Relocating to Rotterdam: the best neighbourhoods for expats to live in

Rotterdam Apartments is an online property platform supporting expats moving to the Netherlands, with accommodation and rental options ranging from a few days to years.

Moving to Rotterdam? In this article we aim to answer the question "Which neighbourhoods are best for me?" and to give you the knowledge you need to navigate a smooth move to Rotterdam, leaving you with more time to enjoy your new home when you arrive.

A great place to live

A dynamic, international city with a thriving pulse, Rotterdam is constantly reinventing itself and perfecting its already impressive skyline.

If you are looking for a cultural but modern city with an international scene and plenty of entertainment, then Rotterdam is the place for you. The city's population is made up of 166 different nationalities, making it an energising environment for expats.

However, if you are unfamiliar with the city then moving can be a minefield as you may not know the safest areas to live in, or how to get from A to B.

Rotterdam's best neighbourhoods

Since rebuilding itself after being flattened in WWII, Rotterdam is known as "Manhattan on the Meuse" for its innovative architecture and fantastic skyline.

The city also boasts a buzzing nightlife and an abundance of unique cafes and exquisite restaurants with cuisines from around the globe.

With the above qualities in mind, as well as many others, here's an overview of Rotterdam’s nicest neighbourhoods to live in.

The City Centre

Vibrant, safe and inspiring, the city centre is best for expats, students and entrepreneurs.

The ever-growing and evolving city centre is divided into sub-areas meaning you are always within 5 minutes’ walk of a lively hotspot, a shopping high street, the metro and more. Attractive areas for living in the centre include:

Blaak and Meent districts

These neighbourhoods are popular for their local cafes, the "Cube Houses", direct metro routes and the new Markthal. Rotterdam’s newest attraction even gives you the unique opportunity to live in its majestically curved 12-storey structure overlooking the market hall.

In this area the choice ranges from modern, renovated apartments in 1940s- and 50s-era buildings starting at 800 euros per month, to apartments in brand new high-rise buildings from 1.500 euros per month.


This quiet island, still in the heart of the city, is surrounded by canals giving the serenity of a village. It offers luxurious high rise apartments with a view of the Maas - ideal for those working from home - with rent prices from 1.400 euros per month.

If you are looking for a base when you first arrive in Rotterdam, we suggest beginning your stay in a gorgeous serviced apartment with a sunny balcony and parking at the TwentySevenTower.

Designed for stays from a few days to months or years, this base gives you the flexibility to find your way in the city without committing to a long tenancy agreement before you have settled.

Around Central station

This area is popular with employees of nearby oil company offices, and those who commute or travel regularly, as Schiphol airport is only 25 minutes away by train.

South of the new train station you have a great choice of modern apartments on Weena and Kruisplein starting at 1.300 euros per month.

Behind the station you can find traditional Dutch houses divided into apartments that are full of character and often with a view of the pretty canal, from 900 euros per month.

Blijdorp, North-West of the Centre

Best for expats working in the city and families.

Within walking distance of an international school, the famous zoo, tranquil parks and city centre, Blijdorp is a fantastic neighbourhood for those looking for convenience in a quieter environment.

The area is popular for its cosy streets and pretty buildings, without the city centre price tag. Apartments range from 700 to approximately 1.300 euros per month. You also have easy access to the motor ways from here, with minimal traffic.

Kralingen, East of the Centre

Best for students, families and expats working in the city who are looking for a quieter environment.

Having survived the WWII bombings, Kralingen kept its beautiful cobbled streets and village feel, along with locally-owned shops, intimate cafes and a friendly atmosphere. However the neighbourhood still features the modern conveniences of supermarkets and public transport.

From Kralingen you can reach the city centre and Erasmus University within 5-20 minutes either by walking, cycling or taking the metro or tram.

The district is within easy reach of motorways for a quick commute or daytrips out of town. Also, for when you want to relax, you have the Kralingse plas en bos lake and forest on your doorstep.

These 200 hectares of parkland are filled with a stunning lake, a small beach, BBQ areas, a petting farm, adventure tree top area, a playground, cafes and a 5km running track. The Kralingse bos is the perfect destination to unwind, meet with friends or enjoy a family day out.

With eight schools, numerous sports clubs and handy connections, Kralingen has something for everyone. Student rooms are available from 350 euros, apartments from 800 euros and family houses start at 1.500 euros per month.

South bank of the Maas river

Best for expats and entrepreneurs looking for luxury living.

Kop van Zuid

The extension of the city centre is flourishing with examples of urban development and the history of Rotterdam’s previously bustling port. This classy district was redeveloped in the 1990s, opening its doors to various eateries and the eccentric Hotel New York, formally the offices of the Holland-America Line.

This atmospheric district displays some of Rotterdam’s finest architectural achievements in the form of the Erasmus "Swan" bridge, the Luxor Theatre, Montevideo and, most recently, De Rotterdam, the highest building in the Netherlands.

From De Rotterdam you are almost always guaranteed a water view, with spectacular furnished apartments ranging from 1.500 upwards per month.

Finding your place in Rotterdam

When planning to relocate to Rotterdam many expats arrange a tour for when they arrive to get a feel for different areas. Others prefer to find and book short- or long-term accommodation online so they can move in the day they arrive.

Whatever neighbourhood or accommodation type you prefer, there’ll always be a place where you can feel at home in Rotterdam!

With 12 years’ experience in the property market, Rotterdam Apartments can help you tour the city’s apartments or book one in advance. Get in touch to receive advice and suggestions for suitable properties.

You can also view a wide selection of Rotterdam apartments for rent on their property listing website.

Rosalind Skilton


Rosalind Skilton

Senior rental agent finding homes for Expats in Rotterdam and surrounding areas.

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