Metal or metal oxide nanoparticles possess unique features compared to equivalent larger-scale materials. For applications, it is often necessary to stabilize or functionalize such nanoparticles. Thus, modification of the surface of nanoparticles is an important chemical challenge. In this survey, various possibilities are discussed how nanoparticles can be protected by organic ligands and how these ligands can be used to introduce functionalities. The preparative possibilities include grafting of an already functionalized ligand on the nanoparticle surface, exchanging part or all existing ligands on the nanoparticle surface, or grafting of a ligand on a nanoparticle followed by modification by organic chemical reactions.