Dutch company offers to fix Rome fountain for free

Dutch restoration company Koninklijke Woudenberg has offered to restore the Barcaccia fountain in Rome for free, after it was damaged by Feyenoord Rotterdam football club fans in riots last week.

Over lunch at the firm on Tuesday, the topic of conversation turned to the fountain. They decided then and there to float an offer to fix the damage done. CEO Hans Smits sent the idea to the Italian Ambassador to the Netherlands Francesco Azzarello, with a request that it be passed on to the municipality of Rome.

Smits called the decision to offer a free restoration "quite simple".

"As a Dutch restoration company, we are very sad about the damage to the Barcaccia fountain," Smits told NL Times. "We are also a little bit ashamed. In our company we have professionalism, we have emotions. This comes from our hearts."

The Ameide-based company is situated only 30 kilometers east of the Feyenoord stadium.

The restoration work would be completed by Koninklijke Woudenberg's subsidary company, Steenhouwerij Zederik. "Our subsidary has much experience in such restorations," explained Smits, referring to previous projects of the company, which includes the restoration of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

Smits speculated that the project will be completed by a team of Dutch and Italian specialists, based on the restorative design of Daniel Spee from Steenhouwerij Zederik. "We have a lot of contacts with Italian stone masons, so teamwork is likely."

The offer follows a suggestion by the Eerste Kamer (Senate) that the Netherlands makes a financial contribution to fix the fountain.