So far, ‘Industrial Culture’ as a term has been widely used as a synonym for industrial heritage. Only recently, a re-interpretation of industrial culture has been discussed, which goes beyond heritage issues by including contemporary or upcoming cultural and creative resources, addressing directly the future development opportunities of regions. Whilst some aspects of this conceptual framework of industrial culture are already applied in some places, there is no comprehensive outline available yet. In the academic field so far no coherent concept can be found. The aim of this thematic issue is to foster a discussion on the state-of-the-art regarding the conceptualisation of industrial culture. This thematic issue has gathered contributions that respond to the following questions: the different understandings of the concept of industrial culture; the role of industrial culture in the context of a post-industrial society and a knowledge-based economy; the connection between industrial culture, regional development and regional identity, as well as the inter-linkages between traditional industrial sectors and creative industries. The contributions in this issue focus strongly on the connection between the industrial past, present and future, bringing together different academic view points on the topic. The issue maps out current research topics and poses new questions on dealing with the wide topic of industrial culture.