The German public affairs sector has experienced considerable growth and noticeable changes since the millennium including the shift of the government seat from Bonn to Berlin. For a long time, public affairs was characterised by an effectively tripartite system composed of an interplay among state, economy and trade unions. Nowadays, observers recognise the emergence of a multitude of new players in this field and a fundamental change to a highly fragmented and extensive public affairs landscape. This development brought new challenges to the profession of interest representation. ‘Lobbying’ has become a highly discussed topic in the public debate carrying a rather negative connotation. Do we notice an increasing lack of transparency due to a multitude of players? How can we win back trust? First, this paper describes the need for interest representation and the necessity of defining political conditions for the public affairs sector within Germany. Second, the paper focuses on the development of the profession and addresses issues relating to the changes that have taken place in the course of time. Lastly, this article concludes with an evaluation of how public affairs and politics cope with the rising external and internal pressures in order to address current challenges and provide an outlook for future directions. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.