Alcobaça has a brilliant historical background linked to ceramics that highlights an important economic heritage. From the medieval barrister monks to the magnificent blue china, Alcobaça’s legacy was forged by both artisan potters and industrial and commercial entrepreneurs, and is still highly engrained within the Portuguese collective memory.
Throughout the 20th century, factories such as Raul da Bernarda, Olaria de Alcobaça, Elias & Paiva or Vestal, were founders of a local brand by diversifying their production and assimilating national and foreign trends carried out by the self-taught ceramic painters. The industry later incorporated the participation of erudite artists who would enhance a progressive modern production.
Entrepreneurs, technicians and creatives promoted continuous development that would provide a wide variety of possibilities. In this context of intense creativity and experimentation, the traditional imagery of the first half of the 20th century gave place, in the middle of the 21st century, to contemporary decorative objects. Renovated factories and new manufacturing units imposed themselves on the international market.
Nowadays, Alcobaça’s artistic ceramics industry dominates the sector on a national level with a set of twenty referenced companies that handle a revenue of many millions of euros with export rates, on average, above 90%. The crossover between design and high quality of the final art distinctively marks the industry’s success.
Preserving this historical memory remains the museological work of the Raul da Bernarda Museum (public) and the Museu de Cerâmica de Alcobaça (private) with their significant collections documenting the evolutionary periods of local decorative ceramics and promoting cultural initiatives that create value from a socio-educational, cultural and touristic point of view.
Mayor of Alcobaça
Ceramics is one of the most historic and significant activities in the region of Alcobaça. Strongly rooted in the local economy, ceramics has been one of the most resilient industrial sectors to several adverse contexts, showing a remarkable capacity for reinvention and modernization thanks to the entrepreneurship of our businessmen and workers. As a founding member of the Portuguese Association of Ceramic Cities and Towns, it is with great pride that the Municipality of Alcobaça contributes, alongside the other 17 municipalities, to the promotion of the sector and its social and historical impact.
Mayor of Alcobaça