WAU-sociologist Gaston Remmers lived in the Sierra de la Contraviesa in Spain for a couple of years while doing research among farmers for his PhD thesis. The farmers in this dry and thinly populated area are less dependent on government subsidies than officials think. Large farmers in green areas of Spain receive much higher subsidies for rural development from the government and the European Union. The farmers in the Sierra have come with local initiatives to develop the area, but the government doesn't acknowledge that these small-scale initiatives might help the area, Remmers found out. As a result, the farmers don't trust the government and won't use their own savings to invest in the area. Only when the government cooperates with the farmers to formulate initiatives, will depopulation of the area be stopped, concludes Remmers
A few WAU-students do voluntary work at the centre for asylum seekers in Wageningen. The students play all sorts of games with the children there, who are very bored, having no room and space to play. The entertainment room is completely bare and all the games have been destroyed, because the children can only get rid of their pent-up energy during the few playing hours they get with the students. A complete family lives in a room of three by four metres in this centre, a student explains. Some children have already been waiting for four years to hear the outcome of their request for asylum.
The population of Wageningen will elect a new town council on the 4th of March. The programmes of the political parties do not differ very much - they all want a better environment, more jobs and houses, safer bicycle tracks and better public transport. The main difference: the liberal party wants to promote industrial development and houses for seven thousand new inhabitants, while the green party rejects new industry and expansion of the city, because it wants to protect the landscape
The general elections for the Dutch parliament will be held this summer. Has education minister Jo Ritzen achieved the goals of the government for higher education? Not really, several politicians argue. The government wanted to differentiate between the BSc and MSc programmes in terms of content and length, but they in fact look more similar than they used to, because the minister tightened up the grant system for the students. The minister was obliged to make savings of one and a half billion guilders from his budget, and almost managed to do so. The result was a policy dominated by a financial agenda