Germans expect their theaters to provide more than just entertainment. Not only young Brecht assumed that; Lessing's plans to establish a national theater in Hamburg were also tied to the hope that one day the Germans would not just be a nation but be a "nation of culture". He was convinced that theater would play a central and supportive part in that. Are these great expectations of the theater in this country the German part of German theater? The institution in Germany has taken an exceptional position in the cultural system for a long time. But: Does that overtax the theater? Does it want to - and can it - be more than "evening entertainment"? And how does this problem present itself in view of the more recent history of the theater?