The Ultimate Expat Guide to Rotterdam’s Top 11 Neighbourhoods

Stefano

Updated on Sep 07 • 10 minute read

Reborn from its ashes after WW2, present-day Rotterdam is one of the most desirable cities in the Netherlands and Europe. Its modern spirit, avant-garde architecture, excellent universities and vibrant start-up scene make up for an excellent mix of neighbourhood options.

If you're thinking of moving to the city on the Maas River, read on to find out which neighbourhood suits you best!

Safety

Generally speaking, Rotterdam is a safe city at any time of the day. The general rules of caution applicable to a large city also apply here.

The Zuid district used to be the least safe. Nowadays, the situation has improved a lot, but it is always better to keep your eyes open, especially in the evening.

Rotterdam Neighbourhood: City Center

Right in the middle of it all, this central buzzing area is where young people will find all of the action, making it an ideal place for accommodation. After its bombing in WWII, this neighbourhood was promptly rebuilt, which is why it is known for its unique architecture, often appreciated by its inhabitants. Of course, this is where you can expect to find the most tourists.

Quality of life

Being the city centre, you can expect to find many supermarkets and other stores in the area that fit a wide array of budgets.

Restaurants and cafes tend to be on the pricier side, which is not different from other European capitals. This is also where you’ll find a wide plethora of leisure activities in arms reach to enjoy in your free time.

With regards to accommodation, a quick skim through the available properties in the area reveals just how expensive it is to live here. Despite that, you’re likely to find accommodation on the cheaper side.

Its close proximity to the river and several modes of public transportation make it simple to get out of the city and even visit other neighbouring destinations.

Having a coffee in the Markthal , followed by a stroll along the river and a visit to one of the many museums in the area is what your perfect day here may look like. If you’re looking for a green space to relax with your new classmates or colleagues, head over to the British-style Het Park, including a mini-golf course and walking and biking paths.

This is what you can expect from the average rental prices in City Center:

  • Room: €650
  • Apartment: €1600
  • Studio: €1000

Internationality

Considering the central location of the area, you can expect to find a great mix of locals and internationals roaming around. You won’t feel like an outsider here.

Rotterdam Neighbourhood: Noord

Nestled in the northeast part of Rotterdam, and commonly referred to as "Old North," locals regard this area as being quieter than the City Center. It's considered to be one of the more advanced up and coming neighbourhoods of Rotterdam.

Quality of life

Prices are moderate in Noord, and the neighbourhood offers a good variety of shared apartments.

Noord is close to Blijdorp, where you can find the zoo, and right behind the Rotterdam Centraal station. This means that it's within walking distance of the city centre. The neighbourhood is well connected to the rest of the city by the city’s well-developed public transport system that operates until late at night.

Noord also boasts the much-loved Vroesenpark. This lovely space has been around since 1929, and it offers visitors a fishing pond, playgrounds, hiking trails and places to picnic and play football. You can also find spots for bouldering or go bowling with friends.

Since the majority of the buildings in the area date back to the 1950s, they are being modernized at a steady rate. Considering Noord’s proximity to the central part of Rotterdam, the rental prices in the neighbourhood are similar.

The following should give you a good impression as to what you can expect your rent to be in Noord:

  • Room: €600
  • Apartment: €1600
  • Studio: €1000

Internationality

Due to its rich cultural diversity, it’s easy to see why it’s a favourite amongst international students and professionals.

Rotterdam Neighbourhood: Blijdorp

This thriving neighbourhood is connected to Rotterdam Noord. This is also a great neighbourhood for students who are striving to pursue an internship due to the numerous thriving business opportunities nearby.

Quality of life

Locals love the culture, along with the peace and quiet of the green spaces of Blijdorp. Inhabited by many young families, the area has a fresh feel despite its typical Dutch architecture.

Blijdorp’s proximity to Rotterdam’s train station makes it ideal for those who want to explore the Netherlands and even Europe on weekends. You’ll also never have to worry about how to get across town in a hurry and there're plenty of options for public transport.

This is a neighbourhood that, like many parts of Rotterdam, is typically brimming with tourists. Of course, the tigers at the Blijdorp Zoo might have something to do with that. Blijdorp is also close to Vrosenpark, where you can go for a bit of relaxation or to have a nice walk or run during the warmer months.

Due to its convenient location, Blijdorp’s accommodation prices are just a bit above average but are still considered to be mid-range.

You should be prepared to pay the following rental prices:

  • Room: €550
  • Apartment: €1500
  • Studio: €900

Internationality

Blijdorp is close to a lot of activities in Rotterdam, and it is especially popular with the expat community, which means plenty of diversity.

Rotterdam Neighbourhood: Kralingen

Nestled between the Erasmus University and Kralingse Bos, you’ll find the neighbourhood Kralingen. Thanks to its location, characteristic Dutch houses and international vibes, the neighbourhood enchants students and families alike.

###Quality of life This gentrified area offers housing for mid- and higher-range budgets.

Commuting is extremely simple, as you can bike to the City Center within 10 minutes or hop on one of the frequently running metros or trams.

Erasmus University Students can take the metro from the Kralingse Zoom stop or use tram 7 to head to Rotterdam Centraal.

Kralingen is packed with plenty of activities. You’ll always find something to do in this lively neighbourhood- spending time with your new classmates or co-workers at Kralingse Lake or going for a run in the Kralingse Polder. You can also meet at Kralingen Bos, which is often considered the most beautiful park in Rotterdam. It offers sailing, an open-air gym and options for walking and running.

The prices that you can expect when searching for accommodation in Kralingen are:

  • Room: €650
  • Apartment: €1800
  • Studio: €1000

Internationality

Thanks to the Erasmus University, Kralingen is one of the most popular Rotterdam neighbourhoods for international and local students. Young professionals who have a position with the university or one of the numerous surrounding companies will also find this the ideal locale.

Rotterdam Neighbourhood: West

Rotterdam West is comprised of several large, diverse areas. You can find completely different neighbourhood personalities, often being a block or two away from each other.

Quality of life

Just as Kralingen offers many variables, so do the housing prices. You can find housing for those on a budget, those in the mid-range, and for those who've a lot to spend.

Since it’s right on the brink of the city center, you can get there by walking, biking or, if it’s raining, via public transportation.

Rotterdam West boasts two large parks, including Dakpark overlooking the port and the canal. You can expect to come across a lot of spots to get some fresh air and exercise in beautiful settings. Many locals visit some of the affordable grocery stores and butchers in the area.

The average rental prices in Rotterdam West are:

  • Room: €550
  • Apartment: €1250
  • Studio: €900

Internationality

Thanks to its diversity and artistic vibes, this area is popular among international young people. It's also nearby the Erasmus Medical Center, which is perfect for those seeking employment in the healthcare field.

Rotterdam Neighbourhood: Noordereiland

This neighbourhood is an island located between the city center and Rotterdam Zuid. The views of Rotterdam alone are almost enough of a reason to select this area to be your new home!

Quality of life

Noordereiland was largely unaffected by the bombing and you can still find some typical Dutch architecture in the area. Rental prices are on the expensive side and you can expect to pay the following:

  • Room: €650
  • Apartment: €1600
  • Studio: €1000

Be ready to cross the bridge on your bike, which on the positive side will help you get in some daily exercise, as this neighbourhood is barely served by public transport.

There aren’t a lot of attractions or activities on the island. However, it’s close to the City Center, the waterside is beautiful and the tranquillity of the area is immaculate. Don’t be discouraged though, the Ons Park offers a relaxing space for when you need it.

Internationality

Noordereiland is mainly a residential area and popular among students with a higher housing budget, successful young professionals or families.

Rotterdam Neighbourhood: Delfshaven

Located on the west side of Rotterdam, Delfshaven is centred around what was once the main harbour of Delft, which is where it got its name.

Quality of life

Mainly being a residential area, Delfshaven offers a wide array of housing options for students or working individuals.

This Rotterdam neighbourhood also offers quite varied pricing for accommodation, varying from mid-range to more on the expensive side.

  • Room: €550
  • Apartment: €1250
  • Studio: €900

Delfshaven boasts numerous public transport connections that can easily get you to the City Center and other important areas of Rotterdam when it rains and you don't want to use your bike. Het Park is nearby, offering a space to relax or go walking or running.

Internationality

Even though the area is mainly populated by locals, you can be certain that you’ll find plenty of locals around Delfshaven.

Rotterdam Neighbourhood: Prins Alexander

If you're looking for a house with a garden and a school within walking distance for your kids, Prins Alexander is the place to be.

Quality of life

Prins Alexander is a calm, green area with lots of families, situated in the northeast region of Rotterdam. Although some areas of this neighbourhood are considered upscale, the housing prices typically range from moderate to somewhat expensive.

The average rental prices in Prins Alexander are:

  • Room: €450
  • Apartment: €1200
  • Studio: €750

This area is connected to the rest of Rotterdam with metro lines, and it also has the Rotterdam Alexander railway station, which connects the area to many of the important areas in Rotterdam and the surrounding region.

Prins Alexander is near De Rottemeren, which is a canal that runs through several country farms, often providing a place for quiet walks. It’s also close to the beach and the stores of Nesselande.

Internationality

Despite its residential nature, this is still a great neighbourhood for young internationals, especially those who like a more suburban feel.

Rotterdam Neighbourhood: Hillegersberg

A green and calm area located on the northeast of the city, that preserves the old village centre and elegant residential streets.

Quality of life

Hillegersberg is well-connected to the City Center via public transportation at Station Noord, making it simple to get back and forth to the university in Kralingen, as well as the central business districts.

Rental prices can vary anywhere from moderate to somewhat expensive. To give you an idea:

  • Room: €500
  • Apartment: €1200
  • Studio: €750

Hillegersberg is proud of its commitment to its green landscape, with its mature trees, the lake of Bergse Voorplas, canals and parks, including Prinsenmolenpark and Berge- en Broekpark. It’s also home to Nesselande and Oosterhof (Alexandrium), a large mall filled with stores of many popular brands.

Internationality

This area is very appealing to students or young professionals who may not want to be right in the center of the action. It’s also popular with families. Whilst being popular mainly among the locals, you’re going to be able to fit in right away.

##Rotterdam Neighbourhood: Kop van Zuid and Katendrecht

Kop van Zuid and Katendrecht are 2 neighbourhoods that are located south of the Maas River and are part of the upscale section of South Rotterdam. They are hip, trendy and have a vibrant feel, which is ideal for its younger residents.

Quality of life

Even though these neighbourhoods are in close proximity to the city cente, you can get just about anywhere in Rotterdam in a matter of minutes.

If you love special events, you’ll like want to spend a lot of time at Luxor Theater in Kop van Zuid, experiencing everything from concerts to Broadway plays. For those who love food and socialising, head over to the Food Hallen, which is an upscale food court.

Kop van Zuid is full of high-rise housing and here you can find the second tallest building in the country, De Rotterdam.

Once you cross the Rijnhavenbrug, you’ll discover Katendrecht. Here you can visit Theatre Walhalla for some local plays and comedy acts, enjoy the cosy Deliplein square with several restaurants, bars, and cafes, or the Fenix Food Factory to have some drinks and tapas by the Maas River and an amazing skyline.

The average rental prices across Kop van Zuid and Katendrecht are:

  • Room: €650
  • Apartment: €1600
  • Studio: €1000

Internationality

Kop van Zuid and Katendrecht are very popular with incoming international students and those pursuing careers. The artistic and modern vibes of these neighbourhoods attracts artists and designers as well.

Rotterdam Neighbourhood: Zuid

Zuid is an area that encompasses the southern area of Rotterdam and has a multicultural soul. With a turbulent past, it's the fastest-changing neighbourhood in Rotterdam.

Quality of life

Even though Zuid is located right behind the Kop van Zuid and Katendrecht neighbourhoods, you'll immediately see a huge contrast between these areas. Zuid is perhaps the least expensive neighbourhood in Rotterdam to find housing, likely because it is a bit further from the centre.

The average rental prices in this area are:

  • Room: €500
  • Apartment: €1250
  • Studio: €800

Zuid is well served by public transport and you can take one of the metros to get into the city center or to the universities with ease.

Residents enjoy Zuiderpark, where they can go for a run or a barbeque. Many young professionals even like to take a walk in their lunch break or work on their projects in one of its quieter areas.

In Afrikaanderplein you can attend the local market every Wednesday and Saturday, where you can buy fresh produce and find other budget-friendly deals on household items.

In Zuidplein you can find the largest covered shopping mall in Rotterdam. By living in this neighbourhood you'll also be close to Ahoy Rotterdam, the city’s biggest entertainment venue.

Football fans will love this neighbourhood as the Feijnoord Stadium (De Kuip) is situated here. After a match, you can enjoy your time at the Hollywood Cafe, where you can play glow golf or sit on the replica of the Friends couch. So go get your camera ready! Or you can head over to Atoll for a night of bowling or watch a movie at Pathé De Kuip.

Internationality

Zuid has an international vibe, hosting multiple cultures and ethnicities. In fact, more than 50% of the population here is non-Dutch.

Althogh this part of Rotterdam does not have the best reputation when it comes to safey, it's still a popular neighbourhood among families or those pursuing employment or internships in the nearby area.

An Overview: What’s the best neighbourhood in Rotterdam?

If you want to be at the centre of everything and surrounded by typical Rotterdam architecture, you should consider the City Centre.

Looking for the convenience of of the Central Station and one of the most popular parks in the summer? Noord or Blijdorp might be the right choice for you.

If you're looking for an international vibe and want access to beautiful parks, lakes, and a quiet and classy atmosphere, Kralingen is the place for you. If you're drawn to an exciting neighbourhood with artistic vibes, West is waiting for you.

Want to tell everyone you lived on an island in the middle of the city? Consider Noordereiland for a unique living experience.

Delfshaven, with its typical streets and houses, can be a good compromise between the typical Dutch city and the modern style of Rotterdam.

If tranquillity and large green spaces are what you're after, take a look at Prins Alexander and Hillegerberg.

Skyscrapers, international vibes, and trendy bars? Kop van Zuid and Katendrecht are the neighbourhoods for you.

If you want to live in one of the cheaper neighbourhoods and one of the most multicultural areas of Rotterdam, then Zuid could be your next home.

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