The culture that is Swiss not Dutch

by on January 12, 2017 at 2:16 pm in Current Affairs, Law, Political Science, Uncategorized | Permalink

How many of you have been expecting that heading?  Of course it involves cows:

A Dutch woman has seen her request for Swiss citizenship refused for the second time by local residents who object to her media campaigning against cowbells and other Swiss traditions.

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”, said Suter.

Is this not what politics should be about, namely the relationship between man and nature?  Here is Gipf-Oberfrick, the community in question:


Here is the full story, with a variety of interesting points and examples at the link, via Ted Gioia and Dan Wang.

1 idiocratz January 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Although I have some sympathy for veganism, I like the idea of giving local communities more discretion over who belongs. Of course, this kind of community based citizenship application system would be pretty offensive to American progressives

2 R.G. January 12, 2017 at 2:52 pm

>would be pretty offensive to American progressives
Is it? I might be overly optimistic but it sounds like this sorta policy is exactly what’s needed to circumvent some of the stupid debates on immigration with say AZ wanting it one way and CA another; moreover arguably we already have some of this, if not quite officially, with some states being way more liberal with immigration status checks/documents needed to access schools/welfare etc than others.
Of course pass-thru and other issues might come up if some liberal states aren’t as diligent as the Swiss in assessing the candidates.

3 Thin-Skinned Masta-Beta January 12, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Isn’t this the kind of principle that ended the Reformation Wars?

4 Ray Lopez January 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm

It’s wrong. The same thing happens with fiancé visas (which I’m applying for now, it’s complicated though the official US INS rules make it look easy, but if you do it according to the ‘easy rules’ you’ll get rejected, as I already have). In US fiancé visas, if the age difference, even for two people who have never married, is great, the INS can deny and has denied a fiancé visa on the ground that the potential marriage is a sham (even though there’s no evidence other than age difference). It’s outrageous age-ism / sexism / racism in action. If I get rejected again I’ll just marry my hot 20-something Filipina half my age (and even then there’s an interview, as TC himself knows). Ridiculous. As a member of the 1% (min net worth > USD 8 M) I expect, demand, and, I will get, preferential treatment. *I*, *me*, *myself* and *I* make the world go around. Period. No exceptions. The rest of you are just noise to do *my* bidding. Yes, I’m totally serious and if you’ve read Ayn Rand’s works you know what I’m talking about. “John Galt”

5 Rich Berger January 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Ray, why don’t you incorporate your $ and your young thing into your name? It will save typing and bring them to the fore, every time.

6 Ray Lopez January 12, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Hi Rich. I’ve already told you I’m in the 1% (min net worth 8M and above). We’re actually well above this even using assessed values and present market values but no need to be crass about it, agree?

7 ttt January 12, 2017 at 3:38 pm

on the internet, we are all in the1%

8 Cliff January 12, 2017 at 7:18 pm

Actually you have admitted many times that you are not and that this is a lie, but reality is not important, just like you admit that money is non-neutral but that doesn’t matter, it’s neutral.

9 Ray Lopez January 12, 2017 at 7:26 pm

@Cliff – no I haven’t. I’ve always said I’m in the 1%. Your worldview is so warped you believe whatever you want to believe. You can’t conceive of somebody not being a deplorable, so you project. And money is largely neutral (see Bernanke’s FAVAR paper, compare with the Swiss central bank revaluing the franc in 2015).

10 yo January 12, 2017 at 3:02 pm

You’re getting old, Ray. Nobody ever marries GFs (half their age) these days any more! Congraz on the engagement, anyway.

11 James Fins January 12, 2017 at 8:32 pm

Soon you’re going to die and your little wad of cash will be scattered to the winds and everything you’ve ever done will be forgotten in 10 years. The world doesn’t revolve around anything as small as that.

12 msgkings January 13, 2017 at 1:54 am

I’ve told you this before Ray, you aren’t supposed to marry the help.

13 Lanigram January 13, 2017 at 2:30 am


Better keep an eye on the pool boy. If he shows up with a new watch pay attention. While you are bragging he might be tagging your little sweetie. As you well know Mr. Galt, there ain’t no free lunch.

14 Pshrnk January 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Terrible idea for the big old USA. It would help magnify regional differences in attitudes. Next civil war.

15 JC January 13, 2017 at 3:24 am

Is Switzerland the best example of democracy in the world? Citizens there are constantly consulted before any major change is adopted and looks like it works quite well.

16 yo January 13, 2017 at 4:28 am

I wouldn’t want to live in Switzerland. If you make any ever so slight mistake parking your car in a rural area, the neighbors will call the police.

17 Joël January 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm

A perfectly understandable decision. Kudos to the most pacific people on earth!

18 Art Deco January 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Switzerland actually cultivates martial values. The resistance to women’s suffrage was driven in part by the notion that only those who served in the military should participate in political life.

19 Just Another MR Commentor, King of the Komments January 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Switzerland is fucked, I go there regularly do you have any idea what even a cup of coffee costs there?

20 Art Deco January 12, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Just turn tricks at the George Michael Memorial Public Toilet. That’ll get you the cash you want.

21 Axa January 12, 2017 at 5:14 pm

3.60 CHF for a delicious espresso.

22 Larry Siegel January 12, 2017 at 5:17 pm

Yes, and I can afford it despite not being in the 1% (I believe I’m in the 3%) and despite my wife being way, way older than Ray’s. Switzerland is great – you just need to have a little money.

23 prior_test2 January 13, 2017 at 10:03 am

‘you just need to have a little money’

It helps to have more than a little money, especially when one’s currency appreciates, as the swarms of Swiss shoppers coming to Germany to buy groceries and such show.

And as is generally the case, Germans are thrilled when their currency goes down – nothing like skimming the cream from competitors.

24 Troll me January 12, 2017 at 6:22 pm

If you cannot brew coffee for visitors in the home, whatever the cost is in the cafes, on guaranteed minimum income you can afford at least a few a month.

The generosity of the welfare state there also legitimizes more stringent approaches to citizenship.

25 GW January 13, 2017 at 4:41 am

What are you talking about? The guaranteed minimum income referendum failed easily in Switzerland. And if you believe it’s a welfare state, please talk to any Swiss about their rising private health care insurance costs.

26 Troll me January 13, 2017 at 2:44 pm

GW – Whatever you want to call it. There’s still paperwork to get welfare, so it’s not a GMI.

27 Joël January 12, 2017 at 8:54 pm

True. Cultivating martial values, and in general seriously preparing for war, while at the same time not attacking one’s neighborhood, is Switzerland’s very successful method to live in eternal peace, which has worked very well since 500 years, with one exception (when Napoléon invaded).

28 Ray Lopez January 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Wrong. Kudos to racism, same-ism, ostracizing? Fine if you’re on the giving end maybe (or maybe not) but not if you’re on the receiving end. Read the short story by Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery” and then be the first one to cast stones.

29 Joël January 12, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Racism? The Swiss race against the Dutch race?? I don’t follow.

This is not a question of same-ism either. As an immigrant myself, who came to the US at 30, I still retain plenty of cultural habits of my original country (France), in the way of cooking, eating, raising children and millions other thing, of which I am proud, and that I would not like to be forced to change (but I’m not). I feel the right to criticize the American ways when it is fair, and I use it liberally. Yet I don’t feel I have the right to forbid Americans to do something they did before I came, or to force them to do something they didn’t. (That’s why I am not eager to vote, in particular). And I remember that if I came here, it is because I felt that, in many fundamental respects, the culture and the ways of life of the US were superior to the ones of my country of birth. If I ever change my mind about this (and at some points before the last election I was not far from that), I will live this country for another one (either back to France or another country that I like and would accept me, perhaps Switzerland).

Ray, I am not sure I have read your full story here? You live in the Philippines, but did you move there?

As for this woman, who seems to be in Switzerland to prevent people to live their live as they see fit, good riddance. Remember that if she wants the Swiss citizenship, she can simply ask for it in the closest big city, which cannot be at more than a few dozen miles, where she will not be known (presumably) at the nutsbreaker-in-chief.

30 Lanigram January 13, 2017 at 2:40 am

They rejected the wicked witch for having a “big mouth”. No need for you to worry, we don’t do that to citizens here. Though sometimes it is tempting.

31 DavidPtr January 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Et in Arcadia ego.

32 Ho chi minh January 12, 2017 at 2:41 pm

good for them for forcing this “dreamer” to assimilate first, and for staying out of the euro and EU. Sovereignty is a great thing.

33 Heorogar January 13, 2017 at 8:08 am

Uncle Ho! I’ve been told that it’s extremely hot where you are.

Democracy sucks.

The execrable, unwashed majority may disagree with the idiotic elites’ myths and superstitions. .

It looks like Swiss elites don’t hate the Swiss as intensely as American elites fear and loathe Americans and the uses they make of their freedoms.

34 Rich Berger January 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Maybe Obama can grant her refugee status; only 8 days left and everything must go!

How long before TC comments on the monkey playing cowboy?

35 billy January 12, 2017 at 2:51 pm

My sympathies are with Nancy. Swiss cowbells are the most goddamn annoying sound. A sort of a clonky-bangy-chime that goes on randomly from sunrise to sunset.

36 Rich Berger January 12, 2017 at 2:55 pm

No Switzerland for you!

37 Pshrnk January 12, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Such sounds are very stressful and harmful to human health. It is more than plausible that they are harmful to bovine health. Perhaps some profs at Mississippi State can attain a grant to study the effects on cows.

38 Anonymous January 12, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Imagine what a blessing this would be for us if it could be implemented here . Gradually over a period of time, effectively gerrymandering entire States and making them all Red or Blue , by denying citizenship applications of the opposing view point .
No more pesky purple states that determine elections and cause heartburn to those whose vote really counts for nothing come election time.

39 Pshrnk January 12, 2017 at 3:28 pm

As above….Civil War Redux

40 The Bruce Dickinson January 12, 2017 at 3:03 pm

The prescription, of course, is more cowbell…

41 robert January 13, 2017 at 8:53 am


42 Anon January 12, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Good, she can move back to the Netherlands as she is clearly more suited there. Now, if they would only grow the nuts to exile the Muslim invaders who refuse to adopt Swiss ways.

43 Axa January 12, 2017 at 5:19 pm
44 Troll me January 12, 2017 at 6:25 pm

I feel invaded when a handful in 100 folks on the street have something in common which differs from the majority.

45 Archibald Meatpants January 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm

IMHO, the cows look very happy to have bells on them. They seem to like it.

46 Bob January 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm

For all their positive reputation, the Swiss are actually pretty backward, especially in matters of citizenship and human and animal rights. It’s not surprising that they’d be especially irked by someone concerned with animal rights:

47 Fazal Majid January 12, 2017 at 4:15 pm

It’s interesting that Switzerland is also the country that passed a law protecting the dignity of animals and even plants:

48 Zite January 12, 2017 at 5:34 pm

They’re backward because they don’t want to give foreign busybodies the benefits of citizenship? Makes sense I guess, they won’t be building the New Soviet Man with that kind of attitude. In the future, we may need emigration restrictions to prevent our own wreckers from fleeing there.

49 Troll me January 12, 2017 at 6:26 pm

Livestock generally has a much freer life in Switzerland, so there is less need for animal rights protections.

50 Kronrod January 13, 2017 at 8:13 am

When it comes to animal protection, Switzerland has much higher standards than most other countries. For example, the typical EU or US chicken farm would be illegal in Switzerland as Swiss law requires to give them more space. Also, I’m Swiss and I have never heard of anyone eating cat or dog and have never seen any such meat for sale. So saying that this is a common occurrence is just wrong. Also, the “plant humiliation” headline is wrong. There are laws that protect endangered species and laws that restrict genetic engineering, but both have not much to do with the dignity of plants.

51 stephan January 12, 2017 at 4:03 pm

In the same vein, Muslim girls must swim with boys in Switzerland. Good for the Swiss. More cultural uniformity is good policy, In Rome do as the Romans do.

52 Art Deco January 12, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Why is it in the public interest for truancy laws to extend to swimming lessons?

53 Bob from Ohio January 12, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Its obvious that everyone in a landlocked mountainous country must learn to swim.

54 Joël January 12, 2017 at 8:57 pm

It is a country with many lakes.

55 stephan January 12, 2017 at 5:30 pm

That’s what the court ruled: They value integration over multiculturalism.

“The ECHR unanimously threw out their complaint, finding there had been no violation of freedom of religion, and that Switzerland’s right to facilitate “successful social integration according to local customs and mores” took precedence over parents’ wish to refuse”

56 Anoni January 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm

I would prefer a more straightforward method for driving the Orcs out of Europe. But if swimming lessons does the trick, then swimming lessons it is.

However, given the orc predilection for child rape (rotherham now has been repeated in other cities) I would want to oversee any mixed swimming lessons with my own child with a weapon.

57 Fazal Majid January 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm

It looks like the Law of Jante has spread beyond Scandinavia (though it must be noted the Netherlands are very Scandinavian-like themselves in many respects, including their own form of Jante).

58 Turkey Vulture January 12, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Moralists are annoying, whatever their particular cause, race, and country of origin.

59 Troll me January 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Are the anti-moralists not even more annoying? They can be at least as persistent, at least in some online locations, without even the benefit of there being any benefit to what they propose.

You’ll see it’s mostly brainwashing a lot fo the time though. The same folks who line up to shoot or imprison those who put substances into their bodies without permission from big pharma or its representatives, will then turn around and cry “nanny state … boo hoo” when some government MANDATES the unfreedom of calorie count information on menus of major chain restaurants.

60 January 12, 2017 at 8:56 pm

“without permission from big pharma or its representatives”


61 Troll me January 13, 2017 at 2:47 pm

All 5000 types of cancer, of course.

Or maybe just a few. Of course, there are no such things as silver bullets with cancer.

You know …. I think kids might not be that dumb and basically understand what the situation realistically is. But if you lie to them about one thing with intentional misinformation and manipulation, they might just conclude that you’re all round full of shit. Which is a problem for government legitimacy.

62 David C January 12, 2017 at 5:47 pm

The technical institute in Zürich, ETH, has also done research that shows the cowbells are harmful to cows. Never mind, this is a huge part of how the Swiss think nature should be. The local residents say in citizenship plays out very differently from Canton to Canton. Schwyz is famous for the case of a university professor who had lived in Switzerland for 40 years and whose children were all educated in Swiss schools and had Swiss citizenship. His application was turned down because he couldn’t name enough immediate neighbors who were friends. Those connections in Zürich didn’t count.

63 leppa January 12, 2017 at 7:21 pm

This part of it seems worse.
“And in 2014 an American expat who had lived in Switzerland for 43 years had his citizenship application turned down as it was judged he wasn’t sufficiently integrated – he could not name lakes in his canton or the largest employer in his town.”
Clearly ignorance is not bliss.

64 Post-Truth Politics January 12, 2017 at 7:50 pm


65 Post-Truth Politics January 12, 2017 at 7:51 pm

People should be able to name the cows where they live, if they want citizenship.

66 cw January 12, 2017 at 8:38 pm

It would be better for everyone if rule of law Trumped personal feelings.

67 The Anti-Gnostic January 12, 2017 at 11:33 pm

Citizenship is property or it is nothing, and it is eminently civilized to allow people to vote on who their neighbors will be.

68 Chris January 12, 2017 at 11:37 pm

The Swiss obviously believe that Swiss citizenship should only include people who are, for all practical purposes, Swiss already, and that it is not solely a series of legal benefits to hand out to whoever asks for it. It may be pretty extreme, but I have no problem with it. In Switzerland, the cantons are still very powerful and much politics is local. They are trying to preserve their way of life. Good for them.

69 John Mansfield January 13, 2017 at 10:32 am

On a slight tangent, physicist Paul Dirac was born in England, but his Swiss immigrant father was not a British citizen, so Dirac was not a British citizen either. This made some scholarship opportunities unavailable to Dirac until his father became naturalized when Dirac was 17. Dirac’s mother was British, but that didn’t matter.

70 Adam Mhrez January 17, 2017 at 1:20 am

It may be pretty extreme, but I have no problem with it. In Switzerland, the cantons are still very powerful and much politics is local. They are trying to preserve their way

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