So, you have entered Sweden and are invited over to a Swede’s home. You are a bit nervous because you’re not used to Swedish culture and customs yet. You ring the doorbell and your Swedish friend opens the door for you. You say “Hej!”, your friend says “Nämen, hejjj! Välkommen in!”
What do you do once you have stepped over the oversized door sill onto a fine door mat? Right. You take off your shoes and place them carefully in front of the vast shoe collection sorted in a practical two level sko hylla under the coat rack.
Now is the moment of truth. If you’re not used to taking off your shoes at home, you want to make sure not to embarrass yourself with socks that not only look like Swiss cheese but maybe even smell like it.
So make sure to always wear a pair of fresh, immaculate socks.
Some Swedes want to show their fashion sense of humor by wearing socks that are red, light blue, acid green or a striped combination of those. But you should play the safe card here, choose black, and and not start gambling with eye-exhausting color combinations.
Fine dress and suit – but no shoes
Now, imagine you’re invited to a dinner with your friends. Dress code: formal (although you want to party at a club later). Do you think you could keep your freshly polished, shiny leather shoes or your favorite high heels on at the party? Of course not. Your in Sweden. Everyone has to leave their shoes at the entrance and expose their most-southern body port to everyones eyes – and often also to a cold floor.
You might think, but what if I brought a pair of my own house shoes. Sure! Go ahead! I have a pair in my car, just in case.
House shoes on pre-parties
You should probably not consider bringing a pair of house shoes to pre-party with students. That could be a little embarrassing. The linoleum floor in the students’ dorm rooms really isolates well and gives you great walking comfort.
Although, you might wish you had chosen house shoe embarrassment over discomfort, once you have stepped into beer spill.
Useful Swedish phrases and words
- sko hylla – shoe rack
- Välkommen in! – Welcome in!
- Ta av dig skorna! – Take off your shoes!
More ways to Swedishness, read the book: How to be Swedish – A Quick Guide to Swedishness – in 55 Steps, here on Amazon