At two forest sites in Germany (Pfaffenwinkel , Pustert ) stocked with mature Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), we investigated changes of topsoil chemistry during the recent 40 years by soil inventories conducted on replicated control plots of fertilization experiments, allowing a statistical analysis. Additionally, we monitored the nutritional status of both stands from 1964 until 2019 and quantified stand growth during the monitoring period by repeated stand inventories. Moreover, we monitored climate variables (air temperature and precipitation) and calculated annual climatic water balances from 1991 to 2019. Atmospheric nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) deposition between 1964 and 2019 was estimated for the period 1969–2019 by combining annual deposition measurements conducted in 1985–1987 and 2004 with long‐term deposition records from long‐term forest monitoring stations. We investigated interrelations between topsoil chemistry, stand nutrition, stand growth, deposition, and climate trends. At both sites, the onset of the new millennium was a turning point of important biogeochemical processes. Topsoil acidification turned into re‐alkalinization, soil organic matter (SOM) accumulation stopped, and likely turned into SOM depletion. In the new millennium, topsoil stocks of S and plant‐available phosphorus (P) as well as S and P concentrations in Scots pine foliage decreased substantially; yet, age‐referenced stand growth remained at levels far above those expected from yield table data. Tree P and S nutrition as well as climate change (increased temperature and drought stress) have replaced soil acidification as major future challenges for both forests. Understanding of P and S cycling and water fluxes in forest ecosystems, and consideration of these issues in forest management is important for successfully tackling the new challenges. Our study illustrates the importance of long‐term forest monitoring to identify slow, but substantial changes of forest biogeochemistry driven by natural and anthropogenic global change.