Since 2002, the year when the Euro was introduced, the cost of living in the Netherlands has increased. Many locals still talk about how everything has become more expensive and how they miss the Guilder, their former currency. Taking into account the costs of housing and insurance alongside your daily expenses (including food, transport, books, clothes and entertainment) your monthly costs in Rotterdam as a student or an intern will likely be between €800 and €1100.
As we’ve mentioned before, private rooms in Rotterdam are mostly between €350 and €700 a month, depending on their quality and location. Rental prices also depend on whether the landlord include service- and utility costs in the rent or not. If the landlord expects you to pay for this yourself, it's important you find providers for electricity, gas, water and internet.
Food is another pricey monthly expense - however, these are both pretty non-negotiable. You have to eat and sleep!
Fortunately, most higher education institutions like the Erasmus and Rotterdam universities offer hot meals at acceptable prices. In addition, there are many places (eetcafés) where you can get a decent meal without splashing too much cash. Still, the cheapest way to eat is by cooking for yourself. Some average Rotterdam prices:
Basic lunch menu €10-13
Fast food menu €7
A regular beer €2,70 - €4
Cinema ticket 11€
In supermarkets, you can find a vast range of brands, but they slightly differ in price so you may want to compare them. A cheaper option is going to the open market (Blaak market for example) where products, especially fruit and veg, can be found for significantly lower prices.
As with the rest of the country, almost everybody uses their bicycle to get around. Our advice is to buy one as soon as you move to Rotterdam. It is the easiest and cheapest mode of transport and will get you everywhere pretty quickly. You can find a second-hand one practically anywhere, on Facebook groups (around 40-100€), by asking friends/colleagues to point you where to go or in second-hand stores - these will cost you a bit more. Also, a lock is an indispensable investment since theft is very common!
Public transport in Rotterdam is rather cheap in comparison to the European standard. The whole country works with a public transport card which can be used on trains, trams, metros and buses. Trains to other cities are also not too expensive, especially if you get a discount card for train tickets, which gives you 40% reduction in off-peak times throughout the year. It’s worth learning more about season tickets and the good deals these offer. You’ll struggle to find a Rotterdam taxi cheaply - a better option is Uber if you need a ride quickly.
Numerous cultural sites, museums, bars and restaurants give student discounts. Usually, a proof of ID (aka student card) from your institution is required. You should check beforehand if a student discount is available. There are plenty of nice and cheap spots for you to chill in Rotterdam.