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Rotterdam City Guide for Students

28. May 2021, EXPLORE, TIPS

You already have your set place at your university or you are still not sure whether Rotterdam is the right destination for your studies? Then you have come to the right place. Convince yourself of the qualities of the port city in the Netherlands and the many opportunities to really enjoy your time at university.

Getting to Rotterdam

If you are thinking about studying in Rotterdam, you will of course have to think about some organizational issues. At the top of the list is usually the question of how best to get to Rotterdam and what travel options are available. You can find the most important travel options here:

  • By train to Rotterdam Centraal: Thanks to the good network of routes, a train ride in the Netherlands is always a pleasant option for travel. It may even make sense for you to use the rail company Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) directly instead of flying if you are traveling from neighboring countries like Germany. Trains are usually on time and run at short intervals, making rail an attractive mode of transportation. There is a reason why rail is the mode of choice for trips within the country. It takes less than an hour to get to Amsterdam or Utrecht by train.
  • About Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM): Rotterdam is known as a commercial center and economic hub. Of course, an airport is a must. Rotterdam shares this with the nearby neighboring city of The Hague. The airport is located quite centrally on the outskirts of Rotterdam, which makes the onward journey towards the city center quite comfortable. It takes just 15 minutes by cab and only 10 minutes longer by public bus. Alternatively, you can land at Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) or Utrecht (UTC) and take the train to Rotterdam.
  • By long-distance bus to Rotterdam CS bus station: Traveling by long-distance bus can be a good and cost-effective alternative to conventional means of transport, especially for international connections. Moreover, you will usually arrive directly in the city center – namely at Rotterdam train station. From there, any onward journey is a breeze.

Accommodation - how students live in Rotterdam

In university cities, you usually must expect a shortage of housing and correspondingly high rents. In Rotterdam, housing costs are fortunately relatively moderate compared to other strongholds for students. However, if you live further away, organizing appealing accommodation is complicated and fraught with uncertainty. Low-cost shared apartments are usually hard to find from a distance, and in the end, you also must hope that you get along well with the others. A popular alternative among students at the well-known Erasmus University Rotterdam is the centrally located student residence Milestone Chapter Lucia in Rotterdam. The modern apartments are even equipped with a personal kitchen and private bathroom. If you want to socialize, you will meet like-minded people in the common rooms of the house, who will surely enjoy exploring the city with you.

Wouter van der Sar Photography

Getting around on site

Part of the process of settling in is finding your way around a city. We will help you get started so that you can settle in even faster and enjoy your time in Rotterdam without any detours.

  • Get a bike or rent one locally. The best and fastest way to get around Rotterdam is by bike. Because the bicycle is part of the Dutch culture. As in every other city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam has countless bike paths that are not only used by the locals. That is why cycling here is especially safe and a pleasant means of transportation that keeps you fit at the same time.
  • Getting around by public transport (RET) is a good alternative for wet days and comfortable to boot. In Rotterdam, the public transport network consists of buses, streetcars, metros, and ferries that will get you from A to B. Water taxis will help you get around.
  • Water cabs will help you cross the Nieuwe Maas, which divides Rotterdam into the northern and southern parts. You can also book the small but nimble boats for a personal harbor tour and enjoy the view of the city.

Important: If you receive student support, you have the possibility to use public transportation in the Netherlands for free or at a reduced price with the so-called student travel product. Make sure you get all the necessary information in time.

Sights and cultural activities in Rotterdam

Of course, student life cannot consist only of studying. It is a good thing that there is a lot to experience and discover in Rotterdam. Like any major city, Rotterdam has a cinema, its own zoo and theater performances. For more things to do and places to see in the city, click here:

  • Euromast: The listed observation tower offers you a phenomenal view over the city – a great experience by day and night.
  • Wilhelminapier and Erasmus Bridge: The more than 800-meter-long Erasmus Bridge is considered the city’s landmark and ends at another must-see spot: the Wilhelminapier. From there you have an excellent view of the impressive skyline of the city – the modern part of Rotterdam. You cannot miss the three 150-meter-high towers called De Rotterdam from here, and the Hotel New York on the peninsula is an eye-catcher.
  • Port of Rotterdam: Nothing characterizes the cityscape more than the port of Rotterdam, which is one of the largest in the world. A harbor tour through the area is a must when you study in Rotterdam.
  • SS Rotterdam: In a port city there are of course countless ships, but this one is a very special specimen. The largest former passenger ship in the Netherlands serves as a tourist attraction in its retirement. You can take part in guided tours and get to know the ship’s interior or enjoy culinary delights on deck.
  • Museums in Rotterdam: Numerous museums with different exhitibions provide enough variety in your free time. For art lovers there is a lot to discover: The famous Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Kunsthal, the Witte de With center or the Fotomuseum await them. But also, the Maritiem Museum, the Museum Rotterdam or the Natural History Museum are worth mentioning. A special highlight is the event Museum Night 010, where the cultural centers and museums are open until late at night. If you are not yet tired, you can enjoy the exuberant atmosphere at one of the many after-parties.
  • Other events: If you move to Rotterdam, make a note of the following annual events:
    • International Film Festival Rotterdam in January or February.
    • NH Marathon in April
    • Zomercarnival in July
    • World of Port Days in September

There is a lot going on in Rotterdam. Saving tips for students will come in handy. Use your student card to get the so-called Rotterdampas. This gives you free or reduced admission to many sights, and you can look forward to a lot of savings in your free time. This makes exploring a lot of fun.

Restaurants and Bars

What would student life be without an evening program? Exactly – it just would not be the same. These places are the best starting point if you want to unwind after a long day or a busy week of studying.

  • Rotterdam Market Hall: Something for the palate and the eye. You do not have to be a fan of architecture to be amazed by this building. Inside the market hall, numerous food stalls and restaurants await your visit. So, you should bring your hunger with you.
  • Area around the Oude Harbour: The tranquil Oude Harbour is well worth a visit. Here it is much cozier than in the other harbor area, which is especially due to the many restaurants, cafes, and bars.
  • Witte de Withstraat: The selection of bars and restaurants is particularly large in this artists’ quarter. Between the galleries you can party and let the night turn into day.
  • Kaapse Brouwers and Fenix Food Factory: Enjoying a cold beer right on the waterfront – not a dream, but reality. The local brewery in Rotterdam offers all kinds of beers and is also a good tip for birthday parties. The in-house kitchen and surrounding snack stand nearby provide even more culinary delights with the best views.

Shopping in Rotterdam

In Rotterdam, stores are open 7 days a week. Whether you want to shop specifically or go on a long shopping spree, there are plenty of opportunities to do so in this international port city.

  • Shopping streets: There are several shopping streets in Rotterdam that invite you to take a leisurely stroll, stroll, and store. These include, for example, the famous shopping street Lijnbaan, the Hoogstraat, known as the oldest pedestrian zone, or the Meent promenade. The KoopGoot, which is laid out like a tube, is worth seeing even without shopping plans because of its location.
  • Shopping malls: Although they are located somewhat outside the city, they are still good addresses if you want to go shopping on rainy days. The Rotterdam Alexandrium Mall and the Zuidplein Mall leave nothing to be desired. Both shopping centers are easily accessible by public transport.

Conclusion: Rotterdam is the ideal place to live and to study

Now you know what you can do in Rotterdam and what highlights you can look forward to. But it is not only the leisure program in the friendly port city that speaks for a stay in the Netherlands. The study conditions are also impressive – click here for the article 10 reasons to study in Rotterdam.



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