Dutch woman wins Swiss passport ding dong

Nancy Holten holding up a newspaper with a headline saying she has her passport Image copyright Twitter/@NancyHolten
Image caption Nancy Holten is "just lit up with happiness", after learning she finally has a Swiss passport

Dutch-born Nancy Holten has finally been granted a Swiss passport, after being twice rejected by her community because of her views on animal rights and religious freedom, which left her branded a "troublemaker".

Ms Holten, 43, has lived in Switzerland since she was eight and campaigns actively for animal welfare, Le News website reported. She has objected to cow bells, a symbol of Swiss culture, as well as the ringing of church bells, local horse races, hunting, milk being given out in schools, and Sunday roasts.

This did not go down well in the rural commune of Gipf-Oberfrick where she lives, and residents argued that she was not sufficiently integrated into society - one of the requirements for citizenship - and rejected her application on those grounds, the Swiss Info website said.

She appealed to the higher Aargau cantonment authorities at the start of the year and, last week, they overruled the commune and granted her citizenship.

Ms Holten told Swiss Info she had not thought about the issue of integrating. "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," she said.

Having become a citizen, she says she now intends to go into politics.

Image copyright Twitter/@NancyHolten
Image caption Researchers have found that cowbells can deafen the animals and affect their feeding

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