One hundred years of the Hubrecht Institute were celebrated in May 2016 with the organization of a one-day symposium "From embryos to stem cells" on the Uithof Campus, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Nine distinguished speakers were invited. They all represent a research branch originating from the passion of Institute founder, Ambrosius Hubrecht, for embryology:, regulation of gene expression, genome structure and function, embryonic and adult stem cells, nuclear reprogramming, and understanding cancer and other diseases using model organisms. The centennial symposium not only retraced the history of the Institute and of modern developmental biology, but was also a tribute to basic research. From there, avenues to therapeutics are being developed and implemented. The symposium was organized, introduced and chaired by Jeroen den Hertog and Alexander van Oudenaarden, the present Directors of the Institute, who also stand on Hubrecht's shoulders.