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Woman Applies for Swiss Passport, Denied Because Too 'Annoying'

Picture of Luke Abrahams
Social Content Editor
Updated: 9 August 2017
You can’t exactly blame the Swiss – the woman in question did say she thought the local town hall had way too much cowbell going on…

We all dream of living somewhere in the world that’s not home. There’s always one obstacle, though: borders.

Switzerland – a land of glorious mountainscapes, alpine tundras, incredible ski resorts and absolutely fabulous cheese fondue. No wonder the lady in question wants a passport.

So, what’s the story? A little Swiss town that goes by the name of Gipf-Oberfrick, (45 minutes north-west of Zurich), recently rejected dutch citizen’s Nancy Holten’s request for a passport twice, astonishingly. The reason? Locals were ‘fed up’ with her antics.

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The hard lesson Holten learned is that you never, ever complain or campaign against the very, very Swiss tradition of cowbells.

A vegan and self-described model and journalist, Holten has lived in the country since she was a little kid. According to the Daily Mail, she has two children, who are both Swiss nationals and has earned quite the bad rep after saying what she really thinks about the famous Swiss icon: they damage the cow’s health.

She told The Local:

‘Many people think that I am attacking their traditions. But that was not what it was about, it was never about that. What primarily motivated me about the cowbells was the animals’ welfare.’

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In addition to causing injury to the animal’s skin, Holten also thinks the bells pose several other health risks. But that’s not all. Holten has also campaigned against many other Swiss traditions including, pig races and the ringing of church bells (random, but true).

Unlike many other nations, individual cantons (districts) decide whether or not they will grant an alien citizenship, not the federal government. The issue with this, is that it can make getting Swiss citizenship very, very hard – as Holten knows too well.

Despite the two rejections though and after lots and lots of publicity, Nancy was finally granted citizenship when the canton ‘overruled the commune’s decision, clearing the way for her to become a Swiss national’. Oh, and despite all her campaigning, she has, ‘sufficiently integrated‘ into the local culture.