The musician, originally named Gordon Sumner, accepted the honor at a special ceremony.
He was surrounded by family and friends at the Exchange 1856 building in North Shields.
Sting told the audience how proud he was and that North Tyneside meant a lot to him.
Sting said: “I feel a constant gratitude for the place where I was born and raised. I have the gift of knowing exactly where I come from and who I am.”
“Know thyself,” said the philosopher, and do not get carried away.
“For me, I have come full circle to the river that birthed me and the community that raised me.
“I hope that I continue to represent myself, my friends and my community and not let you down – that’s a promise.”
After the award was first presented in 2010, the official ceremony was put on hold due to Sting’s demanding touring schedule.
It was only recently, during a chance encounter with councilor Frank Lott at a Newcastle United game, that the opportunity finally arose to recognize Sting’s outstanding achievements.
The elected Mayor of North Tyneside, Dame Norma Redfearn DBE, added a few words at the end of the ceremony.
She said: “We are very proud to welcome Sting home to North Tyneside to accept the award in the beautifully transformed Exchange 1856 building.”
Get the latest news, sport and entertainment straight to your device for just £3 for 3 months, click Here
Spring House Farm Shop in North Yorkshire has new owners
Striking Go North East staff stage “vocal protest” at Gateshead depot
Maya Chappell LIVE: Trial jury deliberates verdicts
“The venue will play a key role in supporting the next wave of musical and artistic talent as part of our North Shields Cultural Quarter.”
“I’m delighted that Sting will be the first artist to take the stage for this special occasion.”
The Freedom of the Borough Award is the highest honor a local authority can bestow and recognizes the 72-year-old’s achievements, his lasting impact on the global music landscape and his commitment to North Tyneside.