The Popcorn Stand: Citizenship doesn’t ring with this woman |

The Popcorn Stand: Citizenship doesn’t ring with this woman

I don’t know what to think about this story. Nancy Holten, who has lived in Switzerland for 33 years, has been denied citizenship in that country — because of her hatred of cowbells.

Actually the story’s a little more complicated than that. At first I sympathized with Holten because I can’t stand cowbells. Especially at sporting events. When I hear the clanging of cowbells while I’m trying to watch a game somewhere, it makes me cringe.

But Holten’s reason for disliking cowbells is far different than mine. It seems she thinks cowbells are actually harmful to cows because they’re loud and heavy. She thinks they should be outlawed.

But it’s not just cowbells. She’s also upset with the church bells that ring near her home early in the morning.

It seems the complaining has taken its toll. (I have to admit I didn’t come up with that line, although I wished I did).

You see in Switzerland, citizenship requests are decided by local residents of the person who’s applying for citizenship, not the Swiss government. And Holten has ticked off enough of her neighbors that they denied her citizenship when they took a vote.

But the decision to deny Holten citizenship has sparked some controversy as well as there are those who live near Holten who say she should have freedom of speech and shouldn’t be denied citizenship — no matter how annoying her complaints are.

Whatever the case, whenever this community where Holten lives has a dance, chances are she’s not going to be the “Bell of the Ball.”

— Charles Whisnand