Lignin, a major component of lignocellulose, is the largest source of aromatic building blocks on the planet and harbors great potential to serve as starting material for the production of biobased products. Despite the initial challenges associated with the robust and irregular structure of lignin, the valorization of this intriguing aromatic biopolymer has come a long way: recently, many creative strategies emerged that deliver defined products via catalytic or biocatalytic depolymerization in good yields. The purpose of this review is to provide insight into these novel approaches and the potential application of such emerging new structures for the synthesis of biobased polymers or pharmacologically active molecules. Existing strategies for functionalization or defunctionalization of lignin-based compounds are also summarized. Following the whole value chain from raw lignocellulose through depolymerization to application whenever possible, specific lignin-based compounds emerge that could be in the future considered as potential lignin-derived platform chemicals.