The chemistry of heterocyclic carbenes has experienced a rapid development over the last years. In addition to the imidazolin-2-ylidenes, a large number of cyclic diaminocarbenes with different ring sizes have been described. Aside from diaminocarbenes, P-heterocyclic carbenes, and derivatives with only one, or even no heteroatom within the carbene ring are known. New methods for the synthesis of complexes with N-heterocyclic carbene ligands such as the oxidative addition or the metal atom template controlled cyclization of β-functionalized isocyanides have been developed recently. This review summarizes the new developments regarding the synthesis of N-heterocyclic carbenes and their metal complexes.