Scholarly interest in the study of state borders and border regions is growing in Europe, keeping pace with the remarkable changes associated with the transformation of old borders and the creation of new ones in the European Union and beyond over the last fifteen years. Social scientists have increasingly examined cross-border co-operation in order to understand the changes which affect European borderlands. Ironically, given the recent turn to issues of culture and identity in the social sciences, one of the most neglected aspects of the critical and comparative analysis of cross-border co-operation has been culture. This essay presents three modes in the analysis of culture and cross-border co-operation as a tentative way forward to redress this imbalance. These overlapping perspectives, on cultures of co-operation, co-operation about culture, and the impact of culture on forms of co-operation, are offered as possible strategies in the comparative social science of European borderlands.