Updated 2 months ago

Rotterdam is home to the largest shipping port in the world, and the delta it is situated on is where two of the Netherlands’ three major rivers drain into the ocean. Living in Rotterdam is very much about life on the water. If you are trying to find accommodation in Rotterdam, there are several different neighbourhoods to choose from.

History of Rotterdam

Rotterdam was historically important in the rise of the East Indies Trading Company; as one of the main ports in the Netherlands, it was a nexus of trade for more than 300 years. During the Second World War, Hitler invaded the Netherlands and essentially leveled the city, effectively cutting off England from any material support from the Continent. Rotterdam was rebuilt in the years following the war, so in effect the city is one of the youngest cities in the Netherlands. Despite this, Rotterdam’s rich trading history makes it a vital place in the Netherlands.

Feyenoord vs. Ajax

Football (and other sports) rivalries are one of the things that most expats carry with them from home when they move. But the Feyenoord (Rotterdam) versus Ajax (Amsterdam) football rivalries can be considered a kind of stand-in for the clash of cultures between the two cities. Amsterdam is rich, Rotterdam is not.  Amsterdam holds onto what’s classic, Rotterdam embraces what’s new. Rotterdam is where people make money; Amsterdam is where people spend it. This assessment is, by nature, a broad generalization, but it sums up the nature of the rivalry between the underdog (Rotterdam) and the establishment (Amsterdam). Because of its history and the inclusivity of the city, Rotterdam can feel friendlier and more authentic than Amsterdam.


Rotterdam is the place to go clubbing. Within the city center are literally dozens of places where you can go to party to your heart’s content. Just outside of the city center, in the Old Harbor, are your more traditional bars and pubs. Rotterdam’s Ahoy arena and convention center also hosts many events throughout the year, with concerts from major artists and shows from around the world.

Arts and culture

Given its youthful, edgy  nature, Rotterdam might not seem like a city where the fine arts and performance arts would be appreciated. But you’d be wrong. Modern artwork is on prominent display as street art as well as in numerous galleries, and the opera, theater groups, and arthouse cinemas in the city feature provocative works by lesser-known artists.  

If there is one thing to be said about Rotterdam, it is that the city is constantly changing.  Because so much of the original city was destroyed during World War II, there are fewer historical constraints when it comes to putting in a new market centre, or creating a new square, or building a new shopping centre, and putting things where people need it.  


Rotterdam has six distinct neighborhoods; due to space and word constraints we will not be exploring the numerous small towns that have been incorporated into the city as it has expanded.  

  • The Triangle - The city Triangle is the original centre of Rotterdam. It has the most to offer in terms of bars, clubs, restaurants, and stores, and pretty much defines Rotterdam when people ask about the city. As such, it is one of the pricier neighborhoods in the city, with rental prices starting at €800/month for apartments in older buildings, to €1500/month for an apartment in a new highrise.
  • Kralingen - This lovely part of Rotterdam has one of the best city parks in Rotterdam, with a lake and a woodland that make it perfect for satisfying the need for nature without sacrificing hours driving to the Hoge Veluwe. It is also where the Erasmus University is located, so it is also a highly desirable neighborhood. Students can rent a room starting from €350/month, apartments start at €800/month, and family houses can be rented from €1500/month.
  • Noordereiland - This little island in the middle of the Maas is an oft-overlooked gem.  Spared from bombing during the Second World War, it is one of the few areas of Rotterdam where historical buildings were left intact.  It is a quiet neighborhood, as the public transportation connecting it to the rest of the city is not frequent enough for most people’s liking, but it is nevertheless a charming neighborhood with wide streets and lovely views of the city. Apartment prices here are currently about €800-1300, and it is possible to rent houses as well for a similar price.
  • South Bank - If you’re looking for posh, the southern side of the Maas river is where you’ll find it. You’ll find much of Rotterdam’s unique architecture here, as well as De Rotterdam, which is currently the highest building in the Netherlands. Apartments in De Rotterdam start at €1500, but you can find apartments in the neighborhood starting at about €700 for an unfurnished studio, to a little more than €1000 for a 2-bedroom.
  • West - Describing Rotterdam West is one of the harder things to do  It’s a diverse mashup of working-class neighborhoods mixed with the latest trends, and the micro-neighborhoods that, as a result, take on characteristics of their own.  Prices for apartments here start at €700 for a studio, to a little more than €1000 for a 2-bedroom apartment. 

 Useful links:

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