Generally speaking, the Netherlands is on the lower end of the price scale than neighbouring Western European countries. While some parts of the country can be expensive, Rotterdam's cost of living is comparatively low, and the city offers a good quality of life without the high price tag attached to cities such as Amsterdam.

Cost of accommodation in Rotterdam

While accommodation is likely to take up the most significant portion of an expat's income, rental prices in Rotterdam are reasonable and are typically lower than those in other major Dutch cities such as Amsterdam and The Hague. As Rotterdam grows, though, prices rise, so it's a good idea for expats to do some research to find a suitable deal.

Cost of transport in Rotterdam

Cars in the Netherlands are expensive, but with cycling being such a popular form of transport, most expats find driving unnecessary. Apart from the once-off expense of purchasing a reliable bicycle, costs are minimal. Rotterdam is a small city and, like most of the Netherlands, has extensive cycling infrastructure in place.

On rainy days, expats can make use of Rotterdam's well-integrated public transport system, comprised of the metro, trams and buses. Buying individual tickets can be pricey, but using a travel card considerably lowers costs.

Cost of groceries in Rotterdam

When it comes to groceries, Rotterdam offers a good balance between quality and affordability. There's a wide range of supermarkets available throughout the city, catering to different budget levels. From budget-friendly shops such as Lidl and Aldi to more premium supermarkets like Albert Heijn, there's something to suit every pocket.

Markets also offer a diverse selection of fresh produce, often at lower prices. Bulk buying and shopping seasonally can also bring significant savings, making Rotterdam an attractive option for those conscious about their grocery bills.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Rotterdam

Rotterdam's entertainment scene is thriving, providing an array of options for every budget. The city is renowned for its diverse food culture, with dining options ranging from affordable street food and local bistros to high-end gourmet restaurants. Happy hours in local bars offer deals on drinks, while various budget-friendly eateries make eating out more affordable. Even in the city centre, reasonably priced restaurants can be found with a bit of exploration.

The cost of cultural entertainment is also reasonable. Museums, art galleries and theatre tickets are typically cheaper than in other major European cities. Furthermore, Rotterdam has an array of free or low-cost events throughout the year, including music festivals, art exhibitions and cultural festivities, allowing expats to immerse themselves in the local culture without breaking the bank.

Cost of education in Rotterdam

Public education in the Netherlands is largely free, and some government schools even offer services for international students, such as bilingual classes, language integration programmes or international sections. This does come at an extra cost for parents, but fees are subsidised by the Dutch government and are therefore still well below those charged by private international schools.

When considering the cost of education, it's also necessary to factor in extra expenses such as school trips, uniforms, textbooks and materials. Even though these costs are generally lower in public schools, they can add up, particularly for families with multiple children. Therefore, it's worth doing a comprehensive financial assessment before choosing the most suitable education pathway.

Cost of healthcare in Rotterdam 

While the quality of healthcare in the Netherlands is excellent, costs are relatively high compared to other Western European countries. Once an expat starts working in the Netherlands and registers at their local municipality, they will have to take out a Dutch health insurance policy. Monthly payments vary based on the insurance package.

It's also worth noting that there is an annual deductible, known as 'eigen risico', which is the amount patients have to pay out-of-pocket before their health insurance starts covering the costs. This can lead to unexpected healthcare expenses. However, many healthcare providers have direct billing agreements with insurance companies, which means patients only need to pay the deductible amount rather than the full cost upfront.

Cost of living in Rotterdam chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Rotterdam in July 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 1,870

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 1,490

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

EUR 1,320

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

EUR 990

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

EUR 4.06

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.18

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.89

Loaf of white bread

EUR 1.53

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 5.40

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)


Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 60

Big Mac meal

EUR 10

Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.28


EUR 2.81

Bottle of beer (local)

EUR 1.47


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.12

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

EUR 31

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

EUR 190


Taxi rate/km


City-centre public transport fare


Gasoline (per litre)

EUR 1.91

Expat Health Insurance

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