Rotterdam can be reached in many ways and has an extensive network of public transportation. Public transport in Rotterdam is well organised: the trams, buses and metro are scheduled to link perfectly. Boats are also a convenient means of transport in and around this city on the water. You can also take the bike or a taxi to get around in Rotterdam.
Public transport in Rotterdam
The Rotterdam Transportation Authority (Dutch: Rotterdamse Elektrische Tramwegmaatschappij, RET) provides mass transit services in the greater Rotterdam area by tram, bus and metro. To travel, you need a public transport chipcard (Dutch: Openbaar Vervoer chipkaart, OV-chipkaart). Personalised, anonymous, and/or disposable cards can be purchased online, from RET ticket offices and from RET ticket machines at metro stations. A card costs €7.50 and you always need credit on it to be able to use the card.
At the RET-website you can find a map with an overview of all the metro lines.
If you would like to plan your journey, you could do so using the 9292-website.
Public transport card with discount for international students
In the Netherlands you need an OV-chipkaart to travel around with the train, bus, metro and tram. Buying an OV-chipkaart and choosing a suitable subscription is a very complicated process, especially for international students. That is why ISIC created the ISIC/OV-chipkaart; a custom-made mobility card for international students. Order the ISIC/OV-chipkaart prior to your arrival to Rotterdam and it will be delivered at your Dutch (new) home address, don’t wait too long as our stock is limited.
Dutch rail services are widespread across the country, in most cases provided by Dutch Railways (Dutch: Nederlandse Spoorwegen, NS). Paper train tickets can still be bought directly from ticket machines at the stations, but the OV-chipcard can also be used.
If you plan on travelling by train a lot, it might be a good idea to buy the off-peak discount pass. For €52 a year and the price of a passport photo, you get a 40% discount on all off-peak train journeys (i.e. after 9:00 on weekdays and at any time in the weekend). If you have an off-peak discount pass, you can also use it as an OV-chipcard.
Go to the NS website, click on ‘Arrange and buy’ and then on ‘The off-peak discount pass’ for more information.
Please note that the NS are planning on introducing new discount passes. You will find information on these passes on the same place on their website.
You can find the international NS guide for travelling in the Netherlands here. The PDF guide provides you with all the information you need about your journey by train.
Do you want to get around quickly, easily and cheaply? Then we recommend to buy a bicycle (Dutch: fiets) upon arrival in the Netherlands! It is practical and also allows you to experience something typically Dutch.
At the beginning of each semester, bicycle lessons are organised for new international students (if the weather permits). You can sign up for these lessons on this page. During these lessons, professional instructors will teach you the basics of cycling and Dutch traffic rules.
Bicycle (repair) shops
A second-hand bicycle in reasonable shape will cost you approximately € 150. Second-hand bicycles can be bought at most bicycle shops and at the bicycle shelter at Central Station (see the overview of bicycle shops in Rotterdam for more options). We strongly advise against buying a cheap bicycle on the street as these bikes are usually stolen. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! See these 'Instructions for purchasing a bike' for more advice on what to look out for when you buy a bicycle.
At Woudestein, there is a shop located on Institutenlaan, next to the ESE’s PC labs in Tinbergen building (H). For the time being, the opening hours are Mondays to Fridays, 8.00 hrs - 17:00 hrs. You can contact them directly via firstname.lastname@example.org or (010) 40 88550.
At Erasmus MC, there is a bicycle repair shop in the basement of the He-building, open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.
With such a good public transport infrastructure in the city, we advise you not to bring your car to Rotterdam, where a parking permit is very expensive. However, you might sometimes need or want to hire a car. With StudentCar, you can rent a car by the hour and pick up the car from Woudestein campus.
For traffic rules in the Netherlands, see the traffic regulations website of the Dutch government.
Anyone who wishes to drive a car in the Netherlands must be 18 years or older and must have a valid driving licence.
If you are staying in the Netherlands for a maximum of 3 months and you are not registered at any municipality in the Netherlands, your current driving license is valid.
If you stay longer than 3 months and you are registered at a Dutch municipality, your foreign driving license is only valid for 6 months. After 6 months you either have to exchange your foreign driving license for a Dutch driving license or take a new test for a Dutch driving license.
EU/EEA citizens and citizens from Taiwan, Israel, Japan, the States of Jersey (UK), the Isle of Mann (UK), Switzerland, Monaco and Singapore can exchange their driving license. Others have to apply for a Dutch driving license by taking a Versneld Bijzonder Examen (VBE) (i.e. Driving Test with Priority). Consult the Yellow Pages for a good driving school.
Please bear in mind that obtaining a Dutch driving license can take a few months. For further information, please check the website of Centraal Bureau Rijvaardigheidsbewijzen (CBR): www.cbr.nl (only in Dutch).
The Netherlands can easily be reached by airplane.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is about 40 minutes by train from Rotterdam. This is the largest airport of The Netherlands. It is very likely that you'll arrive here. Travelling from and to Rotterdam from the airport is easiest by train.