Rotterdam: an introduction
As you might know, Rotterdam was virtually bombed flat during the Second World War and rebuilt in the decades that followed. As a result the city centre is packed with progressive architecture. The only medieval part that is left, including a windmill, is in Delfshaven in the western part of town.
Rotterdam is split in 2 by the river Nieuwe Maas, a shipping channel which can be crossed by means of several bridges or the Maastunnel. If you wish to live close to the university, forget about all accommodation on the city’s South bank. The city centre is on the river’s North Bank. The commercial centre is to the east of the city centre, most museums are in the western part.
Rotterdam is a metropolitan city, a true melting pot with approximately 175 nationalities. Exotic shops and eateries can be found everywhere. Living in Rotterdam is not any more dangerous than living in any other European city. Using your common sense will allow you to enjoy your Rotterdam life safely and soundly.
The majority of faculties of Erasmus University Rotterdam are situated in Kralingen (Woudestein). Erasmus Medical Center, which houses the medical faculty, is situated to the west of the centre (Hoboken).
City centre (centrum)
A 15 minutes’ walk from the new train station (Rotterdam Centraal) in the city centre takes you to the North Bank of the river Maas. South-East of central station, you will find Rotterdam’s main shopping area called Lijnbaan and Beurstraverse (colloquially dubbed Koopgoot). South-West of central station, some of the best Dutch museums can be found. When it comes to housing, there are no particular areas that we would advise against. Just be aware that in the evening and night the shopping areas of this neighbourhood are mostly deserted.
Average travel time to the Woudestein campus: 20 minutes by bike, 20 minutes by public transport.
To the west of the city centre, you will find one of the most diverse areas in Rotterdam with Chinatown as well as lots of Moroccan, Turkish, Hindustani and Surinamese shops and eateries. It has the highest density of creative industries and artists in Rotterdam. The area further to the west used to be a problem area, but about 10 years ago the city council started to reinvest in this lively part of town. Continued municipal investment has resulted in an influx of new artistic and commercial activities and inhabitants.
If you’re not used to living in a metropolitan area with different cultures, this neighbourhood might not be your cup of tea. But for those who love the multiculturalism of a city and being part of it, this could be just the place. This area is near Erasmus Medical Center.
Average travel time to the Woudestein campus: 30 minutes by bike, 30 minutes by public transport.
Kralingen and Crooswijk
East of the city centre you will find the neighbourhood of Kralingen and Crooswijk. Kralingen is home to EUR and therefore popular with employees and students. It’s one of the most spacious and green areas of the city and boasts a lake (Kralingse Plas), a woodland area (Kralingse Bos) and a beautiful Arboretum.
Crooswijk, adjacent to Kralingen, is a true working-class area housing lots of families of various cultures. It’s close to the university and the centre and quite a bit cheaper than Kralingen.
Average travel time to the Woudestein campus: 5-10 minutes by bike, 10 minutes by public transport.
The “Kop van Zuid”, just across the river, is the expansion of the city centre to the South. Modern high-rise buildings on the river front feature restaurants, an excellent arthouse film theatre (Lantaren/Venster) and the Luxor theatre. Behind the high-rise buildings offering more upscale housing with incredible views, a fairly recently-built residential area is situated where a lot of families live.
Further into the South bank, older neighbourhoods that used to be working-class can be found. Some of the areas on the South bank are pretty rough. If you’re not used to living in a mixed and busy European town, you might not wish to live in the area further to the south. The South bank is connected to the north bank by means of the underground, several bridges and the Maastunnel.
Average travel time to the Woudestein campus: 30 minutes by bike, 40 minutes by public transport.
North of Central Station
The area north of Central Station and its train tracks is called Rotterdam-noord. To the west of this area is Blijdorp, a green, spacious and quiet residential neighbourhood with lots of families and several international secondary schools. Here, one of the city’s main attractions can be found: the Rotterdam Zoo.
Further to the East you’ll get into the Oude Noorden, an area that is being invested in heavily by the city council and as a result has been flourishing again for a number of years. These days, it features some lovely restaurants, cafés and little shops. Certain parts are less attractive than others, but as a whole it’s a fine area to live in. It isn’t very close to campus, however.
The most affluent neighbourhood of Rotterdam is Hillegersberg, to the immediate north of the north ring of the motorway. This area is very green and spacious sporting many old and characteristic residential buildings, 2 small lakes and a woodland area. Most of the international primary and secondary education is based here. Needless to say, rents and house prices in this area are among the highest in Rotterdam.
Average travel time to the Woudestein campus: 25 minutes by bike, 30 minutes by public transport.
Before you accept a room, check the cost of public transport since many students are surprised by the costs.
You can calculate the duration and cost of a trip to the university by public transport on the website of the RET (one of Rotterdam’s main local public transport providers). Just fill out the street address of the accommodation you are considering as well as the university address (Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam). Travel options and prices will then show on the results page.
International students do not qualify for a discount (reductie). Consider travelling by bike!