DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The king and queen of the Netherlands toured Dubai’s Expo 2020 and a strawberry farm deep inside the Emirati desert Wednesday, part of a two-day trip to the United Arab Emirates.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima received a rousing round of applause as their day ended at the massive Al Wasl Dome at Expo 2020, the world’s fair going on in Dubai until the end of March.
Children draped in the Netherlands flag and the parents listened as the king nodded toward the ongoing climate talks in Glasgow with a speech acknowledging his country and the oil-producing UAE both need new strategies for the future.
“The ideas, methods and growth strategies that helped us achieve greatness and prosperity in the past are no longer fit for the purpose,” the king said. “They don’t offer solutions to the major challenges of our time.”
While the Netherlands and the UAE can feel worlds apart — the heat alone on Wednesday roasted those gathered at the Expo — the two share deep trade ties. The Dubai-based port operator DP World runs a cargo container port at Rotterdam. Mutual trade between the nations has reached $4 billion annually.
Earlier in the day, the king and Queen Maxima visited a strawberry farm in the deserts of Abu Dhabi near the city of Sweihan, built with Dutch help. While there, they toured the facility, walking among the rows of strawberries growing inside the facility.
The king wore a pinstriped blue suit and red tie, while the queen sported a green-and-white jumpsuit, at the farm. Both also wore face masks as the UAE maintains a mask mandate amid the coronavirus pandemic, even as it has one of the world’s highest per-capita vaccination rates.
At Expo, the king wore a blue suit with a pale blue tie, with a pocket square sticking out of his suit jacket. The queen wore a large sunhat and an off-white dress. They stopped by the Netherlands pavilion, where a young boy handed the royals a hand-drawn picture of the Netherlands tri-color flag.