Unique to Het Park in Rotterdam is the Space Needle-like structure, the Euromast, which gives its viewers a perfect panoramic view of the city. From its 185 meters high vantage point you can see all important sights of Rotterdam, such as the Markthal or the Erasmus Bridge, and even have a gaze at neighboring cities Delft and The Hague in the distance.
How did you initially decide upon the Netherlands and Rotterdam?
“I was finishing my high school diploma at Dusseldorf in an international school, and I knew I wanted to study in English. Holland was quite close so I decided to apply initially to RSM. The reason I chose Holland and particularly Rotterdam, is because I heard great things about the city and I had also the opportunity to visit the city. I really like that Rotterdam doesn’t have the traditional Dutch city feeling and has a quite a young vibe to it. Young in the sense that there are many students, there are student events, there are a lot of start-ups, and during the evening a lot of young people are walking around the street.
“The architecture itself is quite recent. It’s not the traditional old Dutch architecture that you can see inthe other cities– I’m pretty sure Rotterdam is the only city with a tower like this one for example. The university was also an important factor. The UK has good universities, but it is quite expensive, so Holland was a really good alternative.”
In regards to the language, did you ever feel it was an issue?
“Since I speak German and English it is quite easy for me to understand Dutch, and sometimes I try to speak some Dutch with the locals. Language is really not an issue; everyone speaks English – from the older generations to the younger children.”
Was it easy to make Dutch friends?
“Well, to be honest I don’t really have many Dutch friends. I can’t say that I am fully integrated to the country, but I do feel Dutch people are friendly. My impression initially was that they were too direct. At the beginning it bothered me– No! Actually thinking about it, at the beginning I was not aware that people here are so direct, but over time I got used to it. At some point I also became quite direct with people.
Dutch people often keep their Dutch circles, and I didn’t really meet Dutch people in my studies for that reason. I think it’s normal since people simply gravitate towards the people they feel more comfortable with. During the start, I initially spoke with people from my own nationality or other international students.”
What do you do for fun in Rotterdam?
“When it comes to fun I really like to spend time with my friends going out to the park or for drinks. Night life in Rotterdam is good, but limited compared to cities like Amsterdam which offer more variety. Amsterdam is just more chaotic– it can be a Monday night in Amsterdam, and the streets are still full with people.
During summer there are a lot of music festivals in the Netherlands which I do enjoy a lot. I recently went to Lentekabinet festival located in a small forest. There is a lot of music to discover in the Netherlands and in almost every genre.”
What do you particularly like about the city and the Netherlands?
“What I like the most from Rotterdam is that it is still quite a big city, but it doesn’t feel that big. It is really easy to get around the city, and even to travel to other cities such as The Hague or Amsterdam. With the train you can be in any city within an hour time which makes it easy to travel during the weekends. I really like going to Utrecht. The city looks pretty old with its architecture, and there are really nice places where you can sit next to the canals.
“I also like going to this place called Giethoorn, which is really cute. The place looks like it came straight out of a Snow White fairytale.”
How about the food here?
“I’m not the biggest fan of the Dutch food. I don’t even like the fried snacks– they are so basic. Actually, I would call it ‘efficient’ in the sense that the usual Dutch sandwiches and dips are very portable, and other things like ‘bitterballen’ are made from leftover meat. There are a few other good places in Rotterdam for dishes like ramen, but in general I think the city has to improve on that aspect.”
Upon descending the Euromast, Anabel reveals that she is quite content with the culmination of her studies – she just finished her three-year bachelor and is about to start her masters in September. “I’m staying in Rotterdam for another year for my masters in Marketing at RSM. Overall I’m happy that I’m staying another year in the city, I never really get bored of the Netherlands and Rotterdam. After my masters I will see where I decide to go.”