Man denied Swiss citizenship for mowing during public holidays

Man denied Swiss citizenship for mowing during public holidays

A French man living in Canton Jura has had his application for Swiss citizenship rejected. The reason? He had “disturbed the peace” by mowing his lawn during public holidays.

French man applied for Swiss citizenship in Canton Jura

According to local newspaper Quotidien Jurassien, just over 10 years after he moved to the town of Clos du Doubs, the 50-year-old French citizen decided to swap out his Swiss residence permit and become naturalised. “I am anchored in the Jura territory. I want to be able to express my opinion during federal votes. For me, it’s a logical continuation,” he noted.

After getting approval at the cantonal and municipal level, his case was heard by locals on March 27, 2024. Unlike larger towns, which have dedicated and specialised naturalisation committees to hear cases, Clos du Doubs decides citizenship applications via a community assembly. 

There, locals are able to hear the case for someone to be granted citizenship, hear opinions against naturalisation, and ultimately vote on whether to give someone a Swiss passport

Citizenship denied over absences and mowing on holidays

Unfortunately for the man, his hearing was attended by a number of locals who vehemently opposed his naturalisation on the grounds that he had failed to integrate into the community and acted in a non-civil manner. At the final vote, 11 votes were cast in favour of citizenship, six abstained and 13 voted against him, denying him citizenship despite fulfilling all the requirements.

Speaking to reporters, the man detailed the case against him. He noted that one resident criticised the fact that he was rarely present in the town and that he was not seen regularly in the community. The man’s house was also grounds for opposition: under renovation for 10 years, debris from the repairs often got caught by the wind and landed in other people's gardens, further stoking tensions.

Finally, in one of the most astounding claims, one local complained that the man was “disturbing the peace” by moving his lawn and gardening during official public holidays. These complaints of “uncivil” behaviour were convincing enough for the assembly to deny his application.

Mayor of Clos du Doubs disappointed with citizenship vote

Speaking to Blick, the Mayor of Clos du Doubs, Jean-Paul Lachat said he was angry with the assembly’s decision, noting that the man had never received an official complaint from locals before the meeting. “This is the first time that I have been confronted with such a situation,” he admitted, adding that the local council wants the town to be welcoming to new residents, despite the assembly’s decision.

Instead of launching an appeal, the Frenchman said that he will now try and apply for Swiss citizenship elsewhere, though is unsure whether he will follow through. His case will now be joining other incidents where naturalisation in Switzerland was denied for the strangest reasons.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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