A woman passes by a poster of the rightwing Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) which shows hands taking Swiss passports, in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, April 28, 2008. EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI


Frenchman’s Swiss naturalisation bid rejected for ‘mowing his lawn on public holidays’


Switzerland seems to have stricter citizenship laws than the rest of Europe; one man saw his naturalisation request denied for mowing his lawn during public holidays, allegedly disturbing his neighbours and the public peace.

The French resident of Clos du Doubs in the Porrentruy district was turned down at a communal assembly on April 3, Le Quotidien Jurrasien reported.

The unnamed 50-year-old from Paris has lived in the Swiss Jura area for more than a decade.

“I am anchored in the Jura region. I want to be able to express my opinion in federal votes. For me, it’s a logical next step,” he told the Swiss newspaper.

The municipal assembly decided – narrowly – against him being allowed to do so. In a close vote, 11 members said they approved his naturalisation, six abstained but 13 opposed it.

One of the opponents said the Parisian was “rarely seen” in his community. Another complained he disturbed the peace by mowing his lawn and gardening on public holidays.

The man’s family home’s lengthy construction period, around 10 years, was another issue causing further dismay for his neighbours, it was claimed. It was said that during stormy periods, debris would frequently end up striking nearby properties.

Regarding the application denial, local Mayor Jean-Paul Lachat told Le Quotidien Jurrasien: “This is the first time I’ve been confronted with such a situation,” adding he was not happy with the vote and had never received any complaint about the Frenchman.

Swiss newspaper Blick noted it was not the first time such strict measurements regarding naturalisation have been applied in the country.

Earlier this year, the Federal Administrative Court of St Gallen decided that another Frenchman, who had lived in Switzerland for 40 years, was not eligible for a Swiss passport because he had been fined for driving at 80kph in a 40kph zone.

According to the Swiss Nationality Ordinance, anyone with a criminal record is considered to be “not successfully integrated”.

In 2021, a 47-year-old German received a warning from his municipality in Neerach for reportedly failing to greet his neighbours.

The local administrative court contacted the Neerach authorities and, following that, the man was successfully naturalised.