Customs in the Home, Stockholm
Just a simple tip.
When visiting someone's house in Sweden (and I've found the same in other Scandinavian countries) you take off your shoes when entering their house. There is usually a space just inside the door for you to place you shoes.
In Australia (where I live) you usually only take your shoes off if they're really dirty (caked in mud or something). But here, no matter how clean your shoes are, you take them off, it is the respectful thing to do.
This applied also at the hostel I stayed at (City Backpackers), but not all hostels require you to take off your shoes.
As most of you may know, the Scandinavian tribes are descendants of the Vikings, whose first recorded attack, in England, was in a.d. 793.
The remains of several hundred Viking Age boats have been found in Scandinavia, mostly used as burial chambers. The great majority are small rowing boats, represented only by rusting rivets. Some larger vessels were used for more prestigious burials, and they demonstrate a range of ship types. These include a classic, early tenth-century shallow draft longship, well suited to raiding far up river systems, found at Ladby on Fünen, Denmark, and coastal cruising vessels recovered in a good state of preservation at Gokstad and Oseberg on Oslo fjord. More recently wrecks have revealed an ever-increasing variety of ferries and cargo ships. They are often recovered partly preserved in harbor silts, as at Hedeby (Schleswig-Holstein), or even where they were deliberately sunk to form blockages in vulnerable water routes as at Skuldelev in Roskilde Fjord, Zealand, Denmark. They show that bigger ships were being built at the end of the Viking Age, although the clinker type of construction remained constant throughout the era. The Skuldelev ships include a vessel built in Viking-controlled Dublin in ca. 1060, offering striking testimony to the vital links the sea provided.
Shoes of or on?
It's not ONE cultural behaviour in Stockholm. There's a range of different behavioural settings, different national cultures, social group codes, age differencies, various sub cultures, etc.
I read a cultural tip here on VT where someone said that suedes always take off their shoes when entering someones home. Some people always do, even if it's a dinner/party occasion, other people either like or accept strangers in socks, and expect you to keep your shoes on especially if it's a dinner/dinnerparty/party. To take shoes off could be intepreted as too intimate, as if you are family member. Very different codes! If you're not sure, ASK!
In my home people may do as they like. On a party I myself prefer (and almost demand) to keep on my high heels, not socks, folks, who are you??
Really proper behaviour is, as always, to do just like what people in that group expect and accept. Thats the difficult part with new friends.
Here's a tip, it's really ridiculous:
If you want to have shoes on, bring what we call 'inne-skor' (indoor shoes). The thing, if you want to keep your nice looks or whatever and want shoes on, bring an extra pair of shoes in your bag. Openly switch to them in the hall - and these shoes suddenly (everyday life magic!) become and get accepted as 'indoor shoes' - never used on the street, indeed.
If you're invited to a dinner, even a simple weekday one, it's always polite to contribute with a bottle of wine, if you think you'll have wine at dinner. If you don't know about their wine habits, and don't like wine yourself, and don't know them that well, bring the bottle anyway. Always. At least the first time you visit. Later on you know them better.
Let's face it: Swedes have special habits, just like every other nationality. One thing is that we always take our shoes of when entering a home.
It's ok to look into someones eyes while talking to him/her - not offending like in some other countries.
The vast majority speaks english, some speak german and a few speaks french.
(The picture's from my home)
If you ever get invited to dinner or just for a coffee in your friends' flat/house, it is wise to take off your shoes / footwear after entering the house. The locals are used not to wear shoes inside the house, you can still wear your socks though... ;) probably it is because winter - snow occurs a lot in the country and if you wear your shoes it will be quite messy, even if you have tried to clean up the snow traces outside the door..
If you visit a Swedish home, be prepared to take off your shoes. It is customary to remove your shoes when you enter a home. I am told that the reason for this is to keep the wood floors (that can be found in most Swedish homes) clean and undamaged. So make sure you have on nice socks!
It is something typical Scandinavian that you see candle light when it is dark in the winter. When the sky is not completely black it is very picturesque. Yellow and blue mix in a full harmony.