Moving to Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Last updated on Feb 03, 2023
Summary: Expats move to Rotterdam, Netherlands for its vibrant culture, excellent quality of life, and strong international business presence. The city is known for its modern architecture, world-class museums, and lively nightlife. Rotterdam is also home to a diverse population, making it an ideal destination for those looking to experience a different culture. Additionally, the city is well-connected to the rest of Europe, making it easy to travel to other countries. With its strong economy and high standard of living, Rotterdam is an attractive destination for expats looking to start a new life abroad.
What do I need to know before moving to Rotterdam?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Rotterdam, they said:
"Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands and an important port city. It is a dynamic and friendly city with lots of activities, culture and museums. The city has an international atmosphere and is home to many different nationalities. Public transport is efficient and easy to use. The cost of living is relatively low compared to other European cities. There are many parks and green spaces scattered throughout the city, as well as plenty of cultural activities and events. The weather can be changeable, with warm summers and cold winters, so be sure to bring appropriate clothing. There is plenty of support available to expats looking to settle in Rotterdam, including language classes and social clubs," said another expat in Rotterdam.
"Collect as much information ahead of time about where you are going. Come over for a scout around prior to the move. Rotterdam is a lesser know city for expatriates but they are here and active on forums," remarked another expat who made the move to Rotterdam.
How do I find a place to live in Rotterdam?
We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:
"There are many accommodation options to choose from in Rotterdam, such as student housing, subletting, short-term rentals, private rentals, and more. The city offers a variety of housing opportunities in well-connected neighborhoods. Rotterdam’s city center is home to many students, young professionals, and expats looking for a convenient place to live. Meanwhile, the surrounding suburbs offer more affordable accommodation as well as good transport links to the city center. For more information on where to live in Rotterdam, you can explore local housing resources such as websites, message boards, classifieds, and more. Additionally, expats can take advantage of relocation services to help them find the perfect place to live in Rotterdam," explained one expat living in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
"My husband was lucky enough to bump into another colleague who was relocating to Australia at the time we needed a house. Hey presto, we had a house. We shipped all our furnitre and possessions over and lived at IKEA for the first 6 monts. He had a look around at the suburbs when he came ahead of our move and decided on this one as it was quiet with lots of trees," said another expat in Rotterdam.
What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Rotterdam?
"A typical expat home or apartment in Rotterdam is usually modern and well-maintained, with clean lines and a bright, minimalist design. Many apartments come fully furnished with white goods, while others come with minimal or no furniture. Many buildings have been recently renovated and boast mod cons like central heating, double glazed windows and a balcony. City centre apartments are often situated close to public transport links and neighbourhoods are safe, pleasant and full of amenities," said another expat in Rotterdam.
"We live in a 3 story terraced house in quiet neighbourhood. This seems to be quite typical for the expats I know," added another expat who made the move to Rotterdam.
What is the average cost of housing in Rotterdam?
If you are thinking about moving to Rotterdam, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:
"The average cost of housing in Rotterdam varies depending on the area and quality of accommodation. Generally, the cost of housing in Rotterdam can range from around €900 for a basic one bedroom apartment to over €1,500 for a more luxurious two bedroom apartment," replied a member in Rotterdam.
Should I buy or rent a home in Rotterdam?
If you have not spent a lot of time in Rotterdam, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:
"Buying a home in Rotterdam can be a great investment due to the city's robust real estate market and attractive local economy. Depending on your needs and plans, it can be a better financial decision than renting, as it can create long-term stability and the potential to build equity over time. If you are considering buying a home in Rotterdam, it is important to consider your lifestyle and budget to ensure that you are making the best decision for yourself and to research the local market to get the best possible deal. Additionally, it is important to take into account the fees associated with a home purchase, such as closing costs and potential taxes, so that you are aware of the entire cost of the purchase. Ultimately, buying a home will not be the right decision for everyone and each person's situation is unique. If you are considering a move to Rotterdam, it is best to explore both options before making a decision," said another expat in Rotterdam.
What should I pack when moving to Rotterdam?
We asked people living in Rotterdam to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:
"Clothes suitable for all seasons, rain gear, sunscreen, umbrella, linens and towels, kitchenware, cleaning supplies, personal documents, important phone numbers, international driver's license, first aid kit, prescription medications, a bank card, snacks and food supplies, laptop, mobile phone, electrical adapter, bike and/or public transportation access card," remarked another expat who made the move to Rotterdam.
"Converter plugs. Our situation was different as we were posted here through my husband's company, so our moving, housing, etc were easier. We were lucky to meet many people who helped us out. However, now Rotterdam has it's own website which may be useful to viewers/users of this site. See www.yourrotterdam.com. It is a comprehensive guide on how to settle in here - housing, schooling, leisure, medical, procedures and more. They also have a Rotterdam forum," explained one expat living in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Rotterdam?
We asked people in Rotterdam if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!:
"In Rotterdam it is polite to have a helpful and friendly attitude. It is best to start a conversation with a handshake, giving a friendly hug is usually only appropriate among close friends and family. Eye contact is important and making a joke at someone's expense is not appreciated. It is also important to respect local customs and customs which involve food. Dishes are offered around the table and it is respectful to accept. Table manners are different than what you may be used to, so you should look around to observe how others are eating. As well, be aware that there may be cultural differences as to what is and isn't considered rude. For example, in the Netherlands it is considered acceptable to be assertive and direct when speaking, while in other cultures this may come across as rude," said another expat in Rotterdam.
About the Author
Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.
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