Research objects of both regional and historical studies are situated in a (regional) society. The societal basis of both sciences makes it possible to find a middle way between atheoretical histories on the one hand and ahistorical social science on the other. This contribution sketches the relationship between the two domains of the sciences, arguing that a period of divergence (1890–1945) was subseded by a period of convergence (1945–1980). In the third quarter of the 20th century, historians were inspired by social scientific approaches and introduced explanatory models, as well as classifications and typologies in their methodologies. After the advances of social sciences and historical studies, institutional thinking became influential during the fourth quarter of the 20th century in disciplines like sociology, economy and political sciences. This opens up new possibilities for strengthening the connection between regional and historical studies. Institutional analysis offers a lens through which the history of regional development can be analyzed.