In the old industrial regions of the Ruhr District (Germany), Upper Silesia (Poland) and the Ostrava Region (Czech Republic), coal as well as iron and steel have been the economic basis for many decades. In the Ruhr District important changes already started at the end of the 1950s. In Upper Silesia and in the Ostrava Region, however, these processes started at the end of the 1980s together with the transformation of the economic and social system in these countries. Because of high unemployment, steps are taken to modernize the economy and to retrain employees. All three regions cannot develop out of their own strength, but there are programmes in order to support this process.