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International Moving

Moving to Rotterdam: Your Ultimate Moving Guide

By March 26, 2024No Comments
moving to Rotterdam

Moving to Rotterdam from the US

Moving from the US to Rotterdam

Erasmus Bridge and Rotterdam skyline illuminated at night.

Embarking on an international move can be one of life’s most exciting yet daunting adventures, especially when relocating from the US to an enchanting European city like Rotterdam. Known for its striking modern architecture, bustling port, and vibrant cultural scene, Rotterdam stands out as a top destination for expatriates seeking a blend of innovation and tradition.

As the second-largest city in the Netherlands, located in the dynamic region of South Holland, it presents a unique living environment by the Maas River, closely connected to the North Sea through the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta.

Relocate from US to Rotterdam

At International Van Lines, we understand that moving across borders is a significant life event filled with complex layers – from navigating customs and regulations to settling into a new neighborhood. It requires more than transferring belongings; it’s about transporting lives, dreams, and futures. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring your transition is smooth and stress-free. 

Read Here: Moving Overseas – How IVL makes a difference

Whether you’re drawn to the city’s economic opportunities, its international schools, or the appealing cost of living, we’ll help you navigate through the intricacies of expat life in one of the most dynamic Dutch cities.

Planning Your International Move to Rotterdam

Embarking on an international move requires careful planning and organization. With International Van Lines by your side, you can rest assured that every aspect of your relocation to Rotterdam will be meticulously managed. Below, we outline essential steps to ensure your move is as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Pre-move Checklist

  1. Documents and Paperwork: Start by gathering all necessary documents. This includes passports, visas, work and residence permits, and medical records. Ensure everything is up to date and accessible.
  2. Moving Timeline: Plan your move with a realistic timeline. Consider factors such as housing availability, job start dates, and school terms in Rotterdam. We recommend starting the process three to six months in advance to accommodate all necessary arrangements.
  3. Initial Steps: Begin by sorting through your belongings, deciding what to take with you and what to leave behind. This is also the time to start researching neighborhoods in Rotterdam and understanding the cost of living. Familiarize yourself with the Dutch culture and language to ease your transition.

Read Here: How to plan your move abroad

Choosing an International Mover to Rotterdam


Picking the right moving company is crucial for a successful international relocation

Here’s what to consider:

  • Services Offered: Ensure the company provides a full range of services, including packing, storage, and door-to-door delivery. International Van Lines offers customizable moving solutions to fit your specific needs.
  • Experience with Moves to the Netherlands: Choose a company with a proven track record of successful relocations to Rotterdam. This experience is invaluable for navigating Dutch customs and regulations smoothly.
  • Customer Reviews: Research and read reviews from previous customers. Their experiences can provide insight into the company’s reliability and quality of service.

Moving to a new country involves navigating through customs and understanding local regulations. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Customs Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the Netherlands’ customs policies. Determine what items are prohibited or require special permits.
  • Necessary Documentation: Ensure you have all the required documents for your belongings. This includes a detailed inventory list, receipts for new items, and any specific forms required by Dutch customs.

Know More Here: How to Create an Inventory List while moving abroad

  • Tax Considerations: Understand the tax implications of your move. Certain items may be subject to import taxes or VAT. Consulting with a customs broker or moving specialist can clarify these matters.

Planning your international move with precision can make all the difference. International Van Lines is committed to guiding you through every step, ensuring your transition to Rotterdam is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Setting Up Your New Home in Rotterdam

Once you’ve arrived in Rotterdam, it’s time to start making your new house feel like home. Navigating this new beginning can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can settle in smoothly and enjoy life in your new city.

moving cost to Rotterdam

Finding Housing in Rotterdam

Rotterdam offers a variety of housing options to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for a modern apartment in the city center or a family-friendly house in a quieter neighborhood, there’s something for everyone.

Know More Here: How to move Overseas on a Budget

  • Types of Properties: Explore the available properties, from traditional Dutch houses to modern apartments and lofts. Consider factors like size, location, and amenities when making your choice.
  • Popular Neighborhoods: Some popular neighborhoods for expatriates include Kralingen-Crooswijk, Hillegersberg-Schiebroek, and the vibrant city center. Each area offers its unique charm and community feel.
  • Rental Market Tips: The rental market in Rotterdam can be competitive, so it’s important to act quickly when you find a suitable property. Utilize local real estate agents, online housing platforms, and your network to find the best options. Be prepared with the necessary documents and a deposit to secure your new home.

Essential Services Setup in Rotterdam

After securing your housing, the next step is to set up essential services to ensure your new home is comfortable and functional.

  • Utilities: Arrange for the connection of utilities such as water, gas, electricity, and waste management. You can often transfer services from the previous tenant or set up new accounts.
  • Internet and Communication: Choose an internet service provider and set up your home network. Also, consider your options for mobile phone providers to stay connected.
  • Banking: Opening a Dutch bank account will make daily financial transactions smoother. Look for banks offering English services and understand the documentation required for expatriates.
  • Other Necessities: Remember to register with the local municipality, explore insurance options (including health insurance), and familiarize yourself with local healthcare facilities and emergency services.
Rotterdam homes

Setting up your new home in Rotterdam might seem daunting, but with careful planning and the right resources, you can create a comfortable living space for yourself and your family.


Integrating into Rotterdam: Culture, Language, and Community

Moving to Rotterdam is about more than just finding a new home and job; it’s about becoming a part of the local community and adapting to the Dutch way of life. Here are some tips to help you integrate smoothly and make the most of your new surroundings.

Understanding Dutch Culture and Social Etiquette

dutch people

    The Dutch are known for their directness, punctuality, and practicality, qualities that are reflected in their social interactions and daily life. Understanding these cultural nuances can help you navigate social situations and connect with locals:

Direct Communication: The Dutch appreciate straightforwardness and value speaking one’s mind. Don’t be taken aback by their directness; it signifies honesty and transparency.

Punctuality: Being on time is crucial in the Netherlands. Whether it’s a business meeting or a casual appointment, arrive at the agreed time.

Social Etiquette: Familiarize yourself with common courtesies and social norms, such as greeting people with a handshake (or three kisses on the cheek among friends) and saying “dank je” (thank you).

Read Here: The 7 Best Overseas Moving Companies

Learning the Dutch Language

While many Dutch people speak English fluently, learning the local language can significantly enhance your integration and everyday life in Rotterdam:

  • Language Courses: Consider enrolling in Dutch language courses offered by local community centers, universities, or online platforms. This will help you communicate better and show your commitment to integrating into the community.
  • Practice in Daily Life: Practice your Dutch in everyday situations, like shopping, dining out, or interacting with neighbors. Be bold and make mistakes; most Dutch people will appreciate your efforts and help you learn.

Connecting with the Community in Rotterdam

Dutch Community

    Building a new social network is key to feeling at home in Rotterdam

Expatriate Groups and Events: Join expat groups, attend community events, and connect with fellow internationals. Websites like InterNations or Meetup can be great resources for social gatherings and networking opportunities.

Local Activities and Hobbies: Engage in local activities that interest you, such as sports clubs, art classes, or volunteer work. This can be an excellent way to meet locals and other expats while enjoying a shared interest.

Know More Here: The Top 10 Countries to Work and Live Abroad

Networking and Professional Groups: If you’re moving to Rotterdam for work, look into professional networking groups related to your industry. This can help you make valuable connections and advance your career in the Netherlands.

By embracing Dutch culture, trying to learn the language, and actively engaging with the community, you can make your transition into Rotterdam life enriching and fulfilling. 

Living and Working in Rotterdam


Rotterdam is a city rich in culture and history and a vibrant hub for professionals and families alike. Understanding the local job market, public transport system, healthcare, and education will help you adapt and thrive in your new environment.

For expatriates seeking employment, Rotterdam offers a dynamic job market with opportunities in various sectors such as logistics, maritime, creative industries, and technology.

Key Industries: Familiarize yourself with the key industries in Rotterdam and how your skills and experience can align with the local job market. Networking and connecting with local professionals can provide valuable insights and opportunities.

Read Here: Top Destinations for Americans Moving To Europe

Job Search Tips: Use online job portals, join professional networking sites like LinkedIn, and attend job fairs to increase your visibility to potential employers. Crafting a CV that fits Dutch standards and highlighting your adaptability and international experience can set you apart.

Work Permit Requirements: Understand the legal requirements for working in the Netherlands, including work permits and residency status. The regulations may vary depending on your nationality and the nature of your move.

Everyday Living in Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s efficient public transport system, including trams, buses, metro, and water taxis, makes commuting and exploring the city straightforward and convenient.


Invest in an OV-chipkaart (public transport card) for ease of travel across the city and beyond.

Healthcare System in Rotterdam

The Dutch healthcare system is renowned for its high standard of care. Upon moving to Rotterdam, registering with a local huisarts (general practitioner) is a crucial first step. Health insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands, so ensure you have adequate coverage to access healthcare services.

As an expat, you’ll need to follow these steps to access the public healthcare system in the Netherlands:

Register for a Citizen Service Number (BSN): First, you must obtain a Citizen Service Number or Burgerservicenummer (BSN) and apply for this at the local municipal office. 

Choose and Register for Health Insurance: You must obtain basic health insurance (with or without additional coverage) from a Dutch provider. The average price works out at about €118 ($128) per month, and all the basic health care policies have a mandatory excess or eigen risico of €385 ($416) per year. 

Register with a Local Doctor: It’s crucial to register with a general practitioner upon your move to the Netherlands.

Read Here: The Best International health insurance for expats

Please note that all expats working in the Netherlands must sign up for health insurance within four months. If you haven’t chosen your Dutch insurer and started to pay your premiums within the statutory four months, you will be subject to a fine of €402.24 ($435). If you still haven’t signed up with an insurer after six months, the CAK, the government department responsible for implementing statutory regulations, will approach your employer, sign you up with a basic healthcare insurer, and deduct premiums from your salary on your behalf.

Education Options for Children

Rotterdam offers a range of educational options for those moving with children, from international schools to Dutch public schools. International schools can provide a smoother transition with English-speaking environments and various international curricula. However, integrating into the Dutch education system can offer children a valuable cultural and linguistic experience.

Leisure Activities after moving to Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s lively culture extends into its leisure activities. There is always something to explore, from its parks and museums to cafes and markets.

Rotterdam's lively culture

The city’s diverse culinary scene, vibrant nightlife, and rich calendar of events mean new residents can always find ways to unwind and connect with the city and its people.

Why Choose Rotterdam for your next Move?

Rotterdam is not just a city; it’s a canvas of architectural innovation, cultural diversity, and economic opportunity. Known for its cutting-edge design and the iconic Erasmus Bridge that stretches elegantly over the Maas River, Rotterdam embodies progress and resilience. After being nearly rebuilt from the ground up following World War II, it has emerged as a leading European city, attracting expatriates and international businesses alike.

Erasmus Bridge

The Erasmusbrug (English: “Erasmus Bridge”) is a combined cable-stayed and bascule bridge, construction began in 1986 and was completed in 1996

Economic Opportunities and Quality of Life

The city’s strategic location and status as one of the world’s largest port cities have made it a hub for shipping, logistics, and trade industries. The city is also a thriving center for the creative sectors, technology, and sustainability initiatives, offering a wealth of job opportunities for professionals and a robust platform for entrepreneurs. 

Read Here: The Best way to organize for an International Move

A Hub for International Families

For expat families, Rotterdam offers a welcoming and inclusive environment. The city is home to several international schools, providing high-quality education and a smooth transition for children from various cultural backgrounds. Healthcare services are top-notch, with modern facilities and a vast network of English-speaking medical professionals, ensuring that health insurance and medical care are readily accessible.

Ready to Start Your International Move from the US to Rotterdam?

As you embark on your new life in Rotterdam, remember that preparation, openness, and engagement are key to a successful transition. Embrace the adventure of living in one of the Netherlands’ most dynamic cities, with its blend of modernity, tradition, and vibrant community life.

If you’re ready to take the leap and move to Rotterdam, International Van Lines is here to support your journey every step of the way. Contact us today for quotes and consultations, and let us help you make your relocation experience a breeze.

More Info – Why Choose IVL for your Move to Rotterdam

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