Vegan Activist Denied Swiss Citizenship For Being “Too Annoying”

Filed Under: Misc.

Well this is quite a story…

Different countries have different laws when it comes to citizenship, and Switzerland is one of the toughest countries out there when it comes to granting citizenship. Apparently local residents in Switzerland often have a say in citizenship applications for people in their region (though they can be overruled).

Well, a 42 year old Dutch vegan activist who has lived in Switzerland since she was eight years old is seeking Swiss citizenship, but is getting some pushback from the local community, because she’s “too annoying.” Why are the residents of Gipf-Oberfrick in the canton of Aargau not onboard with her becoming a citizen? Per Yahoo News:

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.

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”.

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.

Oh my! I’m not sure what exactly to make of this. On one hand I’m all for people bringing their individuality to a place rather than just wanting them to blend in. At the same time…

The case is now being reviewed by the Cantonal government in Aargau. I’ll be curious to see what they decide.

What do you guys think — should she be granted citizenship, or no?

  1. I feel like her actions shouldn’t affect whether or not she is given citizenship, since she will continue to live in Switzerland nonetheless. However, I do feel like her not respecting the local traditions and culture is an acceptable reason for people to say that she is annoying, so I do feel that she is at fault here, since she is not respecting the Swiss culture and traditions.

  2. Ms. Holten is a pain to have around, because she is running around pointing out all things she deem wrong. They should welcome her with open arms and accept the challenge at hand.
    Swiss people party’s actions are more like bullies from school, do as we want or we kick you…
    Swiss peoples party should grow up and challenge her arguments instead of acting like this.

  3. They should deny her citizenship request until she learns and commits to yodeling every morning for the townspeople, for the rest of her life.

  4. One thing to note here is what she said “I just wanted to get involved in protecting animals. I didn’t realise that these things are traditions for many people. I now understand that”

    What was she doing on Sundays or pretty much any other day? After you have thought about it very deeply, consider her desire to become a politician too. In a place where people eat cheese, drink milk, cook steaks/pork/chicken, and other animal rooted products. You can see why she has shown lack of integration.

    All I can think of is that she confused us with Sweden.

  5. My best friend is Swiss, and it’s always amazed me how backward Swiss people are outside of Zurich, Geneva, Bern and cities of that size. Likewise, I’ve learned never to be shocked how many Trump-voting trailer trash comment on this blog.

  6. Campaigning against church bells??!!! Seriously annoying. I’m definitely with the “NO” camp in this.

  7. The Swiss should deny citizenship to any cowbell hating vegan. As Christopher Walken (who endorsed President Obama just like Robert S.) says – we need more cowbell!

  8. Try tying a heavy noisy cowbell around your neck for the rest of your life and tell me it wouldn’t drive you insane and deaf… funny how some of the readers and the writer here can see issues with gay/human rights in other countries and cultures, yet when it comes to this you switch your thinking mind off…

  9. @Robert Schrader: Relax and go cuddle with your vegan friends and sip your mocha chai latte since Trump won’t make those activities illegal. Swiss people praise for their culture and if you don’t want to embrace it get the h… out of there. She is trying to become a citizen of a culture you don’t like it. Why?

  10. Ah Santastico… a Trump voter eh? Hurt you feelings being called the mindless racist trash that you are? I’m not vegan myself but have the utmost of respect for those that have compassion for animals. Why dont you go cuddle with your Nazi Trump friends and ponder on what a despicable man you just voted in, and potentially WWW3.

  11. The Swiss have some of the most backward of rules. I know since I lived there for many years. Sorting garbage some six ways, no flushing toilets in my apartment building after 10pm, no able to work in office on Sunday without seeking special permission from the canton… the list is endless. yes, and Freedom of speech and religion (they banned minarets which are common in islamic architecture)

  12. Perhaps she could use her miles to book herself a one-way ticket back to wherever, or at least to another canton

  13. Hi clearly people of the USA would be happier of the consevatives got their own country and liberals got their own country. Both constituents should talk to their respective members of Congress to break the USA peacefully.

    Let’s hey this done people. Both think they are right and the other side is wrong. The only way to find out is to bite the bullet and go through with it.

  14. I completely disagree. She’s not “bringing individuality” to Switzerland. She’s trying to impose her own personal views on people who don’t want to hear them and don’t owe her anything. Switzerland deserves some credit for rejecting the entitlement that people have with regards to moving to the country and refusing to adapt to their new home’s way of life.

  15. @Andy: You are so wrong. I did not vote for him and don’t support him. However, I am tired of people winning about political views. Instead of hiding behind a keyboard and keep complaining I am better off getting off my butt and work. See what @Nick wrote above. It is about respecting a culture and there is nothing political about their decision. BTW, if you like me and did not vote for the president elected, stop complaining and get back to work. That is what this country need. Maybe if people like you had done anything to change the outdated electoral system of this country Trump would not be president and you did not have to write stupidities about people giving their opinion here.

  16. Lucky,! Swiss born and bred myself but I live in Australia. Switzerland is a nutorious for being extremely difficult to become a citizen of by naturalisation. You have to go through 3 different levels, show close links, speak a local language fluently (Which she did) and show you have assimilated to the culture. Google this and you’ll see many cases where people were denied – e.g American guy who couldn’t name local town features. In this case she’s trying to force her agenda and make a lot of things about vegans. She’s also trying to break tradition which is a big no no. Swiss people are quiet and will do what they want, it’s a great example of democracy and a country not bowing down to political correctness and being itself.

  17. What does this have to do with miles & points or travel in general? It’s almost like Lucky is deliberately posting flamebait…

    @Credit, I really hope that happens.

    Since when did every online discussion about any topic turn into pointless political name-calling anyway? I remember a time when both sides presented arguments instead of insults.

  18. please go back to travel subjects and to planes, this is no news at all, everyone who knows swiss and has been there can tell you hundreds of these stories , simply it’s Switzerland, so stop annoying about everyday’s topics and go back to things we love and come to this page for, it is really really stupid, what’s next you found out that laundry machines turn off themselves at noon in your own home because law says you can’t so anything between 12 and 13.00h, even in your home.

  19. Lucky, please for the love of god moderate your comments, like @fred’s.

    Simply unacceptable. Not surprised by the foul mouths of Trump voters.

  20. They’re racist.

    I am not sure how, as race wasn’t mentioned.

    But they are.

    Plus, I am sure they voted for Trump.

    Again, I have no idea how, as they are Swiss.

    But I’ll say it anyway.

    It sure beats thinking.

  21. Yes, please delete Robert’s comment because he insulted the Swiss. And please delete Fred’s comment because he said Robert was a weasel. And, please delete Keith’s comment so God won’t be offended. And finally, please delete my comment in case one of the children reading this blog are offended that I pointed at Keith, Robert and Fred.

  22. I was born and raised in Switzerland, my parents are also from switzerland. I think our citizenship is even more difficult to get than for example american citizenship (which I hopefully gonna get in the next years :))
    You have to live in switzerland for at least 12 years, 8 years in the same canton! This is totally insane, if you are male you have to do mandatory military service. What is disgusting! That was one of several reasons I left this country.
    I don`t understand the people who wants to become swiss.

  23. Its funny how some people who bang on about “respecting culture” are happy not to apply those sentiments when it comes to middle eastern countries

  24. This women tried do eliminate several Swiss traditions over many years. She didn’t accept the courts decision, and she didn’t pay the legal fees.
    Also, she makes falls claims in public… about the government and about the traditions.

    For your interest: The normal cow bells are between 0.2 and 0.6kg heavy. The very big ones are only used on special occasions, for a short time. Greenpeace and WWF doent have a problem with them….

    She is fighting against the locals, their traditions, calling them stupid, and doesnt accept the swiss courts.

    Dear “the swiss are racist” idiots: just a small remark: Switzerland has much more foreigners than most other countries of the world… 24% (USA: 7-12%)

  25. As my father always said (who lived several years overseas): When in Rome, do as the Romans do!

    You wanna have a (whatever) countries citizenship? Accept and respect local traditions and behavior. If you can’t accept them, then why you wanna have the citizenship of this country? I just don’t get it…

    On a side note: about 25% of Switzerland’s population is not Swiss, which is one of the highest rates in the western world. So, obviously no bad place to live even without a Swiss Passport 😉

  26. @Santastico I’m Swiss too and I think the corner stones of our culture are diversity and individual freedom rather than things like cow bells.
    Switzerland has always been about accepting each other’s differences. There must be many people wanting to naturalize who’s views I don’t like, but unless they are against the principles of our country (criminals, anti democrats, not accepting human rights, social parasites, …), they are free to have their opinions just like any other Swiss citizen.
    Our history and folklore is all about defending our freedom. Mainstreaming opinions by enforcing them is much more a corner stone of a fascist nation.

  27. @ Andreas ” Swiss has more foreigners than other countries” ….maybe, but most of them would be tax exiles or bankers. When it comes to other categories “the boat is full”, as it was in years gone by.
    The warmest welcome is reserved for those on a short stay, one way ticket to the assisted suicide clinic ( steal @ $50000 , fortunately other assets do not end up in bank vaults for decades).
    On a personal level most Swiss are pretty ok/nice people.

  28. Hitler, like many in the Nazi party, was a vegetarian. And yes, many people found him annoying. Just saying….. 😉

  29. Firstly, I agree that this is clearly off-topic for OMAAT.

    Secondly, as a Swiss, I don’t think it’s the most brilliant idea to let municipalities decide on naturalization. This brings roughly 2300 different practices … an awful lot for a small country. Gipf-Oberfrick is ruled by the extreme right wing Peoples Party. Yes, they have about 29% at federal level, which means that the other 71% (including me) are not voting for them. And we also do not exclude people from naturalization based on their diet, no way! In fact the approval rate is very high where I live, which arguably is more urban.

    So moving a bit towards Basel will resolve her issue 🙂

  30. @Paolo
    that is totally wrong. people like you.. telling bs about other countries… There are many studies that proof you wrong, bankers and tax exils are a small small minority. But i know, for some reason some people hate Switzerland and have to tell such lies… Like your assisted suicide lie… i am shure, you cant proof you racist comments…

    According to the swiss government, the bank sector only ranks on place 12 when it comes to foreigners workers… HealtCare, bulding sector, gastronomy/tourist rank much much higher.

    (assisted suicide cost: There are different organisations in Switzerland. The costs are between 900.- and 10`000.-sFr. incl. funeral)

    I never understand why people like you have to tell such lies about other nations…

    Ohh…also to mention: within the EU, Switzerland has the third highest refugee rate in the EU…

    (by the way.. i am not swiss)

  31. truly hilarious. And I am Swiss. Being ostensibly hostile to locals is probably not helping anyone not even locals. Not anywhere in this world. And as mentioned the naturalization process in Switzerland is quite heavily relying on locals and will differ a bit from place to place though the frame is set at a federal level. Indeed rural places are more traditionalist. I doubt it is different in any other country. A known fact. Why did Ms Holten not move to a city where she would just be totally or pretty much anonymous? maybe she is just enjoying the situation as she seems to get some attention 😉 ?

    Also funny those comments about Switzerland just open for reach people’s integration. Go browse the internet and grab facts. Not just shouting what is close to insanity. Maybe Lucky found that was a good topic for all frustrations to come out after quite a challenging year 2016? I certainly agree with the many asking if the is not a bit off topic but could not resist to put a comment 😉

    Anyway many thanks for these insane moments and the good laugh!

    One last point on this maybe: in general 12 years of residency in Switzerland in total are required of which 3 in the last 5 years before the request is raised. However there are exceptions which require less. Some information (most in German and/or French though) on this topic can be found here for those interested:

  32. Jojo – Europe, where Switzerland is located, is a continent where Trump-voting is deems a mental disease.

  33. @Santastico @Andy – The practice of calling people racist because they disagree with you politically is one of the reasons Trump won. A few years ago, if you were losing an argument you could just call the other person a racist and they’d back down because they were afraid of the label. But due to so many people crying wolf, those days have now ended.

  34. The Dutch can be notoriously annoying; anyone who watched Austin Powers in “Goldmember” knows their eccentricities and dogma can overwhelm. So the Aargauer are being smart and cautious.

    Seriously, wants to get rid of cow bells? Send her back to Holland!

  35. She should be granted citizenship. The village people will still have the right to tie cowbells on their cows, and Ms. Volten will have the right to object to it until the cows come home (pun intended). Free expression at its finest, and a lesson on democracy that all Trump supporters ought to learn but will not.

  36. Citizenship is NOT a right, it is a PRIVILEGE. Unfortunately a great number of undesirable people are born into citizenship and there is nothing that can be done about it.

    However, a country has a duty to only accept new citizens who will be an asset to the country and want to become real citizens. A previous Australian Prime Minister had it exactly right as I paraphrase: “Australia welcomes new citizens from the 4 corners of the world provided you want to adopt out lifestyle and mores and become Australians. If you want to import your country into ours in an attempt to make us like you changing the fabric of our society then you are not welcome so stay home.”

    She is just trying on the citizenship ploy to once again become the centre of attention so tell her to stuff it. People are probably ignoring her other tactics so she needs a new act.

    By the way – no country that does not demonstrate western values has ever allowed new citizens in to destabilize their country – they just export destabilization.

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