If you had the chance to come to The Netherlands or talk to people who live in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, you already know there is a kind of competition between this two cities. But how different are they? Which one is better?
Let's start to say that the cities are both located in the area called Holland, of The Nerherlands, Rotterdam in the South Holland and Amsterdam in the North Holland Region.
I believe they are both beautiful even if in a different way, probably Rotterdam is more unique because of its story that made it as the centr of modernism in the country. Rotterdam, or Roffa, as Dutches call it, was bombarded during the II World War and its center was totally destroyed and rebuilt again in a more actual way... from that moment on it became the city of architecture and it is enough to have a short walk in some areas to realise it. One example is the Cubic Houses. Instead Amsterdam keeps a more typical and traditional architecture, with the classic houses built with bricks in front of the canals.
Out of my experience, Rotterdam is less chaotic and better organized, it is enough to think about traffic jam and the proper paths for bikes. If Rotterdam leaves you speachless because of its unicity, order, weird buildings, Amsterdam achieves the same effect with its romanticism, the canals all around and autenticity.
Talking about expat life, I would say I don't know anybody complaining about living here or there, but for sure, if you get to live in one of these two cities, you'll never move to the other. It is possible to find expats communities. Inclusion and culture blend is granted everywhere. It might change the reason why people decide for one or the other. Rotterdam is full of students from Erasmus MC (so not only very young but variety of age and background) and TUI Delft (architecture university).
Amsterdam is certaintly more visited by tourists throughout the year and still a bit more international. What do I mean by that? If you are looking for a job position a bit higher than a common one, and you don't speak Dutch, you have more chances in Amsterdam than in Rotterdam - not only because it is the capital and got more multinational companies, but also because English is enough also for internal communication and there are more job opportunities in Sales and Marketing. Even if you want to work in a restaurant and you don't know yet the local language you get a lot more chances in the capital as people are more used to it, as said it is definitely more touristic all year long and expats came first there than in anywhere else. Rotterdam still provides some possibilities for non Dutch speakers, but there are still a lot of companies using Dutch as internal language and this is because they are Dutch companies that are growing and started some business worldwide. This doesn't mean that there are not international companies in Rotterdam, I am just considering the whole scenario. Other opportunities for non Dutch speakers are in start-ups and those are very easy to find in all the main cities of the country.
Fun facts 1: Rotterdam is the city with the most high level of English language in The Netherlands. You probably don't expect so after reading the info just provided. Guess why? It is because of the great amount of masters, PHD, etc... and the importance of its universities, at least, in Europe. Untill not too long time ago, expats in Rotterdam were almost only high level students who needed to study here to get the chance to have a good career and their level of English needed to be the top.
Fun facts 2: In Rotterdam the Red Light Ditrict doesn't exist.
Last differce but not least, pricing for the apartments! Recently things changed a lot and even if Amsterdam remains more expensive also Rotterdam saw a huge increase in prices, both for renting and buying. In Amsterdam for a good apartment to rent you need around 1400/1500 € per month, in Rotterdam 1300€. While for buying both cities are around 4000€ per square meter.
Personally I have chosen Rotterdam because I have left my heart here since the first time I came, at the same time I love to have a walk in the crazy Amsterdam sometimes. If you are wondering to move to The Netherlands and are not sure about which city you would like to go, just come here, have a walk in both, spend a weekend in each of them and follow your heart... at the end of the day, it is all about love.