This study examines how different contextual, structural and functioning characteristics of clusters influence their performance. Hereto, we develop a conceptual framework that identifies potential influencing factors, validate it statistically and estimate the impact of the variables on cluster performance using PLS structural equation modelling. Our results show that important determinants of cluster performance are, among others, long-term planning security and procedural trust between the cooperating firms (contextual conditions), formalized rules and sustainable structures (structural elements) and clear goals and tasks (functioning characteristics). Our results do not only modify general assumptions in cluster research concerning drivers of cluster performance, but also help firms and policymakers to conceptualize successful clusters.