Monthly Archives: September 2004

My Textmarker is Empty

This is, I admit, a quite useless blog entry. Today I was wondering, whether my textmarker can really be refilled.

Mein Textmarker

Due to a lot of reading and textmarking in all kinds of chapters, my textmarker is now empty again. It is claimed being refillable. Now the question is whether this is just written there for the pacification of environmental concerns or whether it I really can easily refill it. The other question is how much the refill is going to cost. I will see…

First Dutch Lesson

Today I had my first Dutch lesson. It was quite funny, a really nice “international” group with many participants especially from Eastern Europe. It seems that the whole course focuses more on the application of the Dutch language and not so much on grammar exercises. I even got 90% of the homework done already which consisted mainly of transferring direct questions into indirect ones. In addition, we got a piece of paper with daily needed expressions like “Hee, leuk je weer te zien. Hoe was het in … ?” (Hey, nice to see you. How was it in…?). It is also very convenient that the Dutch and the German language are very similar and that for a German like me it is easy to learn and understand, nevertheless, the pronunciation can be quite tricky. We also learned the word for wheelchair, which is “rolstoel” or “invalidenwagen”. However, the latter one lead to some laughter amongst the German participants because if you called a wheelchair in German “Invalidenwagen” it would sound like an insult.

Helmut Kohl opened Academic Year

Last Monday, the Academic Year at Maastricht University was opened. Among various speakers was also Germany’s ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl. I luckily could get a ticket and attended the opening in the MECC, the Congress Center in Maastricht.

Kohl, often still addressed as “Herr Bundeskanzler” during the event, made a speech about the future of Europe and the universities in Europe. I found it pretty good, he told the audience that the European idea now belongs the younger generation. This younger generation should not let certain people “spooking around” the European media landscape destroy their optimism. Helmut Kohl’s speech was not translated into Dutch or English, so it was convenient being able to understand German.

The music at this evening was perfomed by the Willem Breuker Kollektief, a band from Amsterdam. The host of the evening was the Dutch news anchorman Philip Freriks.

When the speeches were over, a friend and I were even able to talk to Helmut Kohl. We were sitting at one table with him and he was very astonished that so many students from Germany are studying in Maastricht, especially at the Economics Faculty.

A report and the speeches are now online, as well as some video footage. Buzz-T has also taken some pictures. Sorry to say that the websites are only Internet Explorer friendly, I got some problems with Mozilla.

Somebody damaged my car’s rear window

Yesterday night, between 20 and 24h, somebody threw a trash bag against the back of my car. The result: The rear windows was totally broken and destroyed. Inside the car was a lot of garbage and waste, like potatoes, a beer glass and a nice smell. I directly called the Police non-emergency line (which is 0900-8844 in Maastricht and the Netherlands) and they told me to come to their headquarters. I went there and a helpful officer looked at the car and made up the report. After some 40 minutes it was finished and I got a copy of it.

This morning I called all kinds of insurances and automobile clubs, but as you might guess already, I am not insured against vandalism. So I had to pay the window by myself. First I called Carglass in Germany about the costs. They told me that it would amount to 350 EUR. Hui. Another call at Carglass in Maastricht was much better, “only” 139 EUR. Within 5 hours, the new rear windows was ordered and built in in the afternoon. That took 45 minutes. Carglass even cleaned the interior of my car which was really nice. Now everything is in order again, hopefully the suspect won’t show up this night again.

The chances that somebody gets caught or is reported to the Police can be summarized by Donald Rumsfeld’s poem:

[…] because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.