Private: Settling in Rotterdam

Settling in Rotterdam: A Newcomer’s Guide

Welcome to Rotterdam, the vibrant and diverse city that offers a unique blend of modern architecture, rich history, and a thriving cultural scene. As you embark on your journey of making Rotterdam your new home, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to help you settle in smoothly. From local customs to finding accommodation and navigating the city, here are some valuable tips for new residents in Rotterdam.

Understanding Local Customs

Rotterdam is known for its friendly and open-minded residents, making it easy for newcomers to feel welcome. However, like any other city, Rotterdam has its own set of local customs and traditions that are worth familiarizing yourself with. Here are a few key customs to keep in mind:

1. Greeting Etiquette

When meeting someone for the first time in Rotterdam, a firm handshake is the most common form of greeting. It is also customary to maintain eye contact during the greeting. In more informal settings, a simple nod or a friendly "hello" is acceptable.

2. Punctuality

Being punctual is highly valued in Rotterdam. Whether it's for work, social gatherings, or appointments, it is important to arrive on time. If you anticipate being late, it is considered polite to inform the person you are meeting in advance.

3. Cycling Culture

Rotterdam is renowned for its cycling culture, with an extensive network of bike lanes and bike-friendly infrastructure. Consider investing in a bicycle as it is not only an efficient mode of transportation but also a great way to explore the city and its surroundings.

4. Language

While English is widely spoken in Rotterdam, learning a few basic Dutch phrases can go a long way in making connections with locals and immersing yourself in the culture. The effort to speak the local language is always appreciated.

Finding Accommodation

When it comes to finding accommodation in Rotterdam, there are several options to consider. From rental apartments to shared housing, here are some tips to help you in your search:

1. Research Neighborhoods

Rotterdam is divided into various neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and atmosphere. Take the time to research different neighborhoods to find the one that best suits your preferences and lifestyle. Some popular neighborhoods include Centrum, Kralingen, and Delfshaven.

2. Online Platforms

Utilize online platforms such as housing websites and social media groups dedicated to housing in Rotterdam. These platforms often have a wide range of listings and allow you to filter your search based on your budget, preferred location, and other criteria.

3. Real Estate Agents

Consider enlisting the help of a real estate agent who specializes in the Rotterdam housing market. They can provide valuable insights, assist with negotiations, and help you navigate the rental process.

4. Temporary Accommodation

If you haven't found a permanent place to live yet, consider staying in temporary accommodation such as serviced apartments or hotels. This will give you time to explore the city further and make a more informed decision about where you want to settle.

Navigating the City

Rotterdam boasts an efficient public transportation system, making it easy to navigate the city and its surrounding areas. Here are some tips to help you get around:

1. Public Transportation

The public transportation system in Rotterdam consists of buses, trams, and metro lines. Consider purchasing an OV-chipkaart, a rechargeable card that allows you to travel seamlessly across different modes of public transport. It is more cost-effective than buying individual tickets.

2. Cycling

As mentioned earlier, cycling is a popular mode of transportation in Rotterdam. The city is well-equipped with bike lanes and bike parking facilities, making it safe and convenient to cycle to your destination. Renting a bicycle is also an option if you don't want to invest in one immediately.

3. Walking

Rotterdam is a compact city, and many attractions and amenities are within walking distance of each other. Take advantage of the city's pedestrian-friendly streets and explore Rotterdam on foot. It's a great way to discover hidden gems and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

4. Taxi and Ride-Sharing Services

If you prefer a more convenient mode of transportation, taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are readily available in Rotterdam. They can be particularly useful when traveling with heavy luggage or during late hours when public transportation is less frequent.


As you embark on your new journey in Rotterdam, remember to embrace the city's unique customs, explore different neighborhoods, and make use of the efficient public transportation system. Rotterdam offers a vibrant and welcoming environment for newcomers, and with these tips, you'll be well on your way to making Rotterdam your new home.

For any assistance with your move or further information about settling in Rotterdam, feel free to reach out to SMOOVER Moving, Europe's most customer-friendly moving company. We are here to make your relocation experience as smooth as possible.