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Studying Abroad: UKRAINE 2

The Erasmus experience in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, continues. Being a university student in Chernivtsi reminds me of my days in primary school. Monday is my main day. I take the matrushka bus number 5 from student dorm number 3 to Cathedral Square. The mint-green building hosts the Faculty of History, Politics and International Relations and is right next to Chernivtsi’s hot ... Read More »

Don’t Mention the Genocide – Hidden Armenians in Turkey

In two years Armenians will commemorate the centenary of the attempted extermination of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.  While Turkey’s gross denial of the genocide will likely continue, a part of the Turkish population is starting to reveal their true  -Armenian- identity.  It is hard to estimate how many Turks are actually secret ... Read More »

Going Dutch: Building Land, Concurring Water

Right now, the port of Rotterdam is realising one of the biggest land reclamation projects in the world in order to expand its capacity. In September 2008 the construction of Maasvlakte 2 was started, increasing the size of the port by 20 percent and realising an expansion of Dutch soil by 2000 hectares. Apart from being a great example of ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: UKRAINE

Checks&Balances is, as of this moment, starting a series of blogs from IRIO students studying abroad. Lina Rusch is currently studying in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. Welcome to Ukraine At some point I lost count of people who would suprisedly ask “Why?” after I told them I was going to Ukraine for my semester abroad. Most of them would also automatically assume ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: GREECE

Checks&Balances is, as of this moment, starting a series of blogs from IRIO students studying abroad. Leonie Jegen is currently studying in Athens, Greece. First Impressions of Athens „So you guys think we are like Pakistani?,” asks me a friend’s friend in a bar. In front of us: a Greek life band, young guys with beards and long hair, enjoying ... Read More »

La Crisis

The situation on the Spanish housing market gets more and more precarious. Over 400,000 families already faced eviction since the outbreak of the economic crisis five years ago and the same number is acutely endangered to suffer a similar fate. The implosion of the credit-financed boom reached Spain´s moribund housing market at full tilt. With an unemployment rate of 25% ... Read More »

Russian Money under Cyprian Sun

Being a warm and sunny island, Cyprus is a popular destination for Russian sun worshipper. Yet, it is not only the favorable climate, that makes Cyprus so attractive for Russian citizens – it has mainly to do with mundane mammon. The Federal Intelligence Service of Germany (BND) has reported that Russians have deposited some 26bn Dollars on Cypriot banks – ... Read More »

Gypsy Kings

Once upon a time, there was a little town, deeply hidden away in the forests of a faraway country, where everybody lived wealthy in fancy castles and had a nice Bentley in front of it. Sounds a bit like a fairytale, doesn’t it? If you leave the Bentley out, it could have been written by the Grim brothers. But this ... Read More »

Thank God – Blasphemy Law Throughout the World

Thank God, the Dutch parliament wants to ban the Blasphemy clause from its legal books. After all, nobody has been sentenced here for Blasphemy since 1968. That makes the law completely irrelevant, doesn’t it?  Actually, in quite a number of countries blasphemy, that is, remarks or actions considered to be contemptuous of God, is considered an offence. There are 32 ... Read More »

The Ost-Hippies of the DDR

Flower Power, peace signs and thousands of young people listening to music while sitting in the mud and smoking weed. For many of us, the Woodstock festival of 1969 is a key example of our current perception of hippies. What is often forgotten though, is the generation of flower children at the other side of the Iron Curtain. Yet, these ... Read More »