Ask an Expat: Living in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

What is it like to move to and live in Rotterdam?

Being from the Netherlands myself, I know Rotterdam quite well and think it’s a nice city to live in. But, the experience could of course be quite different if you choose to move here from abroad…

I was therefore really looking forward to doing this interview with Edyta, who is currently living in Rotterdam.

This interview is part of the Ask an Expat series. In this series, I interview people living all over the world but outside of their home country. I try to help paint an honest picture of the ups and downs of life abroad, share tips about moving to the place the expat now calls home, and information about what to see and do here.

Expat Life in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

girl buying flowers in Rotterdam

Name: Edyta
Age: 33
Home town: Ełk, Poland

Why Did You Move to Rotterdam?

“I left my home country straight after high school, but I did not move directly to Rotterdam. I never actually thought that the Netherlands would become my home, but it simply happened.

When I was catching a connecting flight in Amsterdam, traveling from California, where I lived for six months, I met someone who offered me an au-pair job. I moved to The Netherlands initially for just a few months, but I fell in love with the vibe, the language, and the culture.

I also lived in Miami and in Rome, both of which are awesome places I truly love, but somehow I think that the quality of life is better in the Netherlands.

I lived in probably 10 different cities across the Netherlands, I studied and I met my husband (who is not Dutch by the way).

I found a job at an Italian company, which made me move to Rotterdam and I eventually bought a house here.”

What Do You Like About Living in Rotterdam?

The port – it is undeniably the heart of the city. I work in the maritime industry and I am quite passionate about it. I love to see the different ships passing by and the entire maritime spirit of the city.

I like the amazing career opportunities the city offers, its maritime events, and the international atmosphere.

I am not particularly a fan of its architecture, but I love its skyline, especially at night.

Rotterdam also has some great restaurants with new ones popping up literally every month.

For those who wonder, Rotterdam area housing and property prices are incomparably lower than in the Amsterdam area, which makes living in Rotterdam a lot less expensive. And it also seems like there are usually more places available to rent in and around Rotterdam than in Amsterdam.

Those I would say are two of the most important points in favor of moving to Rotterdam instead of moving to Amsterdam, where the cost of living might be way too high for many expats.”

What Do You Dislike About Living in Rotterdam?

“Some of its architecture is not in my taste, especially the Blaak area. It is definitely unique, and nice to see once in your life, but it is a shame that some architects of that area focused on creativity, but forgot about the esthetics…”

Is Rotterdam Safe as a Place to Live?

“It depends on where you live.

There are some rather infamous areas in Rotterdam but I have no first-hand experience with them.

Sometimes you hear about fights between soccer fans, but in general, the city center is a safe place and I definitely do feel safe living in Rotterdam.”

What Is Your Favourite Thing to Do in Rotterdam?

Rotterdam's popular market hall
Rotterdam’s popular market hall – life in Rotterdam

“Going out, eating out, trying out new restaurants.

And strolling along the Nieuwe Mass river or around the Kralingen lake.”

What Is Your Favorite Place to Hang out in Rotterdam?

“Witte de Withstraat is definitely THE place to get a drink with your friends. It is the most popular pub street in the city.

Our favourite restaurants are rather scattered across the city. Our recent find is DoDo restaurant close to the Central Station.”

What Is the Expat / International Community Like in Rotterdam?

“There are many expats living in Rotterdam, and many of them came to the Netherlands because of a maritime-related career opportunity.

There are many events and Internations events taking place each month, so do not worry – there
will be many chances to meet new people as soon as you move to Rotterdam.”

Any Tips for Moving to / Living in Rotterdam?

Rotterdam's famous cube houses
the famous cube houses – living in Rotterdam

“Rental prices in the city center can be quite high and it is difficult to find accommodation in the best areas.

But there is a rather good metro network in Rotterdam and the trains in the Netherlands are good too. So you could easily extend your search area, even to neighboring towns such as Capelle aan den Ijssel. Even from there you’d still be able to get to the city center in just 15 minutes.

Rental prices in those areas are so much lower that it’s definitely worth checking out!”

Any Resources You Found Useful During the Process of Moving to And/Or Building a New Life in Rotterdam?

“The best site for finding a job is

LinkedIn is very popular in the Netherlands, and it is important to use it while searching for a job.

Once you move to Rotterdam you will probably want to use public transport. Use the website (or download their app), which shows you how to get around the city and the country.”

Is There Something You Just Have to See or Do When You Are in Rotterdam?

“Take a walk on the Erasmus bridge and enjoy the skyline of Rotterdam by night.

Explore the Blaak and Oude Haven area.

Take the public waterbus to Kinderdijk Windmills, which is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you have a car, definitely visit Futureland and take a port tour to see the amazing container terminal and explore the free Futureland exhibition.

When visiting Futureland, you might also want to stop by at a small, cute town called Brielle, which still remains a bit of hidden gem. It is a star-shaped fort town with a beautiful city centre.

Gouda is another beautiful town nearby, where traditional cheese markets are being held in the summer.”

About Edyta

Edyta, an expat living in Rotterdam

Edyta lives and works in Rotterdam. She recently made a career switch from Procurement to Marketing but remains in the maritime industry.

She likes everything about the Netherlands, except for the winter and autumn weather, that’s why she frequently travels south in search of the sun.

Her hobbies are traveling and travel blogging. She is also the author of and you can follow her on Instagram where she shares her pictures and travel tips about Madeira Island, Portugal.

About Rotterdam

Rotterdam by night

Rotterdam is Europe’s largest seaport.

It is the second-largest Dutch city after the capital Amsterdam, and is located in the province of South Holland, at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas.

Also Read: Is it Holland or the Netherlands? This Funny Video Explains It All

The city is a major logistic and economic center and is home to over 180 nationalities.

Rotterdam is known for its Erasmus University, its riverside setting, lively cultural life, maritime heritage, and modern architecture.

The near-complete destruction of the city center during World War II has resulted in a varied architectural landscape, including sky-scrapers (an uncommon sight in other Dutch cities) designed by renowned architects.

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expat life in Rotterdam


Sanne Wesselman

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share "the good, the bad and the ugly" of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.

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