Every Dane can recognize them: the three wavy blue lines on top of one another, representing the three bodies of water of Denmark: Øresund, the Great Belt, and the Little Belt. It is the mark of a piece of porcelain from Royal Copenhagen, an indispensable part of Danish heritage.

The Royal Copenhagen manufactory began in 1775 in a converted post office by a chemist named Franz Heinrich Müller who was given a 50-year monopoly by Queen Juliane Marie to create porcelain, or white gold, in a bid to boost the economy and quality of life for her people and establish Denmark as a name in porcelain production. The stunning blue and white patterns captivated Danes and secured the company’s position as a household name and status symbol.

Today Royal Copenhagen remains one of the most luxurious and desirable porcelain brands, and continues to represent Danish heritage, tradition, and trademark quality. And though they have updated their collections with contemporary styles and colour palettes to appeal to broader and more modern demographics, among their most enduring patterns is Pattern Number One, also known as Blue Fluted Plain, which has evolved in many forms over the centuries but always retained its demand for painstaking craft: a dinner plate in the classic Blue Fluted Half Lace pattern requires 1,197 brushstrokes – all by hand. Using highest-quality brushes of cows’ ears or reindeer belly, a blue painter spends four years in training before he is considered qualified to complete the long and complicated process of hand-painting the beloved designs.

This year Royal Copenhagen celebrates its 240th birthday and the company has made it clear that they are able to keep up with collectors and fans in the social media age: through print and digital release they published a catalogue and history lesson on the company and its designs as well as launching an online contest to steer the development of new collections. If the fans’ reception of these gestures is any indication of the future, Royal Copenhagen will endure as a point of pride for the Danes.