Biocatalysis has an enormous impact on chemical synthesis. The waves in which biocatalysis has developed, and in doing so changed our perception of what organic chemistry is, were reviewed 20 and 10 years ago. Here we review the consequences of these waves of development. Nowadays, hydrolases are widely used on an industrial scale for the benign synthesis of commodity and bulk chemicals and are fully developed. In addition, further enzyme classes are gaining ever increasing interest. Particularly, enzymes catalysing selective C-C-bond formation reactions and enzymes catalysing selective oxidation and reduction reactions are solving long-standing synthetic challenges in organic chemistry. Combined efforts from molecular biology, systems biology, organic chemistry and chemical engineering will establish a whole new toolbox for chemistry. Recent developments are critically reviewed.