5 tips for a successful move to Dunkirk
Home Advices to new residents 5 tips for a successful move to Dunkirk

5 tips for a successful move to Dunkirk

demenagement dunkerque

That’s it! You’ve decided to move to a province in the territory of Dunkirk. Excellent choice! Dunkirk is a friendly city and it is brimming with job opportunities. Plus, its range of landscapes boasts unparalleled beauty. What’s more, with its many sports and leisure activities, it’s every bit as good as other cities.

All newcomers can benefit from a vast array of services facilitating their move and integration into the area.

This article gives you all the keys to help kick start your new life in Dunkirk. It provides you with the best tips for your relocation, for finding a home, for various administrative procedures and for making friends…

1. Finding the best neighbourhood to live in

Leaving Paris, Lyon or another major city to live in Dunkirk has many advantages. 

Dunkirk’s neighbourhoods each have their virtues and understanding them will help you choose the best area for your main residence.

  • Dunkirk city centre has a huge variety of housing, from modern apartments to traditional red brick townhouses. The perfect place if you want to go anywhere on foot or get involved in the hustle and bustle of the port area.
  • East of the city centre lies Rosendael, a calm and leafy residential area, much cherished by families. It has many spacious houses with gardens, but also plenty of schools and green spaces.
  • Malo-les-Bains stretches the length of the embankment and it is well known for its range of sports activities, particularly water sports. It is the perfect destination for Dunkirk residents seeking easy and permanent access to the beach. The neighbourhood is known for its elegant, detached homes full of charm. Its inhabitants enjoy the numerous nearby shops and restaurants.
  • South-west of Dunkirk, Petite-Synthe is an extremely popular residential neighbourhood, offering a lot of affordable housing. Neighbourhood life has everything you could need, thanks to its schools, sports and cultural activities, parks and green spaces.
  • Gravelines, a fortified town is located just 15 kilometres west of Dunkirk. It offers a wonderful quality of life with its cobblestone streets, traditional homes and pretty marina.

If you’re looking for a pleasant town near Dunkirk, why not extend your research on houses to the Hauts de Flandre Greater District Council (CCHF). The CCHF has 40 charming towns, which are great places to live. They include:

  • Bergues is another charming, fortified town near the heart of the urban centre. The way of life is peaceful and pleasant, with its belfry, ramparts and typical houses. The town has a dynamic cultural life hosting a number of events throughout the year. It also has nearby shops and quality education up to high school, plus sports facilities, too.
  • Wormhout is a typical Houtland town, in the Dunkirk hinterland. With around 5,000 inhabitants, it has primary schools but also two high schools and a vocational college. It is just twenty kilometres and less than 30 minutes from Dunkirk city centre by road. Wormhout is the ideal place for the newly arrived to stay while they seek out a rural way of life.

Relocation assistance

No matter your personal, professional or family circumstances, the welcome service for new inhabitants of the Dunkirk territory will be able to help you find housing. Aside from that, you should know that several grants are available.

  • A relocation allowance awarded by the CAF (state-funded family benefit body) is a financial aid subject to conditions and you have to have at least 3 children in your care. It is limited to the expenses actually incurred for your move. If you are eligible for this allowance, it will help you to reduce your relocation costs.
  • Job mobility is an option that will help your move to Dunkirk in the case of a change of job. There are three types of job mobility: internal mobility, external mobility and geographic labour mobility. You can contact an HR professional in your company or a career mobility advisor to check out support arrangements.

Action Logement group arrangements

To support your research into rental properties:

  • A list of accessible public housing can be found on the AL’in platform. Don’t hesitate to check if you are eligible for public housing.
  • VISALE: a free security deposit against unpaid rent on the entire lease to reassure owners and make it easier to access housing if you are under the age of 31 (subject to conditions).
  • The Loca-Pass advance enables you to fund your security deposit for free. The amount can reach up to €1,200.
  • The Mobili-jeune subsidy provides up to €100 per month for work experience students under the age of 30 to help them lighten their rent.
  • The MOBILI-PASS subsidy covers:
    • The cost of assistance for a specialist operator of your choice to find a lease.
    • Part of the expenses pertaining to your mobility (e.g., costs for maintenance of two households, agency fees, etc)
  • And for employees who are not eligible for public housing, the intermediary housing listed on the platform In’li is a good alternative. Intermediary housing rent is 15 to 20% lower than the private sector, there are no agency fees and they are close to public transport and employment pools.

To access property or finance works:

  • Finance and Purchase Advice: you can get support and advice right until your project is complete.
  • A Purchase Loan of up to €40,000 that can be paid back over 25 years maximum to help you build or buy a new property (as your main residence) or to buy any public housing.
  • Home works loan of up to €10,000 that can be repaid over 10 years maximum to finance work on your main residence (renovation, adapting it for disabilities, etc.).
  • An extension loan to increase your home’s floor space.

2. Searching for the ideal property

If you prefer, you can easily invest in a brand-new property in the Dunkirk area. There are many property developers in the territory and they are multiplying the number of sites open for reservation:[1]

  • The Maloë project in Dunkirk will soon transform the former skating rink site. It will make way for 98 duplexes and brand-new luxury apartments.
  • The Belle Escale residence, also in Dunkirk, has an enviable location right in the heart of the It is right opposite the marina and the citadel. 43 new apartments are available.
  • The Clos des Remparts in Bergues fits perfectly into the town’s landscape of fortifications and boasts superb architectural continuity. It includes around fifteen apartments, but also 8 detached homes or duplexes.
  • The Marina project in Gravelines aims to reshape the landscape and living environment of the Vauban marina. It includes 214 detached houses and housing units, buildings that will resemble boats and also a senior citizen’s residence and 40% green spaces.
  • Dunkirk is also developing a Marina project with the aim of extending the seaside resort to the Grand Large marina. It will be absolutely heavenly – almost 200 brand-new houses with a sea view, shops, activities and an esplanade fitted out for open air shows and concerts. 

3. Contacting the welcome service

The welcome service is an organisation designed to make the lives of all newcomers in the Dunkirk urban area and its hinterland a lot easier.

Make the most of a clearly designated representative and simplified access to a whole host of useful information: 

  • Administrative paperwork linked to relocation
  • School formalities for children
  • Nursery registration
  • Seeking employment for yourself or your partner
  • Researching internships or work experience
  • Looking for a property
  • Welcome and reception activities organised every month, with a particular focus on exploring the territory.

There are personalised offers you can take advantage of weeks before moving. Ideal when you are running short on time or are too far from Dunkirk.

In fact, the welcome service has an exclusive partnership with several suppliers. This means that newcomers are greeted with paid “welcome packs” including a large range of additional and more advanced services. 

  • If you cannot travel yet, then explore the housing available remotely using the virtual visit via a faithful 3D representation on screen. It’s an excellent way of starting your search for a property even before you arrive and helps to save time. Each virtual visit can be completed with an on-site visit. If the partner does not provide this service, the estate agent can visit the property on your behalf and send you a detailed presentation pack including photos.
  • So that your partner can fully integrate into this new life, the welcome service can also help to find them a job in the region.
  • Assistance with the school registration paperwork is a real helping hand for families. The formalities can indeed be difficult to take on at the same time as you move house. The welcome team provides detailed information on local schools. They can help you to complete the school registration forms, to avoid any interruption to your children’s education.
  • Genuine advice on sports activities is provided. This service helps newcomers to identify the disciplines matching their interests and level. It’s wise to register with local clubs, particularly to help you integrate successfully.
  • The welcome service also helps to organise your move. It provides advice on local moving companies and ensures a practical follow-up on all helpful formalities. Newcomers can therefore focus on settling into their new abode, without wasting time on administrative formalities.

Helpful info – AVF Dunkerque and newcomer services

The French Welcome Association (AVF) is present and particularly active in the Dunkirk area. It puts on integration activities every week and tours to help discover the territory each month.

It‘s ideal if you want to meet people quickly. Don’t hesitate to go straight to the Tour du Leughenaer for information (Place du Minck, 59140 Dunkerque). You can also send an email to avf.dunkerque@gmail.com for more information.

4. Pre-empting the administrative steps to take

You will be able to get support from the welcome service so that none of the essential formalities are overlooked when you arrive in Dunkirk. Some procedures are compulsory, others are optional depending on your personal situation. This includes:

  • Registration in the municipality’s inhabitants register and the issuance of a certificate
  • A public road parking permit for the city of Dunkirk, at special prices depending on the area of residence
  • Registration in the city’s electoral roll
  • Changes to your vehicle registration certificate, to update your address
  • Registration of your pets (dogs, cats…) to guarantee that their health file and vaccinations are kept up to date
  • A membership card to access the different services offered by public libraries and media libraries. It also provides access to other cultural hotspots in the territory of the Greater Dunkirk Urban Council.
  • A municipal business permit if you wish to undertake an economic activity in the Greater Dunkirk Urban Council
  • Registering or updating your contact information for the tax and business administration, for entrepreneurs and self-employed workers.

5. Registering for group or discovery activities

For better adaptation to your new way of life and to meet new people, participate in group activities. There is a diverse range of things on offer in Dunkirk and its surrounding area.

  • The Dunkirk tourist office website has a jam packed schedule of cultural and festive events happening in the territory. The perfect occasion to explore the renowned resources and friendliness of the territory. *
  • The French Welcome Association (AVF) organises its own tours to explore the city. It hosts events to welcome newcomers.
  • The fabric of community life is very dense in Dunkirk and gives you the chance to share almost any passion with others. For example, graphic arts, dancing and shows, school civic clubs, parent-student associations, martial arts, fishing, pigeon racing, associations for the retired…
  • Sports clubs and multi-sports associations complete the offer, providing a wide variety of disciplines. You can play football, rugby, tennis, table tennis, go cycling, roller skating and skateboarding. But there are also more original sports too: Nordic walking, sailing, water sports, underwater diving, parachuting, boxing…
  • Longe côte or water walking is a locally invented activity. It’s a walk in the water along the beach, with the lower part of the body in the water. A physical yet enjoyable and full body exercise! Nordic walking is an It’s an opportunity to get to know others while doing something enjoyable.


Dunkirk and Maritime Flanders provide the ideal backdrop for your move and new life! However, the key to a successful relocation is having the support of a local professional representative who knows the area. Don’t hesitate to contact the Dunkerque Promotion’s welcome service for a personalised consultation.

[1] https://dunkerquepromotion.org/en/live-near-town-sea-countryside/


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