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An Expat Talks about Living in Rotterdam, Netherlands

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Rotterdam

How long have you lived there?

Rotterdam 1 year, Netherlands 3

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Definitely take a Dutch class. Although most Dutch people speak English, a Dutch class is a good way to get to know the culture. Being able to read about upcoming concerts, movies, and cultural events makes you feel more at home. Dutch people are really impressed, and friendly, if you try even a few Dutch words. And finally, a Dutch class is a key way to meet other foreigners in your same situation--new, without friends and family, perhaps a bit nervous.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

The Dutch are famous for their tolerance, but in my experience, they are less tolerant than they would like to admit. Rotterdam is a big city with many foreigners (although perhaps fewer than Amsterdam) and also has a large Muslim community and a large Black community. I have heard many racist "jokes" that have disappointed me. Like many large cities, there are pockets of neighborhoods with a majority of one race. The Dutch are tolerant in public, but less so in private.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Rotterdam is more of a working class city than Amsterdam. The difference between the cities are very much like Glasgow and Edinburgh, for anyone familiar with Scotland. Rotterdam has one of the largest harbours in the world and therefore has much shipping-related business. Unilever is also located in Rotterdam.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

In my experience, work is very important, but (unlike in the U.S.) personal life is also important. Most people have a good balance and there is an understanding at work if you have a personal problem that requires attention--such as a sick partner. At the same time, lunch breaks are short and people are expected to be efficient with their time.

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Moving to Netherlands Soon?

AGS Worldwide Movers can move you to and from anywhere in the world. Presently the AGS Group has over 141 locations in more than 95 countries and has one of the largest networks in the international removals industry. We relocate 85,000 families every year. Free moving quote!

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

It's a great city, but it takes time to get used to. Amsterdam is the older, more beautiful city whereas Rotterdam is rather spread out and ugly. Quick and cheap reconstruction after WWII has left a random assortment of architectural experiments. But the city has a lot of great restaurants and cultural events such as hip museums on the Witte de Whitstraat (Foto Instituut very nice) and the International Film Festival in late January.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats RotterdamExpats in Rotterdam

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Rotterdam.

Netherlands Index Rotterdam Index
An index of all of our site's Rotterdam information.

Netherlands Forum Netherlands Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Netherlands on our Netherlands forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to Netherlands Network Contribute
Help others in Netherlands by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Netherlands.

Expat Healthcare Advice in NetherlandsHealthcare & Health Insurance in Netherlands

Expats in Netherlands offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Netherlands.

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Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Netherlands.

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Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Netherlands.

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