Situated in South Holland and divided by the Nieuwe Maas, Rotterdam stands as a major port city that has overcome significant historical hardships. Expats who move here tend to settle in quite quickly and are generally welcomed with open arms in a city that is often thought of as a symbol of resilience and regrowth.
Living in Rotterdam as an expat
While the Rotterdam Blitz of 1940 flattened the city, the subsequent reconstruction of the city centre gave Rotterdam a unique opportunity to rebuild and redefine itself. Today, Rotterdam's experimental architecture is unique among Dutch cities, and the city's vibrant energy makes it an exciting place to live. Innovative designs, such as the cube houses and the Markthal, serve multiple purposes, from accommodation and workplaces to top attractions and landmarks.
The city's shopping, nightlife and restaurant scenes are thriving, and young singles and families alike are sure to find plenty to keep themselves amused.
There are both pros and cons to relocating to the Netherlands, and one downside is the difficulty for non-EU citizens to secure a job, particularly in Rotterdam. That said, many make the move with a job offer already in hand and, once expats start working, they can enjoy a high quality of life at a reasonable cost of living, especially in comparison to other major Dutch destinations.
The city's transport network is top-notch, and new arrivals will likely want to purchase a bicycle as soon as they arrive, as most of the city gets around on two wheels. Newcomers can also rest assured that Rotterdam's healthcare is world-class, but they will need to do some research regarding a suitable health insurance policy.
Cost of living in Rotterdam
While some parts of the Netherlands are 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. Certainly, expats will be able to save on accommodation, especially when compared to Amsterdam's housing prices.
Families and children in Rotterdam
Families with kids will also integrate into their new lives seamlessly, given the city's high standard of Dutch and international schools. There are also schools with bilingual programmes catering to the expat community.
It's also considered a very safe environment in which to raise kids, and Rotterdam boasts a glut of green spaces and other child-friendly attractions that families can enjoy.
Climate in Rotterdam
Like most of the Netherlands, Rotterdam has a temperate oceanic climate, though its position on the coast gives it slightly milder weather than cities further inland. Summers (June to August) are warm to mild, and many residents use the long, sunny days to head to the beach. The temperature cools off a bit as autumn gives way to winter, though it stays fairly mild. Late autumn and early winter (October to December) tend to be the wettest months, while April and May are the driest.
With so much to offer, Rotterdam is a destination well worth considering if planning a move to the Netherlands. The attractive combination of the city's lifestyle perks, low cost of living and excellent infrastructure and amenities attracts expats from far and wide.
►Get an idea of the expat-friendly neighbourhoods by reading Areas and Suburbs in Rotterdam
►Find out about the transport options in the city by reading Getting Around in Rotterdam
Are you an expat living in Rotterdam?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Rotterdam. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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