Travelling to and within Rotterdam is possible with the usual modes of transport: car, train, airplane to Schiphol International Airport or Rotterdam-The Hague Airport (which mostly has a few flights from London and Paris, not transcontinental flights). Within the city there are trams and metros to take you around.
If you booked a hotel for the conference, most will have a parking garage or some sort of valet service. Parking on the street is possible but expensive and the machines may not accept credit cards or foreign bank cards; paying with cash is not possible.
If you want to come by car on the day itself, take note that the library is one of the most central locations in the city; parking spaces are limited in the centre and also will cost you an arm and a leg. In addition on Saturday the big square in front of the library is used for the weekly market, so traffic is hectic. One of the better options is to use the special P+R parking spaces at the edge of the city. Both P+R "Kralingse Zoom" and "Capelse Brug" are located directly next to the metro. Take any of the metro lines A, B or C in westerly direction and exit at station Blaak; you will be 100 meters away from the library. You can buy a public transport ticket with your credit card at Kralingse Zoom or Capelse Brug.
There are parking garages nearby, but they are also expensive and very busy on both Saturday and Sunday.
Rotterdam is well connected by train to both Schiphol airport and Belgium (Antwerp and Brussels) and the rest of the Netherlands of course.
There is an hourly international train service that runs between Brussels and Amsterdam; it stops at Rotterdam Central Station. From there you can take a tram (see "Getting around in Rotterdam" below) or, if the wheather is nice and you're up for it, walk to the library or one of the hotels nearby (about 15 minutes walk). Or you can take a train to Rotterdam Blaak from Rotterdam Central station.
Travellers from Germany should take ICE Frankfurt - Amsterdam or IC Berlin - Amsterdam. If you use the Frankfurt ICE service you will have to change trains in Utrecht. For the IC Berlin change trains at Amersfoort. From both station direct intercity trains go to Rotterdam Central station.
If you happen to cross the border at Venlo you need to change trains two times: at Eindhoven and Breda.
By airplane to Schiphol international airport
Here is where it gets a bit tricky. Schiphol airport itself has a train station directly below it, that's the easy part. You need to pay close attention to the following:
In addition to the regular blue and yellow trains there are two train services stopping at Schiphol Airport that require additional fees or special tickets: Intercity Direct and Thalys. Intercity Direct is a national high-speed service between Amsterdam and Breda that also stops as Rotterdam Central; however it requires and additional ticket and if you board the train without it, it will cost you € 10,00. Thalys is the international high-speed service between Amsterdam and Paris and requires a special ticket which is quite expensive.
Our advice is not to use the Intercity Direct trains (identifiable by the stickers on the door) or Thalys but only the regular services. It takes just 15 minutes longer and is slightly more reliable than the Intercity Direct. The regular service stops as Leiden, The Hague and Delft.
Tickets can be bought at a service desk; the desk is open 24/7 at Schiphol. Tickets can also be bought at a vending machine but not all machines at the terminal accept credit cards. In all cases, there is an surcharge of €1,00 per ticket on top of the fare; you pay €0,50 extra with a credit card. Also your creditcard needs to have an EMV chip.
If you want to buy your ticket in advance, the cheapest and easiest solution is to buy an e-ticket via the Belgium Railway company NMBS tickets. You will receive a PDF by email that you need to print. It contains a QR code that must be scanned at a gate to open (see this picture or this movie for more details).
Getting around in Rotterdam
Rotterdam has both trams and metro public transport networks; see the website of the RET. The closest tram / metro stop for the conference is in all cases Blaak (the tram stop is above ground, the metro obviously below). From Rotterdam Central Station, both lines 21 and 24 stop at Blaak (direction "De Esch").
Metro lines A, B, and C stop at Blaak, but none of these stop at Central Station. Metro lines D and E do stop at Rotterdam Central and cross A, B and C at station Beurs; this is one stop away from Blaak so from Beurs you can either walk the last 500 meters or change metro to travel one stop to Blaak.
Public transport in the Netherlands: the 'OV chipcard'
You can travel with public transport in Rotterdam with the RET company in two ways:
- Buy a so called anonymous OV chipcard for € 7.50; you also need put a deposit on the card in order to travel. Note that you can not get this deposit back easily!
- Or buy seperate tickets from the RET but they are more expensive per trip.
The RET ticket machines accept creditcards.