Haagen is recorded as Chief of Police in Copenhagen during 1800-1809 and therefore over-saw a difficult period during the Napoleonic wars. At the time Denmark was pursuing a status of neutrality and had joined the League of Armed Neutrality with Russia, Sweden and Prussia. Unfortunately the British considered this a hostile act and attacked Copenhagen in both 1801 and more devastatingly in 1807, in a pre-emptive strike to seize the Danish-Norwegian fleet. The British landed 30,000 men and surrounded Copenhagen, the attack lasting three days and resulting in the death of at least 2,000 civilians and the destruction of large parts of the city. Haagen must have been placed in an impossible position as the city was subjected to a bombardment of rockets which caused mass destruction and heavy fires.
The present portrait shows the influence of such Danish artists as Hans Hansen (1769-1828) and Christian Horneman (1765-1844) and depicts Hagen seated turning away from his desk in full uniform. Given the apparent age of the sitter and style of clothes the portrait must date closely to 1800.