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Rotterdam - Getting There
For expatriates who are traveling light or traveling alone, the Rotterdam Airport is linked to the RET train service that will bring you direct into Rotterdam Central Station in about 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can consider taking an airport shuttle bus. There are several services, including a night bus service. Most airport shuttles bring you to a metro or train station, and it is likely you will need to make another transfer to get to your final destination.
For expatriates who will be traveling with luggage and family, the better option would be to travel via car (private, hire or taxi). By car, the Rotterdam Airport is about 10-15 minutes away from Rotterdam's city center. There are long-term and short-term parking facilities available at the airport. Car hire (Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt) is available at the airport, but do make prior arrangements if you will be arriving on a weekend as the kiosks usually operate from Mondays to Fridays only. Budget car hire is also available, but there is no kiosk at the airport. Call in advance to arrange for a pickup at the airport. To hire a taxi, you can simply join the taxi queue located in front of the terminal. Call the Rotterdam Airport Taxi at +31(0) 10 262 04 06 if you have special requests (e.g. wheelchair assistance). A taxi ride from the Rotterdam Airport to Rotterdam centrum is about 20-25 euros. For limousine transfers, call Quality Limo Services at +31(0) 6 149 989 25. At the time of writing, there is construction work going on at the Rotterdam Airport, so expect some delay in your land transfers to and from the airport to your final destinations.
Some expatriates prefer to fly into another European airport such as Zurich, Frankfurt or London, and then transfer to a low cost or regional carrier, so as to arrive in Rotterdam's Airport. Other expatriates traveling to Rotterdam from destinations outside Europe find more international flight connections from other nearby airports, such as Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport or Belgium's Brussels Airport.
Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport is a good choice, especially if you are traveling with family and/or extra luggage, as there are more choices for you for the onward journey to Rotterdam from Schiphol. The IATA code for the Schiphol Airport is AMS. The Schiphol Airport is about 73 km (46 miles) from Rotterdam. There are many international flights operating out of the Schiphol Airport (e.g. British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Continental Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Northwest Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, United Airlines). From Schiphol Airport, it takes about an hour by local train to reach Rotterdam, depending on whether it is a direct or indirect train service. A taxi ride from Schiphol Airport to Rotterdam will cost at least 100 euros. Another option is to rent a private car and drive from Schiphol (Amsterdam) to Rotterdam. It is possible to arrange for a rental car pickup at Schiphol and return of rental car in Rotterdam. Make arrangements in advance, especially if you are arriving in Amsterdam on a weekend, or after office hours.
Alternatively, the Brussels Airport in Belgium (also known as the Zaventem Airport) operates a large number of international flights from the US, UK, Asia, the Middle East and Australia. For example, from the US: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles; New York; from South Africa: Johannesburg; from Asia: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Jakarta (Indonesia), Manila (The Philippines), Singapore, Taipei (Taiwan) and Tokyo (Japan); from Australia: Melbourne and Sydney; and from the UAE: Abu Dhabi and Dubai. A number of expatriates working in Rotterdam do fly into Brussels Airport and make their way to Rotterdam because of the extensive flight connections. The IATA Code for the Brussels Airport is BRU. Brussels Airport is about 113 km (70 miles) from Rotterdam. From the Brussels Airport, the most inexpensive ways to travel onward to Rotterdam is via rail or bus. This option is ideal for expatriates who are traveling light, as you are expected to take charge of your luggage by yourself. If you are traveling via train (Thalys), you need to cross the Belgian border into Holland, and depending on which train service you are on, you may have to change trains. There are hourly train connections, and the train journey will take just under 2 hours. Train services operate from 6am to 10pm. There is a bus service from the Brussels Airport to the Centraal station in Rotterdam. There are plans to construct a high-speed train service between The Netherlands and Brussels Airport, but these plans will not come into fruition until 2012. Come March 2009, there will be a new direct bus service from the Brussels Airport to Rotterdam. Visit the Brussels Airport website for the latest updates.
By road, Rotterdam is well linked to a series of major expressways. If you are traveling from direction Breda (south), take the A16. From direction Amsterdam, take direction south on the A4 to The Hague (Den Hague), then onward on the A13.
Rotterdam Centraal is the main train station that connects Rotterdam with many Dutch cities and other European cities. There are high-speed trains between Rotterdam and other European cities such as Antwerp, Brussels, Paris and Frankfurt and beyond. Within The Netherlands, there are direct train services between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Delft, The Hague and Utrecht. The Erasmuslijn metro line operated by RET runs from Rotterdam Centraal and will take you to other parts of Rotterdam.
Expatriates from the UK who wish to travel via sea with their private cars can do so from Harwich in the UK. There is a ferry service to the Hook of Holland that takes about 6 hours and 15 minutes. It takes about another half an hour to reach Rotterdam from the Hook of Holland. From the Hook of Holland, you can also travel onward to Rotterdam via train. Alternatively, you can reach Rotterdam via an international cruise. International cruises are offered by cruise operators such as Holland America Line (HAL), Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Cunard Line. The Cruise Terminal Rotterdam is about 2 km from Rotterdam city center, and the journey takes about 10 minutes.
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