This talk covers a range of van der Waals (vdW) transition metals that our group has been exploring over
the past few years. I will first present few examples which may exhibit a topological order with exotic excitations.
I will review t he spin S=1/2 Kitaev honeycomb model which has attracted significant attention, since emerging candidates such as RuCl3 have provided a playground to test non-Abelian anyons. The Kitaev model with higher spins may offer another path to a quantum spin liquid. I will present a microscopic theory of the spin S=1 Kitaev interaction in two-dimensional edge-shared octahedral systems. Candidate materials and generalization to higher spins including S=3/2 on CrI3 will be presented. I will then cover how to engineer a topological Kane-Mele-Hubbard model on transition metal vdW systems.