Unravelling the history of the Milky Way

I will review our current knowledge of how the Milky Way might have assembled to the spiral galaxy we see today. In particular I will highlight the role of stellar kinematics and stellar elemental abundances (e.g., the amount of iron). The new possibilities offered of the new ESA satellite Gaia and massive groundbased follow up of Gaia will be discussed and how they will help test models of galaxy formation and evolution.