Category: Rotterdam

Unitiator: Your Friend in Rotterdam

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Have you ever wanted to discover new places in Rotterdam? Have you been curious about all those  charming cafes, amazing tea and obliging service? Or just wanted to spend some quality time with your fam grabbing a beer or two? Rotterdam is full with quaint venues, cosy restaurants and covered places, waiting for you to get to know them. However, there is a small burden. The financial part.

Let’s face it. We’re students and after paying for rent, the university fee, the books, food and a few beers there is not much left for the pleasure of chilling by the cup of coffee, reading a book or just enjoying the chat with the friend.

There comes the Unitiator – the great application that enables you to discover the place, grab a coffee, tea or a beer and enjoy the atmosphere! Just for free. The concept is simple – the owners of the restaurants want to attract more people by distinguishing[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]themselves with the help of the application, draw more customers to the venues and create a cosy and lively atmosphere in the place bustling with pleased food-lovers. The only thing you have to do is to download the app, accept the offer, go to the venue and ask for it. Then, enjoy it, spread the message and discover another place.

With the help of the application you can grab a coffee at Vai Vai Vespa – the amusing combination of café and a boutique with the display of Italian Vespa scooters, a salad at located in Kralingen Vers Rotterdam, the breakfast at lovely Bio Bodega, Caribbean arepita at La Bandera Dominicana or delicious cake at cosy Sands, Cakes & Bubbles.

Wait no more, download the Unitiator and explore Rotterdam!


I am Weronika Naklicka, the blogger at the traveling blog, food-lover and your new guide through the student life in Rotterdam.


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How to Survive Exchange in Rotterdam

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Dear Exchange Students,

Welcome to Rotterdam, commonly referred to as “the New York of Nederland”! Although your time here in Rotterdam is only just beginning, time will begin to fly by. Therefore, it’s important you see as much of Rotterdam and the Netherlands as possible, in ways friendly to exchange students.

Perhaps the first step you can take is learning how to speak Dutch. This can be done through a variety of companies, including CoBuild and the Language Institute. Knowing how to speak Dutch can allow you to participate in more events in the Netherlands, and get a better feel for the local culture. There are, however, many ways to experience Rotterdam without speaking Dutch.

First off, some practical matters. Find a local supermarket closest to your house. It will be one of the following: Albert Heijn, Lydl, Aldi, Jumbo, Spar, or Coop. Keep in mind, many (grocery) stores close early or close completely on Sundays. Additionally, locate the nearest emergency medical service center to your house. Lastly, make sure you purchase a bike. Bikes can be found for relatively cheap, and since Rotterdam is mostly completely flat, a fancy bike won’t be necessary. You can check out multiple Facebook groups, specifically Commodity Market Rotterdam, where many second-hand things can be bought.

There are numerous things you should do in Rotterdam in your time here. Take a picture of or from the Erasmusbrug at night. Visit the unique architecture, such as the Cube Houses at Blaak or Rotterdam Central Station, a spectacle in itself. Go to Booijmans van Beuningen museum, which has a variety of artworks of various artists, guaranteed to satisfy any artistic preferences. Snap a photo from the top of the Euromast, providing a breathtaking view over the bustling city of Rotterdam. Food shop at the world-renowned Markthal, and on Tuesdays and Saturdays, at the huge outdoor food market with low prices for high quality foods. If the opportunity ever presents itself, attend a Feyenoord football game in their home stadium, De Kuip. It is guaranteed to leave you with high energy, great memories, and a clear feeling for the heart and spirit of the proud locals of Rotterdam. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

Once you’ve seen Rotterdam, it’s appealing to venture outside of the city. There is a lot to see in all of the Netherlands, and since the country is small, many things can be seen in a few day trips. Keep watch for any train ticket special prices from NS to save a little money on the day trips. Den Haag is close to Rotterdam. When it gets warmer, you can visit Scheveningen beach. Den Haag is the political hub of the Netherlands; there you can find embassies and historic buildings. Amsterdam, of course, is another favorite to visit; just watch out for bikers and pick-pocketers!

Most importantly, try to meet as many people as possible! A large part of the exchange experience is meeting people you typically wouldn’t. This includes locals, other exchange students, and other international students studying full-time in the Netherlands. To do this, you can join numerous student associations, particularly ISR.

The more things you participate in and see, the more you will get out of your exchange. And don’t wait, because, before you know it, it might be time to leave!

We wish you a wonderful time here in Rotterdam. If you have any questions about Rotterdam, information can be found in our Student Guide here on our website. Good luck!

Image Obtained From: Gingerbread Marketing


Hi, Danique again! Wishing you a happy new year and the best of luck with your studies, experiences, and adventures in 2017! 

image from:




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Basic Dutch to Know

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It can be intimidating, moving (on your own or together with others) to a new country with a new culture and new language. Although most of the world has a proficiency in English, it can still be frustrating to not know the language of the country in which you are now residing. Put simply, Dutch is not an easy language, and it is understandable that it can be scary to take on the task of learning it. Thankfully, there are a few simple phrases that you might need in everyday life to help you grow more comfortable in Rotterdam. Even if your pronunciation is a little off, locals will know what you mean and will appreciate your effort to learn.

Hallo : Hello

Hoe gaat het? : How are you?

Goed : Good

Slecht : Bad

Dank je (wel) : Thank you (very much)

Alsjeblieft / Graag : Please

Sorry/Pardon : Sorry

Dag : Goodbye

Fijne dag nog : Have a good day

Gezellig : Cozy, social (i.e. “How was the party?” “It was gezellig.”)

Je/U : informal/formal you

In the grocery store (supermarkt), for example, the cashier will greet you (Hallo), then proceed to scan your items. At the end of the scanning, they will tell you the total (which you can read on the screen next to them). If you want to pay with a bank card, you say, “Pinnen, graag” (swipe please). If you want to pay with cash, you can simply just hand them the cash. The cashier will proceed to ask you if you would like a receipt: “Wilt u de bon?” to which you can reply “Ja, graag” (yes, please) or “Nee, dankje” (no, thank you). [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

This exchange is applicable to any store, such as a clothing store, general store, or any place where you may make a transaction.

Perhaps the most important words, however, are for when you go out. That is, of course, one of the best aspects of your student time, and Rotterdam has many bars and clubs to offer.

Een biertje : One beer

Een wijntje : One wijn

And if you’re buying for your friends (or just more for yourself) twee (two) or drie (three) biertjes / wijntjes.

In general, some other words/phrases to know are:

Waar is de WC (pronounced “way-say”) : Where is the bathroom?

Mijn naam is… : My name is…

Kan ik u helpen? : Can I help you?

And, of course, because you are international, one of the most important phrases:

Ik kom uit… : I am from…

Rotterdam is a very diverse city, and being able to say where you are from in a local language brings you that much closer to feeling more at home here.

This is a very rough overview of basic interactions you may experience every day, however if you would like to become more proficient in Dutch, it is highly recommended to participate in a Dutch course. These can help you with pronunciation, grammar, and fluidity. Check out:

  • Your local university
  • ROC and Volks Universiteit
  • Consider a private tutor


My name is Danique van Winden, and I am a new blogger for this year. I hope to help you learn more about Rotterdam and grow more comfortable as an international in this wonderful city!

Picture from


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Rotterdam’s 128 Red Lights

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Ever wonder, while strolling around Rotterdam, the small red lights on the ground? The first image you notice is the shape of a flame. But if you look closer, you’ll notice the figure of a man with his hands in the air, yelling out of despair, a bomber plane roaring above and buildings below on fire. Having studied in Rotterdam for a year now, I never paid much attention to them and just took them as the average fixture in the city. When a friend told me the full story, it was then I realized that Rotterdam has small but meaningful reminders of its past scattered all over.

As most of you probably already know, Rotterdam’s city center was obliterated by bombs in World War II. Some buildings were reduced into ashes with others having only their external structures intact. The damage was undeniably, extensive. Because of this, the city center was demolished and subsequently reconstructed. The only buildings returned to its original glory are the Laurenskerk, the Beurs Trade Center, the Post Office and Stadhuis or Town Hall. This is how we see the Rotterdam city center today – an eclectic mix of the old and the new. The new structures built are responsible for Rotterdam’s image as a city known for its innovative architecture.   If you head over to the Rotterdam Tourist Info center in Beurs, there are pictures showing you the time lapse of what Rotterdam’s city center looked like before and after the bombing, as well as the rebuilding of city.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]In 2006, the government decided to memorialize the bombing. 128 lights with the aforementioned described images will be laid along the perimeter of the burned center. The lights span 12 kilometers and was completed in 2010. I guess it is easy sometimes, to forget that Rotterdam was once a city burned to the ground. The new monuments do an impressive job of filling the void of what was once lost. However, if we once in a while put aside how most of us see as an image and lifestyle of Rotterdam – the skyscrapers, the vibrant nightlife and the metropolitan aesthetics – we can look at this city at its core, which is a city of the past and the future. So now you know the meaning of these lights when you walk around town. They are 128 small treasures for us to find that remind us of the rich history of the city.


Hey everyone! I’m Sabine and I’m gonna be one of the new bloggers of ISR! Looking forward to inform you more about the vibrant city that is Rotterdam as well as The Netherlands![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Binnenrotte Markt

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Welcome back to another year of early lectures (or late, if you’re lucky!), crashing people’s house parties, and most of all, the constant pressure of life weighing down on you. Maybe that sounded a bit daunting, but hell, that’s what student life is – a big part of which is food. If you’re not careful and smart about shopping for groceries, you just might end up spending a lot more than you should. Who wouldn’t like a few euros extra to spend on drinks, right? If you’re new to the city, I would like to introduce you to the Binnenrotte Markt, and if you’re not new, then I certainly hope that you’re familiar with it!

On Tuesdays and Saturdays between 8:30 and 17:30, over 400 stalls are at your disposal with a wide variety of products ranging from fresh seafood and vegetables to cheese and trinkets. Chances are high you will find what you are looking for at the Binnenrotte Market. With rows and rows set up in front of the reputable Markthal, the open market is definitely the right match for a student budget, and everyone else who wants to save money for that matter. I was utterly surprised to pick up a kilo of mushrooms for €1,00 when I visited the market for the first time. Most supermarkets charge you a little over €1,20 for 400 grams of mushrooms already. So, to emphasize the savings here: ONE EURO for a KILO. I also managed to snag three avocados for €1,00 and we all know how expensive one of those can be  in a supermarket! These are just few examples; you really don’t have to look far at the market to find a good deal.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Feel free to pick up a few small bites such as olieballen and gözleme (hint: if you find the Turkish stall on the edge of the market, you’re doing it right!) here and there while shopping to keep yourself satiated. Not only are there stalls with eateries, but also a range of household items, clothing, and plants, for instance. One last tip: if you’re around when it’s almost closing time, sellers give you crazy good deals for fruits, veggies, and flowers to prevent wastage and spoilage of fresh products.

The only downfall you may encounter is that after buying something at one stall you just might walk down the row and find the same for even cheaper. Yes, it happens to all of us, but as soon as you start going to the market regularly you will get the knack of where you can get the best buys. A little thing to note though (hear me out, we’re almost at the end): most vendors prefer cash. Very uncommon in the Netherlands but for all those coins you’ve been hoarding this is the perfect opportunity to put them to good use!

If you ever find yourself free on any of the two days between 8:30 and 17:30, head over to the market and find out what’s available. I guarantee that your wallet won’t be disappointed and your next meal will taste twice as good knowing that you saved so much.


My name is Yashita Atmaram, and I will be one of your new bloggers for the year! I hope you will tune in with me ever so often to learn something new about this beautiful city and discover all of its nooks and crannies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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