With the detection of relativistic broad emission lines in MCG 6-30-15 (Tanaka 1995) X-ray observations have become an important tool to test the direct environment of black holes.
XMM-Newton observations were the basis of remarkable progress in different directions in recent years. On the one side the birth and the growth of black holes could be addressed in detail. On the other side several observations allowed the study of the strong gravitational field in the vicinity of black holes.
The talk provides an overview of XMM-Newton observations of black holes: starting from the creation of stellar-mass black holes, through mass growth via accretion disks and occasional tidal disruption events, up to intermediate and supermassive black holes in the centre of active and non-active galaxies. Special attention will be given to the achieved status in the determination of the measurable quantities of black holes, i.e. mass and spin.