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Nancy Holten, 42, was born in the Netherlands but grew up in Switzerland from the age of eight, speaks fluent Swiss German and has children with Swiss citizenship.
A vegan and supporter of animal rights, she gained a reputation in her community of Gipf-Oberfrick, in the canton of Aargau, after campaigning against cowbells, claiming they were damaging to cows’ health.
Piglet - Racing - Noise - Church - Bells
She has also objected to hunting and piglet racing, and complained about the noise of church bells in the village, campaigns that have seen her regularly interviewed in the Swiss press over the past few years.
Last November, Holten had her citizenship application turned down for the second time by the residents’ committee.
Meeting - Requirements - Authorities - Objection
That’s despite her meeting all legal requirements and the municipal and cantonal authorities having no formal objection.
In Switzerland local residents often have a say in citizenship applications, which are decided primarily by the cantons and communes where the applicant lives, rather than federal authorities.
Holten - Case - Campaigning - Friends - Village
In Holten's case it seems her campaigning has not won her many friends in the village, with the president of the local branch of the Swiss People’s Party, Tanja Suter, telling the media that Holten has a “big mouth”.
The commune did not want to give Holten the “present” of Swiss citizenship “if she annoys us and doesn’t respect our traditions”, said Suter.
Local - Monday - Holten - Mind
Speaking to The Local on Monday, Holten said: “I think I was too strident and spoke my mind too often.
“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.”
Passport - Home - Switzerland
She added she would be sad not to get a Swiss passport “because this really is my home. I grew up here and feel very attached to Switzerland.
“I have friends and...
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