Just moved to Rotterdam and looking to make new friends in the city? Here are some of my top recommendations for meeting new people in Rotterdam, based on my own experience and what I hear from other expats.
Many of the below activities are aimed at people who moved to the Netherlands from overseas. But we’re of course always very pleased to have Dutch nationals or Rotterdammers join us too!
1. Join a Rotterdam Facebook Group
There’s really only one thing that keeps me on Facebook, and that’s Facebook Groups. There are several active Rotterdam-based groups designed for connecting with new and like-minded people.
Some of my favourites include:
A subset of Girl Gone International (GGI) aimed at ladies who have moved from overseas and are looking to find new friends in the city. There is a constant stream of posts looking for people to meet up for drinks, festivals, running, and more activities.
A group designed for meeting new people or getting help from Rotterdam’s international community.
Another female-only group aimed at founders, professionals and entrepreneurs based in Rotterdam and beyond. Great for finding professional support and collaboration.
Looking for something else? Simply do a quick Facebook Group search for “Rotterdam” and you’ll find many more groups targeted at expats, students, cinema goers, flatmate seekers, art lovers and more.
2. Use a dedicated meet-up app
Facebook Groups have so far worked well for me, so I haven’t personally tried to meet new people via a dedicated app. However, I hear a lot of good things about Meetup and Bumble BFF from other Rotterdam expats.
With the Meetup app and website, you can search for events or groups based in Rotterdam. From generic “meet new people” groups, to tag rugby, Dutch conversation, expats and Asian culture, groups range from broad interests with thousands of members, to more niche options.
Bumble BFF works just like a dating app. Upload photos that reflect your interests. Fill in your bio. Then start swiping to find your right match.
3. Meet new people while learning Dutch
If you’re new to the city and the Dutch language, you’ll likely want to try a Dutch language class. This is also a great way to meet new people who are in a similar situation to you.
You’ll find multiple options for more classic or more fun and social ways to learn Dutch in Rotterdam. There are your typical group language classes, free Taalcafé (language cafés) in your local library, or even a Walking and Talking club to help you practise your speaking skills while exploring the city.
4. Become a member of a Rotterdam sports team
Another way to make new friends is to join a sports team, club or studio. With so many expats around, many teams in Rotterdam offer trainings in English or will happily switch for you if your Dutch isn’t there yet.
They’ll also often put on additional social activities and events outside of the standard trainings for members to get to know each other better.
Here are just some ideas of teams and clubs to try:
Mixed netball team for all experience levels, mostly made up of expats.
A mixed (coed) cheerleading team that’s always looking for new joiners, whether you have tons of experience or just want to try it for the first time!
One membership to access multiple fitness classes and workout locations. Use it to check out what the atmosphere and people are like in different places before committing.
A boxing club for men and women, from beginners to advanced boxers, with top trainers.
A welcoming studio that offers pole, aerial hoop, aerial hammock, stretching and more classes, from complete beginners to advanced.
Salsa classes led by fun instructors. You can join with a partner or come on your own.
With a quick Google or Facebook search you can find many more sporting and creative activities in Rotterdam, from Sunday league football to painting classes by the river.
5. Meet new people at work
Work is a classic way to meet new people. There are many international companies based in or within easy access of Rotterdam. These not only tend to use English as the company’s main language, but also hire many other people from overseas. Personally, I’ve had most success finding new jobs in the Netherlands via LinkedIn.
Or if you’re freelancing or working for yourself, make sure to try out a co-working space to mix with new people.
6. Get out there!
If you’re a spontaneous kind of person, you can also just get out there and chat to people along the way. I find that locals as well as expats are pretty open to starting conversations with new people in relaxed settings such as bars and festivals.
You might end up making new friends, or hearing about fun new Rotterdam clubs and activities you could join.
Got another tip for meeting new people in Rotterdam? Let us know in the comments below so we – and our readers – can try it too.