Left Wing Vegan Denied Swiss Passport Because She’s ‘Too Annoying’


A left wing Dutch vegan who has lived in Switzerland since she was a child has been denied a Swiss passport because locals in her adoptive town find her too annoying.

Nancy Holten, 42, is a self-described animal rights activist who has campaigned against the Swiss tradition of cow bells, calling them cruel.

Despite living in the country since the age of eight, and speaking fluent Swiss German, local residents vetoed her application of citizenship, saying they were “fed up” with her challenging their traditions.

The Dutchwoman explained her views: “The sound that cow bells make is a hundred decibel. It is comparable with a pneumatic drill. We also would not want such a thing hanging close to our ears?”

“The bells, which the cows have to wear when they walk to and from the pasture, are especially heavy.

“The animals carry around five kilograms around their neck. It causes friction and burns to their skin.”

Aargauer Zeitung says that as well as cow bells, she has also campaigned against other Swiss traditions including hunting, pig racing, and even loud church bells.

Local politician Tanja Suter said Ms. Holten had a “big mouth” and she does not deserve a Swiss passport “if she irritates us and does not respect our traditions”.

Ms Holten herself admits: “I think I spoke my mind too often, and I say it out too loud.”

Under Switzerland’s highly decentralised constitution, local towns and regions grant citizenship rather than the central government, and some give citizens a vote on who gets a passport.

Villagers in Gipf-Oberfrick in the canton of Aargau voted by 206 to 144 to reject Ms. Holten’s application for citizenship in 2015, and have now rejected that application a second time.

The case will now go to the regional government, which can overrule the vote and grant her citizenship anyway.

Switzerland has some of the tightest citizenship laws in the world, and being born in the country often does not grant the children of immigrants an automatic right to a passport.


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