Kingpin's Guide to Life in Rotterdam
Rotterdam - More than a Port
The second largest city in the Netherlands that is often left basking in the shadow of the glitz of Amsterdam, Rotterdam is a logistic and economic centre that is very popular with expats. It is home to the largest port in Europe, which contributes greatly to its stable economy. However, there is more to Rotterdam than its port and business centre. The city is brimming with innovative architecture, along with a wealth of things to do and places to explore.
What to do in Rotterdam
A former European capital of culture, Rotterdam has a variety of museums to discover. Most museums showcase art and modern architecture, such as the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Kunsthal Rotterdam. Due to the significance of Rotterdam’s port, the city boasts an impressive maritime museum. Maritime Museum Rotterdam has a variety of exhibits and exhibitions that will grip young and old. If you want to learn more about the city, the Rotterdam Museum is a modern museum showcasing the evolution of the city.
Rotterdam is known for its modern architecture. The city was essentially flattened during the 2nd World War, leading to a number of new builds that make the city seem more developed and modern than other Dutch cities. The simplest way to explore these unique buildings is to go on your own walking tour and stroll past some of the slightly unusual sights, such as the unique cube-shaped houses. If you prefer wheels doing the work, hiring a bike is popular to whiz around the city. The Bike & Bite tour is popular among tourists, where a guided bike tour of the city has several stop-offs to rejuvenate yourself with the best and most unique food and drink in the area. Tours are not all on land, with city cruises provided by De Tenders. This is a unique way of exploring Rotterdam.
For a more in-depth look at some of Rotterdam’s best architectural wonders, Markthal and De Rotterdam, De Rotterdam tours provide guided outings and behind-the-scenes access to these buildings. Finally, for a birds-eye view of the city, a trip to the top of Rotterdam’s tallest building, Euromast, giving extraordinary 360 views of all of Rotterdam’s beautiful architecture.
There are lots of ways for expatriates to keep active when in Rotterdam. As mentioned previously, cycling in prominent in the city and this represents a great way of keeping fit. There are many running events staged throughout the year, such as the Rotterdam Marathon and the Brugenloop. There is a host of sports clubs to join and participate in, for example, Wilhelmus Football Club, based in The Hague area is one of many expat friendly football teams. If you prefer to be a spectator, there are a variety of professional events to attend. The Rotterdam Open is the city’s annual tennis event and current Dutch champions Feyenoord Rotterdam is the passion of many football fans in the city.
For those expats with children, don’t worry there is plenty to keep the kids entertained. At the port, FutureLand is a great day out and learning experience for young and old, showcasing the evolution and future plans for Europe’s biggest port. If they fancy being the captain of the ship, the Kids Marina allows kids to set sail on a host of miniature boats. Children will feel like giants with a visit to Miniworld Rotterdam, an indoor miniature world where days last 24 minutes. For animal lovers, Rotterdam Zoo & Oceanium is home to a plethora of different wild animals. These activities represent just some of the things kids will love.
Rotterdam is full of shopping facilities across all categories, from fashion to books to homeware. There is a good variety of; quintessentially Dutch, international brands, small gift shops and luxury designer stores. Therefore, you’ll never be short of choice and you’ll probably never struggle to find what you want.
Eating & Nightlife
The city is home to many local & unique food shops and markets which are sure to have something that will entice you. In terms of restaurants, the city offers cuisine from not just the Netherlands but from all over the world such as Italian, American and Asian. Whether it’s celebrating a special occasion, a family dinner out or a business meeting, Rotterdam has the perfect place to match the occasion. The city is also home to some cosy cafés, lunchrooms and street food hotspots for some quicker lunch bites.
Rotterdam has a diverse nightlife scene encompassing classical Dutch bars, modern cocktail bars, jazz bars and dance clubs. This extent of variation means there is something for everyone and is good if you are seeking something different from time to time.
Transport in Rotterdam
The Netherlands is known for having a good transport network and this is reflected in Rotterdam. Whether it be by bus, tram or metro or even waterbus, all are reliable and provide a convenient way of commuting to and from the city. To travel on the RET transport services, you will need to have a travel card known as your ‘personal OV-chipkaart'. The Dutch have a very efficient rail network and this provides the perfect connection for Rotterdam to other Dutch and European cities. Trains to Amsterdam take just over half an hour and are very frequent. The city has its own airport as well as being in close proximity to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
There are a variety of housing options available for expats in Rotterdam, from city apartments to family houses in the suburbs, there is a selection of potential homes to suit your family requirements. Foreigners are permitted to buy property in the Netherlands, however, most expats, especially those only planning to stay a few years or less, tend to rent property. It is recommended to use a local estate agent to find the appropriate place, especially if it is your first time looking for property in the area.
A crucial decision for expats who are parents is what school their children should attend. The Netherlands has a very good education system, with many students finishing up at the university. Education is compulsory for all children from age 5 to 18 years, with Dutch being the primary language of tuition. This can be a barrier to children from other countries, particularly those who have previously had education in their first language. Thankfully, Rotterdam boats a good number of international schools who offer tuition in mainly English and offer international qualifications. The city is also home to one of the best and most recognised universities in the world, The Erasmus University, one which boasts a number of foreign students.
If you are interested in a move to Rotterdam or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current International Tax vacancies.