Frequently Asked Questions

Find everything you want to know about NIHES

Before Arrival

How can I travel to Rotterdam?

Rotterdam can be accessed in many different ways: by plane, boat, car or public transport. There are regular flights to Rotterdam Airport from all major cities in the neighbouring countries, and the city itself has an extensive network of buses, trams and metro.

By plane

Nearby airports in the Netherlands are Rotterdam The Hague (14 km), Amsterdam Schiphol (66 km), Eindhoven (110 km) and Maastricht (200 km). Other international airports close to Rotterdam are Antwerp and Brussels, and even Dusseldorf and Paris can be reached relatively easily.

The International Office Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) organises a free pick-up service from Schiphol Airport at the beginning of every semester.

By car

Rotterdam is easy to access by car from Germany via the A15 or A16 and from Belgium via the A16.

Information about any traffic jams, roadworks or other traffic hold-ups can be found at TomTom. Visit Karzoo for carpool possibilities.

By bus

Rotterdam has a bus terminal, near the central train station. Eurolines coaches connect Rotterdam with over 500 towns and major cities across Europe and Morocco.

By boat

Rotterdam is very easy to reach by boat from England. Once you’re at Hook of Holland (Hoek van Holland), Rotterdam city centre is only half an hour away. You can book a crossing via P&O North Sea Ferries or Stena Line.

By train

You can reach Rotterdam by train from many directions, including Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the UK. We have listed a couple of options below.

TGV and Thalys

The five main TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, the French high-speed train) routes provide fast travel to Rotterdam from all corners of France. For timetables and more information, go to or visit


ICE International is the high-speed train that travels daily from Germany and Switzerland to the Netherlands. For timetables and more information, go to


The Eurostar is the ultimate high-speed train with daily services to Londen, Ebbsfleet and Lille to Brussels South. From Brussels The Channel “crossing” only takes 21 minutes, and from the Channel Tunnel to Brussels, the Eurostart can travel up to 300 km/h. For timetables and more information, go to

Where can I find information about housing in Rotterdam?

You can find more information here.

What are the immigration procedures?

Depending on your nationality and the length of your stay, you will either need a short stay visa, an entry visa, a residence permit or a Working Holiday Programma (WHP) permit.
You can find more information about the different types of permits here. We have also added information for students who already have a Dutch residence permit and want to change or extend it.

After Arrival

How can I get a Dutch SIM card?

The SIM card provider Lebara has cheap rates for calling other people with a Lebara SIM card. The SIM card is provided for free from street vendors in the city center.

If you would like to buy a mobile phone or get a SIM card from a different provider, you can go to one of the other providers’ shops in Rotterdam city centre. The best-known Dutch providers are KPN, Vodafone, T-mobile, Telfort, Ben and Tele2.

What are the transportation options in the Netherlands?

Rotterdam can be reached in many ways and has an extensive network of public transportation. Public transport in Rotterdam is well organised: the trams, buses and metro are scheduled to link perfectly. Boats are also a convenient means of transport in and around this city on the water. You can also take the bike or a taxi to get around in Rotterdam.

The RET is the Rotterdam transport company and to travel with RET metros, trams and buses you need a OV chip card.

Public transport

The Rotterdam Transportation Authority (Dutch: Rotterdamse Electrische Tramwegmaatschappij, RET) provides mass transit services in the greater Rotterdam area by tram, bus and metro. To travel, you need a public transport chipcard (Dutch: Openbaar Vervoer chipkaart, OV-chipkaart). Personalised, anonymous, and/or disposable cards can be purchased online, from RET ticket offices and from RET ticket machines at metro stations. A card costs €7.50 and you always need credit on it to be able to use the card.

At the RET-website you can find a map with an overview of all the metro lines.

If you would like to plan your journey, you could do so using the 9292OV-website.


Dutch rail services are widespread across the country, in most cases provided by Dutch Railways (Dutch: Nederlandse Spoorwegen, NS). Paper train tickets can still be bought directly from ticket machines at the stations, but the OV-chipcard can also be used.

If you plan on travelling by train a lot, it might be a good idea to buy the off-peak discount pass. For €55 a year and the price of a passport photo, you get a 40% discount on all off-peak train journeys (i.e. after 9:00 on weekdays and at any time in the weekend). If you have an off-peak discount pass, you can also use it as an OV-chipcard.

Go to the NS website, click on ‘Arrange and buy’ and then on ‘The off-peak discount pass’ for more information.

Please note that the NS are planning on introducing new discount passes. You will find information on these passes on the same place on their website.


Do you want to get around quickly, easily and cheaply? Then we recommend to buy a bicycle (Dutch: fiets) upon arrival in the Netherlands! It is practical and also allows you to experience something typically Dutch.

Bicycle lessons
At the beginning of each semester, bicycle lessons are organised for new international students (if the weather permits). You can sign up for these lessons on this page. During these lessons, professional instructors will teach you the basics of cycling and Dutch traffic rules.

Bicycle (repair) shops
A second-hand bicycle in reasonable shape will cost you approximately € 150. Second-hand bicycles can be bought at most bicycle shops and at the bicycle shelter at Central Station (see the overview of bicycle shops in Rotterdam for more options). We strongly advise against buying a cheap bicycle on the street as these bikes are usually stolen. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! See these ‘Instructions for purchasing a bike’ for more advice on what to look out for when you buy a bicycle.

On the EUR campus at Woudestein, there is a shop located on Institutenlaan, next to the ESE’s PC labs in Tinbergen building (H). For the time being, the opening hours are Mondays to Fridays, 8.00 hrs – 17:00 hrs. You can contact them directly via or (010) 40 88550.

At Erasmus MC, there is a bicycle repair shop in the basement of the He-building, open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


With such a good public transport infrastructure in the city, we advise you not to bring your car to Rotterdam, where a parking permit is very expensive. However, you might sometimes need or want to hire a car. With StudentCar, you can rent a car by the hour and pick up the car from Woudestein campus.

For traffic rules in the Netherlands, see the brochure of the Dutch government.

Anyone who wishes to drive a car in the Netherlands must be 18 years or older and must have a valid driving licence.

If you are staying in the Netherlands for a maximum of 3 months and you are not registered at any municipality in the Netherlands, your current driving license is valid.
If you stay longer than 3 months and you are registered at a Dutch municipality, your foreign driving license is only valid for 6 months. After 6 months you either have to exchange your foreign driving license for a Dutch driving license or take a new test for a Dutch driving license.

EU/EEA citizens and citizens from Taiwan, Israel, Japan, the States of Jersey (UK), the Isle of Mann (UK), Switzerland, Monaco and Singapore can exchange their driving license. Others have to apply for a Dutch driving license by taking a Versneld Bijzonder Examen (VBE) (i.e. Driving Test with Priority). Consult the Yellow Pages for a good driving school.

Please bear in mind that obtaining a Dutch driving license can take a few months. For further information, please check the following website: (only in Dutch). You can also download the Fact Sheet Driving Test with Priority (PDF).

How does the health care system work in the Netherlands?

For more information regarding the health system in The Netherlands please click here.

Facilities and Services

Can I follow language courses?

Language and Training Center offers various opportunities for various language courses and tests. More information can be found here.

Is there a medical library at NIHES?

The Medical Library is located in the Education Center of Erasmus MC, building Eg on the 2nd floor.

The opening hours are:
Monday  08:00 – 22:00
Tuesday  08:00 – 22:00
Wednesday 08:00 – 22:00
Thursday 08:00 – 22:00
Friday  08:00 – 22:00
Saturday 09:00 – 17:00
Sunday  Closed

The opening hours are different during the holidays.

Does NIHES provide sport facilities for students?

Erasmus Sport Center situated on the EUR campus Woudestein offers multiple opportunities to the students. Please check their website for more information.


How can I open a bank account?

If you’d like to open a Dutch bank account while you’re studying at Erasmus University Rotterdam, you can do so at several banks. The three most well-known banks are ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank. Below you can find information about each bank. For more information about the banks, please click on the links in the left column.

CostNecessary DocumentsAccount ActivationBank Card
ABN AMRO€3.35 per month
  • Valid passport or ID
  • Proof of enrolment from EUR
  • Proof of residence (e.g. rental contract)
  • BSN-number (if available)
Immediately3-4 working days
  • Valid passport or ID
  • Proof of enrollment from EUR
  • BSN-number
Immediately5 working days
ING €4,10 every 3 months
  • Valid passport or ID
  • Proof of enrolment from EUR
  • Proof of residence (e.g. rental contract)
  • Dutch phone number
  • BSN-number (if available)
ImmediatelyWith BSN: immediately

Without BSN: within a week

Can I pay the tuition fee in cash?

We do not accept cash payments.

If you have any other questions, please send an e-mail to