Woman Denied Citizenship Because Of Her Strong Opinions

January 13, 2017

© Yi Li | Dreamstime

It's healthy to have an opinion. How you share that opinion can impact your life as it has with 42 year old Nancy Holten.  Nancy was born in the Netherlands but has lived in Switzerland since she was 8 years old.  She speaks fluent Swiss German, has children with Swiss citizenship and apparently a strong opinion regarding many Swiss customs, such as cowbells, which she says are damaging to the health of cows. She has also objected to hunting and complained about the noise of church bells in the village.  Although she has called this home for decades, she isn't a Swiss citizens.  But that a reputation of being negatively vocal on many Swiss traditions may keep her from calling herself Swiss. In Switzerland local residents often have a say in citizenship applications and for the second time, she was denied citizenship by her peers, even though she makes all the legal requirements.  Apparently the villagers feel Holten has a "big mouth" and did not want to her the “present” of Swiss citizenship, says Tanja Suter, president of the local branch of the Swiss People’s Party. The village voters know that the legal requirements for naturalization are met and they know that even people who want to be naturalized in Switzerland may have different ideological opinions, however Holten’s strong and public objections made them wonder why she wanted to be Swiss. Holten says the law states that freedom of expression must not have any negative consequences and that she is committed to what is important to me, especially animals and their well-being is important. If I stop doing it [being vocal], I am not being genuine and honest. So I will not stop just for the sake of the Swiss passport. Her application is now in the hands of the government, which could still decide to grant her citizenship despite residents’ objections.

SOURCE: The Local (Switzerland)

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