There are increasing discussions on theory dynamics in nursing research. We aimed at mapping the theoretical publication output by nursing researchers from the European German-speaking area. We conducted a focused mapping review and synthesis, focusing on nursing journals articles with a theory-related aim. We identified 32 eligible publications, reflecting 2% of the nursing journal articles affiliated with researchers from our target region. Twenty-one articles involved an inductive approach. Eleven articles intended to test or revise a theory. The theoretical publication output with a theory-related aim was low. Theory-building efforts were fragmented and mostly without reference to a meta-theoretical level.