As the bridge stock in The Netherlands and Europe is ageing, various methods to analyse existing bridges are being studied. Proof loading of bridges is an option to study the capacity when crucial information about the structure is lacking. This information could be related to the material (for example, the effect of alkali-silica reaction on the structural capacity) as well as to the structural system (for example, the effect of restraints at the supports or transverse redistribution capacity). When it is decided to proof load a bridge, the question arises which maximum load should be attained during the experiment to approve the capacity of the bridge, and which criteria, based on the measurements during the test, would indicate that the proof loading needs to be aborted before reaching the maximum desired load (the so-called stop criteria). To define the required loading criteria, a review of the literature has been made, finite element models of existing viaducts have been made, and on these viaducts, proof loading tests have been carried out. These bridges were heavily instrumented, with a goal of learning as much as possible about the structural behaviour during proof loading. As a result of the analysis and experiments, recommendations are given for proof loading of bridges with respect to the required maximum load and the stop criteria. These recommendations are important, since they form the basis of a guideline for proof loading of existing concrete bridges that is under development in The Netherlands.