The elicitation of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) is considered crucial for an effective, preventive HIV-1 vaccine. Led by the discovery of a new generation of potent bnAbs, the field has significantly advanced over the past decade. There is a wealth of knowledge about the development of bnAbs in natural infection, their specificity, potency, breadth and function. Yet, devising immunogens and vaccination regimens that evoke bnAb responses has not been successful. Where are the roadblocks in their development? What can we learn from natural infection, where bnAb induction is possible but rare? Herein, we will reflect on key discoveries and discuss open questions that may bear crucial insights needed to move towards creating effective bnAb vaccines.