Dutch panda mania as giant bears arrive from China

The Hague

Two giant pandas arrived by plane at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport Wednesday after a marathon 8,000 kilometre journey from China, the first breeding pair on Dutch soil in three decades.
Female panda Wu Wen (Beautiful Powerful Cloud) and her male companion Xing Ya (Elegant Star) touched down at Schiphol at around 1730 GMT after leaving Chengdu in central China more than 10 hours earlier.
A giant television screen showed the pandas being lowered onto the tarmac from a passenger jet operated by Dutch national carrier KLM, surrounded by Dutch border police.
Later they were put on display for more than 100 journalists and guests straining to catch a glimpse of the two animals in their specialised cages which included see-through plexiglass.
China’s ambassador to The Netherlands Wu Ken speaking in Dutch said , “this is a huge step in bilateral relations between China and The Netherlands”.
The pandas are headed for the Ouwehands Dierenpark zoo in Rhenen, where they’ll stay on loan for the next 15 years as part of the park’s Asian exhibition.—AFP

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