Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands, behind Amsterdam, and is one of the major logistical and economic centres in Europe. Rotterdam is known for its riverside setting, lively cultural life and maritime heritage. It is also known as one of the only cities in the Netherlands to feature skyscrapers as part of its architecture.

If you are reading this, we assume that you are thinking of or have received an offer of employment in Rotterdam. This guide is intended to give you a run-down of all you need to know about relocating to Rotterdam.

Getting Started:

Before relocating to Rotterdam, there are a number of things that you may want to take into consideration before you make the move.

1.    Accommodation

2.    Bank Account

3.    Tax Number

4.    Salary and Taxation Guide for the area

5.    Cost of Living

6.    Visas

7.    Other – Overview of the city, healthcare, transport, weather and useful websites.


Finding accommodation in Rotterdam is competitive, so make sure to start searching early.

In Rotterdam, there is public and private housing. Bearing in mind that there is a 5-10 year wait to get public housing, the private sector would be your best bet. Renting property in the private sector is more common for those relocating to Rotterdam. Private rental accommodation with a rental price up to €710.68 is not subsidised and there are no pre-conditions to your eligibility. In all other cases, you will need a residence permit. While the rents of those homes are more expensive than the public housing, the likelihood of finding a place quickly is far greater.

If you rent a home in the private sector with a rental price of up to €710.68 you will require a housing permit (huisvestingvergunning) while your income may not exceed €43,000 per year

All houses are subject to a House Value Rating (woningwaarderingsstelsel), whereby the quality of the house is awarded points for standards, size, location, facilities etc. (Up to the value of 141 points). This is a great way to see the standard of housing, and to assess whether the price is fair.

For more information:

Rental Prices:

As of 2018 please see the rental prices of an apartment in Rotterdam.

Average cost of 1 Bed apartment in Rotterdam city centre – €973

Average cost of 3 Bed apartment in Rotterdam city centre – €1,556

Rooms for rent around Rotterdam can vary – €525-775


Supporting Documents:

It is likely that upon looking for accommodation to rent you will be asked for the following documents, so be sure to have them available when you begin your search to avoid any delays. When you are looking for accommodation, it is recommended that you have the following:

·      Copies of Photo ID, Permits and Visas

·      A bank statement

·      Proof of employment – Usually your contract

·      A letter of reference from your previous landlord

Fees, Keys and Deposits

You will only expect to pay a fee if you are using a housing agent to find you a property.

A deposit equal to one months’ rent is typical. The deposit (Kale Huur) will usually be payable in addition to the first months’ rent. It is recommended to sign a tenancy agreement. This will give you some protection against future disagreements with the landlord.


Make sure you are clear which (if any) utilities are included in the property. The landlord should be able to give you a good indication of how much you should expect to pay in utilities.

Bank Account

Opening a bank account upon arrival is one of the most important things you should do as soon as you arrive, for your employer to pay you, and to pay rent/bills etc.

Most popular banks in the Netherlands:

·      ABN-AMRO

·      ING Bank

·      Rabobank

·      SNS Bank


The following documents would typically be required to open a bank account:

·      Valid ID plus residence permit if applicable

·      BSN burgerservicenummer, which you will get when you register with the BRP or direct from the tax office

·      Proof of address (bevolkingsregister extract, utility bill, rental contract, etc.)

Things to consider:

·      1or 2 cents have been discontinued, so prices are rounded to the nearest €5.

·      ATM’s (geldautomaat) are plentiful in Rotterdam, and there will be no charge if you withdraw cash from one of the 18 Eurozone countries.

Tax Number

You will need to provide your new employer with your Dutch tax number. If you start work without it, you may be subject to an emergency tax measure, which will be considerably higher.

The Citizen Service Number (Burgerservicenummer – BSN) was introduced in 2007 and is your tax and social security number in one. To receive a BSN, you must register in your municipality and you must do so within 5 days of your arrival.

The 30 Percent Ruling:

The Dutch government brought in the 30 Percent Ruling. This allows a tax break to be given to those who are employed from abroad to work in the Netherlands. If eligible, it means your employer is allowed to pay you 30% of your salary as a tax-free allowance for 5 years. The following conditions must be met for eligibility to the scheme:

·      The employee works for an employer that is registered with the Dutch tax office and pays payroll tax

·      Employer and employee must agree in writing that the 30 percent rule is applicable

·      The employee has to be transferred from abroad or recruited abroad

·      The employee did not reside within 150km from the Dutch border for 18 of the past 24 months at the time of hiring

·      The salary of the employee is at least €37,000 per annum

·      Employee needs to have expertise that is scarcely available in the Netherlands.

For more information:

Cost of Living

Please see below for the cost of living in Rotterdam, as of 2018.



Citizens of the EU/EEA members and Switzerland:

Do not need a residence or work permit to work or live in Netherlands.

Citizens of all other states:

If you are coming to the Netherlands to work as an employee (sometimes called a labour migrant) you must fulfil certain conditions. These include earning what is deemed a ‘competitive’ salary and the employer will have to submit information to the Dutch immigration authorities about the company, the job contract and the recruitment process in order to show that the position could not be filled by an EU/EEA/Swiss national.

You may need a Dutch entry visa (MVV) and/or residence permit and your employer will need a work permit in your name. In most cases the employer can apply for the new single permit combining both the residence and work permits. Not everyone qualifies for the single permit. Your employer must apply for a separate work permit if you are:

·      Working for less than 3 months in the Netherlands

·      A seasonal worker

·      A student

·      A refugee

·      A long-term resident

·      Croatian

·      On an orientation year for the highly qualified/graduates

·      A family member of a single permit holder

·      On an intra-company transfer

If you change employers, the new employer must also have a work permit in your name. The single permit is issued for up to 3 years.

For further information:


Overview of Rotterdam –

Quick Facts:

·      Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands, with a population of 623,652!

·      The port in Rotterdam is the second largest port in the world after Shanghai.

·      You can travel by water-taxi – Rotterdam is full of rivers and canals, and the water-taxi is a great way to explore the city. You can hop on/off at public transport stops or order one to pick you up or drop you off wherever you want!

·      With a large number of parks and gardens – Rotterdam is the greenest city in the Netherlands.

·      The city is home to the largest number of professional football clubs in the Netherlands.

·      Rotterdam Metro was the first metro system to open in the country.


Dutch healthcare has been repeatedly voted as the best in Europe, plus all the doctors speak excellent English, so there are no problems for expats.

Healthcare in the Netherlands is covered by two statutory forms of insurance:

·      Zorgverzekeringswet (ZVW), often called ‘basic insurance’, covers common medical care.

·      Alegemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten (AWBZ) covers long-term nursing and care.

While Dutch residents are automatically insured by the government for AWBZ, everyone has to take out their own basic health insurance (basisverzekering), except those under 18 who are covered by their parents’ premium. If you don’t take out insurance, you risk a fine.

Insurers have to offer a universal package for everyone over the age of 18 years, regardless of age or state of health – it is illegal to refuse an application or impose special conditions.


Your employer will pay 7.75% of your salary for you for the ZVW component, and deduct 12.65% from your pay for the AWBZ (up to €33,363/year if you are under 65). The self-employed pay slightly less ZVW, at 5.65%

In addition, you will generally have to pay monthly contributions to your health insurer, the amount will vary from insurer to insurer. Online websites help you compare general health insurance packages and costs from different insurers.

The insurance policy will also have an ‘excess’. This means that you have to pay the first €350 (as of 2013) for some treatments. You don’t pay the excess on services supplied by GP’s, Obstetrics, or post-natal care – these are completely free.

What’s included?

The basic insurance package covers all costs for the most common medical care. Depending on your health insurance, it can include:

·      GP Consultations

·      Treatments from specialists and hospital care

·      Certain mental health care

·      Medication

·      Dental care up to 18 years

·      Care from certain therapists, such as speech therapists

·      Dieticians

·      Maternity Care

You will need extra coverage for extensive dental treatments, physiotherapy or anything else the government considers to be your own responsibility, and it is in these additional areas that companies compete. It is possible to purchase the additional coverage (aanvullende packet) from a different insurer than your basic insurer. This may make things more complicated when processing bills, but it can sometimes lower your overall costs, or allow you to purchase additional coverage tailored for the needs of international persons residing in the Netherlands.

For maternity care, it is worthwhile to check what your Dutch health insurance will cover – there are generally a range of helpful services for mothers-to-be.


Public transportation in the Netherlands is very good. Travelling within Rotterdam is straightforward and convenient, the extensive network of public transportation is operated by the same company – RET – and connects all different parts of the city by bus, tram and train.

There are plenty of buses, trams and trains running frequently to get you around the city. You can purchase a travel card which allows you to use all public transport.

Useful Websites

Finally we would like to leave you with some links to some websites you might find helpful. You can click on the links below which we hope provide you with even more useful information.