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Dutch woman denied Swiss citizenship for campaigning against the traditional use of cow bells

Dutch-born Nancy Holten (42), who has lived in Switzerland since the age of eight, has been denied Swiss citizenship for the second time. 

Holten speaks fluent Swiss German and has children who have Swiss nationality. Residents object to granting her Swiss citizenship because as a vegan and animal rights supporters she campaigns against the traditional use of cow bells. 

When she first applied for Swiss citizenship in 2015, local authorities approved her application, but it was subsequently by 144 out of 206 residents in a vote. Local voting on citizenship applications has been discontinued since, but in November 2016, when Holten applied for the Swiss passport for the second time, a local residents’ committee blocked her application. 

Holten’s application will now be considered by Aargau’s cantonal government, which could still decide to grant her citizenship. 

Read more about her first application in AZ (in German) and the second application in The Local (in English).

For details of the past and present citizenship legislation in Switzerland consult our country profile pages.