What's in a name

Why the name ‘Amare’ for an OCC – an Onderwijs en Cultuurcentrum, or Centre for Education and Culture – built in the centre of The Hague? In fact, choosing a name for such a multifaceted centre was a long and complicated process.

A versatile building
Of course, some potential names for the OCC were already being bandied around at an early stage, but none of them were quite good enough. Many names were dropped because of the building’s multifunctionality. Amare is a building that houses education, but it’s more than that. It is a building that is a theatre, but it’s also more than that; it is a building that houses a top-level orchestra and a world-famous dance group, and yet is still more than that.
Eventually, the boards of Zuiderstrandtheater, the Royal Conservatoire, Residentie Orkest The Hague and Nederlands Dans Theater decided to bring in Skriptor Zigila a naming agency that – despite the fact that its own name is impossible to remember – is responsible for naming such famous brands as Ziggo, NL-alert, Jillz and NRC.next. 

What makes a good name?
What qualities does a good name need? That’s hard to say exactly. Names often refer to a place (The Hague University of Applied Sciences), or highlight the ‘content’ and/or status of an organisation (Zoetermeer Municipal Theatre), or refer to an important historical figure or place (Erasmus University, Luxor). Good names may also derive from nothing but pure creativity (Koko). And you can also go for a name that evokes certain associations, preferably with something that relates to the organisation, of course – and that’s the option that the boards ultimately chose.

The meaning of Amare
Amare is a name that evokes all sorts of associations. For example, Amare means “to love” in Italian. “Mare” also refers to The Hague as a city by the sea. And in the USA, it is used as a girls’ name, in which context it means “forever”. That’s just three of Amare’s many meanings - you can find more on Google. Amare is a home for the performing arts, with the ambition to be a home for the entire city of The Hague. Everyone should feel welcome at Amare, should feel free, should be able to be themselves. That is why we felt that the best name was the one that design agency Silo came up with: Amare: am, are. Because that’s the association that best covers what we had in mind.

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