A Dutch vegan who applied for a Swiss passport has had her application rejected because the locals found her too annoying.
Nancy Holten, 42, moved to Switzerland from the Netherlands when she was eight years old and now has children who are Swiss nationals.
However, when she tried to get a Swiss passport for herself, residents of Gipf-Oberfrick in the canton of Aargau rejected her application.
Ms Holten, a vegan and animal rights activist, has campaigned against the use of cowbells in the village and her actions have annoyed the locals.
The resident’s committee argued that if she does not accept Swiss traditions and the Swiss way of life, she should not be able to become an official national.
Ms Holten told local media: “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.”
She added: “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?”
Tanja Suter, the president of the local Swiss People’s Party, claimed Ms Holten has a “big mouth” and that residents did not want to grant her citizenship “if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions”.
Responding to the rejection, Ms Holten said: “I think I spoke my mind too often, and I say it out too loud.”
Ms Holten, who describes herself as a freelance journalist, model and drama student, has also campaigned against a number of other Swiss traditions like hunting, pig races and the noisy church bells in town.
She was previously rejected for citizenship in 2015 after residents voted to block her initial application.
The case has now been transferred to the Cantonal government in Aargau, which can overrule the decision and can still grant her a Swiss passport despite the objections of the locals.
Local residents in Switzerland often have a say in citizenship applications, which are decided by the cantons and towns where the applicants live rather than federal government.
It is still very difficult to be granted Swiss citizenship and being born in the country does not give the children or even the grandchildren of immigrants the automatic right to be Swiss.
Top pic: CEN