Laser holmium belongs to a family of rare earth doped ions emitting in the near or mid-IR spectral range. Its 2.1 μm laser emission has potential applications in many fields as will be discussed below. In this review we will concentrate on the following topics: A. General characteristics of Ho3+ laser and hosts. B. Significant milestones in holmium laser development. C. Mechanism of basic processes. D. Engineering considerations E. Applications F. Trends and future. A. General Characteristics The main characteristics of holmium laser are as follows: 1-A. Its emission wavelength originates from the 517→518 transition (≈2.1 μm) 2-A. The main laser hosts used are: oxide crystals such as YAG (Y3Al5O12), YAlO3 or fluorides such as YLF (YLiF4) or HoBaYb28. 3-A. Energy sensitizers such as Cr3+, Tm3+, Er3+ are used in order to increase the laser efficiency and to better utilize the lamp emission spectrum. 4-A. Holmium laser needs liquid nitrogen cooling for efficient operation. At ambient temperature it behaves as a quasi three-level system with high lasing threshold and low slope efficiency. 5-A. The laser can be operated both in CW or pulsed modes. 6-A. It has high gain cross section and a long lifetime of 5I7 level which results in an efficient Q-switched operation. 7-A. Applications: Medical Free space communication Eye-safe range finders or Target illuminators Remote sensing Tunable operational amplifier The most popular hosts for holmium laser are the aPHo:YAG (erbium-thulium-sensitized Ho:YAG) and aPHo:YLF. Tables 1 and 2 summarize the mechanical and optical properties of YLF, YAG and GSGG (gadolinium scandium galium garnet), respectively. The mechanical and thermal properties of YAG are better than those of GSGG and superior relative to YLF - see Table 1. From Table 2 it is inferred that YLF has a negative derivative of its refraction index with temperature, implying that YLF may show a lower thermal lensing effect than YAG in spite of its lower thermal conductivity. YLF does not exhibit uv induced damage (solarization) as is the case in YAG, and has lower multiphonon rates.