Nanoparticles play a crucial role in the development of advanced materials and devices. The reason lies in the fact that particles just a few nanometres in size exhibit different chemical and physical properties compared to the bulk material. The wide variety of applications of metal oxides in catalysis, sensing, energy storage and conversion, optics and electronics moved this class of materials into the centre of interest of materials science. In order to obtain metal oxides in form of nanoparticles with well-defined shape, size and crystallinity, the traditional synthesis routes are hardly suited, and novel innovative strategies have to be developed. In comparison to the complex aqueous chemistry, the synthesis of metal oxide nanoparticles in organic solvents offers the possibility to better understand and to control the reaction pathways on a molecular level, enabling a rational synthesis design for inorganic nanoparticles based on organic chemistry.