The new cadmium and mercury saccharinate (sac) complexes, cis-[Cd(sac) 2(dmea)2] (1) and [Hg(sac)2(dmea)(H 2O)] (2) (dmea = 2-dimethylaminoethanol), have been prepared and characterized by elemental analysis, IR spectroscopy, thermal analysis and single crystal X-ray diffraction. In complex 1, the cadmium(II) ion is coordinated by two neutral dmea ligands and two sac anions in a distorted octahedral CdN3O3 coordination geometry. The dmea ligand acts as a bidentate N, O chelate, while the sac ligands behave as an ambidentate ligands. One of them coordinates to the cadmium(II) ion through the carbonyl oxygen atom, while the other is N-bonded. In complex 2, the mercury(II) ion is coordinated by an aqua ligand, a chelating dmea ligand and two N-bonded sac ligands, forming a distorted trigonal bipyramidal coordination HgN 3O2. The molecules interact with each other through O-H⋯O hydrogen bonds and aromatic π(sac)⋯π(sac) stacking interactions, leading to a three-dimensional supramolecular network. © 2006 Verlag der Zeitschrift für Naturforschung.