The square’s name refers to Jacobs’ school that was located here. The Van Humbeeck education law (1878) stipulated that the municipalities should have an official school and that they could no longer subsidise free schools. The school struggle erupted and a Catholic school committee was set up. A Catholic boys' school was established on the corner of the Sint-Antoniusstraat and the Leopoldstraat. A.F. Jacobs resigned from his position in the urban school and became headmaster of the new school.
The school grew so well that in 1894 it moved to the Warandestraat where, in the former Glénisson factory, it had twelve classrooms and a playground. The school was named Jacobs’ school after the head teacher.
Today the Jacobsmarkt is surrounded by recognised service flats, a few houses and apartments. The square between the back of the town hall and the Jacobsmarkt has also been completely refurbished. Here, you can view a work of art that refers to the graphical past of Turnhout.