Amsterdam UMC

Naming a merger to become the largest university hospital in the Netherlands


After an intensive preparation, the two Amsterdam academic hospitals have started working together under a joint name: Amsterdam UMC, the largest academic hospital in the Netherlands. UMC stands for University Medical Centers. Globrands was closely involved in the entire naming process of positioning, various creation rounds, extensive research, brand architecture and final trademark registration. Logo and house style are from DartGroup and the implementation is carried out by VIM Group.

The AMC (Academic Medical Center) and VUmc (VU University Medical Center) have been working together for a long time in different areas. This led to the initiative to intensify the partnership in a joint organization in the field of care, research and education. Initially managed by prof.dr. Marcel Levi, later by the two boards of directors under respective leadership of Wouter Bos and prof.dr. Hans Romijn, and the two Supervisory Boards.

After an extensive investigation, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) and the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) decided in September last year that AMC and VUmc could go together definitively, starting with an administrative merger.

Verbal identity and naming roadmap

The partnership needed its own identity. Careful consideration had to be given to all political stakeholders, the internal interests of the more than 20 research institutes, all participations, the interests of the medical faculties of both UvA and VUmc that would be given a joint medical faculty and of course those of the patients. A name and identity that would initially only be for the administrative organization, but in the long term for the new combined hospital that would provide healthcare more efficiently and build an international reputation with scientific research.

Starting with joint vision on naming, brand architecture and implementation

In collaboration with VIM Group (project management and implementation), a series of presentations and advisory documents was created, showing our vision on the naming, the brand architecture and the implementation trajectory, after which the joint boards gave us the green light.

Then: complete verbal identity

The alliance communication team with the directors Jan Hol (VUmc) and Frank van den Bosch (AMC), Frank Weichgel (communication), Jasper Enklaar (sr consultant communication), Marc Koster (program director alliance VUmc-AMC) and VIM Group and Globrands, later supplemented by Dart design, met regularly for two years.

The meticulous process included positioning, name development, various meetings with the alliance communication team and the two boards of directors, research on availability (trademark law, trade name law, domain name), linguistic check focused on primary brand potential and international appeal, research and advice on the consequences for training assignments, citations etc. and a naming system that established the relations of the new brand with existing ones such as VUmc, the University of Amsterdam and AMC, the municipality of Amsterdam, the Emma Children’s Hospital and the various institutes and participations, as well as the naming of the branches.

Launching the name is the start of the integration process

On June 7th, the launch of the new name Amsterdam UMC has started a long-term process in which the VUmc and the AMC will work on the integration, at first primarily in patient care and scientific research. For patients, students and employees, both hospitals will continue to function at the existing locations for the time being. Starting this autumn, patients will also start to notice consequences of the merger: some specialisms, outpatient clinics and nursing departments move from the VUmc location in Amsterdam-Zuid to the AMC location in the Bijlmer, and vice versa.