Maastricht University

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Template:Infobox university The university's executive building at Minderbroedersberg Maastricht University (officially abbreviated: UM<ref name="UM-about">Template:Cite web</ref>) is a public university in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Founded in 1976, the university is the second youngest of the 13 Dutch universities. The university's founding name was Rijksuniversiteit Limburg, which was changed to Universiteit Maastricht in 1996. Since 2008 the international name is Maastricht University.

In 2013, nearly 16,000 students studied at Maastricht University, 47% of whom were foreign students, with over 3,200 employees employed.<ref name="UM-statistics">Template:Cite web</ref> About half of the bachelor's programmes are fully offered in English, while the other half is taught wholly or partly in Dutch. Most of the master's and doctoral programmes are in English.

Besides traditional programmes, Maastricht University also has a honours liberal arts college: University College Maastricht and a Maastricht Science Programme in the same liberal arts tradition. It’s University College Venlo has been announced to open in September 2014.


File:Tans, J.G.H. - SFA002019729.jpg
Sjeng Tans, founder of UM

Maastricht University was officially established in 1976. Faced with a shortage of medical professionals, the Dutch government decided in the late 1960s that a new public institution of higher education was needed in order to expand the country's medical training facilities. Political leaders in the province of Limburg, most notably Sjeng Tans, the chairman of the Labour Party and former member of the Limburg provincial council and Maastricht city council, successfully lobbied for the new medical school to be established in Maastricht. This academic institution would be vital to sustain the intellectual life of the city, and indeed the whole province. Moreover, it was argued that the establishment of a university in Maastricht could contribute to the government's restructuring efforts in this part of the Netherlands, which was experiencing economic challenges following the collapse of the Limburg coal mining industry.<ref name="zicht1">Template:Cite web</ref>

Gate of former Jesuiet monastery. Lectures started here in 1974 The newly established school chose not to await official recognition but to start its educational programme in September 1974, adopting an innovative approach to academic education in the form of problem-based learning. About 50 students enrolled in the first academic year. By the end of 1975, the Dutch Parliament eventually passed the statute needed for the institution to acquire national educational funds and to be able to award academic degrees. The new university, named Rijksuniversiteit Limburg (State University of Limburg), was officially established on the 9th of January 1976, when Queen Juliana of the Netherlands signed the university’s founding charter at a ceremony in the Basilica of Saint Servatius. Sjeng Tans became the university's first president.

Soon after its establishment, the university gained political support to increase its funding and to expand into other academic fields. The Faculty of Law was created in 1981, followed by the Faculty of Economics in 1984. In 1994, the Faculty of Arts and Culture and one year later the Faculty of Psychology were established. The Faculty of Humanities and Sciences started in 2005, containing a variety of organisational units, such as the Department of Knowledge Engineering and the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance. Together with the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (established in 2007 as a merger between the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine) Maastricht University currently has six faculties.

The university was renamed Universiteit Maastricht in 1996 and added its English-language name in 2008. As of 2010, Maastricht University consists of six faculties offering 17 bachelor programmes, 56 master programmes and several Ph.D. programmes.



At the central level, the university is governed by the Executive Board, consisting of a President, a Vice-President and a Rector. The Executive Board appoints faculty deans, other administrators and professors and has general management responsibilities. It is advised by the Supervisory Council that vets for instance the budget. The University Council, an elected body representing all members of staff and students at the university, has a limited number of decision-making powers as well as general advising responsibilities regarding the university’s teaching and research programmes and in organisational and budgetary matters.

Maastricht University's teaching and research programmes are primarily carried out along the lines of faculties. Within faculties, teaching and research activities may be further decentralised through departments, schools, institutes or colleges. The names of organizational (sub)units, however, do not necessarily indicate their position within the university’s organizational hierarchy. In 2009, for example, the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration was renamed School of Business and Economics, even though it maintains the rank of a faculty.

The Board of Deans, consisting of all faculty deans and the Rector, acts as a coordinating and consulting body at the central level and is responsible for awarding doctoral degrees and honorary doctorates.


Maastricht University is located in buildings in two separate locations in Maastricht. The arts, humanities and social science departments are housed in a number of historic buildings in the city center, while psychology, the medical and life sciences are based in the modern Randwyck campus on the outskirts of the city.

City Centre Campus

University library, inner city branch at Grote Looiersstraat The university’s arts, humanities and social sciences faculties are located in Maastricht’s city centre, west of the river Meuse. Most of the university’s inner city properties have official monumental status. As many of these buildings were facing abandonment at the time of their acquirement, the development of an urban university campus has contributed to the preservation and liveliness of Maastricht’s historic city centre.<ref name="Beijer, Hans 2006">Beijer, Hans et al. (2006). MonUMent, published to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of Maastricht University.</ref>

The first building that was obtained by the university was the former Jesuit monastery and seminary at Tongersestraat, largely dating from the 1930s. Here, in 1974 the newly established medical school started. After the Faculty of Medicine moved to premises closer to the newly constructed university hospital, the Jesuit monastery became home to the Faculty of Economy, which is now the universits largest academic unit in terms of student numbers. The building was expanded in the 1990s to include the university restaurant (mensa in Dutch) and a large lecture hall designed by Dutch architect Jo Coenen.

The Faculty of Law is housed in the building known as Oud Gouvernement in Bouillonstraat, which was completed in 1935 as the provincial government building. It was acquired by the UM in 1986 after the provincial government had moved to its new premises on the river Meuse in the southeastern part of the city. Opposite lies Slijpe Court, a 17th-century mansion that in 2002 was refurbished to house the Department of Knowledge Engineering of the Faculty of Humanities and Science.

The university's administrative headquarters is located at Minderbroedersberg, in a former Franciscan monastery, which dates back to 1699 and was later used as a court house and prison. The UM acquired the building in order to make it their administrative center in 1999. The Minderbroedersberg, with its Aula (main hall), also serves as the university's primary location for official academic ceremonies, such as Ph.D. conferrals.

At the bottom of the hill lies the former convent of the Bonnefanten, now the university’s Student Service Center, as well as a visitor center, including a gift shop. This building, which dates back to 1627, served as a convent for nuns originally from Liège who were referred to as "bons enfants", "good children". In the twentieth century, the city's art museum was established here and later took its name from the building, Bonnefantenmuseum. In 1979 the building became the main branch of the university library, until the library moved to its current location. The oldest part of the library building at Grote Looiersstraat was constructed in 1755 and served as the city’s poor house and military hospital. In the 1970s, the city’s public library was built in the garden. In 1999 the city library moved to its current location at Centre Ceramique. The old library was then acquired by the UM. After major renovation and expansion works, the university library relocated here in 2003.

University College Maastricht is located at Zwingelput in a 15th-century béguinage, named Nieuwenhof. Maastricht Science College has its new home since 2012 in the renovated Hustinx Mansion in Kapoenstraat, which has a richly ornamented façade and a courtyard that is now covered. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is the only faculty that is neither located in Jekerkwartier, nor in Randwyck. This faculty, founded in 1994, currently occupies three adjacent historic buildings on Grote Gracht. Soiron Mansion, built by the architect Matthias Soiron for his two brothers, canons of Saint Servatius Church, and Tilly Court, built for the military governor of Maastricht, both date from the 18th century.

Randwyck Campus

The Randwyck campus was developed from the 1970s onwards and has become the center for the university's psychology, health, medicine and life science activities. Here, plans for the Maastricht Health Campus are aimed at strengthening the scientific and economic impact of Randwyck.

File:Maastricht University - Campus Randwyck.jpg
Campus Randwyck buildings: Life Sciences

The focal point for the Randwyck campus is the academic hospital (azM), which moved here from its original location on the West bank of the Meuse river in 1992. Some of university buildings are physically connected to the hospital, built in the 1990s. The university and the AZM work together in the Maastricht University Medical Center+, established in 2008.

In 2008, local housing association Servatius started construction of the ambitious campus project 'Campus Maastricht', to be built at a site near the university hospital. The costly project, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, would provide for an athletic centre, student housing, guesthouses, retail facilities and office space. The project was canceled by Servatius because the costs were unrealistic.

Satellite Campuses

In recent years, the university has opened offices in the northern Limburg city of Venlo, the Belgian capital of Brussels and the city of Bangalore, India.

The Maastricht University, Campus Venlo is located in a 1930s building at Deken van Oppensingel, close to the center of Venlo. Maastricht University currently offers two Master's programmes at this campus (Global Supply Chain Management, and Health Food Innovation Management). In 2013, the university announced the aim to start a Bachelor's programme at Campus Venlo in September 2014.


  • According to Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013, Maastricht University belonged to the world's top 100 universities (98th place, 17 up from 2012). The university's medical and health care faculties reached 43rd place worldwide in 2013. QS World University Rankings 2013 ranked Maastricht University as the 121st best university in the world (14 down from the previous year), while Academic Ranking of World Universities (or Shanghai Ranking) counted Maastricht among the world's top 300 universities, both in 2012 and 2013.
  • In the QS Top 50 Under 50, which ranks the top 50 universities under 50 years old around the world, Maastricht University reached 6th place in 2014. In a similar list published by Times Higher Education (THE 100 Under 50 universities 2013), Maastricht University was placed 6th.


Research at Maastricht University concentrates on three major themes: Quality of Life, Learning and Innovation and Europe and a Globalising World.Examples of issues addressed through UM research are: healthy ageing, climate change, demographic changes, sustainability, the impact of technological developments, population ageing, healthy and affordable food, and the European integration process. A lot of this research is conducted in multidisciplinary teams and in institutes such as CARIM, the School for Cardiovascular Diseases.

A noted research platform is Brains Unlimited: a scanning lab at the Maastricht Health Campus, offering three MRI scanners with ultrahigh magnetic fields, including one of only four 9.4 Tesla scanners worldwide. Professor Rainer Goebel, director of the affiliated Maastricht Brain Imaging Centre (M-Bic), has been rewarded several large international research grants. The internationally renowned Tissue Regeneration group of Professor Clemens van Blitterswijk announced its coming to Maastricht University in February 2014. His coming fits in the large investment programme Kennis-As Limburg, that aims to strengthen the provincial knowledge economy. So does the Institute of Nanoscopy, led by Professor Peter Peters.

Notable Professors

  • Wiebe Bijker, professor of Technology and Society, member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and together with Trevor Pinch the founder of Social Construction of Technology (SCOT)
  • Jan Dietz, professor of Management Information Systems at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, developer of the DEMO theory and methodology
  • Harald Merckelbach, professor of Psychology, member of the KNAW, member of the Deetman Committee that examined sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands
  • Corine de Ruiter, professor of Forensic Psychology, president of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services, associate editor of International Journal of Forensic Mental Health
  • Franz Palm, professor of Econometrics, member of the KNAW
  • Maurits Allessie, professor of Physiology, member of the KNAW
  • Andre Knottnerus, professor of General Practice, president of the Health Council of the Netherlands, member of the KNAW
  • Luc Soete, professor of General Economics, director of UNU-MERIT (part of United Nations University), member of the group of key thinkers for the Lisbon Strategy
  • Wim Naudé, professional fellow at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, dean-director of Maastricht School of Management, professorial fellow with UNU-MERIT
  • John Hagedoorn, professor of Strategy and International Business, professorial fellow with UNU-MERIT
  • Geert Hofstede, emeritus professor of Organizational Anthropology and International Management, founder of Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation (IRIC)
  • Theo van Boven, professor Emeritus of International Law, former director of United Nations Commission on Human Rights and UN Special Rapporteur on torture
  • Jan Smits, professor of European Private Law, director of the Maastricht European Private Law Institute, visiting professor of Comparative Legal Studies at the University of Helsinki, member of the KNAW
  • Ferdinand Grapperhaus, professor of European Labour Law, member of the Social-Economic Council
  • Rainer Goebel, professor of Neurocognition, director of the Maastricht neuroimaging centre Brains Unlimited, winner of the German Heinz Maier-Leibnitz award for cognitive sciences in 1993
  • Peter Van den Bossche, professor of International Economic Law, head of Department of International & European Law; Director, Institute for Globalisation & International Regulation (IGIR), former counselor to the WTO Appellate Body, acting director of WTO Appellate Body Secretariat.
  • Cees van der Vleuten, professor of Medical Education, chairman of Department of Educational Development & Research of the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, scientific director School of Health Professions Education (SHE), honorary professor at the University of Copenhagen, King Saud University and Radboud University, recipient of the Hubbard Award 2005 for most outstanding researcher in medical education.

Student Life

In 2013, nearly 16,000 students studied at Maastricht University, 47% of whom were foreign. Students in Maastricht can affiliate with a number of student associations, international associations or debating societies. They present themselves during the annual INKOM, the general introduction week for new Maastricht students.

Student population

In 2013, nearly 16,000 students studied at Maastricht University, 47% of whom were foreign. Students in Maastricht can affiliate with a number of student associations, international associations or debating societies. They present themselves during the annual INKOM, the general introduction week for new Maastricht students. Furthermore, Maastricht offers several cultural and sports activities in and around the city. The Student Services Centre in the Bonnefantenstraat offers all kinds of support to students.

Student housing

Like most other Dutch universities, UM itself does not provide regular student housing. However, the university participates in a student housing foundation, offering mediation services to students. About 2,700 rooms and apartments offered through the Maastricht student housing foundation are provided by local housing associations Woonpunt, Servatius and Maasvallei. Some 8,000 other accommodations are provided by private landlords. Most units are located in houses or small apartment complexes across the historic city centre or in its immediate surrounding neighbourhoods. Many foreign exchange students live at the UM Guesthouse in Annadal, which provides short-term housing.


The university's independent newspaper, Observant, is published on a weekly basis and distributed throughout the university. It provides news, background articles, columns and educational information in Dutch and English, directed primarily at the university community.

Sources and references

  • Beijer, H., e.a., Monument. Maastricht, 2006


External links

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