Swiss citizenship rules motivate immigrants to integrate

Some people are outraged at a story from Switzerland about an ” annoying vegan ” who has twice been denied a Swiss passport but I think that their system is great. You can only acquire Swiss nationality through birth, being married to a Swiss citizen, being the child of a Swiss citizen or after you have lived in Switzerland for 12 years, including three of the last five. The decision after that period of time is based on the opinions of the immigrant’s local community as they usually get a say in a person’s passport application.

The vegan in the news article is allowed to live in Switzerland long-term with a Swiss settlement permit but she is unlikely to obtain citizenship because she has rejected Swiss culture and traditions. I believe that assimilation and integration is an extremely important part of becoming a citizen so I think that the Swiss system has got it right. Imagine if New Zealand had this system to protects its culture, values and traditions? The only thing that would improve this system would be to only allow citizens the right to vote.

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.

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.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. 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?…
…?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.?..

?The voters of Gipf-Oberfrick 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…

?The reason why they have yet again clearly rejected the naturalization is that Nancy Holten very often expresses her personal opinion in the media, and also gathers media coverage for rebelling against traditional [Swiss] things within the village.?
Her actions have caused many in the village to wonder why Holten would want to be Swiss, he said.

?If someone is so much in the spotlight and rebels against things that are accepted in the local community, it can cause the community to not want such a person in their midst ?…