Swedish borrowed very extensively from Low German in the middle ages due to the economic domination of German merchants of the Hanseatic League. That's for example why we say stad whereas Danish and Norwegian still say by. I like to say that Swedish is essentially the bastard child of Old Norse's affair with Low German. :p
I think this is actually a misperception. There are a lot of Swedish cultural references throughout the course. In the geography part, of course we want to teach the names of our neighbor countries and some countries our students might come from. But as a whole, the course is more about Sweden than any other country (while trying not to exclude Finland, where there's an important Swedish-speaking minority).