Rotterdam has diverse neighborhoods, and many people believe your neighborhood is part of your identity.
Centrum sits right in the middle, surrounded by Delfshaven on the west, Noord in the north, Kralingen-Crooswijk on the east and the river De Maas on its south side. Centrum is where you will find the highest density of shopping, hotels, restaurants. De Markthal, Blaak, Laurens Church, Coolsingel, ‘Koopgoot’, the Central Station, if it’s in Rotterdam and you’ve heard of it from non-Dutch people, it’s probably located in the center. Nightlife also happens mostly in Centrum, having Oude Haven (old harbor), Witte de With and City Hall Square in it.
Not very long ago Kralingen was the place where the upper class lived and recreated, resulting in it having very nice and spacious houses and a lot of greens and gardens. Some of the most prestigious and expensive real estate in the country is located in (the east of) Kralingen. Nowadays, most of the houses have been converted to student homes which are conveniently located close to the Erasmus University.
On the other hand, there is Crooswijk which has a lot more social housing and is much more culturally diverse and dynamic. But don’t let that hold you back, Crooswijk is being rebuilt.
Noord is a very popular place for students, and also has its share of social housing. It has a vibrant cultural life especially closer to the Central Station.
Delfshaven is one of most cultural areas of Rotterdam and definitely worth a visit. Since it was ‘missed’ by the Luftwaffe in the 40’s, it still has the typical landmarks that you will find in most other Dutch cities. Landmarks like the windmill and even an area with beautiful canals
Prins Alexander is a typical residential area with fine schools, a lot of shopping (mind the Prins Alexander mega malls) and good connections to the city. Don’t expect too much excitement, though.
This part outside of the city is where the well-off people seem to have settled down. Good restaurants, nice old bars and never too far away from a Jaguar, a tennis racket or a golf club. Has a lot of affordable houses, too.
Overschie is almost a village in that it is sparsely populated and almost quaint. It does suffer somewhat from the A13 highway and airport Zestienhoven.
Feyenoord, Charlois & IJsselmonde
Home to the most famous professional soccer club of the city (we have three!), this are another three vibrant and culturally diverse neighborhoods. Their safety records have not been too good historically speaking, but the last few years things are moving in the right direction after a number of programs. Typical Rotterdam folksy neighborhoods where old meets new.
A part of Rotterdam’s enormous harbor. Not a lot of other things going on here.