Rotterdam is a popular expat destination and it's easy to see why. But like every destination, there are some downsides to life in Rotterdam as well. Check out our list of pros and cons for moving to Rotterdam.
Cost of living in Rotterdam
+ PRO: Reasonable cost of living
When compared to that of other cities in the Netherlands, the cost of living in Rotterdam is fairly low, which allows for a comfortable and even luxurious standard of living for expats.
- CON: Accommodation is not cheap
Expats need to be aware that accommodation will take up a substantial portion of their income, and despite it being cheaper than in other Dutch cities, it's still high on a global index.
Lifestyle and culture in Rotterdam
+ PRO: Plenty to do
Rotterdam is a thriving city with a lively culture. While the shopping, nightlife and restaurant scenes are constantly bubbling with activity, the city also hosts many annual events and is home to a host of museums and attractions worth visiting.
- CON: Rotterdam is a small city
Rotterdam is quite a compact city, which means expats may get ‘cabin fever’ from time to time and find themselves in need of a getaway and a change of scenery. Fortunately, it’s very centrally located, which makes travelling to the rest of Europe a breeze.
Healthcare in Rotterdam
+ PRO: Excellent healthcare system
As the Netherlands is known to have one of the best healthcare systems in Europe, expats can rest assured that they will have access to excellent facilities and highly trained medical staff when living in Rotterdam.
- CON: Healthcare is expensive
While expats are guaranteed brilliant healthcare, the cost of it is rather high compared to other Western European countries. Expats will have to take out a Dutch health insurance policy as, without one, they may end up spending more down the line.
Education in Rotterdam
+ PRO: Good public and international schools
Along with Rotterdam boasting several excellent international schools, the city also has good public schools, with some of them offering bilingual classes, language-integration programmes or international sections for foreign students. Despite public education being largely free in the Netherlands, these programmes do come at an extra cost. That said, fees are subsidised by the Dutch government and are therefore much cheaper than those of private schools.
- CON: International schools are expensive
Those expats wishing to send their children to private international schools need to be aware of the high costs involved. Although these schools do provide an excellent education, expats should make room in their budget for the large expenses that come with enrolment, or negotiate with their employer for a school allowance.
Getting around in Rotterdam
+ PRO: Good public transport system
Although many of Rotterdam’s citizens prefer to cycle, the public transport system, which includes the metro, trams and buses, is also readily available and efficient. Travel cards can be purchased, significantly decreasing the cost of moving around.
- CON: Cars are expensive
Expats who prefer to use private transport should be aware that buying a car is expensive in the Netherlands. It is also deemed quite unnecessary to own a car in Rotterdam thanks to the well-established transport system and cycling infrastructure.
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.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance.
Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.
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