The stimulus for the development of modern, big wind turbines has been the world-wide oil crisis during the seventies. Although the horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) was the most popular type of wind turbine the Darrieus vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) has been recognized as a machine with competitive economic potential. The state of the art of the VAWT is reviewed. The wind turbine carrying the name of Darrieus was first proposed by the French inventor in 1925. His original patent covered a range of vertical-axis configurations but the term 'Darrieus' is now generally associated with the curved-blade geometry. In 1966 two researchers at the Canadian NRC again raised the idea of both the straight and curved-blade versions of the Darrieus VAWT.