Are you an EU citizen who has come to work and live in Rotterdam? Then it is important that you know a number of things. In Rotterdam, we want everyone to be part of the community. This page contains the most important responsibilities.
For information in other languages, use the 'translate' button on top of this page. Or read the page in Dutch.
Freedom, equality and solidarity are important values in our society. In the Netherlands, all citizens are treated equally. This means that we do not accept discrimination based on gender, religion, origin or sexual orientation. Everyone has the right to think and say what they want here, as long as they do not break the law. It is not permitted, for example, to discriminate or incite hatred or hostility.
Choosing to live in Rotterdam means...
- everyone has the right to express his or her own opinion
- everyone has the right to practice their own religion and is free to decide whether or not they want to believe
- everyone has the right to defend his or her own sexual orientation
- everyone has the right to selfdetermination; in other words the right to independence and to make their own choices.
These values can only be upheld if everyone actively contributes to society. Participation is very important in the Netherlands. You are also expected to participate in society. This means that you learn the Dutch language and look for employment or a voluntary job in order to meet other inhabitants of Rotterdam. To participate in Rotterdam society, it is also important to realise that the cost of living in the Netherlands is much higher than in your home country. This refers not only to so-called fixed costs, but also rent, energy costs, taxes, healthcare insurance and so on. But you also pay more for clothing and food than in your home country.
Just arrived in Rotterdam?
You need to arrange the following right away:
Always have a valid identity document with you
In the Netherlands, you have to prove who you are. You are therefore required to carry a valid identity document with you at all times. A valid identity document is understood to be a passport or EU identity card. Do you not have a valid identity document? You could be fined 90 euros.
Never hand over your original passport or identity document to anyone. If, for example, your employer or landlord asks for your identity document, have a copy of your passport or identity made or make a copy yourself and hand this over. Always keep your own identity document with you.
Register with the City of Rotterdam
Make an appointment with the City to register s soon as possible after arriving in Rotterdam. Registration is free and takes place at the City Counter in the Rotterdam City Hall. If you do not register, you run the risk of incurring a fine. Everyone who comes to live in Rotterdam for longer than four months is legally required to provide his or her address to the authorities. But you are also required to register with the authorities if you are staying in Rotterdam for less than four months. After registration, you will receive a Burgerservicenummer (Citizen Service Number). You will need this unique personal number to, for example, be able to work. Soon after registration, you can also request a DigiD, which is used to arrange many other important matters, such as applying for a parking permit.
- If you are staying for less than four months...
If you are staying in Rotterdam for less than four months, your information will be registered in the Basisregistratie Personen (Personal Records Database). In that case you will have to bring the following documents with you when registering:
- a valid passport or identity document for every person registering
- data on the address where you have just arrived
- Are you extending your stay after four months…
If you decide to stay in Rotterdam longer than four months, your details are registered in the Non-Residents Registry. Make a new appointment at the City to have your information copied from the Non-Residents Registry to the Basisregistratie Personen, in short the Personal Records Database.
- If you are staying for longer than four months...
If you have just arrived in Rotterdam and you are staying for longer than four months your information will be registered in the Basisregistratie Personen (Personal Records Database). In that case you will have to bring the following documents with you when registering:
- a valid passport or identity document for every person registering
- a rental or purchase agreement for your home. Are you living in someone’s home? Have this person draw up and sign a statement. Also bring a copy of his or her identity document. You may also be asked for a landlord statement
- a so-called Housing permit (see chapter ‘Living in Rotterdam’) if you live in a designated area
- all birth certificates for you and your children and any marriage and death certificates, also from previous marriages. Make sure that these are international certificates, in a European format, an apostile, and translated by a sworn interpreter.
Departure or relocation
When you leave the Netherlands, you will have to de-register. Are you relocating to a new address in Rotterdam? You should also report your relocation to the authorities. This can be done in writing, by appointment at a city counter or in My Counter. Are you moving to a different city? Report this to the authorities in the city to which you are relocating.
Are you guilty of criminal offences your lawful residence in the Netherlands will be terminated. You will be declared an illegal alien. This means that you will have to leave the Netherlands. If you are found on Dutch territory, you will be criminally prosecuted.
Apply for a DigiD
You can only request a DigiD if you are registered with the authorities. This personal login code is needed to arrange numerous matters with the City of Rotterdam and other government authorities.
Please note: the same applies for your DigiD as for your proof of identity: never hand it over to anyone, not even your employer.
Take out insurance
If you live in the Netherlands, you are legally required to take out healthcare insurance with a Dutch healthcare insurer. This also applies if you are only living in the Netherlands temporarily and/or if you have healthcare insurance in your country of origin. If you do not have Dutch healthcare insurance, you will be fined. You are free to choose your own healthcare insurance policy from your choice of healthcare insurer. The insured basic package is the same with every healthcare insurer, but the contribution, that is the monthly payment amount, may differ. You will always be required to pay a deductible, an amount that - even if you are insured - you must pay if you incur medical expenses. Children under the age of 18 years can be insured under your policy free of charge.
Rent a home
You can rent a home in Rotterdam through a housing corporation, an organisation that manages and rents out a large number of residences. You can also find a residence through a private landlord, an owner of one or more properties in which rooms are rented out. When searching for a home, consider the following:
- Rental agreement
Always make sure you have a written rental agreement. The contract should state the rental price, notice period and deposit. Housing is sometimes covered by your employee. In this case, it is also important to have a rental agreement. A rental agreement is valid for an indefinite period in principle.
- Right circumstances, right price
In the Netherlands, a point system determines how much rent can be charged for a residence. Are you paying too much rent for a small home or does your home have defects? Do you have doubts concerning the conditions of your housing, rental price or rental agreement? Contact the Rental Team ('huurteaminuwstad') in Rotterdam.
- Paying rent
Pay all rental payments by bank transfer so that you always have valid proof of payment.
- Sharing rent with others
Renting one living space and then sharing this living space and the rent with others is often not allowed by the landlord. The city can also take action in the event of a nuisance or if an unsafe situation occurs due to too many people living in the same living space. In some cases, the city may even close the home.
- City taxes
In Rotterdam, you pay a sewage and waste disposal fees as a tenant. The city collects these taxes annually. You can also pay them monthly. You will be sent a letter regarding this automatically.
- Terminating the rental agreement
Does your landlord wish to terminate your rental agreement? There must be a legally valid reason for this. You are entitled to a written notice period of three months. As a tenant, you will have to agree to this notice period. If not, the rental agreement will simply continue. If you want to terminate the rental agreement, you have to do so within the same notice period that you agreed on in the rental agreement.
Buying a home
Will you be staying in Rotterdam for a longer period? Then buying a home may be a good option. When searching for a home, consider the following: You can view the properties available in Rotterdam on the websites of real estate agencies. To buy a house, you will need a mortgage from a bank. A mortgage is a long-term obligation. You should not simply enter into one without being well informed.
After you have found a residence to rent, consider the following:
- Association of Homeowners
Are you buying an apartment or a floor in a building? If so, you are responsible for the maintenance of the building together with the owners of the other apartments or floors. You are also required to become a member of the Association of Homeowners. If major repairs are required, such as a new roof, window or door frames or maintenance to the lift installations, the amount required may be considerable. To prevent you and the other owners from having to pay the high maintenance costs all at once, most Associations of Homeowners have a system for saving money for such expenses. This means that you and the other owners pay a monthly amount. This forms a savings account to be used to pay for major repairs. More information on VVE010.nl or call 010 - 423 79 79.
In Rotterdam, homeowners are required to pay taxes and fees for such services as sewage and waste disposal and property tax. The city collects these taxes annually. You can also pay them monthly. You will be sent a letter regarding this automatically.
For both buyers and tenants: insurances
In the Netherlands, it is possible to insure against certain risks. This may be important because, in the Netherlands, you are liable for any damage that you, your children or your pets may cause. We therefore recommend that you take out third party insurance, also known as liability insurance.
Around your home, in your neighbourhood...
- Make sure you never cause a nuisance
In Rotterdam, we respect each other – in the neighbourhood, on the street and with neighbours and local residents. There are various rules that apply and you may receive a serious fine if you cause a nuisance. Nuisance can include loud music, too much noise at night, littering (such as throwing cans out on to the street), addressing passers-by in a rude way, etc. With ongoing disturbances from a home, the mayor may close the home, so that it no longer can be inhabited. In certain areas in the city, for example, it is forbidden to drink alcohol in public.
- Police searches
In Rotterdam, there are specific areas where the police may search people to determine whether they are in possession of weapons. If a weapon is found, it will be confiscated and you will receive a fine. In the Netherlands, weapons are only allowed if you have a permit and firearm-like weapons are also forbidden. Knives, knuckle dusters and catapults are prohibited.
- If you own a dog
If you have a dog, it should be kept on a leash and you have to clean up your dog’s excrement. Dogs are only allowed to run free in open areas, which are indicated by signs and where you do not have to pick up after your dog.
- Keep the streets clean
To keep the streets clean, the City of Rotterdam has rules on waste. Rotterdam has bins in many places. Always dispose of your waste in the bins, never on the street. You can be fined if you dispose of your waste on the street. There are separate containers for the disposal of various types of waste in Rotterdam:
- On the left in the picture is a paper container and, on the right, a glass container
Plastic packaging, metal packaging and beverage cartons should go with the residual waste. At the treatment facility these packaging items are sorted out of the mixed waste for recycling. Therefore, there is no source separation system for these materials in Rotterdam
These types of containers (same shape but different colour and print) are used to dispose of clothing and other textiles. For all other household waste, the following applies: Use waste bags for all other waste. Do not overfill them. They must fit into containers like these. If you cause a blockage or if you place waste next to the container, you may be fined. If the container is full, look for a different container elsewhere in the neighbourhood.
- In some Rotterdam neighbourhoods, you can rent mini containers for your other household waste. The green one with the blue lid is for paper and the mini container with the green lid is for household waste. They are emptied on fixed days. You must place them out on the curb of your house on that day and return them to your house in the evening.
- Bulky waste and hazardous waste (such as batteries, energy-saving light bulbs and empty paint bins) can be disposed of at one of the environmental and recycling stations or collected free of charge by the city. You can schedule an appointment for this. Never leave bulky waste on the street. Place it outside on the designated day between 6.00 am and 8.00 am or you will be fined 115 euros. You are always personally responsible for construction and demolition waste. The city will not collect this for you. Bring the waste to one of the waste recycling centres in Rotterdam or rent a container from the City of Rotterdam or other waste collector.
If you have a car
- Vehicle tax
You are required to pay vehicle tax if you brought your car from your home country and are a resident of the Netherlands. You are a resident of the Netherlands if you are registered in the city’s Personal Records Database. You also pay taxes if your car has a foreign license plate. There are certain situations in which you do not have to pay any taxes for a car with a foreign license plate. You could, for example, receive an exemption if you work for a foreign company. You need to apply for this exemption. You can apply for a Dutch license place from the Department of Road Transport (RDW). After you have registered your vehicle for a Dutch license plate, you will automatically receive notification from the tax authorities.
Tax telephone car: 0800 - 07 49
Department of Road Transport: 0900 - 07 39
- Parking permit and paid parking
In many areas of Rotterdam, you have to pay to park your vehicle. If you have no valid proof of parking, you will be fined. The parking meters state how much you must pay and at what times you can park for free. You can also choose to park in one of the car parks. This is often cheaper than parking on the street. Parking on the street can be paid for with a credit card or your mobile phone. You cannot pay by cash. Do you live in a neighbourhood with paid parking? You may be eligible for a parking permit. You can request this from the city. This requires that you are registered with the city.
Consider the following:
- Working hours
Your employer may not let you work more than 45 hours per week. You may not work more than an average of 10 hours per day. Occasional overtime is allowed, however. Do you work at night? Then you may not work more than an average of 40 hours per week. You are also entitled to one or more short breaks.
- A safe working place
Your employer must ensure a safe and healthy working environment. In dangerous situations, your employer must provide personal protective gear such as clothing, a helmet or safety goggles. You may not be charged for this.
- Collective Labour Agreements
Many companies fall under a Collective Labour Agreement. This contains agreements between employers and unions that apply to all employees in a sector. The wage amount is also included. Would you like to know if your company falls under such an agreement? Ask your employer or contact your union. Are you employed by an employer and paid less than what is stated in the Collective Labour Agreement? Contact your union. Are you a temporary worker and paid less than stated in the agreement? Contact the Compliance Foundation for Temporary Workers (SNCU).
Tax on your wages
In the Netherlands, you have to pay taxes on your income. If you are in paid employment, your employer can deduct a fee from your salary. Every year, you have to inform the tax authorities by 1 April how much you earned the past year. You will be sent a letter regarding this automatically. Sometimes you will receive a refund, while other times you will have to pay the extra taxes owed. If you do not pay the taxes owed, you will receive a hefty fine.
Tax Telephone: 0800 - 50 43
Working as a self-employed professional
Are you starting a company in the Netherlands and plan to work as a self-employed professional in the Netherlands? If so, you are required to register your business with the Chamber of Commerce. You can also turn to them for more information and advice on working as a self-employed individual.
Reporting abuse and exploitation
In the Netherlands, every employer must comply with these and other statutory conditions, such as a minimum wage (your wage may not be less than a specific amount) and good working conditions. If this is not the case, always report this to the SZW Inspectorate or anonymously to Meld Misdaad Anoniem (Report Crime Anonymously).
SZW Inspection: 0800 - 51 51
Report Crime Anonymously: 0800 - 70 00
Working as a prostitute
Prostitution is not prohibited over the age of 21 in the Netherlands. It is, however, illegal to force someone into prostitution or to exploit them. This is the case if your passport has been taken from you, if the money you earn must be surrendered in full or in part, if your freedom is constrained or if you are not permitted to refuse clients. Always report this to the police.
Police: 0900 - 88 44
Report Crime Anonymously: 0800 - 70 00
If you have questions
- Rotterdam information
Participating in Rotterdam society is easier if you speak the language and know the customs. To integrate in Rotterdam society, you can, for example, join a sports club or other association, do volunteer work or work for your neighbourhood or at your child’s school. There are various options. For more information, consult the information booth in your neighbourhood. They are happy to help you, free of charge, with all your questions on living and life in Rotterdam. Information Rotterdam: 14 010
- Municipal Health Services (MHS) Rotterdam-Rijnmond
The MHS Rotterdam-Rijnmond is the municipal health care service for municipalities in the Rijnmond region, including Rotterdam. You can contact the MHS for medical advice and questions regarding sexuality, domestic violence, infectious diseases and other healthrelated issues.
GGD Rotterdam-Rijnmond: 010 - 433 99 66
- Youth and Family Centres (YFC)
The YFC is a local centre where you can go for advice, support and questions about parenting, upbringing and healthcare. YFC Rijnmond provides basic medical (public) healthcare and carries out the national vaccination programme. In the Netherlands, children up to the age of 12 are vaccinated against twelve different infectious diseases, including hepatitis, tetanus and polio. If your child or children are registered in the Personal Records Database, you will be reminded of this automatically. If your child or children are not registered, you will not receive a reminder for this. Vaccination is not mandatory. The YFC in Rotterdam provides vaccinations free of charge.
CJG Rijnmond: 010 - 201 01 10
Your child(ren)’s education
In the Netherlands, all children age 5 to 18 years are required to attend school and earn a diploma. This is referred to as compulsory education. The qualification requirement applies from 16 to 23 years. This means that children up to the age 18 years are required to achieve basic qualification. Basic qualification means completed secondary or tertiary education or a basic vocational education (from mbo level 2). The city strictly monitors school attendance. It is not allowed to keep children away from school outside of school holidays. Children and young people who do not attend school without permission are monitored by the school attendance officer who can impose a fine for this.
Per age group:
- 2-4 years: your child can attend a pre-school or group 0. This is four or five half-days per week. Here children are prepared for basic education and learn Dutch.
- from 4 years: your child may attend primary school. In the Netherlands, this is customary at this age, but not compulsory
- 5-18 years: in the Netherlands, children ages 5 to 18 years must attend school and earn a diploma (except if they already have an mbo2, havo or vwo diploma).
Register your child
Before your child can attend primary school, you will have to register him/her at a school. You are personally responsible for this. A list of schools in Rotterdam can be found on the city’s website. This also applies to children attending secondary school. You are also personally responsible for registration. To help you with this, students receive a study choice guide to take home with them during their last year of primary school.
Have you not been in the Netherlands for very long?
In Rotterdam, 13 ‘regular’ schools have special classes for children who have not been in the Netherlands for very long. These are known as bridge classes. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 years are enrolled in a bridge class for one to two years with an intensive language programme. After this, the children attend a ‘regular’ class. You can report directly to one of the 13 schools to register your child in a bridge class. Children over the age of 12 who have just arrived in the Netherlands can attend a first bridge class for secondary school.
|Notenkraker||Othelloweg 2||010 - 295 72 73||Hoogvliet|
|Over de Slinge||Krabbendijksestraat 243-245||010 - 480 35 52||Charlois|
|De Kameleon||Fazantstraat 105||010 - 481 71 35||Charlois|
|Pniëlschool||Sandelingenplein 25||010 - 484 46 88||Feijenoord|
|De Sleutel||Asterstraat 26||010 - 484 46 91||Feijenoord|
|De Catamaran||Catullusweg 298||010 - 291 67 70||IJsselmonde|
|Duo 2002||Bilderdijkstraat 322||010 - 415 49 09||Delfshaven|
|Emmausschool||Tidemanstraat 59||010 - 425 83 12||Delfshaven|
|De Boog||Catharina Beersmanstraat 80||010 - 476 01 14||Delfshaven|
|Talmaschool||Vaandrigstraat 15||010 - 413 66 76||Kralingen-Crooswijk|
|Dislocatie 1||Ben Websterstraat 3-11||010 - 455 29 40||Prins Alexander|
|Dislocatie 2||Cornelis Dankertstraat 34||010 - 420 52 93||Prins Alexander|
|Stephanus||Asserweg 360||010 - 418 47 27||Hillegersberg-Schiebroek|
Help during an emergency and unsafe situation
- Emergency medical assistance
In a life-threatening situation, you can call an ambulance by dialling 112. For emergency medical care, you can go directly to the hospital. In all other cases, you must first go to your family physician. EMERGENCY: 112
- Other emergency situations (police and fire department)
In the event of an emergency, fire, threat or life-threatening situation, call the emergency number 112. This is the number for the police, ambulance and/or fire department. EMERGENCY SERVICES: 112
- Not an emergency, but still need a doctor
For non-emergency medical help, you and your family can visit your family physician during the week. You are responsible for finding your own family physician and registering with him/her. At night and during the weekends, you will have to go to a GP consultation room. Just as with your own family physician, you will first have to call for an appointment. You will not be helped without an appointment. The family physician can refer you to the hospital. Without this reference, you cannot go to the hospital, except for emergency medical care.
Not an emergency, but still need the police
To speak to the police outside of an emergency, you will need to call a different phone number. If you want to report something to the police, you can do this in various ways, such as online, by phone or at the police department itself.
Non-emergency: 0900 - 88 44
Reporting a crime anonymously
- Report Crime Anonymously is a hotline where you can report information on criminality and crimes without having to give your name. Report Crime Anonymously: 0800 - 70 00
- Help with child and domestic abuse, mutilation and violence
In the Netherlands, laws and various measures have been taken to combat harmful traditional practices. This includes honour-related violence, forced marriages and marital captivity, female genital mutilation or circumcision and forced isolation. If you are a victim of child abuse, domestic violence or harmful traditional practices, you can contact Veilig Thuis Rotterdam-Rijnmond 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, free of charge. Call 0800 - 20 00.
- Victim of exploitation
If, for example, you are very underpaid in your work, work under harsh or unsafe conditions, are being deceived or intimidated or if your freedom is curtailed, this is known as exploitation. If this happens to you, it is important that you report this. Only then can we do something about these employers. Are you a victim of exploitation? Contact the Fair Work Foundation for assistance: 020 - 760 08 09, Whatsapp 06 - 517 712 49, firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are other brochures for new Rotterdammers from outside the EU. That has to do with other rules and laws. Below you will find the brochures for new Rotterdam residents from outside the EU (in English)