Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Often referred to as the “Gateway to Europe,” Rotterdam’s harbour is by far the largest on the continent. More than 600,000 people live in the city, with more than 1 million in the greater metropolitan area. Studying in Rotterdam is an attractive option for students interested in getting a quality education in one of Europe’s most vibrant centers for trade and commerce.
Rotterdam looks back at almost 800 years of history. The city as such was founded in 1270 by fishermen who constructed a dam on the Rotte river (literally: “muddy waters”) for protection from floods. Due to its location, the city soon became a trade hub, and with the Industrial Revolution and an increasingly globalised world, its population growth exploded.
Unfortunately, Rotterdam was hit hard during World War II. Much of the city was destroyed during air strikes in 1940. In the second half of the 20th century, Rotterdam was rebuilt in a completely new fashion, with a new, spacious city plan that would make room for modern architecture. Today’s Rotterdam features a unique blend of old and new buildings, and excites architecture aficionados from all over the world.
Rotterdam is considered one of the most livable cities in Europe. Its harbour is the busiest in Europe, far ahead of its runner-ups in Antwerp (Belgium) and Hamburg (Germany). With Rotterdam’s role as a global trade hub, it does not come as a surprise that the city is one of the most multicultural places in Europe, with many of its population foreign-born.
More than 50,000 students study in Rotterdam, making it one of the largest student cities in Holland.
The most influential university in Rotterdam is without a doubt Erasmus University (EUR). Founded in 1913, it was named after the 15th-century humanist and theologian Erasmus of Rotterdam (who also served as the namesake for the tremendously successful Erasmus study exchange programme). The university currently enrolls around 23,000 students. Known for its cutting-edge research and world-class education, EUR consistently scores high in the rankings of the best European universities. With more than 20% of its student population from abroad, Erasmus University Rotterdam is one of the most international universities in Holland.
The largest university in Rotterdam is the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool Rotterdam), with more than 35,000 students. All of the fifteen locations of RUAS are located near the East-West metro line of Rotterdam, giving the stretch the nickname “Axis of Knowledge”.
By plane, Rotterdam is best connected via Amsterdam Schiphol airport in the North, or from Brussels Zaventem in the South.
Rotterdam is located in close proximity to many exciting metropoles. Amsterdam, The Hague and Brussels (Belgium) are in the vicinity; and short trips to London (UK) or Paris (France) are within reach.