Darmstadt’s science and conference centre had to have a name. Even before the awarding of the contract, some thought had been given to the matter: what was needed was a name that could work internationally, could be expanded as an independent trade mark, made reference to the city and could be uniquely identified. The previously common abbreviation “WKZ” was not intended to be permanent, as this combination of letters could have negative connotations in German.
By the end of 2004, 47 suggestions had been received. These included both serious ideas such as “HaDeWe” (Haus der Wissenschaft – House of Science), “Athenarium”, “Kongressum”, “Ideenschmiede am Schloss” (“Ideas Forge at the Castle”) and “Unigress” as well as more jocular ones such as “Benz-Wörner-Zentrum”.
“Darmstadtium” was suggested twice (by Peter Strehl and Christian Dindorf) and was deemed to be suitable: the name sounded international; made reference to science, technology and the city and was easy to understand.
The name, which in the context of the building is always written with a lower-case d (“darmstadtium”), is borrowed from element 110, Ds. (Here you can find out more about the element).