Our pub and students’ house expert, Eric Oosterom, visited the best of these two respective worlds to find the top four students’ house roof terraces in Rotterdam. He spoke to the occupants, and has listed the key pros and cons. Intrigued? Our tip: just ring their doorbell.

Kerk 1
Sophia (20), Luciënne (20), Carolijn (19), Iris (21), Yordi (19), Esmee (18)

Once upon a time a rumour abounded there was a Jacuzzi on the roof terrace (fourth floor, 323 square feet) of the De Kerk residential building. It was started by Carolijn (19). ‘’I held out for six months. It was a joke, really.’’ Meanwhile, not one of her housemates has ever been able to take a bath on the roof terrace on the Goudse Rijweg. Although endeavours have been made. By Carolijn too. “I just couldn’t get water up there.’’ A bath would be a squeeze: the terrace is pretty packed as it is, what with an old picnic table and some garden chairs.

On nice days the girls study here. Iris (21): ‘’You meet new people. I got chatting to someone who turned out to be a fellow student. We were reading the same book.’’ The vista is under construction. The church spire is currently being restored. It dominates the panorama; in the distance a little of the Rotterdam skyline can be seen. Nearer to home there are balconies and a playpark. But that doesn’t matter when the neighbour’s a mixologist. Iris: ‘’He gave a welcoming party for us on the roof. With cocktails. The terrace is the perfect spot for it.’’


Scheepmakershaven 3
Ramon (20), Sjoerd (23), Marieke (21), Leonoor (18), Job (20)

Skadiii! Vooo! Leonoor (18) – a member – hangs right over the fifth floor railing when she spots a rowing boat go past full of older people. She yells: ‘’Skadi are the champions!’’ Along with her housemates, she’s standing on top of the Scheepmakershaven residential complex. It’s blowing a gale. Leonoor: “That’s the problem: it’s either blowing a gale or not at all. Without any wind you sweat like mad.”

To these five the roof is their ‘second lounge’, adorned with two oil drums full of bamboo, broken Christmas string lights and two picnic tables. It’s a private terrace; even those ‘irritating RSGs’ (Rotterdam Student Society members) from the flat don’t usually use this spot. Leonoor holds her ‘escalation BBQs’ here; parties that are highly popular. One time someone lobbed their empty beer bottle to the ground. The glass ended up on a houseboat. Job (20): “the boy went down to the boat himself to say the culprit had already been sent packing.” Meanwhile, the two towers that largely dominate their view continue to amaze Ramon (20): the glistening De Maas and the austere EY building. “You can see where the people work: in De Maas the lights never stay on after six, whereas in the EY building you’ll sometimes see people working until three in the morning. I see it all.”

Hoge Wiek

Hoge Wiek 1

‘’Are you in New York?’’ Christiaan’s (23) gran thought her grandson was in the United States when he recently posted a photo on Facebook of his view. But that’s not so daft as it sounds. The roof terrace – on the sixteenth floor – of the Hoge Wiek along the Oostmolenwerf gives the visitor a terrific outlook over the Rotterdam skyline. Everything is in view: from the Willemsbrug to the highest apex of the Euromast. “Another nice titbit”, adds Wouter (20), pointing as he speaks to the Willemswerf building: ‘’Jacky Chan did a trick there once.’’ The terrace snakes round the building. On the side overlooking the Erasmus bridge a platform with artificial grass was recently installed. Those who wish to can lie on this gift from the housing committee. Suspended above it are two heaters. Christiaan: ‘’I once sat here in the snow.’’

One floor below, students can take fridges, BBQs and extension leads from the storeroom. But that doesn’t mean that it’s only party-time in summer-time. New Year’s Eve is often celebrated up here, with a DJ and a saxophonist. Milo (23): “And the fireworks are fantastic to watch from here. Without any mist, at any rate. Otherwise you don’t see a thing.” And oh, the romance of a roof terrace up in the clouds. Christiaan: ‘’If you play your cards right you get to sit up here all alone with your girlfriend, knocking back a bottle of wine together. No-one to see you.” He grins.

Cube house

Kubus 3

It’s cramped, dangerous and the likelihood of a leak is high. But Ivar (20, who managed to persuade the estate agent to throw their lot in with him after 56 letters) loves the little terrace on top of ‘his’ cube house down to his bones. High up above the Blaak, with views across the other cubes. However, there’s not much room to sit. And then there’s the neighbour hanging out of the window again. Asking if Ivar wants another leak to happen. It’s all a question of fitting and measuring. As more than one table and two chairs won’t actually squeeze in.

Despite this he loves coming to this intimate spot that’s situated one flight of stairs below the uppermost bedroom and its 22 windows. “If we want to know what the weather’s doing, we go there.” Or in the winter months, when the three students residing in the cube want to catch some rare rays. Guests always have to come and take a peek too. It remains an experience, after all, a cube house such as this where you can cook right above the Blaak.

The BBQ-ing – that they do together with the same neighbour – takes place under the front door where there’s a small covered terrace. Masses of space compared to the roof terrace. What’s more: from here the students can look out over the hordes of tourists who come to take a look every day. Sometimes they put on some loud music and exhort them to dance. Ivar saw two Asian women standing for a snapshot just metres from his front door. ‘’Their faces were a picture when I closed the door behind me, and I heard them say: oh, look, he lives in a cube house!’’