Besides posing for topless photos with her cat, Nancy enjoys promoting her vegan lifestyle. Holten, who originated from the Netherlands, has been living in Switzerland for about 30 years. She also has two children who were born in Switzerland. So, naturally, she wanted to become a Swiss citizen herself. She applied twice for a Swiss passport and was denied.
Her passport was denied because of her incessant campaigning about the use of cowbells and other Swiss traditions that involve animals. She had even gone on TV to talk about why she thinks they shouldn’t be used.
“The sound that cowbells make is a hundred decibel. It is comparable to a pneumatic drill. We also would not want such a thing hanging close to our ears,” Holten has said. “The animals carry around five kilograms around their neck. It causes friction and burns to their skin.”
But cows being fitted with bells has been a long running tradition in the nation. The cows are often paraded through town wearing flowers and these large bells. But they also serve a functional purpose. When the cattle are left to graze in meadows, the cowbell helps farmers keep track of them.
Most of the residents from Gipf-Oberfrick in the canton of Aargau have blocked Holten’s second attempt to get her Swiss citizenship. In Switzerland, the residents can have a say in who becomes a naturalized citizen. There is a vote conducted by the townspeople in a referendum. In a 2015 referendum on Holten’s citizenship, 144 out of 206 people voted against Holten’s request. Now, the second attempt was blocked, even though local authorities approved the request.
Citizens of Gipf-Oberfrick are even madder about the situation because of all the press attention she’s getting. Even a local politician, Tanja Suter, came out and agreed with the townspeople. She said that Holten had a “big mouth,” and that she didn’t deserve citizenship “if she irritates us and does not respect our traditions.”
Since it involves an animal, Holten is probably against this one as well. Cow fighting in Switzerland is a thing. It happens all over the country, and usually there is little blood involved. Humans only step in when things get a bit out of hand. But cows are naturally territorial and love to fight. For the best cow fight, you want to watch one with Herens cows, which are particularly feisty.
This festival, known as Chalandamarz, happens on March 1, and the local boys will parade through the town with these giant cowbells and try to make as much noise as possible. They do this to chase out winter. If little kids can handle holding that cowbell, it's likely that an animal who weighs two tons will probably not mind the extra 11 pounds that much.
12. Cowbells Have Been Banned In Other Parts Of The Country
Despite being the least popular person in her Swiss town (and maybe the country) there is still a chance that Holten may get her passport. Her case has been moved to a higher court in Aargau, which can overrule the town’s decision to deny her passport.