Social Life


Besides the national holidays, Rotterdam has its own festivities, which you cannot miss! Most of these are free. One example is the World Port Days in the beginning of September. Every year there are a lot of nautical activities, such as a diving demonstration in which the authorities show how to rescue someone out of the water and a show of the Royal Dutch Navy helicopters. Besides the demonstrations, port companies are having an ‘open house’, so you can see their business up close. On one of these days there will also be a beautiful firework show at 10.30 pm, so make sure you don’t miss that! For more information, see their website.

Another Rotterdam cultural experience is the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). During this week in the end of January / beginning of February, you can watch around 500 movies of various lengths (short, middle-long and long) from more than 50 countries. To see the programme and to read more information about this, here is the official website.

For those who love to run, the NN Marathon Rotterdam will take place every year in April. This is an event where the whole city is involved with. The event is screened on national tv and people either watch it on tv or go supporting the runners on the track itself. Before the start of the marathon on the Coolsingel, the singer Lee Towers, traditionally, sings the song ‘You’ll never walk alone’, which has a very special meaning to many inhabitants of Rotterdam (also called: ‘Rotterdammers’). This is because it is the anthem of the most supported soccer club in the city: Feyenoord (for those, who are into soccer: it is also the anthem of Liverpool FC, but there it is not sung by Lee Towers but by a Liverpudlian band). Every runner, who knows the song, sings along and then the event starts. At the end, also traditionally, the last runner is accompanied by a bunch of police motors, which put their sirens on as a sign of support to get him or her over the finish line. Once there, a great welcome of the supporters and a personal congratulation of the mayor of Rotterdam awaits the runner and ‘You’ll never walk alone’ will be played again. The event is really worth experiencing! Click here for more details.

As Rotterdam is a very multicultural city, we also have the ‘Zomercarnaval’ in July. At this two day during event, there is a Queen Election, Warming-Up, Street Parade, Mercado, Battle of the Drums and many more, all performed by Rotterdammers from anywhere in the world. For those who like Carnaval the tropical way, this is really a must! Visit their website for more information.

Also, during New Years Eve, there is the National Firework show in Rotterdam from the Erasmus Bridge (Erasmusbrug in Dutch), which is really nice to watch. Exactly on midnight the fireworks start and you will see the countdown on the building ‘the Rotterdam’. Two tips if you are planning to go there: go early if you want to see it from a spot near the Erasmus Bridge. From 7.30/8 pm people are going there to get a good spot and listen to some music the organisation provides, but if you think that’s too early, just go along the ‘Parkkade’ to the ‘Willemsbrug’ (the other, red, bridge in the city) and go down the stairs, until you are the closest to the water you can get (if you are there, you will see what this means). You can still see the fireworks perfectly from there, just bring your own drinks and enjoy! Look at the website to see what the fireworks are looking like.


Museums in Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a bubbly mix of innovative architecture, lively festivals and challenging art and culture. The many exhibitions in top museums such as the Kunsthal Rotterdam , Museum Boymans van Beuningen and the Nederlands Fotomuseum are well worth a visit. Please  check out all museums and art institutions in Rotterdam.

Museum Pass

The Museum Pass gives you access to more than 450 museums throughout the Netherlands. From the date of purchase, you get unlimited access to 450 inspiring museums for a year.

more info

Rotterdam pass

With the Rotterdam pass you can get discount on all kind of activities. As a student you pay Eur0 20,00 per year.

more information (unfortunately only in Dutch)


Nightlife in Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s nightlife has quite a reputation. In the 80s and 90s, people came from far and wide for the Rotterdam dance scene. Today, the focus is wider, and all trends are well represented. The most unique clubs PerronAnnabelTofflerNow&Wow – can be found in interesting and unexpected locations throughout the city. And for those looking for a drink, you will find plenty of pubs, cocktail bars and tasting rooms on and around Witte de Withstraat.

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