OBJECTIVE: To describe the beliefs and attitudes of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses toward visiting, visiting hours, and open visiting policies in critical care settings. DESIGN: A descriptive, cross-sectional, multicenter survey. SETTING: Seventeen hospitals in Flanders (Dutch-speaking Belgium), including 30 ICUs. Sixteen mixed adult medical/surgical ICUs, three medical ICUs, five surgical ICUs, three coronary care units, two post-cardiac surgery ICUs, and one burn unit. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 531 intensive care nurses. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: We devised a questionnaire comprising 20 items assessing beliefs and 14 items assessing attitudes. Nurses indicated their level of agreement for each statement on a five-point rating scale. Nurses believed that open visiting hampers planning of adequate nursing care (75.2%), interferes with direct nursing care (73.8%), and causes nurses to spend more time in providing information to the patients' families (82.3%). The presumed effects of visits on the patients and families were contradictory. Most nurses (75.3%) did not want to liberalize the visiting policy of their unit. CONCLUSIONS: ICU nurses have rather skeptical beliefs and attitudes toward visiting and open visiting policy. This suggests that the culture at Flemish ICUs is not ready for a drastic liberalization of the visiting policy.