In Europe most Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) mountain forests have been altered by human activities, leading to a lack of reference condition concerning their original structure. Nonetheless, remnants of Norway spruce primeval forests still exist in the Carpathians. Our objective was to assess the differences in structure between managed and unmanaged stands, concerning diameter distributions, amount of standing deadwood, spatial distributions and spatial structure of trees. We established four permanent plots: one in a virgin forest in the Eastern Carpathians and three in a previously managed forest in the Alps. In each plot, species, DBH, and position of the live and dead standing trees were collected. Spatial distribution and structure of all the trees was analysed through several indices. In the Carpathians forest there are clear signs of natural density-dependent mortality processes whereas in the Alpine plots such dynamics are less evident. In these latter plots, the lower snags volume and the random trees spatial distribution can be considered the legacies of past management. Nonetheless, despite the different history of the four stands, they all seem to converge towards a similar spatial structure with the presence of groups (30–40 m) of trees of similar size.