On 7 October 1998, the sculpture “Tolerance, Balance & Equality” by the sculptor Joachim Bandau was ceremoniously unveiled on the theatre forecourt named the Platz der Deutschen Einheit (Square of German Unity) in 2010 in Osnabrück. The design by the professor of sculpture at the Münster Academy of Art had prevailed over the works of four other high-ranking artists in a competition organised by the City of Osnabrück and the citizens’ initiative Herrenteichslaischaft. On the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia, the city and the Laischaft had agreed after a long process to redesign the theatre forecourt. A sculpture was to be created in the centre of the square, which would not only lend the square a high artistic standard but also reflect the motto "Tolerance" in its various facets.
The abstractly designed sculpture is composed of a rectangular shape made of soft copper and a semi-circular element made of hard steel. The parts, each weighing eleven tonnes, stand in an interconnected equilibrium: they hold each other, yet remain untouched in their independence.
A decisive quality is the spatiality of the artwork. It is found as a connecting point between the theatre built in Art Nouveau style, the Romanesque cathedral and the classicist bishop's chancellery. At the same time, it also establishes an historical reference. The location forms the seam between the episcopal (Catholic) sphere of influence and the bourgeois Protestant sphere. The sculpture symbolically balances both spaces and thus recalls, among other things, the religious conflicts at the time of the Thirty Years' War.
The Osnabrück Theatre
Until the present theatre was built at the Domhof (Cathedral courtyard) between 1908 and 1909, the Ratsgymnasium school stood on this site. Founded in 1595 as the Protestant counterpart to the Catholic grammar school Carolinum, the school moved to the premises of the former Boeselager'sche Kurie, a noble residence at the Domhof, in 1817. In 1906, the school moved to its present building at Schlosswall. The old location has been the site of the Osnabrück Theatre ever since. After severe damage during the Second World War, the theatre was able to resume operations in December 1945. With its five sections - drama, music theatre, dance, the Osnabrück Symphony Orchestra and the Young People's Theatre - the theatre often takes up the theme of peace in its programmes.