Landing your dream job in Rotterdam: a guide for Expats

Landing your dream job in Rotterdam: a guide for Expats

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Rotterdam is a great city to live in. Its unique vibe and innovative job market have been attracting an increasing number of expats from all around the world for decades. If you think it’s about time to find your dream job in Rotterdam, Dutch Courses Rotterdam has some advice on how to make sure you get hired.

The international city of Rotterdam

It’s no wonder that more and more people are searching for new opportunities here. It’s an amazing place to look for a job in industries like maritime, offshore, logistics, agriculture and food, sustainable energy and innovation, and digital technology. These are the leading sectors in the region and the city, which is not surprising since Rotterdam hosts the largest port in all of Europe!

In such an international hub as Rotterdam, there are plenty of vacancies for highly skilled professionals. You won’t be disappointed with salaries either since Rotterdam’s job market features high incomes when compared to the rest of the country.

Obviously, you might encounter some competitiveness while job hunting - and that’s why we’re here! In this article, we’re going to guide you through the intricacies of landing your dream job in Rotterdam so that you never feel lost again.

No nonsense - that’s what Rotterdam working culture is all about

You might be astonished at the very beginning, but that’s how things are in the Netherlands and in Rotterdam especially. If directness in communication is a Dutch feature, then extra directness is what you will encounter in this city.

For instance, when at a job interview, don’t be taken aback by very forward questions and answers. Rotterdammers really get straight to the point. The same goes for the work itself - there’s this saying - niet lullen maar poetsen, which can be loosely translated to “less talking, more doing." Trust us: it’s not rude, it’s just how things are here. If one word could describe a Rotterdam mentality, it would definitely be “no-nonsense."

But don't worry, it doesn’t mean that the Dutch in Rotterdam are distant or inhospitable, they’re actually totally open to having a conversation or a cup of coffee with you. For instance, in terms of connecting with people while job hunting, why wouldn’t you grab a coffee with someone from LinkedIn who has a position in a company you’re potentially interested in? That person could give you some amazing advice on how to pursue your dream job, and they could tell you about their experience. Give it a try - you would be surprised how popular this type of networking is here in Rotterdam!

Learning Dutch will get you really far

Speaking of coffee, you’d better learn bakkie pleur, an expression for a cup of god’s beverage. You’ll definitely steal your colleagues’ hearts by using this Rotterdam slang name!

Jokes aside (although it’s a real tip, seriously - learn it!), even some basic knowledge of Dutch will put you in a very good light while job hunting. It’s a sign for a potential recruiter that you’re committed to learning more about the local context and culture, and therefore that you’re a motivated candidate for that particular position. Also, when the job offer is in Dutch, try to send your application in Dutch - put some effort into it and show some signs of determination - be sure to let a Dutch friend check it first though!

But obviously, learning Dutch will also help you connect with your surroundings - your colleagues included. Life will be a lot easier when you have a better understanding of cultural nuances. Remember, a language is not only a medium for communication - it’s a tool for understanding a whole new world of cultural meanings and values that relate to them.

Take it easy!

We know that all this information might sound a bit overwhelming - but you know, just take it one thing at a time.

In fact, to our best knowledge and experience, one of the best things to do is starting to learn Dutch as soon as possible, maybe even before beginning your job hunt. Language immersion is crucial, and we won’t stop underlining it. It matters in your personal and professional life and will definitely make you feel like more of a local, which is an amazing feeling! And have you seen how happy Dutch people are when they see you try to use their language? It’s not only heartwarming, but it will also get you far in your job hunt.

Dutch Courses Rotterdam believes that to learn a language you must speak it. They offer lessons to expats in small groups, in which there are plenty of interactive activities to get you to practice your speaking. In the last year, they developed their online program which is now as good as the lessons in person. Dutch Courses Rotterdam also offer social events like movie nights, picnics and boardgame nights in which you can learn Dutch and become friends with other expats. Alternatively, for more advice about securing a job in Rotterdam, get access to the webinar they hosted together with Adams Multilingual Recruitment about finding your dream job in Rotterdam.

Bart Van Brummelen


Bart Van Brummelen

Bart van Brummelen is the founder and owner of Dutch Courses Rotterdam. He started teaching Dutch 7 years ago. After teaching at a secondary school for a few months, he...

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