Published Tuesday, 17 September 2013
He is only the second in a decade to receive the accolade following Dame Mary Peters in May.
The 68-year-old was hailed a hero as a motion recognising his "extraordinary contribution" received unanimous support at a specially convened meeting of Belfast City Council on Monday night.
Reacting to the news, the singer posted on his website on Tuesday: "Belfast is my home.
"It is where I first heard the music that influenced and inspired me, it is where I first performed and it is somewhere I have referred back to many times in my songwriting over the past fifty years.
I am delighted and honoured to receive the Freedom of the City and would like to thank all those who made it possible, the Lord Mayor, the Councillors and the people of Belfast.
Former DUP Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson, nominated Morrison for the accolade for the positive image the musician's work had created for the area.
He said: "This is the time for Van Morrison's home city to recognise the international impact of a Belfast legend, an east Belfast hero and one of our own."
Belfast Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir, who first mooted the idea of recognising the singer, said: "This is very much a symbol of the great esteem and respect all of us have for Van Morrison."
It has not yet been decided how Belfast City Council plans to confer the honour but it is expected that a civic ceremony will happen next year and a public concert has not been ruled out.
Van, real name George Ivan Morrison, has a career in music spanning over 50 years, with his local city inspiring many of his hits including Cypress Avenue and Hyndford Street.
He became a mainstream hit with Brown Eyed Girl on his second album 'Moondance' in 1967.
He still plays in Northern Ireland regularly and his next performances will be two nights at the Europa Hotel in October.
Van Morrison has won six Grammy Awards, a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music and places in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Queen's University and University of Ulster also bestowed him with honorary doctorates and he previously received an OBE for services to music.
© UTV News