Tips and Tricks

Rotterdam Survival Guide

Moving to a new city can be a very rewarding experience, but it can be a bit overwhelming at first! We have put together this FAQ to help make your transition to Rotterdam a bit smoother. Feel free to drop by the ESN office (PT-064) any working day between 12:00 to 15:00 if you have any further questions, or would just like to have a chat over some coffee!


How do I Find Housing?

How do I get Health Insurance?

Arriving: First Steps

How do I register at the City Hall?

How do I open a Dutch Bank account?

Firstly, choose a bank! The three largest banks in the Netherlands are ABN Amro, ING and Rabobank. A smaller Bank (bunq) will be present at this year’s One Stop Shops, so you can open an account right on campus should you choose this option. To open an account, you require certain documents that vary with the bank you choose. For more information regarding this and to make an appointment, please visit the website of the international office about the One Stop Shop.

What is DigiD and how do I get one?

DigiD is an online identity verification system that grants you access to many Dutch government services online. Once you register for one on their website, you will receive an activation code by mail within a week. Apply for you DigiD online here.

What are my options for mobile services?

You can choose to get a prepaid SIM, which you can top up as needed, or a phone contract for which you will be charged a monthly fixed amount. Contracts last for at least one year, and these usually have to be paid even if you stop using the service.

If you are staying in the Netherlands for a short period of time (ie. less than a year) your most feasible option would be to get a prepaid SIM. You can pick up a free Lebara SIM at the ESN office!

If you are planning on staying longer, you could look into getting a contract. These tend to be more cost effective in the long run, and can help you even out your monthly spending. You can use this website to compare subscriptions and find one that best fits your needs.

Getting around the city

Public Transport 

The public transport network in Rotterdam is quite extensive. You can use the metro, tram, bus, or water taxi to get around locally and the train if you need to get to another city.

General information

Just like anywhere in the Netherlands the ‘OV-Chipkaart’ (Public Transport – Chipcard) can be used on all modes of public transportation. You can get an anonymous card (Blue) or a personal card (Yellow) depending on your personal situation. Planning your journeys can be done either through Google Maps or the Dutch transport app.

Modes of transport:

Metro (Underground): the Metro System of Rotterdam (RET) consists of five (partially) underground lines which are colour coded. The dark blue line (E) has been recently extended all the way to The Hague Central Station.

Tram (above ground): this system (also RET) is more complex and consists of over 20 lines which go throughout the entire city.

Trains: the train system of the Netherlands is quite extensive and has a regular schedule. Every ten minutes a train from/to all major cities in the ‘Randstad’ departs. Be aware that in fall/winter many trains run late or are cancelled during storms/snowfall. 

NB: this video was recorded a few years ago. Therefore, some information might be outdated! If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected]