Spending money in Rotterdam is super easy. A coffee here, a sandwich there, quickly get something delicious for dinner – oh, you really can’t resist the nice shirt in that shop – and in the evening at the cinema with a big bowl of popcorn. Want to spend less? We have some tips.
1 Never buy water at school again
Did you actually know that at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, thanks to the students of cmr, you can draw free chilled water from the vending machines everywhere? Of course, it was always silly to buy bottled water – because Dutch tap water is fine and costs nothing and doesn’t come in rotten plastic bottles – but now completely. The machines give you water in a cup; even better, of course, is to bring your own cup or bottle.
2 Buy the Rotterdam pass
With the Rotterdam Passport in your pocket, you get a discount on many cultural and sporting activities. There are always promotions where you can go on more expensive trips for free, such as a visit to Blijdorp or Euromast or see a movie at Pathé or Kino. You can even visit the Kunsthallen for free without any restrictions. Normally the pass costs 60 euros per year, but Rotterdam students pay only 17.50.
3 Be surprised (cheap) with TooGoodToGo
TooGoodToGo is an initiative to fight waste. Install the app and look in your area for products that are still good but no longer have a shelf life. Affiliated restaurants, supermarkets, bakeries and other stores that sell fresh produce at a deep discount. You get a ‘magic box’ where it’s a surprise what’s in it. For example, we sometimes pick up a bag from the editorial office with leftover breakfast products from the luxurious Parkhotel. It costs a little and you get a bag full of goodies.
4 Buy and sell used clothes or exchange
Nothing to wear, tired of all your clothes and therefore quickly buy something new? Bad idea, not only for your wallet, but also because of the huge harmful impact of the clothing industry on the environment. Selling your old clothes or bad bargains via Vinted, The Next Closet or Marktplaats can give your budget a little boost, and with a modest budget you can score unique items. Also smart: organize a clothes swap night with friends: what one is tired of or no longer fits is a cool new asset for the other. In some neighborhoods, people also give away bags of clothes.
5 Keep an eye out for the festivals in Rotterdam
It’s not really festival season, but there are festivals in Rotterdam all year round, and some of them are free to attend. For example, the legendary Metropolis Festival in Zuiderpark, the summer carnival, but also the big New Year’s fireworks at the Erasmus Bridge. You can check what is on the festival’s agenda.
6 Go to the market at smart times
Fresh fruit and vegetables are of course super good for you, but you don’t want to spend your entire budget on them. Take a tour of the local market around closing time. Around that time you can sometimes get fruits and vegetables for free (sometimes drops), or market vendors sell their last stock for next to nothing. In Rotterdam you can go to the large central market on Binnenrotte at Blaak station on Tuesdays and Saturdays. In the south you will find a large market on Afrikaanderplein on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
7 See art for nothing
Museums expensive? Art is free on the streets of Rotterdam: it is the city in the Netherlands with the most art in public space. There is a special map with all the artworks, so you can map out a nice round yourself, but you can also follow an existing route, like the one from Westersingel to Wilhelminapier. Also free is the Brutus Garden, Keileweg 10 in Rotterdam West, where you can see lots of works by Rotterdam’s most notorious artist Joep van Lieshout.
Text and photos: Edith van Gameren
Illustration: Demian Janssen