No Passport for a Woman the Swiss Find Annoying

Much has been made of America’s treatment of immigrants lately, but the Swiss will not be outdone. The town of Gipf-Oberfrick has denied a passport to 42-year-old Dutch resident Nancy Holten because she has a “big mouth” and “annoys us,” says Tanja Suter of the local chapter of the Swiss People’s Party.


The federal government does not decide citizenship and national status in Switzerland, reports Yahoo UK. That is up to one’s neighbors and fellow canton residents.

I would happily give a passport to someone who annoys me, because maybe they would just go away, but the Swiss don’t even want to be associated with this lady. The residents of the town rejected her application because she doesn’t respect their traditions.

Holten is vegan and has campaigned to liberate local cows of their cowbells, stating that the bells are “especially heavy.”

She explains:

“The animals carry around five kilograms around their neck. It causes friction and burns to their skin….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?”

Holten, who has lived in Switzerland since she was eight, remarked when her passport application was rejected, “I think I spoke my mind too often, and I say it out too loud.” The freelance journalist/model/drama student’s children are already Swiss nationals.

She has also complained to her neighbors about the noise of church bells and the local pig races. She sounds like an absolute treasure to her community. How could they possibly deny her?


This Angelino is trying to imagine someone moving to Valley Village and complaining about all the pedestrians on Shabbat, or emigrating to Silver Lake and whining about hipsters and food trucks. Is there any way Holten could have tried to work with the neighbors in the country she moved to and still retained her vegan identity?

Can you imagine immigration and nationalization status being decided on the local level in America?  I am a permanent resident of the United States, and I can think of some communities here that might deny me, but I can also think of others that would grant me citizenship yesterday. Would localized decisions be a disaster, or the best idea ever?


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