This review paper provides an overview of the literature for topology optimisation of fluid-based problems, starting with the seminal works on the subject and ending with a snapshot of the state of the art of this rapidly developing field. “Fluid-based problems” are defined as problems where at least one governing equation for fluid flow is solved and the fluid–solid interface is optimised. In addition to fluid flow, any number of additional physics can be solved, such as species transport, heat transfer and mechanics. The review covers 186 papers from 2003 up to and including January 2020, which are sorted into five main groups: pure fluid flow; species transport; conjugate heat transfer; fluid–structure interaction; microstructure and porous media. Each paper is very briefly introduced in chronological order of publication. A quantititive analysis is presented with statistics covering the development of the field and presenting the distribution over subgroups. Recommendations for focus areas of future research are made based on the extensive literature review, the quantitative analysis, as well as the authors’ personal experience and opinions. Since the vast majority of papers treat steady-state laminar pure fluid flow, with no recent major advancements, it is recommended that future research focuses on more complex problems, e.g., transient and turbulent flow.