This paper unfolds around an empirical experiment, which aimed to reveal the meaning of industrial culture and place attachment of local inhabitants of Chemnitz. The central argument of the article is that industrial culture is usually understood in a historicizing and aestheticizing way, fuelled by the possibilities to valorise the legacies of the age of industrialization and its persistent artefacts and structures for marketing or musealization purposes. This frequently observable urban strategy neglects the memories, experiences and emotions of local inhabitants, and thus fails to support positive identification processes with connection to the industrial past of a specific place. This paper elaborates a conceptual definition of industrial culture as a complex approach with tangible and intangible dimensions, various temporal layers and multiple, sometimes controversial narratives. It discusses the role of industrial culture for regional and local image building and place related identity formation and demonstrates – reporting from an empirical experiment–, how individual counter-narratives can be detected, visualized and transferred and thus can increase reflexivity of society and support regional identity processes.