It's been a month since I moved to Rotterdam, the windy city. So, I replaced my bike with an OV chip card and I usually take a bus or a tram wherever I go. This traffic opportunity, in return, creates a lot of noise in the city.
Research in environmental psychology showed that noise makes people angry. Rotterdam folks prove this finding. So, I also replaced my Maastricht "oj/ojoj" greeting combo with silence, as these guys are not into saying hellos. Another thing they are "not into" is collecting dog sh*it. Rotterdam has a plenty off-leash green areas for dogs, but stepping in sh*t every single day ruins the enjoyment. Although the city is full of yoga studios, bending over when it counts is not their thing.
When it comes to uni, they have the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). It takes the name after Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, who was the "first European", had barely touched the ground of Rotterdam, and wrote a ton of stuff against Jewish and Islamic people. The latter, as the EUR lecturer noted, "is open to interpretation".
The campus is huge, providing much more variety than Randwyck. Here, you can find a restaurant, Starbucks, supermarket, hairdresser, and even a Trump supporter. There are designated smoking spots, all set in the open and windy parts, which was probably intentional so as to ease the transition to the new non-smoking campus law coming in August.
My office is on the 13th floor. Mostly permanent psychology staff is here. In academic slang that means that almost everyone around me is a parent or a parent-to-be (nothing screams "birth control" louder than a temporary contract). Most people are less social than UM folks, or less willing to be social in English. I can't really blame them as my Dutch is so bad that I still haven't heard any difference in their "g". Alike the city people, EUR students and staff are well dressed and put effort in their appearances, but not as much into smiling - it must be the noise.
Irena Boskovic, PhD
Erasmus University Rotterdam