I like shoes. I also master the useful skill of finding good reasons to buy yet another pair of shoes. One of my colleagues even asked whether I have already booked a shipping container for my shoes, when I was arranging the moving.
However, shoes belong to the outside and they are to be taken off when entering the house. Period. Or so I thought. These funny people in the Netherlands also wear them inside. And yes, they are the same shoes that you are wearing outside. First I thought it must be a weather thing, maybe here it isn't tons of gravel and snowy mash that is coming with your shoes to the indoors. But as a matter of fact, the weather can be quite muddy sometimes. Then I thought that well maybe people have some exceptions like winter shoes - you wouldn't want to wear those big sheep wool boots inside, right? But apparently, also those kind of shoes are perfectly fine wearing indoors when going to a party.
I still find it a bit weird, when the Dutch guy comes home and sits down to the sofa with a cup of tea - while wearing his shoes! He can also cook with his shoes. Amazing skills :) Of course, it works the other way around too. We were visiting a birthday party in Finland, and of course with all the entrance hassle I forgot to remind that in Finnish homes you are supposed to take the shoes off. Luckily the I spotted this early, and I sent him downstairs before anyone noticed this grande etiquette mistake :)
I also feel a bit uncomfortable and non-relaxed with wearing my shoes all the time. Visiting somebody's home I feel like I am half way out of the door all the time if having my shoes on. It would be like wearing a outdoor jacket at a party, all the time ready to go. I also am not quite sure what would happen if I would just take my shoes off when entering somebody's house. Would people think that it's just the weird Finnish girl, trying to ignore my unusual habits? At the Dutch Guy's parents I have luckily gotten to a point, where I am offered a pair of slippers when going there. Then I can sit on the sofa with my legs bent up without having to think whether the shoes from the outdoor are making stains everywhere. Funniest thing happened few weeks ago, when we had some people over. We were making preparations, and suddenly the Dutch Guy started putting his shoes on and I thought he is going to the supermarket to get something that we forgot. But no, he was of course putting his shoes on.. without even the intention of going outside.
Usually at the house, we are not wearing shoes (maybe I have detoxed the Dutch Guy also?). And for Christmas, we got nice indoor shoes, the one and only Finnish Reino's. These can also in rare emergencies be worn outside.. but not preferred. Life would be absolutely perfect, if I could also take them to the office, but I think the Dutch society is not ready for that yet ;)
So, when visiting somebody in the Netherlands, please wear your shoes. It is perfectly OK. And when visiting someone in Finland, please don't wear shoes inside. It is weird.