The relationship between syn- to post-collisional orogenic shortening and stresses transmitted from other neighboring plate boundaries is important for understanding the kinematics of mountain belts, but has received little attention so far. The Apuseni Mountains are an example of an orogen in the interference zone between two other subduction systems located in the external Carpathians and Dinarides. This interference is demonstrated by the results of a combined thermochronological and structural field study that quantifies the post-collisional latest Cretaceous-Tertiary evolution. The exhumation history derived from apatite fission track and (U-Th)/He thermochronology indicates that the present-day topography of the Apuseni Mountains originates mainly from latest Cretaceous times, modified by two tectonic pulses during the Paleogene. The latter are suggested by cooling ages clustering around ∼45 Ma and ∼30 Ma and the associated shortening recorded along deep-seated fault systems. Paleogene exhumation pulses are similar in magnitude (∼3.5 km) and are coeval with the final collisional phases recorded in the Dinarides and with part of the Carpathian rotation around the Moesian promontory. These newly quantified Paleogene exhumation and shortening pulses contradict the general view of tectonic quiescence, subsidence and overall sedimentation for this time interval. The Miocene collapse of the Pannonian Basin did not induce significant regional exhumation along the western Apuseni flank, nor did the subsequent Carpathian collision. This is surprising in the overall context of Pannonian Basin formation and its subsequent inversion, in which the Apuseni Mountains were previously interpreted as being significantly uplifted in both deformation stages. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.