This article celebrates 50 years of dependency grammar and valency theory. The development of both theories is traced historically and an overview of current problems and possible future developments is given. Section 1 poses basic questions of dependency grammar, which derive from the syntactic theory of L. Tesnière: his innovative analysis, developed decades before Chomsky's Syntactic Structures and Greenberg's Universals of Language, not only combines syntactic autonomy with a functional grounding, but also contains a typological perspective. Section 2 sketches a modern version of valency theory, tracing the discussion since Tesnière's Éléments de syntaxe structural and presenting much discussed topics such as the delimitation of complements from adjuncts and multi-dimensional valency models, but also more recent ideas such as typological-structural valency realisation, the interplay of construction and projection in the valency of polysemous verbs, semantic types of valency modification and historical valency change, i.e. the application of valency theory to non-standardised historical varieties. Section 3 addresses definitory problems of a pure dependency grammar, in particular criteria for establishing connexions between words and determining the regent (head), leading to a short comparison of the information contained in dependency and constituency representations. The article does not just take stock but in section 4 also develops ideas for the future development of syntactic theory by introducing constructionist elements into a projectionist framework and by adding the dimension of historical viability to synchronic syntactic theorising.