When we think of the Netherlands, there are some things that come to our heads – flat landscape, legal marijuana, Amsterdam with its Red-Light District, big amount of bicycles, tall people and cheese. We might know some of the popular cities besides the capital, like the Hague or Utrecht, but if you want to move to the Netherlands and live there for a while – there is a better place for you: Rotterdam! Why? It may not be a typical Dutch city – it doesn’t have the lovely canals, not even a ‘real’ city center; it may not have the rustic atmosphere and it doesn’t look traditional. But there are some reasons, why Rotterdam is the most suitable Dutch city to live in.
When you move abroad and live away from your home country and places or people that you know, it may be hard to blend into a new society. That’s not the case in Rotterdam – the city of all the nations. When you walk through the streets of Rotterdam, almost everybody you meet is different. You can see diverse backgrounds, cultures, types of beauty and characters. Of course, there are some majorities, but sometimes it’s even hard to notice, that you are in a Dutch city. People of different origins, different languages and different habits are all around you. Not only that can make it easier for you to blend in (if everyone is different, doesn’t it make everyone the same?), but also you may find a community of your own homeland. Many foreign people that move to Rotterdam and live there for a long time are starting their own businesses or communities, so that you can come across a Persian supermarket, a Polish church or a Portuguese cafe. Not to mention the china town – right in the center.
Due to the events of World War II, when the city was demolished by German bombardment, Rotterdam had to be rebuild after the war has ended. Although it was a huge loss, the architects made the best out of it by creating the city again with a fresh, modern and sometimes experimental and surprising architectural designs. From the soaring shape of the central station, through the cube houses (complex of houses in shape of cubes standing on their corners) to the iconic Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge) that leads you to Kop van Zuid with popular skyscrapers, one of which is known to be the tallest building in the Netherlands. Yes, Rotterdam may not have the atmosphere of a typical Dutch city, but it has its own vibrant character of a modern city full of life.
Culture and sport
If you are a fan of high culture, you will find a lot of things to do in Rotterdam. You can see some masterpieces of Rembrandt and Breugel in the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen or enjoy some modern designs in de Kunsthal. There is a huge public library that offers not only books, but also language courses, workshops and other activities. If you like classical music, make sure to visit De Doelen concert hall and listen to the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra that is more than 100 years old! And if you are the kind of person that keeps track of soccer news and never misses a game – this is definitely the place for you. Rotterdam is very proud of its home team – the Feyenoord. Whenever there is a game, you can watch it in almost every bar and the matches of the World Cup are streamed even at the educational institutions!
Rotterdam may not be so popular as Amsterdam, but it has also a positive side. While in Amsterdam you have to fight your way through a crowd of tourists, in Rotterdam you can enjoy the variety of people you meet on the streets, without the feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount of people. While in Amsterdam you cannot pass the bicycle path because you will always get hit by a bike, in Rotterdam you are able to walk peacefully without the danger of getting run over by anybody. While Amsterdam in full of tourists and therefore also pickpockets and thieves, in Rotterdam you really feel safe. And while Amsterdam may be a more interesting city to see, Rotterdam is for sure a better place to live every day.
Rotterdam may seem more like a workplace instead of a cozy place to live, but the more you discover it yourself, the more you fall in love with it. It may not be the most significant of the Dutch cities, but it has a lot to offer. And because of its central position, it is quite easy to discover other places in the Netherlands, when you decide to live in Rotterdam.