ALL THE PRACTICAL INFORMATION YOU WANT TO KNOW AS AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT IN ROTTERDAM, BUT NEVER DARED TO ASK.

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Money Honey | Get a job!

By Dafna Burema                                                                March 17, 2012

 

One of the difficulties you might encounter during your stay here is to find a job. For most student jobs, you will need to be able to speak Dutch. So here are a few tips from Student SOS. Although we cannot guarantee that you will be employed after putting these tips into practice, it sure gives you a push to the right direction.

 

Pay attention to the university’s communication channels: the official website and the intranet. Once you are registered at the University, you will get access to MyEur. Here, you have an overview of all the channels you need to keep an eye on: Sin-Online, Blackboard, Osiris and your student email. What is most interesting here is Sin-Online, as occasionally vacancies appear, mostly related to activities within academia such as the position of a student assistant. This does not happen that often, but it is advisable to check Sin-online on a regular basis and to subscribe within Sin-Online to diverse channels of interest.

 

Facebook is one of the most fundamental tools you have to use during your job hunt. This is probably the fastest way to get a student job. Get yourself involved at least in the following Facebook groups: the RSM Facebook page, the official Facebook page of your study (if it exists), Internationals-Students Rotterdam, and like the Facebook page IamExpat in The Netherlands. There is also an official Eramus University Rotterdam page and in addition you are able to become friends with the university on Facebook, however both channels are not interesting to look at when you are in need of a job. The RSM is probably the most useful one to check regularly.

 

If you decide to stay in The Netherlands after your studies, you will probably have a solid network on which you can rely on. You probably already have an idea of where to apply. But in case you don’t, you should check out Together Abroad, Undutchables and I am Expat.


Of course, it is common to get a job through word of mouth communication. Your social network is a valuable source of information. For instance, it is known amongst the international students community that restaurant Bazar at Witte de Withstraat accepts international students as employees.

 

Bear in mind that if you decide to work in The Netherlands, even if it is just a temporary job, you will need to have the basic Dutch public health insurance. For more information about that, read this article.

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Money Honey | Also want to receive financial support from the Dutch government (studiefinanciering)?

By Rexin Singotani                                     March 11, 2012

 

If you hang out with Dutch students, the term ‘studiefinanciering’ is often mentioned.  Dutch students are always anxiously anticipating the end of the month, when studiefinanciering will be put on their account. Every Dutch student in Holland attending a University (WO) or University of Applied Sciences (HBO) is able to receive financial support from the government called studiefinanciering. This financial support is offered to students, so they are able to cover their costs for their studies and living.

 

Dutch students are only able to receive studiefinanciering when they meet certain requirements regarding their age, type of university and nationality. In spite of the fact that the Dutch government has become stricter on her policy regarding the provision of studiefinanciering to Dutch students, a lot of students receive it. 

 

So what about financial support for international students?  

As I had mentioned before, the Dutch government has become stricter on the provision of studiefinanciering to Dutch students, and is also planning to reduce the possibilities for international students. Luckily, there are currently still some options available for foreign students studying in Holland.

 

However, knowing Holland, being infamously known for its bureaucracy, it can definitely be a lot of a hassle to find out which options are available.  Being well aware of this, Student SOS will highlights the most important options for you!

Unfortunately these options are only available if you have the nationality from a country belonging to the European Union (E.U), European Economic Area (E.E.A) or Switzerland. In the next section, the different options will be enlisted for you. 

 

Do you have a job in the Netherlands?

You’ll need:

  •  An official contract with your employer
  • Work for at least 32 hours a month

When you go to the website of DUO, which arranges everything regarding studiefinanciering, all the information is unfortunately provided in Dutch. On the website you can fill in a Dutch questionnaire, with maybe some help from a Dutch friend, in order to find out If you’re eligible to receive studiefinanciering when you work for at least 32 hours for a Dutch employer. However, it has been experienced by some international students that this questionnaire does not always indicate the right answer. Therefore, Student SOS recommends to go to a DUO office, so they can help you in person with the application for the studiefinanciering in English. Find the nearest DUO office in Rotterdam here.

 

Note: Don’t mess with the Dutch government. There’s no point in circumventing the rules by pretending you do have a job, when you actually don’t have a job. At the end of the year, the Dutch government will check up on you if you did worked for at least 32 hours a month. Considering the Dutch bureaucracy at its best, expect to be asked to show every salary slip you received.  Read more about this procedure here. 

 

Does one of your parents work in the Netherlands and has a nationality from a country from the E.U. or E.E.A or Switzerland? 

In order to be able to be considered eligible for studiefinanciering, one of your parents needs to work for at least 32 hours a month and have an official contract as well.  Again, a questionnaire can be filled out on the website in order to find out which papers you need to send to the DUO. However, this questionnaire is in Dutch as well, so Student SOS recommends to visit their office as has been indicated before, at Kop van Zuid.

 

Are you an international student with a nationality from a country from the E.U, E.E.A or Switzerland and have lived in the Netherlands for at least five years?

If the above mentioned question can be answered with ‘yes’, there are specific requirements you need to meet in order to be considered eligible to receive studiefinanciering. The requirements are mainly about your age, type of university and nationality. There are quite some difficulties to be encountered when going through this whole process by yourself, so Student SOS recommends to ask some help from a Dutch friend or to go to the DUO office in order to obtain more information and help.

 

Are you an international student and happened to be married to a citizen with also a nationality from the E.U, E.E.A or Switzerland or a registered partner?

Even then, there are also possibilities for you to receive studiefinanciering. Go to a DUO office to ask for more information.

 

Are you an international student and did all the above mentioned requirements not apply to you? Don’t worry, you could still apply for a student loan! This student loan however, is something completely different from studiefinanciering, it is an actual loan with you have to pay back with accompanying interest when you finished your studies. Find the English (!) application form for a student loan here.  This might be an option to consider, when you are in desperate need of financial support.

 

Student SOS Rotterdam recommendation:

There are definitely some options for international students with a nationality from a country from the E.U, E.E.A or Switzerland to receive financial support from the Dutch government, studiefinanciering. However, there are certain requirements which need to be met. We advise every international student from this countries, to explore the available options for you. Every individual situation is unique, resulting in different possibilities or challenges. Considering the famous Dutch bureaucracy, the easiest way to find out more about your options is to go to the office of DUO at Kop van Zuid.

 

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All about keeping your health and basic health insurance in the Netherlands!

By Armen Gevorkian                                                       March 11, 2012


Read the complete guide with information on health insurance, doctors, dentists, pharmacies and hospitals…


Dutch health insurance

Taking up a health insurance is one of the first steps when arriving in a foreign country! In the Netherlands the insurances vary and therefore are a delicate matter! Enjoy the following quick information bundle on everything around the subject.

 

The trade association of health insurance providers includes some information in English and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport provide a downloadable leaflet on the health insurance obligation (in ten languages) as well as detailed information in English on many medical aspects.

 

By Kiesbeter (‘choose better’) and Independer you can comparing health insurances (zorgverzekeringen) and find the cheapest (goedkoopste) basic insurance/package (basispakket).  Both websites are in Dutch but are easy to use and are clear in layout, use Google Translate to help you out.

 

Basic insurance

The basic insurance covers general medical care (visits to the general physician (huisarts), hospital stays, prescription medicine and various appliances. Costs range from approximately EUR 30-100 a month.

You will need to pay extra for dental treatment, physiotherapy or anything else the government considers to be your own responsibility, and it is in these additional areas are where companies compete and offer better prices. Information about insurance from the ‘Ministry of Health’ (in English).

 

Student SOS Rotterdam recommends the Anderzorg to find out more about the best insurance for you and the recommended basic insurance package deal.

 

Doctor (huisarts)

A huisarts is a family doctor and you need to register with one close to your home. The idea is that they are no more than ten minutes away in case of house calls. Some will turn you away because they are already full.

 

Dentist (tandarts)

A dentist (tandarts) can also be located via your insurance company and this is something very delicate and varies between insurances packages and companies, so if you sign up for a insurance and you expect it to be covered please notify your insurance or check your policy!

 

Hospitals (ziekenhuis)

Accident and emergency is EHBO (Eerste Hulp Bij Ongelukken) and the emergency services line is 112. For a hospital admission for non-emergency treatment, keep your insurance company informed and check your policy.

 

Pharmacies (apotheek)

Once you have located a ‘huisarts’, you then need to locate a nearby pharmacy where you will pick up subscriptions and remedies. Pharmacists are highly-trained and are able to give advice for minor complaints. Opening hours vary but the address of the nearest out-of-hours pharmacy will be indicated on the door. Drogistssupply over-the-counter remedies.

Use Google Maps to locate the pharmacies next to you just search for ‘apotheek’ when looking for a pharmacy in regular opening hours and there is always one night pharmacy open in the north and south region which is a ‘dienstapotheek’ find this in the Apotheek Guide.

 

Well this should set you to a good start! I hope this article was helpful! Thank you for reading!

 

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Getting from A to B | OV chipkaart - Your travel card

By Dafna Burema                                                                   March 9, 2012

 

Without a bike, you cannot experience the true meaning of being Dutch. However, there are instances when public transportation is a better way to get you from a to b. If you are planning to travel frequently by public transport in The Netherlands, we recommend you to get an OV chipkaart (a travel card). There are different types of cards. So, which one should you choose?

 

What type of card?

Personal ov chipcard – persoonlijke ov-chipkaart – is the best option if you are going to travel a lot within the country. It works like a prepaid card: you buy the card, which is 7.50 euro, and after that you need to upload it with a sum of money. Every time you check out with your ov chipcard at a station, the card will deduct a certain amount of money on your card (the exact amount depends on how much you travelled). The card is valid for five years. If you want to know how much money will be deducted from your card, you can check the site 9292.nl. Here, you need to fill out information at the section “plan your journey” and it will give you the price automatically. Note that this only works for metros and trains. If you decide to get this card, you will be able to join several special offers for travelers, e.g. NS dal voordeel gives discounts at off-peaks if you travel by train.

 

Anonymous ov chipcard – anonieme ov-chipkaart - this card works the same as the personal one, the only difference is, as the name implies, that there is no personal information displayed on your card. Also, you cannot get any special offers and subscriptions on this card, such as the previously mentioned NS dal voordeel. This card costs 7.50 euro and is valid for five years.

 

Disposable cards – wegwerpkaarten - If you want to travel within Rotterdam, you have the option to choose between three types of disposable cards .The first one is RET 2 uur reizen, which basically means that you are able to travel within two hours wherever you want to go in Rotterdam by tram, bus, ferry or metro. The cards cost 3.50 euro. Another disposable card is the metro 2 reizen kaart, which allows you to travel twice by metro only. Both journeys cannot last longer than one hour. The card is slightly more expensive than the previously mentioned one, namely, 4.90 euro. There are also disposable cards that are valid for a day or more.

1 day ov RET card – 6 euro

2 days ov RET card – 9 euro

3 days ov RET card – 12 euro

If you want to go by train and you don’t have an ov chipcard (yet) you need to buy a disposable card. With these cards, you pay for the route you are planning to take.

 

Where to buy it?

Personal OV Chipcard – You can purchase it via Internet. All you need is a digital photo and to be able to pay for it with iDeal (if you live in Germany, Belgium or Luxemburg you are also able to pay with a credit card or PayPal). You should receive your card within seven days.  If you don’t want to do it digitally, you can get a form at RET service shops Beurs, Central station and Zuidplein where you have to fill out personal information.

 

Anonymous card  - these are available at the same locations as where the personal cards are sold. However, you cannot order them online.

 

Disposable cards - these RET cards can be purchased at the machines located at metro and train stations, some supermarkets, Bruna (bookstore) and Primera. As for the NS, the vending machines at the station tell you exactly how much you have to pay for your travel on the spot, or you can order your tickets online.

 

Our advice: if you are planning to travel frequently in and out Rotterdam, you should get a personal ov chipcard. It’s the same price as an anonymous one, but just in case you want to subscribe to one of the offerings by NS you able to do so. If you are occasionally will be using the Dutch public transport, you can get along fine with disposable cards.

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Getting a roof over your head | Housing and how to find a new home

By Jennifer Langham                                                                March 7, 2012


It does not have to be a mission!

It might seem very difficult to find a room in Rotterdam from abroad but it does not have to be! There is generally a lot available in Rotterdam, you should just start looking for housing in advance, in order to not become entirely stressed out!

There are many useful websites where you can look for housing. These ones are websites that may invite you over for a “hospiteeravond”. This is basically an evening or short meeting where you present yourself towards your prospective new roommates. Most of these websites only offer kamers, which includes shared accommodation. 


Kamers


Agencies (Makelaars)
The following websites are links to real estate agencies (google makelaar Rotterdam). This is probably an easier solution, but a more expensive one, as you have to pay the agency administration costs when you accept the room. They do, however, also have apartments and studios on their websites, which is quite rare on the previous websites mentioned.


On Campus Accomodation (EN)
There is also an opportunity for students attending Erasmus to live on campus but there is a limit amount of places and it is quite expensive as well. It is not really common in The Netherlands, especially in Rotterdam to live on campus, but it can be a very nice experience to meet people and adapt to the student life! For information on campus accommodation visit www.eur.nl and find the information on their website.

The University website also has useful tips on finding housing and accommodation off campus.


Stadswonen (EN)
Stadswonen Vestia Rotterdam has special accommodation for international students, however this is usually quite pricy. For more information visit their website.


How expensive is expensive really?
The average price for a shared room in a good location in Rotterdam would be around 400 Euros. It is of course possible to find rooms for cheaper, but this will be more difficult, also regarding locations. Studios and private apartments are more expensive, more around the price of 500 Euros.


Legal assistance
If there are ever any problems with your room, or studio, or with your landlord or any matters regarding housing, you can always contact the Huurcommissie. This governmental organization can help you with any issues. Visit their website  for more information.

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University Life | Do you speak Dutch?

By Rexin Singotani                  March 5, 2012

 

'Hottentottentententententoonstellingsmakersopleidingsprogramma'

 

Once getting a hang of the life in Rotterdam, living in the center of the international community and constantly surrounded by internationals, it can be stated without a doubt: English will be the main language you will use. However, being in the land of the Dutchies, gives you the opportunity to discover a new beautiful language, Dutch!

 

Wait. Did I just say that the Dutch language beautiful? I will probably be asked if I fell on my head … Okay, okay I have to confess Dutch isn’t the most beautiful language on earth. It is infamously known amongst internationals for its well, let’s say special pronunciation of the G. In order to clarify: my Scottish friend compared it once to the sound you create when you’re spitting something on the ground  or coughing.  It almost seems like you’re purposely hurting your throat, well I can tell you the Dutch like to that quite often.

 

When you’re an international student, it is quite evident that your entire course will be taught in English.  Living in the Netherlands might be a nice opportunity to learn the Dutch language. It can come in handy during your stay in Holland. It will allow you to learn by doing, taking the theory immediately to practice by using it in your daily life during your stay in Rotterdam. It can also be very handy if you’re looking for a job, since it is quite hard to find a job in Rotterdam when you don’t speak the Dutch language. Interested in taking a Dutch language course? Ja? Student SOS Rotterdam will provide you with an overview of interesting options to consider:

 

Language and Training Centre (LTC)

The Language and Training Centre is an institute to learn a language, within the Erasmus University Rotterdam and offers two types of Dutch courses:

 

A crash course for beginners

Duration: three weeks

A session from 9.30 to 15.00 every day of the week (not in the weekends)

Starts off before the first or second course period

Costs for students: 535 euro (course and course materials)

Current special offers:

The first 85 applicants who successfully complete the course will receive a refund of the course fee. This only applies to (exchange) students who will start their study at Erasmus University in Academic Year 2012-2013. Take a look for the requirements on the website.

Students who sign up for this Dutch Course ànd rent a Short Stay room from Vestia Rotterdam Stadswonen (for the minimum rent period of at least 5 months) will receive a one-time-only discount of € 150,- on one month rent. For more information visit the website of Vestia Rotterdam Stadswonen.

Regular courses for beginners

Ten sessions in ten weeks

Each session takes 2,5 hours

Beginner courses takes place at Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 17.30 to 20.00 hours

Final exam takes place at a predetermined date

Required self study per week: 3 hours

Costs:

Course: 260 euro

Course material: 40 euro

Find out more about the available Dutch courses on the LTC website


Other available options outside university:


ITHA Dutch Language Courses 

Location: Mathenesserlaan 253, Rotterdam


Dutch for beginners

Duration: 8 weeks

Courses for beginners takes place at Thursday, Tuesdays, Mondays from 18.30 to 20.45

Costs:

Course: 395 euro

Course material: 85 euro

Intensive program Dutch for beginners

Duration: 3 weeks

A session from 9.00 to 12.00 from Monday to Thursday

Costs: €850,- (course and course materials)

Special offer: If you book and pay before May 22, 2012 the costs will be €765

Group size minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 students

Find out more on their website.


Student SOS Rotterdam recommendation #1

Go for LTC. Considering the costs, this institute within university is by far the cheapest.


Karolinka, second year International Communication and Media at EUR from Poland says: 

“I found it rather expensive for a course which lasted 10 weeks. At first it was really difficult to keep up because the teacher refused to speak English, but after the third week it got easier. It wasn’t too difficult to learn the basics, and now I can have a conversation about the weather, and wish someone a good day. I can understand mostly what people say in Dutch, but can’t answer coherently yet. So overall, this course taught me a lot. I found it especially hard to pronounce hoe gaat het (how are you, in Dutch) and I remember all the diverse types pronunciation of g that there are.”


Student SOS Rotterdam recommendation #2

Keep an eye on this recent initiative by SIFE: Learn Dutch To Get in Touch! SIFE is a non-profit organization by international students. Learn Dutch To Get In Touch is a project initiated by five international students, to give international students the opportunity to learn Dutch for a relative low price. The exact prices are not announced yet, however the project will take off at the end of March 2012. Check out the website for recent information, might definitely be something to consider!


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Three minutes with Ben Beuchel

By Dafna Burema                                                               March 5, 2012

 

Who? Ben Beuchel
From where? Germany
Studies what? IBA, second year

 

Student SOS asked international student Ben Beuchel about his apartment and how he got it. By doing this we hope to give you some insights about the experiences current international students have regarding the period when they needed to arrange a studio.

 

SOS Student: Why are you studying here in Rotterdam?

B: I chose Rotterdam basically only for the university, so only for the program of IBA.

 

SOS Student: Where do you live?

B: Kralingen, at Prinses Julianalaan, which is just south of the park Kralingse Bos. The area is really nice: it is close to the park, close to university and also close to the metro. It is actually really nice! It is expensive though to live there.

 

SOS Student: How did you get your apartment?

B: I knew that someone posted an announcement on Facebook, actually. And so I called the landlord and I got pretty lucky as I got that apartment. I have six housemates, of which with two of them I share a kitchen, but they are never around so I practically have a kitchen for myself. And I have my own bathroom so that is nice. Also, I did not have any difficulties with real estate agencies as I found it on Facebook, so that was pretty good.

 

SOS Student: Would you advice new international students to live on campus, in the F building?

B: No, I think you are a bit outside of the actual life in Rotterdam if you live on campus. So I would never live on campus. I would not recommend it.

 

SOS Student: Do you have any tips for incoming international students concerning housing?

B: Team up with somebody you already know and try to find something, because it is really difficult if you are just by yourself I think. But it depends, because if you want to look for something temporary you will definitely find something on for example www.housinganywhere.com.

 

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Getting from A to B | Construction sites

By Dafna Burema                                                          March 2, 2012


Student life can be quite tough. Getting from A to B in Rotterdam during the first days of your stay might be problematic. You may not have familiarized yourself with the city well enough to know exactly which tram to take to wherever or you get lost with your bike in one of side streets in Kralingen. It even happens to the veterans. As for myself, I have been living here for almost two years now and every now and then this city amazes me and gives me sometimes (un)pleasant surprises.                                                                         

The other day, I was visiting at Meent in the morning which is in the city centre. I had to go to from there to university campus and I had plenty of time, so I thought I could take tram 7. However, I did not know that tram 7 would take another route than it usually would do and so I found it weird that it didn’t pass through Oude Dijk. Turns out, the whole area of Oude Dijk, where the tram is supposed to go through, had become a big construction site. The final stop was Oostplein and not Woudestein. I was late by the time I reached campus, as I had to wait 15 minutes at Oostplein before another tram would arrive that would take me to Woudestein. So, in order to prevent you from having that kind of situation, here is a list with current construction sites in Rotterdam.

 

A brief overview

Luckily, the governmental website does provide information about the areas that are currently under construction. There is one downside through: all the information given is in Dutch. So here is an overview in English.


Willemsbrug

Inaccessible from March 9th – April 8th 2012 for automobiles. Cyclists, pedestrians and police, fire fighters, ambulances are allowed to take cross this bridge.   

Nieuwe Binnenweg

Tram 4 will makes a d-tour from the January 2nd – October 1st 2012.
During the period January 2nd– March 11th, tram 4 will not take you to Ruilstraat • Delfshaven Metro • Van Duylstraat • Zeilmakersstraat.

From March 12th – Mai 6th, tram 4 does not stop at • ’s-Gravendijkwal • Claes de Vrieselaan • Heemraadsplein • Ruilstraat • Delfshaven Metro • Van Duylstraat • Zeilmakersstraat.

From Mai 7th – 30th September 2012, tram 4 does not stop at •’s-Gravendijkwal • Claes de Vrieselaan • Heemraadsplein.


Oude Dijk

Tram 7 does not pass Oude Dijk, instead, it goes through boezemweg to the final destination Oostplein. This route is applicable until November 23, 2012. There are two areas that are under construction, which are the part between Korte Kade and Voorschoterlaan and the bit between Mecklenburglaan en Jericholaan. Automobiles cannot access this part of Oude Dijk, however, cyclists and pedestrians are. It’s expected that everything will be back to normal by June 2012.


Charloisse Kerksingel

Inaccessible for automobilists and cyclists from March 12th – April 13th 2012.

 

Schieweg

The traffic lights for automobiles at two crossroads, Schepenstraat and Walenburgerweg, are being replaced so they will have to make a small d-tour. 

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University Life | Places to get your nerd on: Caffé Belmondo

By Rexin Singotani                                                                March 2, 2012


Caffé Belmondo
Address: Goudsesingel 52 | Near Oostplein,towards supermarket Bas van der Heijden | Telephone: +31104110784

Opening Times : Mon – Fri 07:00 -19:00, Sat 08:00 – 18:00, Sun 09:00 – 18:00

Find it on the map.

Procrastination, it sounds familiar to all of us. Studying, working on assignments, making it to your next deadline, it can be a draining process. The campus offers a lot of different locations to study: from the university library, study rooms in G-building to the BIC in T building, it’s all there. However, sometimes you just need to get away from the campus in order to get back on track. In order to regain your concentration and motivation, a small change of environment will only do you good. The only question remains: where to go?


Well no worries, Student SOS introduces you to the best places to get your nerd on! In this very first edition we will introduce you to the lovely Italian Espresso bar, Caffé Belmondo. This espresso bar is located in between the center and university, which is only ten minutes by bike from campus. If you are traveling by public transport, the tram and metro station Oostplein is very nearby. Just walk towards the supermarket Bas van der Heijden and you will see Belmondo just across the street.


Belmondo is quite popular amongst international students, and it can be both crowded and quiet in this Caffé. The atmosphere is very laid-back, and the relaxing Michael Buble or Norah Jones music on the background only intensifies this relaxing vibe. The English-speaking staff is very friendly and the service is good. Compared to study spaces on university this ‘caffé’ setting can be very relieving and if you have a moment of lack of concentration, just order an espresso! Of course Belmondo has way more to offer than just espresso, they also sell fresh mint tea, cappuccino, hot chocolate milk and healthy shakes. If you’re hungry, just order a nice sandwich with ham and cheese (€ 2,50) or go a bit more deluxe for an Italian ciabatta with Carpaccio (€ 4,75). A sucker for sweets? You will love the apple pie, cupcakes, brownies or chocolates.


Naturally you also want to get some study work done, after all aren’t we here to study? If you had enough from the cozy ‘caffé’ area you can also enter the silent room through the glass door to the ‘Kennis&Koffie’ (knowledge and coffee) area. This silent area is perfect to study and offers enough tables en plugs, so you can have a fulfilling studying experience with or without your laptop. Free WIFI is definitely a must for students like ourselves, just ask the password at the counter. You can also order a glass of water with ice cubes for free, which always comes in handy for students on a tight budget. Do you need to work in a group? Belmondo offers two separate spaces upstairs, which you can rent for a group of four to six people. Just call Belmondo or ask the staff for more information.

Good luck studying!

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Your new best friend: The bike

By Jennifer Langham                                                       March 3, 2012

 

When being in Holland, do it like the Dutchies do: Biking culture.


In the Netherlands it is very common to get from one place to the other by bike. Although there are many other means of transportation such as trams and metros, biking is generally seen as the easiest and most common way of transportation. People do their groceries by bike, go to university or work by bike, but also go out at night by bike, which can be quite a mission from time to time! Biking is part of the Dutch culture, and as an international it might be difficult to get used to that. This page will provide you with some facts and information that will help you to integrate in this biking culture when you arrive in Rotterdam.

 

The “Omafiets”

Mountain bikes are not common in Rotterdam, because they are not necessary since everything is flat! That’s why people here use the “Omafiets”, which literally means the Grandmothers bike. The Omafiets has thin tires, it usually does not have gears, and has a seat on the back wheel in order to bike a second person. Even though most people love their bike, bikes do not always stay with you for too long. There is a tendency of bikes getting stolen a LOT. Therefore buying an expensive bike is not always the solution, but rather buying an expensive lock!

 

Where to get a bike

There are several ways that you can get a bike in Rotterdam. There are many bike-stores (“Fietswinkels”), and also many bike-repair stores (“Fietsenmaker”) where you can also find second hand bikes or get your bike fixed up. These stores are probably the most expensive places to find bikes, prices start at around 80 Euro at a minimum. You can also buy your bike online, on sites such as the Dutch www.marktplaats.nl , which is similar to Ebay. Another option is to look at second- hand stores around town. These stores sell furniture and clothes but also bikes from time to time.


Many students choose to buy their bikes from junkies, as this will be the cheapest option. This is illegal, and if you get caught you can get a high fine for participating in the dealing of bikes. You can find bikes for around 10 to 20 euros, which is very cheap. However, it is not legal so not always the safest option.

 

There are also many NGO’s and non-profit organizations that can be of help to you to find a bike, and you can help them by buying them there! An example of this is an NGO for recovering addicts at the Esch in Rotterdam that have a sort of second-hand store where you can buy bikes. The exact address is WAC boerderij de Esch, Nesserdijk 262. You can take tram 21 until the last stop, de Esch. Afterwards you walk direction the water, and then to your left you should see a kind of farm. There they sell cheap bikes and nice cheap furniture if you are interested! They are opened from 9 to 4 from Monday to Thursday and Friday until 12. If you get there you should ask for Frans, as he is in charge of everything.

 

The easiest way to find a bike is probably just by asking around. Many students come to Rotterdam on exchange, and leave their bikes here when they go back home. Some students have multiple bikes because they found some unlocked ones and decided to take them home and so forth. There are also advertisements hanging at local supermarkets on billboards of people who want to sell their bikes. The easiest way to find a bike is therefore just to keep your eyes open and ask around, you should be able to find one for a reasonable price in no time.

 

Lock your bike!

As soon as you have a bike to your possession, the first thing you should do is buy a lock for it. Most bikes have a lock on their back wheel which is fixed on it, but you still need a separate chain-lock to lock the front of your bike and the frame.

 

The best place to buy a lock would be the Blaak market, which is there on Tuesdays and Saturdays, this is also the cheapest place to find a lock. The price will vary between 20 to 30 Euro for a good lock. If you buy one at the bike-store, the price will be around 10 Euros more.

 

When you lock your bike, make sure to lock it to an objects such as bike stands which are made for locking your bike onto, or a gate, or a tree, or a pole, just anywhere where it is locked properly. There are a lot of people who steel bikes even though you have a lock on it! Therefore make sure to be as careful as possible, in order to keep your bike!

 

Where to mend your bike when it breaks

There is of course a possibility that your bike might break. There are many different bike repair stores when there is something seriously wrong with your bike, however, often a pump is all you need. There are pumps around university campus that you can use free of charge, or an option might be just to buy one, it will always come in handy.

 

Bike extras

You might arrive in Rotterdam wondering why people have plastic bags and covers on their saddles. Well as soon as you bike for some time you will realize that it is not enjoyable to bike with a wet saddle! As it rains a lot in the Netherlands it is therefore advisable to have a plastic bag with you as soon as it rains, or to buy covers for your saddle. These covers are also given away for free at many places at the university campus!

 

Officially every biker should have a front light and a backlight as soon as it is dark. A lot of people do not have these lights, but it is a good idea to buy some as it is quite dangerous biking without lights. They only cost a couple of Euros and will make you feel a lot safer whilst biking in the dark. There is also quite a high fine when the police sees you biking without any lights, so you best buy some!

 

Benefits of biking

Biking might seem unnatural to you, but you will get used to it as a means of transport fast enough. Most probably you will even start enjoying it! It is quite enjoyable and relaxing but it is also good for your health as it keeps you moving! On top of everything you are helping the environment by not using any polluting means of transport!


We hope this information made you feel a little more confident about biking, being a cyclist and the culture that goes with it! Last but not least here follows a link to not only useful but also beautiful bike paths and roots in Rotterdam. By bike you get to see parts of the city that you would never see with public transport, so now it is time for you to discover this beautiful city!

 

Visit for more information: http://www.fietseninregiorotterdam.nl.

 

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