Rotterdam, hotbed and launching platform for ambitious talents

Rotterdam is traditionally known as a city of workers. Rolled up sleeves, getting things done, no nonsense, these things come to mind. But modern Rotterdam is also very much a city that is attracting more and more international talents, who come here for high quality education and exciting career opportunities in key industries. Rotterdam is fast evolving into an international talent hub, with high value for incoming businesses, international congresses and exhibitions.

If you take a stroll through Rotterdam’s city centre in late August or early September, chances are that you will encounter groups of international students chatting away in English, with all kinds of different accents. This is the time when the universities organise their introduction programmes and new international students from all over the world come to Rotterdam to get to know their new home town. This is always a busy time in Rotterdam, and with numbers of international students growing, it really feels like we are in a student city.

Special facilities and programs

In close collaboration with schools, universities and business industries, this has led to various special facilities and programmes. A prime example is RDM Campus, where Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Techniek College Rotterdam and STC Group join forces with local companies. Located at a former dry dock area at the South bank of the river Maas and in the middle of the Rotterdam Makers District, RDM Campus brings together education and business and offers technological education, for a large part aimed at the maritime industry. RDM Campus boasts state of the art facilities, labs and machinery and students get the opportunity to actually work on business and industry challenges.

Another good example is IT Campus Rotterdam, a networking organisation that aims to increase IT and digital skills across the city, making its people and the city itself more resilient. This programme is not only targeting young students, but also the adult populace. Like the city of Rotterdam, IT Campus embraces innovation and experiment and participates in field labs, research and pilots that contribute to sustainable economic growth. Its portfolio includes special programmes like Next Maritime Professional, Next Healthcare Professional, Next Education Professional and Digitalisation of SME’s, making a direct connection with the future of Rotterdam’s key industries.

And then there is the exciting development of the Erasmus MC Campus, which will expand in the coming years. A close collaboration of governments, institutes and the business community and spearheaded by Erasmus MC, the City of Rotterdam and Delft University of Technology, the new campus will be a place where healthcare, technology, business and education come together. The ecosystem will include state-of-the-art co-facilities and optimal test sites, allowing residents to collaborate and put AI and health tech innovations into practice, while the medical center benefits from the latest technological developments. The campus will also provide space to support the process of convergence with TU Delft and Erasmus University.

Exciting career opportunities

Rotterdam is actively promoting its career opportunities for talents who are nearing the end of their academic years in other ways also. The special municipal program Up!Rotterdam helps startups and scale-up companies access international markets, funding and talent. Through campaigns and events (such as Upstream Festival) talents are challenged to ‘hack their career’ and consider a position at a start-up or scale-up company. This all fits in perfectly with how Rotterdam is evolving as a frontrunner city of pioneering people, entrepreneurs, organisations, congresses and events, leading the way to finding solutions to important global challenges such as the digital transition and the energy transition.

The recently launched Job Board Greater Rotterdam – The Hague Area makes it easy for international talents to find the right jobs, offering mainly English vacancies at innovative companies in the Rotterdam – The Hague urban region, ranging from start-up and scaleup companies to SME’s, multinationals and governmental institutes.

Great place to study and live

Besides the high quality education and the exciting career options, there are other factors why Rotterdam is attracting more and more international students (and companies). Rotterdam is simply a great place to live. With over 170 nationalities and cultures living together, Rotterdam is a very international, diverse and inclusive city. Its people share a DNA of being hands-on, embracing experiments and moving forward together, eyes on sustainability and innovation. The city itself is a vibrant mix of innovative architecture, lively festivals and challenging art and culture. It is also a city that combines bold statements about architecture, urban development and design with radical grass-roots projects.

It’s hard to capture the full flavour of Rotterdam in just words. If we try, we would say that it is a city of frontrunners, pioneers and people with the courage and will to drive change. As such, it is always on the move, always evolving, even while you read this. Rotterdam is a city that you have to explore and experience for yourself. Bold, lively, diverse, open to everyone and constantly reinventing itself.

Add to that the perfect location as the Gateway to Europe, well connected to other urban hubs in the Netherlands and in Europe via all transport modes, the fact that it is a spacious and safe city to travel in and you understand Rotterdam’s growing appeal as breeding ground and launching platform for international talents.


1 Dutch information:
Header photo: Michelle Muus
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