Local media organizations on the ground have reported that at least 20 people have been arrested so far.
Dutch police confirmed that several people were injured, but did not say whether they fired live ammunition or rubber bullets.
Authorities were forced to close the city’s main railway station as rioters set fires and set off fireworks during the violent demonstration.
Disturbing images on social media show at least one police car set on fire and others smashed.
The violent clashes come as the government has made clear its intention to enact a law allowing companies to restrict the country’s coronavirus passage system to people who have been fully vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19 only.
Local political party Levbar Rotterdam condemned the violence in a tweet.
“The center of our beautiful city this evening has turned into a war zone,” she said. “Rotterdam is a city where you can disagree with the things that happen but violence is never, never, the solution.”
The government has said it wants to enact a law allowing businesses to restrict the country’s coronavirus passage system to only people who have been fully vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19.
The corridor, which gives access to indoor public spaces, is now available to people who have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 or tested negative for the virus. Under a proposal put forward by interim Prime Minister Mark Rutte, those who have received a negative result will no longer be able to obtain a permit.
The country has seen record numbers of infections in recent days and a new partial lockdown came into effect a week ago.
In January, riots erupted in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities after the government announced a curfew in an attempt to curb coronavirus infections.
Earlier on Friday, the government banned fireworks on December 31 for the second year in a row. On Friday, the government said the ban was intended to “prevent as much additional pressure as possible on healthcare, law enforcement and first responders”.