47 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 1 December 2020
om 12:36 uur.

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Under the new coronavirus law, face masks are required in shops, libraries, cinemas, restaurants, secondary schools, and universities, among others. However, you’re allowed to remove your mask once you’re seated. 

Both customers and staff of hair and beauty salons and other contact-based services have to wear a mask during appointments, as do driving instructors and their pupils. 

Wearing a mask on public transport has been mandatory for a few months already, but now you also have to be masked in train stations, airports, and at bus and tram stops. 

There are several exemptions to the face mask rule, though. A mask is not required if you’re unable to wear one for medical reasons. You’re also not required to wear a mask during workouts or musical and other cultural performances, or in places of worship.

Libraries and museums to reopen on Thursday

Libraries and museums to reopen on Thursday

Publicly accessible buildings like libraries, museums, and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen on 19 November, prime minister Mark Rutte announced in a press conference on Tuesday evening.
18 November om 11:31 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:22 uur.
November 18 at 11:31 AM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
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18 November om 11:31 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:22 uur.

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Swimming pools are allowed to reopen and group sports lessons may resume as well. The partial lockdown in the Netherlands will remain in place until at least mid-December, however. People are now allowed to receive three visitors per day and a maximum of four people from different households can be out in public together. Restaurants and pubs will remain closed and public events are still banned. 

Masks mandatory

Wearing face masks in public spaces will be mandatory starting December 1. Higher education students will have to wear masks around university facilities, but not in classrooms. Until now, wearing a mask has been merely ‘urgently recommended’.

Additionally, per December 1, people who are notified by the CoronaMelder tracking app or the GGD health service that they have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus will be able to get a test. They will first need to self-isolate for five days, however. If after that, the test comes back negative, they’re allowed to come out of isolation. 

Health minister Hugo de Jonge stated that there will be no mandatory vaccination against the coronavirus. ‘We will only use the vaccines if they prove to be effective and safe’, he said. Nevertheless, the government expects at least 70 percent of the population to be vaccinated. 

Holiday season 

It is still unclear what rules will be in place during the December festivities. The prime minister recommended that people shop for gifts alone and look for creative solutions in terms of home celebrations. ‘If the number of people gets too big, you can also spread out the festivities over several days’, he said. More information will follow around early December. ‘We shouldn’t give ourselves a third wave for Christmas’, added the health minister. 

Partial lockdown goes one step further, Dutch government announces

Partial lockdown goes one step further

On Tuesday evening, the Dutch government introduced stricter measures to curb the coronavirus, which will come into effect this Wednesday at 10 p.m. and will last until November 18. That’s in addition to the existing measures that will remain in place until mid-December.
4 November om 10:01 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:22 uur.
November 4 at 10:01 AM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:22 PM.


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4 November om 10:01 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:22 uur.

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Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:22 PM.

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Prime minister Rutte and health minister De Jonge have said that 25 percent more people are expected to be hospitalised this autumn compared to the first wave last spring. ‘The current peak will be lower, but it will take longer.’ In order to avoid putting additional pressure on healthcare workers and in solidarity with those in need of regular healthcare, extra measures are necessary to slow down the spread of covid-19. 

Stay home

The Dutch government calls on everyone to stay at home as much as possible, meet fewer people and have fewer large gatherings. Hence, all publicly accessible buildings, such as libraries, museums, theaters, swimming pools, zoos and amusement parks will be closed for two weeks. 

Hairdressing salons and shops will stay open, but Rutte encouraged people to avoid ‘shopping for fun.’ Recognising the importance of physical activity, the cabinet will allow gyms to remain open. However, group classes will be cancelled. 

Enforcement 

The number of people allowed to meet up in public places will be reduced from four people to two, from different households. As for house gatherings, the maximum number of visitors per day will be reduced from three to two. The government warns that illegal parties and other antisocial behaviour will be punished more strictly from now on. ‘The majority of people are following the rules, so a small group of people cannot spoil it for everyone else’, said Rutte.

In addition, the option of a regional night-time curfew will be kept open depending on the numbers of cases in the most affected provinces. 

Look after each other

‘Christmas will be different this year’, said De Jonge. ‘But we are taking these measures now, so we can celebrate it with our loved ones in December.’ Since the world map is turned entirely orange or red now, the government also urges people not to travel abroad until mid-January.  

Rutte stressed that life will get more complicated for ‘for everyone, also youngsters, who deal with loneliness and depressive feelings’ in the coming two weeks. That is why he encourages people to keep an eye on each other. ‘A little bit of attention and interest can mean a lot’, said the prime minister. 

International staff meets up online to practice their Dutch

Native speakers volunteer as coaches

International staff meets up online to practice their Dutch

To ensure international staff and their partners can brush up their Dutch in the time of corona, Dual-Career Support has set up weekly online conversation meetings. ‘It helps me keep up my proficiency level.’
7 October om 15:18 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:21 uur.
October 7 at 15:18 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:21 PM.


Door Yelena Kilina

7 October om 15:18 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:21 uur.

By Yelena Kilina

October 7 at 15:18 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:21 PM.

Yelena Kilina

International editor
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International editor
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Native speakers are often surprised when they hear Qing Gong, who works as a student counsellor at the Student Service Centre, speak Dutch. ‘They say they can hardly detect my accent’, says Qing, whose first language is Chinese. 

Qing took her first Dutch class about ten years ago, but she noticed ‘real progress’ only when she deliberately started speaking Dutch with her colleagues. ‘I can’t really write policy articles, but emails and communication with Dutch students and colleagues are no problem.’

When the coronavirus forced her office to move online, Qing missed interacting with people. ‘I missed the Dutch environment and I really wanted to practice my Dutch.’ When she found out about the Leer Beter Nederlands online conversation meetings organised by Dual-Career Support, she joined the group of a Dutch language coach and three internationals. Six months later, Qing is satisfied with the result. ‘It helps me keep up my proficiency level.’

Free of charge

‘It started as an initiative to connect internationals with each other during the lockdown’, says Dual-Career Support project leader Harrianne ter Meer. ‘We place them into small groups, so they can have informal conversations in Dutch with each other and with a native speaker of Dutch.’ The native speakers volunteer as language coaches, so all activities are free of charge. 

To join in, people need to be able to speak Dutch on a conversational level, which is around A2 or B1. ‘It’s not a lesson, so we focus on speech and pronunciation instead of grammar’, says language coach Silvia Huisman, who also works as an education counsellor at the university. ‘We’re not teachers, but we like language and we enjoy making people enthusiastic about learning Dutch.’

Integration 

‘The day before the meeting our coach usually sends us a topic for discussion, but we always end up talking about something completely different’, chuckles Floriane Wittner. It was only a year ago that she followed her boyfriend to Groningen from France. As the partner of a UG staff member, she joined the Dual-Career Support meetings and wasted no time boosting her Dutch. ’I had already studied Dutch at my university around ten years ago, so I wanted to pick it up again’, says Floriane. 

Do the meetings help her to improve her proficiency level? ’Definitely. We speak French at home and I speak French at work, so now at least once a week I get to speak Dutch’, she says. ‘I really try to practice it as much as I can. I feel it is the only way to integrate into life here.’

Qing agrees that immersing into a Dutch-speaking environment helps to break the language barrier. ‘People are afraid of making mistakes, but that’s the only way to learn the language. Once you get into the flow, you focus on the fact that you can communicate and that is motivating.’

International staff and their partners can now register for a new round of the weekly Dutch conversation meetings organised by Dual-Career Support.

Gucci! Learn to text like a Dutch student

What does that honeybee emoji mean?

Gucci! Learn to text like a Dutch student

You think you’ve nailed your first Dutch language course. Confidently, you scroll through your WhatsApp conversations until you’re suddenly stumped: what could your Dutch friends possibly mean by that honeybee emoji or the word ‘fittie’?
29 September om 16:54 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:21 uur.
September 29 at 16:54 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:21 PM.


Door Yelena Kilina

29 September om 16:54 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:21 uur.

By Yelena Kilina

September 29 at 16:54 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:21 PM.

Yelena Kilina

International editor
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Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. To get you texting like a native, check our glossary of text speak and slang terms you won’t find in a textbook!

Gucci
Not that Italian fashion brand most students probably can’t afford, but a way to confirm a statement or question, something like ‘good’ or ‘fine.’

Lama
Again, not anything to do with those fluffy relatives of alpaca. Lama is a contraction of ‘laat maar’, meaning ‘never mind’, and can be used on numerous occasions.

Naaier
Derived from ‘naaien’ or ‘to sew’, the word means somebody who screws you over. 

Fittie
Meaning ‘quarrel’ or ‘argument,’ the noun is a surprisingly popular term among students.

<o>
The honeybee emoji in response to an invitation might surprise those who see it for the first time. It is a sort of wordplay: Dutch for ‘bee’ is ‘bij,’ while ‘ik ben er bij’ means ‘I am in!’ So next time you are invited for a student party, just insert the honeybee emoji and you should be fine. 

Fissa
Speaking of student parties, you can’t go far in Groningen without knowing what it means!  Say ‘fissa’ if you are going out in the city centre or ‘huis fissa’ if you throw a house party.

Een bak trekken
Translated literally as ‘to pull a basket,’ this expression means ‘to chug’, signalling that you are finishing your drink, usually beer, in one go. 

Regelen
‘Regelen’ literally means ‘to arrange something,’ but that’s not exactly what students mean when they say it in a nightclub. Most likely, it stands for ‘making out’.

Prela
A contraction of ‘pre-relationship’: when you like each other, but it’s not a relationship just yet.

Osso
What is the best place to end up after surviving a Dutch night out and cycling with a woozy head? Surely, your own place, your home, your castle. 

Thuis-thuis
It means more than ‘house’, it is your parents’ house. That place that you couldn’t wait to escape from, which suddenly turned into your safe haven full of childhood memories and clean dishes. 

Sjaars
If you disagree with the previous statement, you must be a first-year student. As you might already have guessed, ‘sjaars’ means ‘freshers’.

What is slang?

So what is slang? Is it a lower level of language? According to language and society professor Janet Fuller, not at all. ‘It is a lexical variation, which is often creative and serves important social functions’, she says. It can create the identity the speaker is aiming for. Or it can be a sign of belonging to a particular group. ‘Sharing a way of speaking is a common way of showing solidarity.’ People of all ages can learn and use slang terms.

As for student language, it reflects concerns of a student population, like parties or words for different types of people they come into contact with.

However, slang users may be stigmatised. Just as regional dialect speakers or those with foreign accents, Fuller says. Nevertheless, new slang words are a part of the natural development of language. ‘Slang words either become dated and die out, or they become incorporated into more mainstream usage.’

How likely is ‘gucci’ to become mainstream? The professor expects it will come and go as quickly as many other in-group markers. ‘Especially if older people start to use them, they stop being, well, all that gucci.’

Lack of interest in internationalisation grants

Lack of interest in internationalisation grants

The budget for student organisations to promote internationalisation and inclusion is getting slashed this year. CUOS, the board that distributes the money, will reduce the total available amount by 5,000 euros because the money wasn’t used up the last few years.
14 September om 12:29 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:21 uur.
September 14 at 12:29 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:21 PM.


Door Yelena Kilina

14 September om 12:29 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:21 uur.

By Yelena Kilina

September 14 at 12:29 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:21 PM.

Yelena Kilina

International editor
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International editor
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In 2019, thirty-three student organisations received a financial contribution amounting to 23,172 euros in total, CUOS’ annual report says. But in 2020, only twenty-three student organisations submitted an application, resulting in a total of 10,829 euros paid out to twenty organisations. CUOS has decided to cut this year’s internationalisation budget from 30,000 to 25,000 euros and to further reduce the amount of money available by 5,000 each year. The money is supplied by the UG.

Communication manager Sue Mae Klein stresses that CUOS is looking into new options for the grant. It’s currently used for events and activities, but also for the translation of official documents and student associations’ websites into English. ‘Many organisations have already done this’, she says, which is why there might be fewer applications.

Foundation grant

Another grant, aimed at setting up new international student organisations, has had no applications at all in 2020. It, too, will be reduced, from 2,000 to 1,500 euros. CUOS suspects all international organisations have been formally established by now. Klein explains the budget hasn’t been cut completely because ‘we believe that the use of the grant is a fluctuating process’. In 2019, a total of 1,265 euros was paid out to two organisations under the scheme.

CUOS does not explicitly raise awareness for its grants, admits Klein. ‘But all the important information is provided on our website and we are in close contact with the international student platform GISP to ensure that we are aware of how we can help internationally oriented organisations.’

Proactive

The student parties in the university council feel that CUOS should be more proactive in approaching associations about the subsidies. ‘Then applications might rise in the future’, says Rozemarijn Gierkink with Lijst Calimero. ‘5,000 euros less every year means the budget will be completely gone within five years. We don’t think the inclusion issues can be solved in five years.’ David Jan Meijer with De Vrije Student agrees that internationalisation is a process, so organisations will need less university money over time, ‘but we’re not there yet’. 

Christopher de Bruijn with the Studenten Organisatie Groningen (SOG), on the other hand, says that ‘CUOS is not trying to reduce or remove the subsidy’, but rather is revising it, to make sure that the money is spent more efficiently. ‘We want to start a conversation within the university to see where possible improvements can be made’, says Klein.

Joy is back in Groningen, no thanks to the GGD

Joy is back in Groningen, no thanks to the GGD

Health organisation GGD Drenthe still hasn’t apologised to Spanish medical student Joy Adekanmi for her ten-day stay in a Covid quarantine house, she says.

8 September om 13:50 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:21 uur.
September 8 at 13:50 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:21 PM.


Door Yelena Kilina

8 September om 13:50 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 22 November 2020
om 16:21 uur.

By Yelena Kilina

September 8 at 13:50 PM.
Last modified on November 22, 2020
at 16:21 PM.

Yelena Kilina

International editor
Volledig bio
International editor
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Joy has finally made it to her student house in Groningen. ‘It feels good not to be limited to one place’, says Joy. She has been able to catch up on her studies in the library. ‘I am still in shock, some moments. I wish the GGD took more responsibility for what happened.’ 

Ukrant reported last week that Joy was taken straight from Groningen Aiport Eelde to the quarantine house in Heerenveen, where the doors were locked behind her. The GGD personnel didn’t clarify that the stay was voluntary and she could have refused to come with them.  

Although they haven’t apologised for the misunderstanding, ‘they did ask me for a meeting’, Joy says, ‘so I could give them feedback on how to make the experience better in the future’. 

She hasn’t decided yet whether she will agree to a meeting. ‘In the end, the GGD didn’t even organise my transportation from the Covid house.’ It was a volunteer who drove Joy and another Spanish student to Groningen.