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How much does it cost to live in Rotterdam
High salaries and living in Europe... But what about expenses? Let's calculate them and compare them to the net income
Rotterdam is a major port city in the southwest of the Netherlands. It is one of the most stable places in the world in economic and environmental terms. It's also a great place for IT professionals, thanks to good salaries. In 2021 Paylab, an international payroll statistics company published a report on the in-demand professions in the Netherlands. According to this data, developers hold the top spots. However, you should immediately prepare for the high cost of living and numerous taxes, which will reduce income by 40-50%.

We currently have a Tech Lead position open with a salary of €7000 gross after the relocation. If you use a special salary calculator and subtract all taxes, you get about €4400 per month. But the government grants benefits and refunds part of the amount spent. So you can expect to get €5,200 after tax. Will it be enough not only to live and meet basic needs, but also to travel, have fun, and build financial capital for the future?
General information

  • Official languages: Dutch and West Frisian (but many people speak English)
  • The population of Rotterdam: more than 631 thousand people
  • Distance from the capital of the country (Amsterdam): 75 km
  • The climate in the city is temperate maritime. Cool summers (20°C) and warm winters (5°C) prevail there
Coat of arms of Rotterdam
Housing

As in other major cities in the Netherlands, Rotterdam has very high housing prices. It is usually looked for on such sites:


Let's check the prices at Funda. So, you can find a studio apartment in the city center for €1000 per month, and large apartments (4 rooms) will cost €2000. The apartment on the outskirts of the city will be a little cheaper: there are options from €600 for a studio and €1300 for large apartments.

It's quite expensive, so many people save money in two ways:
  1. Residents rent only a room (you can manage in €130-500)
  2. They find housing outside the city in nearby settlements or even in neighboring towns. For example, in Schiedam (4 km from Rotterdam) there is a studio for €400, and in Zootermere (21 km) - a large apartment for €800.

Public transport is highly developed here. A monthly pass (see below) will help you save on travel costs.
Cubic houses on Overblaak Street
Public utilities

Monthly payments for gas, electricity, and water are not usually included in the rent, and tenants pay for this themselves. For example, a small apartment of 85 m² for two people would cost €170-200 per month.

There are always several private service providers in large cities, there is no monopoly. The contract is valid for 1 year, and then it is either extended or the consumer switches to another company that offers bonuses and discounts to new customers. Some people use this opportunity and change suppliers every time for the sake of good deals.

When you sign a contract, you specify the area and the number of residents, and then the company calculates the approximate cost per month. Every six months, the consumption is recalculated according to the meter data, as a result of which you either pay extra or receive compensation for the overpayment.



The Internet

According to an Ookla report, 45% of Dutch users already have access to 5G Internet. Globally, the country is second only to the United States (49.2%). So there will be no problems with the speed and quality of the Internet connection.

The most popular providers:
  • Vodafone
  • KPN
  • UPC

They offer different fixed and mobile Internet options for €30-50 per month.



Foods

The largest supermarket chains are Albert Heijn, Jumbo, PLUS. But you can really save money in the popular German chains Lidl and Aldi. They have everything you need with great discounts. Let's take a regular Jumbo store, collect a grocery basket, and see how much it costs to buy:
  1. Whole-grain bread
  2. Milk (2 liters)
  3. Yogurt (400 g)
  4. Chocolate bar (100 g)
  5. Chicken fillet (800 g)
  6. Ground beef (600 g)
  7. Potatoes (5 kg)
  8. Sausage (500 g)
  9. Tomatoes (500 g)
  10. Cucumbers (400 g)
  11. Lettuce leaves (3 types)
  12. Apples (1 kg)
  13. Bananas (750 g)
  14. Apple juice (1,5 l)
  15. Gouda cheese (230 g)
  16. Chocolate breakfast muesli (900 g)
We ended up with €50. This is quite enough for a week, you can only make adjustments according to individual needs. For example, a bottle of wine costs €10 and a pack of cigarettes €8.

Expatica, the international news portal for expats, advises €300-500 per month for a family, while 1 person will spend much less. This amount does not include dining out, but just in case – the average check will be around €30-50.
Shopping at Jumbo
Transportation costs

The public transport system is accurate to the minute and delays are rare. However, the prices are quite high:

  • 1 hour – €3,20
  • 1 day – €8,50
  • 4 days – €24,50
  • 7 days – €37

If you buy a 1-day ticket, you can make an unlimited number of trips. It's the same with other rates. It's the best thing to choose a monthly pass and use any transportation without restrictions. Well, practically no exceptions. The cheapest pass costs €55 and gives access to travel in Rotterdam. The €87 pass extends the area and allows you to go out of town.

A short trip (8 km) by cab on a weekday at the basic rate will cost €21.

Renting a car for a month costs at least €605, and a liter of gasoline costs €1.6. So it is better to travel by public transport or bicycle. There is an infrastructure for this: separate paths for cyclists, road markings, parking lots.

It is expensive to own a car in Rotterdam. In addition to the fixed costs of gasoline, you should also consider the following costs:

  • Insurance (there are three types, compulsory - WA, regular MTPL. The cost depends on the experience of the driver and the type of car, from €900 per year and above)
  • Parking (€4/hour)
  • Carbon tax (can be up to €700 per six months)
  • Technical inspection (from €100)
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Car wash (€8)
  • And so on.

The purchase of a car can be calculated for different budgets. So, there are options for a used car for €6000 or a new one from a car dealership for €42000.



Leisure and entertainment expenses

Sports

A membership to the Basic Fit gym costs €30/month. The price includes self-training and group classes. One hour of training with a coach costs € 25.

You can swim in the Oostelijk Zwembad indoor pool for €7,20 per session. It is more profitable to buy a season ticket for 12 lessons for €72.

Self-care

1-hour massage in the Retreat beauty salon - €105, lavender manicure - €25, makeup for the party - €50.

A haircut for girls comes to an average of €40 and €21 for guys.

Entertainment in Rotterdam

  • Movie ticket – €12-15
  • Boat trip along the harbor (75 minutes) – €16
  • Excursion (3 hours) – €80
  • Zoo ticket – €23
  • Playing mini-golf – €16
  • Group cycling tour of the city sights – €30
  • Laser tag – from €11
  • Play – from €40

Facilities for children

If you relocate with children, you will have no problem placing them in kindergarten or school. In the Netherlands, education is divided into several levels. The very first of these – kindergarten for children up to 4 years old – is a paid service. The service is provided by private companies, and the cost per month can be more than €2000. However, if both parents work, the state provides substantial subsidies of up to 80%. Public schools are free for everyone.

In addition, there are institutions in Rotterdam where children are taught in their native languages. For example, the Russian school "Glagol" for children from 2 to 18 years. Here you have to pay about €1300 per year.

You can also hire tutors for a variety of activities: piano (from €50 per lesson), chess (from €25), drawing (from €20), rock climbing (from €15 per lesson), etc.
Summing up the results

Now let's put the basic costs together and calculate the final amount: €600 for an apartment in Rotterdam (not in the center), €170 for utilities, €50 for internet, €300 for food, €90 for public transportation, €150 for sports activities, and €300 for entertainment. You can also add €150 for every weekend and increase everything by 15% just in case.

In total, we calculate a sum of €2600 per month without much savings and including contingencies.

If you get €4400-5200 after taxes, you can travel around the country, safely create your own capital, send money to loved ones, and feel more than confident financially.

We hope we have been able to show that the high prices of living in Rotterdam seem so unaffordable only when viewed from the outside and compared to your country and your current salary level. You won't spend your entire salary on taxes and expenses. And the remaining amount is enough to get a buzz out of living in Europe.

To find open jobs in the Netherlands, check the block below.
Jobs in the Netherlands
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