Europe

Pair of giant panda cubs arrive in Netherlands from China

  • A young boy carries a balloon modelled panda as he waits for the arrival of giant pandas female Wu Wen and male Xing Ya at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands from China on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. The pair of three-and-half year old giant pandas are being taken from Schiphol Airport to the Ouwehands Zoo in the central Dutch town of Rhenen where they will settle into a purpose-built enclosure for a 15-year stay as part of a nature conservation project. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)

    A young boy carries a balloon modelled panda as he waits for the arrival of giant pandas female Wu Wen and male Xing Ya at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands from China on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. The pair of three-and-half year old giant pandas are being taken from Schiphol Airport to the Ouwehands Zoo in the central Dutch town of Rhenen where they will settle into a purpose-built enclosure for a 15-year stay as part of a nature conservation project. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman walks past Panda paraphernalia for the giant pandas Wu Wen and Xing Ya outside a bakery in Rhenen, the Netherlands, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. The pair of three-and-half year old giant pandas were flown from China to Amsterdam and will be taken from Schiphol Airport to the Ouwehands Zoo in the central Dutch town of Rhenen where they will settle into a purpose-built enclosure for a 15-year stay as part of a nature conservation project. (AP Photo/Aleksandar Furtula)

    A woman walks past Panda paraphernalia for the giant pandas Wu Wen and Xing Ya outside a bakery in Rhenen, the Netherlands, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. The pair of three-and-half year old giant pandas were flown from China to Amsterdam and will be taken from Schiphol Airport to the Ouwehands Zoo in the central Dutch town of Rhenen where they will settle into a purpose-built enclosure for a 15-year stay as part of a nature conservation project. (AP Photo/Aleksandar Furtula)  (The Associated Press)

  • People walk past a sign proclaiming the arrival of giant pandas Wu Wen and Xing Ya in Rhenen, the Netherlands, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. The pair of three-and-half year old giant pandas were flown from China to Amsterdam and will be taken from Schiphol Airport to the Ouwehands Zoo in the central Dutch town of Rhenen where they will settle into a purpose-built enclosure for a 15-year stay as part of a nature conservation project. (AP Photo/Aleksandar Furtula)

    People walk past a sign proclaiming the arrival of giant pandas Wu Wen and Xing Ya in Rhenen, the Netherlands, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. The pair of three-and-half year old giant pandas were flown from China to Amsterdam and will be taken from Schiphol Airport to the Ouwehands Zoo in the central Dutch town of Rhenen where they will settle into a purpose-built enclosure for a 15-year stay as part of a nature conservation project. (AP Photo/Aleksandar Furtula)  (The Associated Press)

Two giant panda cubs are being prepared for a new life at a zoo in the Netherlands following a long airplane flight from China.

Xing Ya and Wu Wen, 3 year olds from the province of Sichuan, arrived at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on Wednesday evening.

From there, the pandas were to travel to Ouwehand Zoo in Rhenen, a city of about 20,000 people in central Holland.

For decades, China gifted friendly nations with its national mascot in what was known as "panda diplomacy." The country more recently has loaned pandas to zoos on commercial terms.

Around 420 pandas live in captivity in zoos and reserves, the majority within China, while an estimated 1,864 live in the wild.