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Rotterdam - Overview

Located within the south eastern region of The Netherlands, Rotterdam is located in South Holland (zuid Holland), a region of The Netherlands. Northwest of Rotterdam is Delft (famous for its Delft blue pottery and home to the Delft University of Technology). The Hague (Den Haag – the non official capital of The Netherlands and home to all foreign embassies and government ministries) is located further up northwest on the coast of the North Sea. Northeast of Rotterdam is Utrecht, and from there, further up northeast is Amsterdam. University town Leiden is up north of Rotterdam.

With a population of almost 597,000, Rotterdam is the second most populous city in The Netherlands, after Amsterdam. Rotterdam is a very international city. Rotterdam has the highest number of residents from non-industrialized nations among all Dutch cities. Nearly 50% of all residents in Rotterdam are not native to Rotterdam. After the Dutch, the larger ethnic groups are Surinamese, Turkish, Moroccan and Antillean / Aruban. (Statistics taken from Center for Research and Statistics, Rotterdam COS.)

In terms of surface area, Rotterdam is larger than Amsterdam, but its population and population density is less than Amsterdam. For expatriates who prefer a little more breathing space, this is good news for those moving to Rotterdam. For more statistics and facts on Rotterdam, click here to download a copy of Rotterdam's key statistics released by the COS.

What Rotterdam does not have in terms of classic medieval cobbled streets, Rotterdam certainly makes up for it – in terms of its refreshing architecture and its people. Amidst the modern architecture, the redeveloped old docks have been injected with new residential life; in the city center, nineteen century townhouses have been refurnished with chic interiors. The strong student resident population in Rotterdam gives Rotterdam a youthful vibrancy.

Home to one of the world's busiest seaports, Rotterdam offers aspiring expatriates great working opportunities, particularly in its services sector (trade, transport and communications). Expatriates who work in Rotterdam often find the culture an eye-opening experience. For instance, the Dutch emphasis on equality sometimes means that as a customer, you are not always right. A customer service person has the right to disagree with you.

Like most things Dutch, guidelines and rules apply to almost everything. Expatriates relocating to Rotterdam will find a lot of reading material on what to do and how to go about doing what they need to do. As the world's fourth most densely populated country in the world, planning and structure gives room for tolerance among its people. Expatriates relocating to Rotterdam will quickly learn to get used to the process of obtaining the correct forms to seek the necessary approvals, and long waiting times that comes with that.

Inevitably, many comparisons are made between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. While both are Dutch cities, both cities also have peculiar and distinct differences, and for good reasons too. All things considered, while Amsterdam may be an exciting city to visit; in terms of long-term living, Rotterdam is a wonderful place to live in.

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