New to Rotterdam? Here are ESN’s Top Tips

Welcome to Rotterdam! We hope you are settling in. To help any new arrivals this semester, we have compiled a short-list of our top tips.

Winter Intro Days

The best way to meet some friendly faces is by joining in with the ESN Winter Introduction Days. This winter semester the Introduction Days will take place on 12, 13, 14 January 2020. These days are focused on meeting other international students and getting to know Rotterdam. Here is the itinerary but more information about tickets can be found on Facebook or our website.

Obtaining a Bike

Instead of purchasing your own bike, you can rent a bike with Swapfiets. The minimum rental period is one month but it is very flexible, depending on your needs. There is also a student discount available. Another option is to use a bike-sharing app, such as Donkey Republic. This app is better suited for those who want to hire a bike for shorter periods of time – the shortest time being 15 minutes. Similarly to Swapfiets, you can pay a monthly subscription but it isn’t as flexible as Swapfiets.

Eating on Campus

On campus, the cheapest location for a meal is in the cafe in the Sports Centre. Eating in other areas, such as the Food Plaza, can be expensive. If you prefer to bring your own food, there are two microwaves on campus. One in the Spar and another in the P-Building.
If you want a caffeine fix, we’d recommend heading to the walkway between the library and the Theil Building as it’s only €0.82 for a cup of coffee.


For the best (and cheapest) ingredients, hit up the market at Blaak. It’s open every Saturday and Tuesday with some stalls accepting card payments. Need some cash? There’s an ATM outside the Rotterdam Centrale Bibliotheek. Blaak is very close to the university and is only a short bike-ride away.

SIM Card

The P-Building is also home to the ESN office. During 12:00-15:00 on weekdays you can pick up a free Lebara sim card. You can find us in Room 64 (PT-064).

Public Transport 

When you pick up your SIM card at the ESN office, don’t forget to get your OV-chipkaart. These are essential if you plan to use public transport as it will save you a significant amount of money. In exchange, we ask for a €10 deposit for the card, which will be refunded when the card is returned. You can top-up these cards at a metro station. If you want to board a train (this doesn’t apply to the metro system), you need to top your OV-chipkaart with at least €20. An alternative is to buy the train ticket from or use the NS app. This will create a QR code that can be scanned at the barriers to the train station.

Gym Pass

To obtain a discount on your gym pass at Erasmus Sport, you might consider purchasing an ESNcard. Not only do you get a discount at the gym, but many other great deals (see our website for more details). The ESNcard costs €10 and reduces the price of an 8-month pass from €129 to €119.

More Information

Please visit our website for events, contact details and further information. Our office is in the P-Building if you want to collect any of the cards mentioned in this article.

Enjoy your stay here in Rotterdam!

Article written by Anna Brown, from the Content Committee