Why Rotterdam is a great city for international students

Why Rotterdam is a great city for international students

Rotterdam is an excellent city for international students. That said, it's also completely different than most 'student cities' and you either love it, or you don't. Here are 6 reasons why Rotterdam is great for students coming from abroad. 

1. Rotterdam has lots of things to do and see

Rotterdam's city centre is relatively large and lively. There are many restaurants and bars so you'll never go hungry, or thirsty for that matter. There are various shopping areas, such as Lijnbaan and Coolsingel in the city centre. If you prefer indoor shopping malls, there's Alexandrium in the east and Zuidplein in the south. Rotterdam is home to many museums and theatres. The city is also host to special events such as the Rotterdam Summer Carnival, the Rotterdam Marathon, Metropolis Festival, World Port Days, Eendracht Festival and many more.


2. In Rotterdam student jobs are easy to find

Rotterdam is cooler than - but not as international as -  Amsterdam, so you really have to try and learn Dutch. Amsterdam is overrun by tourists, so it is possible to speak English for months without ever having to say a word in Dutch. In contrast, Rotterdam is a more down to earth kind of city where locals still greatly outnumber the tourists.

When looking for a student job in Rotterdam, be sure to check out the following resource:

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Working in the Netherlands

  • This Erasmus University page offers information and useful links for international students who plan to either get a job or find an internship in Rotterdam. Find out everything there is to know about bank accounts, insurance, social security, language courses etc. 


3. Rotterdam has the best geographical location

Rotterdam is only minutes away from many of the Netherlands' main attractions and just a few hours away from other major European cities. Amsterdam, as well as Utrecht, are less than an hour away and you can get to The Hague or Delft in under 30 minutes.

Rotterdam also has its own international airport. Even though it's called 'Rotterdam The Hague Airport', it is actually located in Rotterdam's Zestienhoven district. Rotterdam and The Hague have been working together closely over the past years as they are developing the 'Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Area'. There's even a metro line that connects the two cities.  

Travel distances from Rotterdam

  • Rotterdam - Delft: 15.8 km
  • Rotterdam - The Hague: 26.2 km
  • Rotterdam - Utrecht: 61.8 km
  • Rotterdam - Amsterdam: 78.8 km
  • Rotterdam - Antwerp: 97.8 km
  • Rotterdam - Brussels: 143 km
  • Rotterdam - Düsseldorf: 224 km
  • Rotterdam - Lille: 227 km
  • Rotterdam - Dortmund: 253 km
  • Rotterdam - Luxembourg: 350 km
  • Rotterdam - Frankfurt: 455 km
  • Rotterdam - Paris: 458 km 

Vroes de Boel @ Euromast parkVroes de Boel @ Euromast park


4. Rotterdam has a vibrant community of students

It is true that when compared to Groningen or Leiden, international students are less visible in Rotterdam. Here in Rotterdam, foreign students blend in a lot better and generally 'do as the locals do'. Don't be fooled, however, there's a large population of students and various student activities going on all the time. Rotterdam, along with Groningen and Maastricht are the top three most popular destinations for international students.  

The ESN (Erasmus Student Network) in Rotterdam is among the most active in Europe. You can also join one of their committees and help plan city trips, cultural activities, social drinks and what not. To get the most out of your time in Rotterdam, you should definitely join ESN Rotterdam or other associations.  


5. Public transportation in Rotterdam is a breeze

When moving around the city, one can choose between various modes of transportation. Everything is accessible by tram, metro or bus. Just be sure to get an OV-chipcard as soon as possible since it's the only valid travel pass for getting around in Rotterdam. If you're often stuck without credit on your card, be sure to check out the RET Barcode app. With it, you can buy tram and bus tickets online and simply show the barcode to the conductor.

However, as is the case in all Dutch cities, a bike will always be cheaper and easier. If you truly want the Dutch experience, be sure to bike in all weather conditions including heavy rain, snow and hailstorms. 

If you depend on public transportation to get home, remember the night bus (BOB-bus) only rides on Saturday and Sunday mornings from about 1:00 to 5:00. If you plan on partying a lot, be sure to get a bicycle. By the way, BOB is not an abbreviation for Bring Your Own Booze. 'BOB' is a Dutch term used to identify the 'designated driver'; the person who won't be drinking that evening so as to be fit to drive others home.


6. Rotterdam innovates and inspires

Another reason why Rotterdam is amazing for students is the fact that it's always innovating. There's plenty going on in terms of modern architecture and technology. There are various temporary structures, floating farms, stunning skyscrapers and the Markthal is often referred to as the Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam.

In Rotterdam, the sky is the limit. It is a city that rose from the ashes of war. Ever since, it's people have (literally) tried to reach for the stars. When in Rotterdam, you get the feeling that the city is constantly evolving and moving forward. This, of course, translates into interesting learning opportunities for those curious enough to meet the right people and ask the right questions.


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