[en] We present an overview of the recent developments concerning the spectroscopic properties of lanthanide atoms and ions (Z = 57-71). This review is focussed on the advances made during the past twenty years regarding the analysis of the spectra, the transition probabilities, the radiative lifetimes and also the hyperfine structures and isotope shifts. Theoretical aspects as well as experimental measurements are both covered in this paper including bibliographical references up to the end of 2001. Some astrophysical implications of the new atomic data concerning the chemical composition of the sun are briefly reviewed. Emphasis is also put on the new database D.R.E.A.M. developed on a web site of Mons University in Belgium.