The Clipper Hostel - don't go there
We booked this hostel on line - I did try by phone initially but the guy said they only take internet bookings. So we paid our deposit and turned up after a long walk across the city in the rain only to find when we got there a virtually derelict boat totally unlike the pictures! - ok I know everywhere looks better in the sunshine and we were there on the worst day of the year weatherwise - but it really was awful - we knocked on the door several times but no answer - just a dog barking on the other side. I could see through the windows unemptied ashtrays and unmade bunks and I really found it difficult to believe that this boat could actually be described as *accommodation* even if it was cheap. We decided there and then that we would find an alternative - even if it did mean another 2.5 hours wandering around in the rain! I am still awaiting a reply to my email regarding a refund of my deposit!
Believe me - this hostel looks NOTHING like this photo - which is how it appears on the many Rotterdam hostel pages.
Scheepmakershaven, Across Number 26, Rotterdam. This is the address - but even if you find it, and have made a booking and paid a deposit - theres no guarantee you will get a bed!
50c for the Loo!
The little cafe we stopped to have coffee in had a unisex loo - just put your 50c in the slot and in you go - if you are lucky - otherwise go to the girl behind the counter and tell her the door doesn't open and she will hopefully give you another coin. I saw this happen to most of the customers using the loo here!
Watch your step
When I visited Rotterdam in July 2006, I walked at the Leuvehoofd near the Rotterdam City Beach and Erasmus Bridge. And I was making lots of pictures of course. I went down the steps to have a better look at the bridge and a close look at the memorial for the died crew members of the Merchant Shipping Service during the world war II.
I went down carefully, but then suddenly something happened at the last step. Either it was slippery or I didn´t notice it properly. Suddenly I slipped away and fell down in front of the ´monument voor de gevallenen´(monument for the fallen people). Coincidence of not ?
When I lifted my head it was bleeding heavily. My hands, hair, shirt, jeans, bag .... everywhere I saw blood while I didn´t realise exactly where it was coming from. The people of the Rotterdam City Beach brought towels and called the ambulance. Luckily they could help me at the spot, fixing my left eyebrow.
After cleaning my hair, head and clothes in the bathroom at the Rotterdam City Beach and having a free cup of coffee (thanks folks, for your help and support !) we continue our day with a relaxed Spido boattrip instead of a planned long city walk... though I needed packets of tissues to absorb the still dripping blood for the next hours.
And what did I learn from this rather small accident ... welll, not to look at stunning views or taking pictures at the same time I move forward or walk on stairs.
Safe but stay precautious
Rotterdam is quite a safe town compared to large cities in other countries. There are some areas that are less safe in the night like Marconiplein and Spangen. Also parks should better be avoided during nights. Of course if you are at the wrong place in the wrong time you have bad luck, but you can safely walk in the center in the night.
Just be careful: don’t trust someone immediately, if someone stops you claiming he is a policeman ask for his ID, keep your wallet safely (pickpocketing is not uncommon) and don’t put all your eggs in one basket (keep money in several places). If you are unfortunate to be robbed, better to give your wallet with only a few euros.
Dangerous area of Rotterdam
Rotterdam is divided by river into two parts, the south one is said to be dangerous, some shooting, strange people and all that stuff. I was warned not to go there even before I left my country and after my arrival here also many native Dutch people confirmed that information. Nothing to say from my practical experience - I haven't tried to find out if it's true or not :-)
Alcohol and Movies
This isn't really a warning; it's more of a heads-up about a cultural difference that we, as Americans, experienced.
Whenever we travel, we try to go to a cinema, so while we were in Rotterdam, we saw "Murder By Numbers," starring Sandra Bullock. We sat in front of the most annoying, obstreperous young people I've ever encountered in a movie theater. They laughed and talked loudly through the whole film (maybe because they were reading the Dutch subtitles and didn't have to listen), and the guy behind me kept kicking the back of my seat. I hoped that an usher or some theater official would come in and tell them to settle down, but no one did.
As in Belgium, you're allowed to bring in beer and wine, which kept the the loud patrons well-oiled, and every now and then a bottle would go rolling down under the seats. Alcohol is not permitted in American cinemas, so this seemed very strange to us.
We also experienced a Dutch interval, which is weird when you're watching an American film that isn't shot with that in mind. They simply stop the film at a random place, post PAUSE on the screen, and everyone goes outside for 15 minutes to have a smoke and a drink.
Buying a bike from a junkie?
New bike in a shop you can get for 200 euros and it would be probably stolen in two days. That's why many students and also many people buy bikes from junkies (you can get it around 10 - 12 euros). These bikes were stolen already, everyone knows but noone cares, because that's life, your bike would be stolen one day also .
But be careful and don't buy a bike in the centre of the town, because some policemen go there, trying to look like junkies and trying to sell you a bike. If you do that, you will get a nice trip to the jail.
Almost every café/bar/discotheke in the city has it's bouncers.
Warning: some of them are very frustrated BIG guys.
So please be aware of:
1. the dresscodes (most spots no sneakers)
2. Taking your ID
3. And off course, behave! Dutch girls will have security drag you out if they feel bothered :P
Like any other big or expending town or city, Rotterdam have also parking problems. It is highly recommended not to drive into city centre otherwise you could waste plenty of time, looking for parking space. One thing I like that you can pay almost everywhere using your credit card.
Yes this is the amount you pay if you don’t have a valid ticket, whilst using public transport in Rotterdam. There are good links of public transport in Rotterdam and most of the tram and buses are very frequent. Ticket could be bought at the public transport for some extra charge.
Rotterdam is quite safe now
This actually used to be a warning for visitors, that Rotterdam wasn't that safe. This was a couple of years ago and now Rotterdam has become a lot safer. You can pretty much go anywhere in daytime and even at night, most places are safe (although I wouldn't recommend anyone to go wandering around alone at night if you don't know your way around).
But still, here are some tips to make your stay as pleasant as possible: if you see any large groups of people, especially young people at night, don't look them in the eye. There isn't any rule about looking people in the eye, but if you just ignore them, they will probably ignore you. Most groups are harmless, just (grown-up) kids trying to impress each other by shouting 'funny' comments.
If there's a soccer match, try to avoid large groups of drunk supporters. They could get violent, especially when it's late at night and their team has lost. You will know there's a risky match when all the shops have covered their windows. Usually, risky matches are Feijenoord - Ajax, Netherlands - England and Netherlands - Germany.
Try not to look too touristy. Usually you can spot tourists from a mile off because they wear their backpacks in front of them, carry a small bag around their neck or waist with all their money and important documents (which makes it easy for people to know what to steal) and carry a lot of camera equipment around their necks. Just try to look normal and look like you know your way around, even if you don't. Keep your backpack where it's supposed to be and put your camera equipment in a bag when you're not using it.
Don't trust people telling sad stories. It's either a scam or a trick to find out where you keep your money and how much you're carrying. Beware of people around central station asking you for a couple of euro's to take the train. Just tell people with funny stories to go to the police to ask for help and tell them you don't have any money on you. Also don't give money to beggars. Homeless people are reasonably well taken care of here. You can trust people selling the "Straatkrant" or "Straatnieuws" (Street Paper), which is a news paper written by homeless people. They buy the papers for half the price they sell them for and in this way they can rebuild their life - all people who sell the straatkrant have a permit and they're not allowed to do drugs or alcohol.
Not so safe street
Especially when you are a woman, try to avoid Claes de Vrieselaan even at day time (of course, if you are not living there as my poor friend did!)...and DO NOT go there during the night! Another not so safe is Middelland str.
The day we were in Rotterdam the rain was coming down in stair rods (straight and hard!) - combine that with the strong winds and you will soon find that your umbrella is useless! Not exactly the weather to go sight-seeing!
Be carefull...dangerous wrong coke!
Be very carefull when u buy drugs, just buy them in stores not from people on the street.
This week i stayed in Rotterdam overnight because of the Dali exhibition and around 23.00 pm there was a lot of noise coming from the floor below.First a lot of shouting then an awefull sound of someone smashing stuff and breaking glass...
Seems the guy had sniffed coke which had synthetic ingredients in it.
He went totally crazy and smashed the whole hotelroom and he destroyed a beautifull glass cabinet on the first floor as well.
Meanwhile the woman who was with him was running to the recption naked, terrified of him she had left the room without anything..
Glass everywhere on the floor and stairs ...after that he when to the entrance totally naked and went on the street.
The police came and took the man with them and other policemen searched the room and made notes offcourse.
The guy who had nightshift was shaking and so was i, could'nt sleep untill 3 in the morning
so please be very carefull, u might hurt urself and other people!
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I never had any problem in Rotterdam in six months, probably since I spent many time in the student residence or the bar in front of it... ;)
Though it is said to be a dangerous. Two of my friends who studied in Rotterdam too went out for a drink on their second night in Rotterdam, took their car and got followed by two other cars. They freaked out as hell and decided not to take the car anymore.
Since Rotterdam is a big spot for drug traffic, you should be quite careful. Not over careful, just aware that when you go out of the main places it may be not that safe.
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