A British man who has lived most of his life in Switzerland missed out on Swiss citizenship recently when he failed his citizenship test.
— Blick (@Blickch) 3 juin 2018
Anyone with children in the Swiss school system will know how tough Swiss marking can be. 94% does not get you the top grade of 6 in a school test. It seems Swiss citizenship examinations follow a similarly tough line.
Despite fluency in two Swiss languages (French and German), Daniel Lewis didn’t know the canton of origin of the dishes raclette (Valais and the French region of Savoie) or capuns (Graubunden). In addition, he didn’t know the result of a referendum, the population of his municipality of Freienbach (16,196), or have sufficient knowledge of the Swiss political or military systems, according to the newspaper Blick.
Lewis told the newspaper: “I’m not an expat living in my own world. I live only here. Switzerland is my home and I want to stay here. They told me before that it was an informal conversation to get to know me better”. Instead it was an oral exam.
- Becoming Swiss is about to get harder (Le News)
- Becoming Swiss – Vaud publishes new general knowledge questions (Le News)
At the beginning of 2018 new rules on Swiss naturalisation were introduced. Only C-permit holders can now apply. There are also new language and integration requirements.
The canton of Vaud recently published a list of questions for its citizenship examiners. The list contains 128 questions which can be extended by an additional 32 commune level ones. Running through the list it becomes clear that few Swiss would pass such a test with flying colours.
In addition, Freienbach has a reputation for being a difficult place to become Swiss. According to Blick, Swiss footballer Josip Drmić, who has Croatian parents, only succeeded after three attempts. After spending six years at a football school in Zurich, he was considered too Zurich focused, according to the newspaper.
In the end it seems that even an in depth knowledge of Swiss cuisine, geography and politics might not be enough in some places.