Tissue-resident macrophages form an essential part of the first line of defense in all tissues of the body. Next to their immunological role, they play an important role in maintaining tissue homeostasis. Recently, it was shown that they are primarily of embryonic origin. During embryogenesis, precursors originating in the yolk sac and fetal liver colonize the embryonal tissues where they develop into mature tissue-resident macrophages. Their development is governed by two distinct sets of transcription factors. First, in the pre-macrophage stage, a core macrophage program is established by lineage-determining transcription factors. Under the influence of tissue-specific signals, this core program is refined by signal-dependent transcription factors. This nurturing by the niche allows the macrophages to perform tissue-specific functions. In the last 15 years, some of these niche signals and transcription factors have been identified. However, detailed insight in the exact mechanism of development is still lacking.