There are many options for arranging housing in Rotterdam to suit your needs, but make sure to start looking for a place as soon as possible. Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to find good and affordable rooms for rent in Rotterdam. If you are participating in an exchange program to Erasmus University Rotterdam - or another international course - a room may be arranged for you by that institution.
When looking for a place to rent in Rotterdam there are certain things you should pay attention to:
Inclusive rent is where all the utilities (gas, water, electricity, and sometimes the internet) are included in the price. For exclusive deals, you pay these in addition to your rent. You should also check if there are any additional costs or taxes, and the amount due for the security deposit.
You need to register in order to receive your BSN social number.
The quality of furnishing can vary substantially, from just a bed and a desk to fully-equipped spaces with fast internet. If you decide to go with an unfurnished room, very cheap pieces of furniture can be found on the Commodity Market Rotterdam and Marktplaats websites.
It’s pivotal that you do. You don’t want to end up having a repair bill to pay because you drilled a wall to hang your favorite picture! It’s also good to know about any cancellation (or extension) possibilities, as well as any identification or documentation required.
Cheap rental is slightly easier to find in Rotterdam than the Hague or Amsterdam, but it’s still pretty high for most student budgets. The apartments are offered as furnished, unfurnished or shell. Beware, the shell apartments often come without flooring and have extremely basic equipment.
An average room in Rotterdam costs somewhere between €350 to €700 a month. Inclusion of bills (gas, water, electricity, the internet) can add extra on top of this, as well as the day-to-day cost of living in Rotterdam. Most contracts run for six or twelve months, which is handy if you are staying for a student exchange or an internship. What influences the price of apartments most is the location: central, relatively affordable and spacious Rotterdam apartments are extremely rare.
Read about the best neighborhoods in Rotterdam and find out which might suit you best.
A buzzing student area
With the main campus of Erasmus University located at the eastern border of the neighborhood, Kralingen is most popular with students. The area is gentrified and has both high and low-income families enjoying the local restaurants, bars and shops. Students love this part of town, and with the city centre only 15 minutes away by bike, tram or metro, accommodation prices aren’t too bad. Studios are a rare find here, but private rooms and apartments are common.
At the heart of the city's architecture
Centrum is known for its architecture and design. The old city was destroyed by German bombings in World War 2; days after its destruction, plans were already being made to rebuild and reshape the city. As a result, the centre is modern and vibrant. In this area you find many restaurants and bars, as well as Central Station, Market Hall, the city hall at the Coolsingel and the Cubic Houses. Many expats and working professionals find their apartment or studio in this part of the city, though it can be a bit expensive.
Upcoming and lively part of town
In the north-east of the city you will find Oude Noorden ("Old North"), and it’s a dynamic, multi-cultural community living there. It’s a late 19th-century residential area bordering the city centre. Some good shopping streets can be found here (Zwart Janstraat, Zwaanhals, Bergweg), where you will also find small bars and cheap but tasty restaurants. Noordplein hosts markets, carnivals and food festivals throughout the summer. Cheap accommodation in this part of town is plentiful for the moment, but prices are likely to rise as its popularity increases.
Quiet area next to Erasmus University
This neighborhood is excellent for those who’d like to live close to Erasmus University (Woudestein campus) and prefer a quiet environment. De Esch is considered a lush part of Rotterdam and there are two trams that will bring you to the city centre in a quarter of an hour. You can do your daily groceries in this area but you will not find any good bars or restaurants here. Rental prices are just a bit below what you pay in Kralingen, while still being very close to the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, so this might suit students.
Central and good for couples, known for expats
Just north of Central Station lies Blijdorp. This residential area has well-maintained streets and buildings and is popular with young couples, families and expats. With easy access to shops, the city centre and international schools, Blijdorp is a comfortable place to live. You will also find the city’s zoo in this area: it’s called ‘Diergaarde Blijdorp’. You can find private or shared rooms, studios and apartments here, though the price is slightly above the norm.
For those on a budget
Rotterdam South can be found just below the Maas river and is where you’ll find the cheapest accommodation in Rotterdam. It is well-connected to the north side of the river by public transportation, with metros running every few minutes until past midnight. The streets around the metro stations and Katendrecht are hip and considered good places to live. The Kop van Zuid is a high-rise section connected to the Erasmus bridge, where you’ll find ‘De Rotterdam’ - the largest building in the country!
if you want more details, we created the Ultimate guide to Rotterdam neighborhoods. It will help you find the best fitting area for you to live.
Our ambassador Caleb Winters gives some advice about how to find a room in Rotterdam, which can be a really tricky situation. Don’t forget to regularly check our platform to find a room, as more can become available every day!
"For many international students in Rotterdam, finding accommodation in this city is a big challenge. Apartments often become unavailable quickly, landlords are overwhelmed with requests, and rent prices can be steep. However, you’re not alone, and there are a few strategies to find housing more easily amidst these challenges. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the course of my time working as an Ambassador for HousingAnywhere in Rotterdam:
Many students (as they do with most things..) procrastinate on house-searching, waiting until the month before moving to open up Google. You can get away with this in some cities, but not Rotterdam. You should give yourself a lot of time to look before your arrival here. Three or four months ahead may seem unnecessary - but trust me, if you start looking this far ahead then you’ll be in a much better position to find what you’re really looking for.
You want to get instant updates about the most recent housing posts, right? Well, HousingAnywhere manages several Facebook groups where apartments and rooms are posted regularly. It really increases your chances of finding something quickly and ahead of the crowd. Here are the groups:
– Rooms & Houses in Rotterdam (for Interns and Students)
– Hogeschool Rotterdam: Rooms / Housing / Kamers
I encourage you to connect with your fellow classmates (via Facebook) who are moving to Rotterdam too, and see if you can arrange a larger apartment that you can all live in. This is advantageous for a few reasons. The first is that more people are looking with you: you have support! The second is a big reduction your overall cost of living. You could pay… let’s say 650 euros, yourself, for a one-bed apartment, or you could split a 1600 euro apartment between 3-4 people and make big savings (beer money?) every month. Also, it’s more fun to live with other exchange students or classmates, right? You get to have fun sharing the international experience together!
Or two miles, or three. Maybe four. Some students find nice apartments for good prices, and the only tradeoff is that they might be a bit far from the university. It may take you five or ten minutes more to bike to school, but at least you’ll have a nice place. I’ve even heard from students that they prefer living farther from the school; it encourages them to bike a little more, pass by the urban scenery, and get more exercise before class.
The process can be hard. Really hard, in fact. But as I said, remember you’re not alone. In those times when you’re stressed, and perhaps panicking, just keep calm about it and make it a part of your daily routine to look around. When it comes to finding accommodation in Rotterdam, there will always be a place if you persevere - a bit like asking for help at Hogwarts!